The Ins and Outs of PR with Stephanie Manas of Ogilvy



Stephanie Manas is a senior account executive/corporate communications specialist at Ogilvy Public Relations. Manas has a passion for theater and the arts and was previously a press agent assistant at Boneau/Bryan-Brown. She also supported publicity efforts for Penguin Group USA’s Dutton imprint. A member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Manas is also a co-chair of the marketing committee for the PRSA-NY chapter, and in 2013 she served as a PRSA Silver Anvil judge. The W.P. Ehling Chapter of PRSSA and Hill Communications hosted Manas on September 9, 2013. She had an exclusive lunch with PRSSA members and a presentation later that night, giving students an inside look at one of the largest PR and advertising agencies. She detailed her unique position and talked about the value of doing in-house PR for a PR agency. Manas also shared her experiencs with PRSA-NY and gave students advice on how to get involved with PRSA. Needless to say, the event was a success. #OgilvyatSU was a great way for PR students to start the semester off strong.

ManasQ: Can you describe your unique experience working in-house for a public relations agency?

A: You get to see all the different aspects of the company when you work in-house. You’re at the heart of it. What I love about my job is that I really get to find out everything going on at Ogilvy and how I can use that to raise the agency’s profile, help attract new clients and new talent, and win awards. I think it’s unique in that I get to work with a lot of different people. We’re a part of Ogilvy & Mather so I get to work with the corporate communications group, which involves people from all disciplines and regions, finding out what news they have going on there, and then I can share that on our social channels and website.

Q: What is it like working as a senior account executive/corporate communications specialist at one of the world’s largest PR and advertising agencies?

A: It’s definitely never a dull moment. There’s always something exciting happening somewhere in the world. Every week we put together an email called “Great News to Share,” where people will send me updates from their offices. It’s great to find out what’s going on around the world and share with everyone. It’s exciting  to work for a global agency and be able to see what’s going on somewhere else and get to meet so many people in the process. Everyone does something different, so to be able to learn about what everyone does and how it all works together is great. As a corporate communications specialist I get to work with everyone to help raise their profiles in the media, and I get to learn about what they are doing on individual and team levels. It’s really exciting to work with all these different people and leverage them in the market place, getting them out there as leaders in PR.

Q: What are some of your responsibilities as a co-chair of the Marketing Committee in the PRSA-NY Chapter?

A: We work with the programming committee on upcoming events on topics such as professional development and ethics. We also work with them to make sure the word is out there to drive attendance, and we secure speakers in advance. It’s been really exciting to actually make a difference and meet people in the PR community outside of Ogilvy, allowing me to grow as a PR professional.

Q: What was it like serving as a 2013 Silver Anvil judge?

A: It was really exciting. It’s something I never expected to do so early on in my career. A part of my role at Ogilvy is to help teams craft award submissions. I’ve spent a lot of time learning and studying how to win these awards, and I know what goes into a really good entry, so they felt I was qualified to do this. Having senior professionals listen to and respect my opinions is an incredible feeling. On the day of judging, all the judges assemble in a big room, you’re split into teams, and you only judge your category. PRSA provides judging teams with all the entry materials and it takes most of the day to evaluate the submissions. You quickly realize, however, that some entries are missing sections or supporting materials, have spelling and grammar errors, etc. These entries are often times eliminated at the beginning. Therefore, it’s absolutely vital to triple check your submissions ahead of time so your efforts in preparing the entry aren’t wasted.

Q: How do you suggest PRSSA members get involved with PRSA now?

A: Be proactive, go out there and get involved. Collaborate on events with your local PRSA chapter, try to attend some of their board meetings, and get to know people on their board and committees. Everyone loves to be asked to be a mentor, so don’t be afraid to ask to grab a cup of coffee or chat on the phone with them every now and then.

Q:  How can students get involved with PRSA after graduation?

A: Join PRSA right away. Membership can get expensive, but you shouldn’t always have to pay. Look into seeing if your company will pay for your membership. Show your company how your membership will benefit them by adding to your professional development and giving your company more visibility.

Q: What do you think are some of the benefits of being a member of PRSSA and PRSA?

A: You meet so many people at the conferences you attend as a member. It’s so valuable for building your networks, especially so early on in your career. Membership helps you get internships and jobs, so I think it’s definitely a big benefit to be a part of this organization. Being a part of Hill Communications gives you great experience, as well. Since being a member of PRSSA allows you to collaborate with PRSA, you get to connect with even more professionals.

Being a member of PRSA offers you a chance to make a difference in the PR community and network with other professionals. Connecting with and getting to know fellow members is a great way to learn about the industry, how it’s changing and what you might expect in the future. You never know who you’ll meet at an event. In particular, “Meet the Media” sessions are incredibly helpful as you can gather insights and tips directly from Media that you can then share with your colleagues.

Q: What do you hope students get out of your presentation?

A: I hope they learn something new about PR. I hope they see that you really can have PR in anything you do. You just need to find what you are passionate about and go after it because it will have public relations. I used to do PR as it pertains to theater because that’s a big interest for me, and I hope students realize PR is everywhere.