Powell Hires PR Chief Contursi

When asking interns to sort the mail, get the coffee or FedEx a reel, it pays to say “please” and “thank you.”

That is one lesson to be learned from Gina Contursi, who landed her new job as Powell’s public relations director with help from a former intern at Porter Novelli, where Contursi worked from 1997-2002.

The intern, Abby Albaum, went on to become an account executive at public relations shop Porter Novelli. She set up a dinner meeting for Contursi with Powell president and creative director Neil Powell through a college friend who worked with the agency. Powell and Contursi hit it off, and she got the job.

Starting Aug. 1, Contursi, 33, will handle public relations and event marketing for the 12-person creative boutique, which has outsourced those chores since opening in New York two years ago. It was the success of LaForce & Stevens’ efforts for client Rheingold Brewing Co. that led Powell to hire his own PR and events executive.

“We realized … that most of our clients could benefit from having that capability in-house,” said Powell.

Contursi, who has a degree in communications from the University at Albany, most recently was at Kaplow Communications in New York, doing PR and events for eBay. She began her career in 1994 as an account executive at Kratz & Co. in New York.

“I’ve been driven to smaller agencies where things happen so fast and you do make a difference for your clients’ brands,” Contursi said.

Powell, who described Contursi as “likable [and] articulate,” was particularly impressed by her part in executing a series of eBay parties that touted the auction service. Contursi and her team redecorated a home in the brand’s colors and gave guests $100 credit to spend on the site.

Among her first projects at Powell will be a new branding effort for The Cricket Cola Co.