Meet the PR Industry’s 30 Under 30 for 2015

In covering the PR industry since 2007, Adweek's PRNewser blog has run the gamut from corporate disasters and social media trends to agency rebranding projects, staffing changes and best practices from veterans and newcomers alike.

One thing we haven’t done until now was to showcase some of the young, talented professionals defining the communications industry of the present and future.

Many trade publications compile such lists—but they’re often pay-to-play exercises in self-promotion and the art of completing awards submissions. We wanted to do things a bit differently, so we simply asked readers and contacts within the industry to nominate those who they thought were doing great work in the field—be they in-house, at agencies or independent.

We received well over 200 nominations from people ranging from top tech journalists and government officials to recent college grads still working their way through PR internships.

Ultimately, we chose the 30 named here based on a combination of factors including who nominated them, how many mentions they received, how much experience they’ve accumulated in their careers and their ability to stand out in a crowded industry.

We believe they all deserve to be recognized for the work they’ve done for their clients, their employers and the industry at large.

Quick disclaimer: This is a subjective list that's not meant to serve as a comprehensive overview of the thousands of people in their 20s who power this field every day. If you weren't mentioned, didn’t get nominated or weren't aware of the project, don’t worry—we'll do it again next year.

Here, then, are our 30 Under 30:

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The 30 Under 30, Last Names A-D

Jared Albert
Senior Publicist, Animal Planet

Albert has spent the last five years at Animal Planet in New York where he supports a robust PR team split between Silver Spring, Md., and Los Angeles. Currently, he leads publicity efforts for some of the network's top series and events including Puppy Bowl, River Monsters, Pit Bulls & Parolees and The Last Alaskans. Before joining Animal Planet, Albert was a junior publicist at Playboy.
LinkedIn

His favorite quote: "Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad." –Richard Branson

 

Britney Anderson
Senior PR Coordinator, Roger Vivier

Anderson is senior PR coordinator at French footwear brand Roger Vivier. Prior to joining the company, she held positions at KCD Worldwide, THINK PR and Kinney + Kinsella. Her past clients include Alexander McQueen, Isabel Marant, Roberto Coin, Vestiaire Collective and W Hotels Worldwide. Anderson completed her education at The American University of Paris with a master's degree in global communications in 2010.
LinkedIn

Her advice: "Always send handwritten thank you notes. It's polite and a great way to build lasting relationships."

 

Marissa Arnold
Corporate Communications, New York Stock Exchange

Arnold is part of the NYSE corporate communications team where she heads up communications and PR for the organization's global listings business. She worked with tech startups at Brew PR and other agencies before joining the Big Board, and one of her favorite hats to wear involves driving the NYSE's tech leadership stories. In a past life, she spent her summers working at a sleep-away camp in Wisconsin ... something that has undeniably shaped her as a communications professional.
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her advice: "Relationships, relationships…RELATIONSHIPS!! At a high level, your network is the only thing that is truly yours. Beyond simply acting like a human being (and treating others as such), if you find opportunities to provide value then your network will be of value to you."

 

Sarah Rose Attman
Founder, Sarah Rose Public Relations

Attman is the founder of Sarah Rose Public Relations, a boutique PR agency that works with companies nationwide. Prior to launching her agency in 2012, Sarah was a staff reporter at Us Weekly. Her guest writing and PR expertise have been featured in PR Newser, PR Daily, The Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur Magazine, Huffington Post and other outlets. She also teaches PR at the University of Maryland Baltimore County cyber incubator. 
Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Professional

Her advice: "I'm doing PR my way. Nontraditional choices translate into more fun for my associates and me, more access to smaller businesses who cannot afford to hire huge agencies and ultimately more revenue."

 

Gracie Blackburn
Communications Manager, ESPN College Networks

Blackburn graduated in 2008 from the University of Tennessee with a degree in public relations and headed to New York a few days later to work at Coyne PR where she gained a creative foundation while working for a wide range of clients that included the Harlem Globetrotters, Campbell’s Soup and the United States Tennis Association. In 2011, she moved in-house at the World Wide Leader in Sports to work on ESPN’s college sports team where she's had the opportunity to build network campaigns, launch new shows, handle publicity for high profile on-air commentators and implement the communications plan for the launch of SEC Network.
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her favorite quote: “There is no harm in hoping for the best, as long as you are prepared for the worst." –Stephen King

 

Ken Bruno
Account Director, Access Communications

Bruno specializes in b-to-b technology at Access Communications (a Ketchum company). He has worked with a broad range of companies in the enterprise storage, ad tech, streaming media, digital video, social and content management sectors, and current accounts include EMC and Ericsson Mediaroom. Before moving into PR, Bruno covered companies like Nike, Apple, Sony and Microsoft for the Forbes CMO Network and the outlet’s technology section.
Twitter | LinkedIn

His advice: "Be flexible and open to exploring a number of different disciplines. Choosing a specialty is important, but having a diverse set of skills that spans industries is just as critical."

