Emily Passer in the #CommsCorner

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This week we chat with Emily Passer, Quartz’s director of communications. Based in NYC, she oversees all media relations and public relations for Quartz, internal relations for staff and events management. Before working at Quartz, Emily was Communications Executive at Financial Times. Last year Emily received silver in the “Stevie Awards” – Communications Professional of the year, hosted by the American Business Association.

Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?
I currently run communications for Quartz (Atlantic Media’s digital-only, global business news brand) and previously I’ve worked for the FT and Fleishman Hillard. Outside of work, I’m very passionate about special needs education and advocacy.  And I have a profound obsession with gummy candy, sunglasses and the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team.I feel like my Twitter profile pretty much sums me up. (We took a look at this cheeky profile and Emily sums herself up as “list-maker extraordinaire, sunglasses junkie, gummy candy enthusiast &  fan.”
Tell us about your typical day in communications?
That question is always difficult. It really does change day to day, especially working in news media. Depending on our top or most interesting stories, I’ll be promoting our content and journalists to other media and broadcasters. I’ll also have an eye out for Quartz products and innovations that need some PR attention. I work on corporate comms, internal messaging and speaker engagements for our executives and senior management too.
When did you first know you wanted to work in communications?Emily5
Actually, I got in to the field after a long-time family friend suggested I might like it!
Who’s your communication hero/mentor?
Hard to choose here. I admire a lot of what Judy Smith has done. And Hilary Rosen as well.
Which tools can’t you live without?
Twitter, Tweetdeck, Facebook. I always keep half an eyeball on my second screen at work with my various feeds open. I am also a big fan of Gorkana’s database.
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
I’m a one-woman show here, so managing priorities and expectations is certainly something I’m always juggling and learning.
Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on?
Very recently, I’ve loved telling the world the story behind Quartz’s new app. It is widely loved and something that’s never been done before. The best campaigns are the ones when the product or story is so interesting that it tells itself!
What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations since you began your career?
In my first PR job, I remember spending hours at the fax machine. The fax machine! I remember Twitter and other social media platforms just beginning to take off and the general thinking about them from more legacy PR pros was “those will never last.”
What characteristics do you look for in your communication colleague?
A genuine intrigue and curiosity in our industry and a drive to make it better, rather than remaining complacent.
What’s your favourite brand?
Well I’m biased here… Quartz! But outside of news media. I think Starbucks and Microsoft have had some very forward-thinking campaigns and branding programs.
What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?
I’m a fan of Jeff Jarvis’ “Geeks Bearing Gifts: Imagining new futures for news” and Bill McGowan’s “Pitch Perfect: How to say it right the first time, every time”.
Also, Mrs. Moneypenny’s “Career Advice for Ambitious Women” is great.
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