Even after studying marketing communications, my early business life didn’t begin in public relations, but in another area of the service sector. Without really knowing which way I wanted to go, I landed a position in Miami, where I lived, with a startup company that helped doctors set up their medical practices. I found that I enjoyed running a business that essentially ran other businesses – especially figuring out how to make people successful. A key learning from that experience was the value of collaboration with people who could efficiently solve problems and never be satisfied with yesterday’s results.
Re-locating to New York to join my life and business partner Morris Silver in what was then a general interest public relations agency was an exciting opportunity for us to work together. There are plenty of self-help books that tell spouses how to be business partners, but we forgot to read them. Instead we concentrated on building a company that reflected our different but compatible personalities – his, the inquisitive mind of a newspaper reporter, mine, a right and left brain strategist. Where we came together the best was our quest to stimulate innovative thinking for our clients.
Our personal interest in travel, led us, less by design, than good fortune, to start reshaping the agency into a tourism and hospitality specialist firm that mirrored the growing enthusiasm of Americans to hit the road, far and near.
We’ve worked with hotels, and resorts to establish their brands in new and exciting ways – opening properties such as Atlantis in The Bahamas that became one of the most iconic resorts in the world and re-opening NYC’s legendary The Plaza hotel.
We helped destinations craft distinctive personalities, such as Costa Rica’s eco image promoted through a Trees for Tourism give-back initiative and a media cultivation campaign. Destinations that wanted to change market perception came to us – including Panama for a post-Noriega campaign and Greater Fort Lauderdale, a client of 28 years and very dear to me, to chase away college student spring breakers to become internationally known as a beach chic playground. We’ve helped to revitalize and glamorize travel sectors, including the cruise industry, with the introduction of the glamorous Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, with Queen Elizabeth christening the ship in England, and media from all over the world converging on New York for her U.S. welcome. Cultural sensitivity and delicacy combined with savvy business strategies set the stage for a thought leadership campaign for the successful entry into North America of Emirates Airlines as the carrier launched service from Dubai to the United States after 9/11. And, after almost two years without a marketing presence due to budget restrictions, I LOVE NY selected us to put the state back on the radar of the traveler and the travel media.
Travel has literally taken us around the world and introduced us to fascinating people who we hope have benefited from our association as much as I know we have with them. We are thrilled to continue the legacy of our company with Finn Partners and be part of what Peter and his team are building for the future.