 

Caitlyn Carpanzano
Vice President, Brew Media Relations

Carpanzano started her career at Condé Nast where she worked in corporate communications and then on publications such as W, Gourmet, Teen Vogue and Architectural Digest. Her work across industries embodies her passion for media, fashion and technology. At Gilt Groupe, she worked on the launch of local lifestyle site Gilt City, and at Brew she focused on developing messaging, product positioning and launch strategies for companies such as SmartThings and August Smart Lock in addition to handling business media relations for clients including Refinery29, Samsung’s Global Innovation Center, Quantcast and Wealthfront. 
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her advice: "'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.' Professionally, I try to always push myself to take on a new challenge or set a goal for myself that may seem unattainable and figure out a way to make it happen. It’s important to experiment and be creative, as that’s usually where the best results stem from."

 

Jade Clark
Public Relations Manager, TheLadders

Clark, a passionate storyteller and brand strategist with over seven years of experience working with major media, tech and lifestyle brands, is currently head of PR at TheLadders. Prior to this role, she was the senior PR manager at HowAboutWe (acquired by Match.com/IAC) and has worked with a variety of startup companies including Campus Job, Class Compete and The Hunter's Club as an independent PR and branding consultant. Earlier in her career, she was a senior account executive at DKC News, a publicist at Guinness World Records, an account coordinator for LionsGate at Bender Helper/Impact and a corporate communications intern at AOL, Time Inc. and Toys"R"Us.
Website | TwitterLinkedIn

Her advice: "Learn how to tell a great story. Don’t just passively report out jargon on your clients. Dig deeper, see the bigger picture and figure out that one thing that makes your client or piece of news truly interesting. If you don’t want to, why should anyone else?"

 

Sarah Coppersmith
Vice President, Scott Circle

Coppersmith serves as vice president at Scott Circle and specializes in public relations campaigns, media relations and media logistics. In her time at the agency, she has created and implemented various PR campaigns for national associations, planned events with high-level government officials, directed media logistics for a national conference of foreign dignitaries, and managed the messaging and credentialing for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Previously, Coppersmith worked at the Partnership for a Healthier America and served as press secretary for Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) where she handled all media relations, social media and political messaging.
Client Work | TwitterLinkedIn

Her advice: "Make your pitches short and to the point. You don’t want to waste a journalist’s time or yours, so do your research, be prepared and get right to the point."

 

Danika Daly
Founder, Danika Daly PR and Fashion PR Confidential

Daly founded Danika Daly PR at the age of 24 after working in the PR field with various clients. Her firm works with fashion, beauty and lifestyle clients and runs events ranging from blogger dinners to New York Fashion Week shows, influencer collaborations and brand partnerships. In 2013, she launched The Fashion PR Confidential workshop, a traveling workshop series teaching brand owners and aspiring and entry-level publicists how to navigate the PR world and expose their brands to their target audiences, after interns told her they'd learned more from her program than from their PR classes.
Twitter: @danikadalypr @fashionprcon | LinkedIn | Instagram | Website

Her advice: "Never take no for an answer."

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The 30 Under 30, Last Names D-P

Christina DiRusso
Senior Communications Manager, BuzzFeed

DiRusso is senior communications manager at BuzzFeed where she leads strategic public relations for the company's business, service and technology teams. Previously, she oversaw PR and marketing for New York-based Livestream. She started her career at LaunchSquad and Brew Media Relations where she managed PR for emerging technology companies including American Express OPEN, Aereo, Synacor and Outbrain. She graduated from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2010 and lives in Brooklyn with a growing collection of carnival goldfish. 
TwitterLinkedIn

Her advice: "Read. It's something that I think is undervalued in our industry. Not just articles, but reading Twitter every day has completely changed the way I think about communications and relationships. Tweetdeck is my BFF."

 

Angela Feher
Director of Communications, Goconnekt

Feher started her career in lifestyle public relations, representing top-tier wine and spirits brands. She has since expanded her portfolio to technology, working in PR and event marketing for Google in the San Francisco Bay area. In addition to working with established global brands, Feher is currently building exposure for a mobile-connectivity startup called Goconnekt as its director of communications.
TwitterLinkedIn

Her advice: "Seth Godin once said, 'People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.' The most rewarding part about working in PR for me is building relationships and creating those magic moments. At the end of the day, we get to be storytellers."

 

Brian Hart
Founder and President, Flackable

Hart is a Temple University graduate with a degree in strategic communications and a political science minor. He began his career as a licensed life and health insurance professional at a broad-based financial services firm in King of Prussia, Pa. Prior to founding Flackable, he represented a number of leading financial services firms at a public relations agency in New York. Today, Hart is committed to helping clients reach a new level of growth by emboldening them with superior communications counsel and services.
Twitter | LinkedIn | Portfolio

His advice: "Embrace the qualities that make you unique. Your personal brand is one of your most valuable professional assets."

 

Ben Johnson
Director of Global Communications, Tough Mudder Inc.

Johnson oversees global communications for Tough Mudder Inc., an events company with five brands across eight countries reaching more than 2 million participants to date. His responsibilities include strategic oversight and management of global media and PR, agency relationships, media partnerships and local event marketing in North America. Prior to joining Tough Mudder, he worked at multiple agencies including Edelman and Weber Shandwick on corporate and brand campaigns. 
Twitter | LinkedIn

His favorite quote: "You’ll never stumble upon the unexpected if you stick only to the familiar.” –Pixar founder and CEO Ed Catmull on the connection between creativity and risk

 

Colin Jordan
Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Egnyte

Jordan, whose deep passion for the intersection of technology and business led him to tech PR, holds a B.S. in communications from the University of Arizona and a minor in business management from Eller Business College. He started his career on the agency side, working for two years at a boutique shop in San Francisco before joining cloud-based enterprise file sharing software company Egnyte. As part of Egnyte’s first in-house PR team, he has spent the last two years driving the company's media relations program.
Twitter | LinkedIn

His advice: “In PR the good ones make their company relevant to an industry, but the great ones make their company relevant to the world. Remember, your company’s product or service is part of a much larger story. Being able to connect those dots and make your story relevant to more than just your industry will make you a valuable asset.”

 

Laura Markofsky
Director, Civic Entertainment Group

Markofsky has been working in public relations for eight years for a variety of New York firms. She has a background in entertainment, events, consumer packaged goods, men’s lifestyle marketing, cause-related marketing, fashion and food, and she has worked with top brands including American Express, Verizon, USA Network, Sara Lee and more. Markofsky is both a pop-culture addict and a social media junkie. She loves to think of the latest ways to integrate social and digital trends into her client programs.
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her advice: "Be tenacious and never lose sight of your ultimate goals. Whether it is securing coverage in a top outlet or networking with someone new, always push for it and never apologize for going after what you want!"

 

Ashley McCollum
Chief of Staff, BuzzFeed

McCollum began her career with NBC News Marketing and Communications before moving to BuzzFeed as a publicist in February 2012. There she built a communications team and strategy, spent a year handling business development and partnerships with major social networks, and now serves as CEO Jonah Peretti’s chief of staff, working on special projects and strategic company-wide initiatives. Most recently, she was responsible for the company’s “swarm” promotional strategies, BuzzFeed’s interview and video with President Barack Obama, the internal and external rollout of the company’s distributed media strategy, and external partnerships with brands ranging from Monopoly to GE. 
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her advice: "PR should be a partner, not a service."

 

Chris Pappas
PR Manager, Ticketfly

Pappas got his start in PR as one of the founding team members of Hotwire Public Relations in the U.S. where he worked on a blend of b-to-b and b-to-c global campaigns ranging from e-commerce to consumer electronics and startups to blue chips. Following a stint at Google Glass, he returned to Hotwire as program manager in its San Francisco expansion office as the agency was named the Holmes Report's Best Technology Public Relations Agency Worldwide. In 2015, he moved to Ticketfly, a San Francisco technology company reimagining live events, as the company's first PR manager. This new position connects his love of music with his background in tech PR.
TwitterLinkedIn

His advice: "I was tripping over myself trying to think of some clever or funny tip/quote when I remembered something my boss told me recently: Don’t trip over yourself trying to be clever."

 

Alexander Parks
PR Team Lead, Davies Murphy Group, a LEWIS PR company

Parks was hired as No. 2 at a Boston communications agency in 2011, and he has been living the tech PR dream ever since. He’s led media relations, social media and ghost writing efforts for dozens of b-to-b and b-to-c tech companies ranging from Fortune 500 organizations to some of Boston’s most successful startups. Alex also volunteers as the director of PR for TEDxSomerville. In 2013, he won the Publicity Club of New England Striker Award, which recognizes New England’s best young PR professional of the year. He graduated from Brandeis University summa cum laude with a B.A. in economics and philosophy, and he was a visiting student in economics and philosophy at Oxford University.
TwitterLinkedIn

His favorite quote: "Take your messaging and edit it down. What is the one line you want people to remember? You only get one." Caryn Marooney, Facebook's vp of technology communications, in Fast Company

 

Meagan Phillips
Public Relations Manager, 180LA

Phillips started her career at legendary San Francisco ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. She managed communications for the agency, including public relations, agency culture and new business development, for five years. A year ago she relocated to Santa Monica’s 180LA where she develops PR strategies across agency and client work.

Twitter | LinkedIn

Her advice: "Working in PR has given me a front seat to the industry. I’ve had incredible access to decision makers, brilliant creative executions and insights, and what’s happening in culture. You get to be a journalist inside the agency, finding these stories and shining a light on why they’re interesting."

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The 30 Under 30, Last Names P-Z

Brette Querzoli
Senior Account Executive, Weber Shandwick

Querzoli has more than three years experience working in tech PR. She started her career at a small PR startup in Boston and is now working in the technology practice of Weber Shandwick’s San Francisco office. Her background consists largely of media and analyst relations focused on the b-to-b enterprise technology sector.
TwitterLinkedIn

Her advice: "Don't form pitch/mail mergeever. It goes a long way to research who you are pitching and what they are writing about. Be honest. And finally, have a Twitter account ... and use it."

 

Jose Resendez
Senior Account Executive, Publicist and Digital Strategist, FleishmanHillard Miami

Resendez is a senior account executive at FleishmanHillard's Miami office which specializes in U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets. His experience includes digital strategy and talent integration for various global brands including Procter & Gamble’s Pantene, CoverGirl, Tide and AT&T U-verse/AT&T Latino. His specialties include working with top online influencers, managing celebrity endorsements and conducting blogger media outreach. He is also known as a Hispanic social media influencer and blogger at JosesLifeEtc.com, which documents his obsessions with pop culture and lifestyle topics.
TwitterLinkedIn | Websites

His advice: "Don’t over-hashtag."

 

Elisabeth Rosario
Managing Director, Astrsk PR

Rosario is the managing director at Astrsk PR where she has led strategy and execution of PR campaigns for consumer startups and tech companies such as Zola, ClassPass, Ex Machina (the film), Squarespace, Dagne Dover, Luna, Alfred, F Cubed and more. Most recently, she was a PR manager at Hotwire PR, working with tech companies such as Rakuten.com Shopping, Red Bull, Broadband TV, ShopKeep and Rightster. Outside the office, she’s passionate about food and travel, volunteers at Animal Haven (an animal shelter in New York's SoHo neighborhood) and serves as a mentor to aspiring PR pros at New York Women in Communications.
Twitter | LinkedIn | Website

Her advice: "If you're looking to break into tech PR, some words of advice: Be adaptable, focus on the details, learn to multitask and never stop being curious."

 

Ilana Rubin
Account Supervisor, Civic Entertainment Group

As a media and talent relations specialist, Rubin spearheads the planning and execution of strategic PR efforts for top clients across the Civic portfolio including Verizon, USA Network, goop, HBO, Lifetime and A&E. Her passion for pop culture and entertainment (which some might call an obsession) has also led her to head the talent team at Civic, securing, negotiating and publicizing top talent for client campaigns across related verticals.
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her advice: "'Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.' –Walt Disney. Some might view this quote as the inspiration behind great customer service, but it holds true for PR professionals; media relations is all about building strong connections and relationships. The more you can relate to your contacts on a professional and personal level, the more they will be responsive to pitches, provide constructive feedback and introduce you to peers within the industry."

 

Emily Scheer
Public Relations Director, IBT Media

Scheer is the public relations director at IBT Media, handling press outreach across the company's brands including Newsweek and International Business Times. She has spent her career in news and media, having previously held positions at CBS News, CNN, TheStreet Inc. and The Rosen Group. Scheer was on the Dean’s List at Cornell University where she graduated with a B.A. in film and government.
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her advice: "In any broadcast interview, you need to be able to simplify your story as easily as Alton Brown simplifies how to make scrambled eggs in the first minute and a half of this segment. Go ahead: Watch it and tell me if you're ever going to make scrambled eggs the same way again."

 

Brittany Stone
Senior Account Executive, Moxie Communications Group

Stone spent a year in music PR before deciding to work with technology companies in 2012, advancing from intern status to account supervisor in the span of two and a half years. She was hired as employee No. 4 at Knock Twice NYC, an agency that focuses on content and PR for tech startups and multinational corporations alike. At Knock Twice, she helped manage accounts across the b-to-b and b-to-c verticals including Imgur, Maker Camp from Google+, Distiller, Elasticsearch, Ultravisual (acqui-hired by Flipboard), and many others. Most recently, she spent time at Astrsk PR, helping to launch startups and leading communications for companies including Spark.io (now Particle.io), Luna, QuizUp, Trello, PHHHOTO and more.
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her favorite quotes: "Einstein wrote, 'Great spirits have always found violent opposition to mediocrities,' which I translate into a personal maxim: Don’t be boring." 

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing." Ron Swanson

 

Pearl Tam
Associate, Eastwick

Prior to joining Eastwick in 2014, Tam worked at media intelligence company Gorkana where she gained insight into New York’s media landscape; surprisingly, all the frantic late-night rapid response requests didn’t scare her away from "the dark side." At Eastwick, she is responsible for helping tech companies with their media relations strategies and also organizes monthly media mixers. Pearl started her career as an intern at GymTicket, a New York tech start-up now known as Yext.
Twitter | LinkedIn

Her advice: "I was recently working from a jury duty assembly room amongst some interesting characters. A woman decided to cram herself next to me by the coveted electrical outlet and asked me to move my belongings over to make room for her, but I ignored her since I was immersed in setting up a media briefing with Forbes. She persisted, so finally I looked her right in the eyes and sternly said, 'Do not interrupt me right now. I have some really important emails to deliver.' Moral of the story: Do not mess with a PR pro on a mission."

 

Elliot Tomaeno
Founder and CEO, Astrsk PR

Tomaeno, who comes to New York by way of San Francisco by way of Switzerland, has been working in PR since graduating college. He worked with Ballou PR in San Francisco and Europe, and moved to N.Y. in 2012 to head up the tech team at Morris + King PR. He started his own agency in September 2012, and Astrsk PR has now helped launch over 200 companies. Clients include Squarespace, HelloFresh, Frank & Oak, Redbull, Ex Machina, Managed by Q, ClassPass and more. Tomaeno is also an investor in the Female Founders Fund, and Astrsk donates 10 percent of its time to completing pro-bono work.
TwitterInstagram

His advice: "This might sound lame, but it's about working harder than you did last week and basing your progress on where YOU were last week, last month or last year. Don’t pay too much attention to your competitors, those who say it’s a long shot and those who don’t believe you can do it. There is always going to be someone working harder and smarter than you, so you should just worry about working harder and smarter than yourself."

 

Kai Wright
Vice President,
Communications and Business Development, Atom Factory

Wright is a music-obsessed Millennial, tech junkie and global citizen who pledges allegiance to the mantra "creativity applied strategically." Wright, who most recently served as head of communications and PR for Diddy's music television network Revolt, brings nearly 10 years of experience to his role in communications and business development at Atom Factory. He started his career at agencies in strategy and planning for global brands including HP, Bank of America and IBM and recently was a member of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Music list. Wright holds a masters in communications from Columbia University where he is currently an associate faculty member, and a bachelors in economics from The University of Chicago. A recent New York-to Los Angeles transplant, he is an avid world traveler.
LinkedIn | Website | Twitter

His advice: "The measure of success within PR isn’t how many impressions you deliver or even how many people you know ... it’s how much influence you wield."

 

Ed Zitron
Founder, EZPR

Zitron is the founder of EZPR, a media relations firm based in San Francisco, Boston and Portland. He's worked with clients such as Target, The Nature Publishing Group, AnchorFree, The Lily Flying Camera, SalesLoft and iCracked. He is also the author of the best-selling PR book This Is How You Pitch: How To Kick Ass in Your First Years of PR, and he ranked No. 7 in Business Insider's 2014 list of the top PR professionals in tech.
Twitter | LinkedIn | Website

His advice first and then favorite quote: "Be a human being and don't mediate your entire existence. This is how you actually make real relationships professionally and personally."

"Ten bucks ... is 10 bucks," followed by an open handed gesture. Bruce McCullough.