This week’s person to know is Media Profile’s Alen Sadeh.
A typical day?
My typical day starts with a battle against my alarm clock. I do my best work well after midnight, which makes for rough mornings. My walk to work usually involves a tall dark roast coffee while reading emails, tweets, and posts before getting to the office. After that my day is mayhem. Every PR pro I know always says there is no typical day in our industry because it’s true.
How did you get started in PR?
Growing up, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. Sharp suits and courtroom dramas always appealed to me. After I graduated from the University of Toronto, I did what most my friends were doing and took off to Europe before writing my LSAT. I met up with my brother’s best friend in Greece and he started telling me about his PR career. The more I listened to him speak the less I wanted to to pursue law. When I got back from my travels I went to Humber College for an informational session. Within ten minutes I realized that PR is what I wanted to do. The Humber program gave me a strong foundation and helped secure an internship at RBC. Cutting your teeth in the PR world at the country’s largest bank, immediately after the worst financial crises in modern history, was certainly a learning experience. I was fortunate enough to work with incredibly talented people who challenged me at every turn.
Favourite account to work on?
That’s easy. All of them. For real. Media Profile has an impressive roster of clients and I’ve been fortunate to work on variety of them including RBC, CBC, The Source, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Collingwood Whisky and Olympus.
Right now my time is split between Google and Honda. While these clients might seem completely different on the surface, they actually have a lot in common. Both are established brands that have planted deep roots in Canada. Both companies pride themselves on fostering technological innovation and both companies have invested resources to give back to the community through partnerships at the national and local level.
The size and scope of work also provides a fun mix of projects. I’ll fly to Montreal to teach a group of media how to drive stick at Honda’s Manual Driving School one day and come back to pitch Google’s latest street view project to map Parliament Hill the next! There’s never a dull moment.
Your major career influence?
Michael O’Connor Clarke.
Michael was the VP of Digital at Media Profile before he lost his battle with cancer. I had the pleasure of working closely with him from the moment he walked in the door and his impact is still felt in the office today. Michael was the perfect communicator. He had big ideas, which he executed with accuracy. His writing was closer to literature than marketing. He was charming, personable and a phenomenal presenter. He was small in stature but a giant in character. He set the benchmark for which I constantly strive.
Best advice you’ve received?
During my first PR job at RBC, I had a coffee with a senior government relations manager who had a very impressive career. He sat me down and said “Kid, in this business, you eat what you kill. If you want something you go and get it.” Those words sounded morbid at the time but they’ve resonated throughout my career and remind me to stay hungry.
If you weren’t a publicist, what would you be?
I’d finally take the LSAT.
A place in Toronto you’d be proud to take people to?
I’d take them to Lost & Found on Dundas and Dovercourt. It’s an amazing little hybrid of coffee house meets mens boutique. It’s easy to spend hours sifting through the racks, listening to music or chatting with anyone who happens to be there. The guys who run the place are awesome and I always manage to find a gem while I’m there.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
Sit down: Playa Cabana
Take Away: Chino Locos
Your favourite Toronto neighbourhood and why?
My neighbourhood. I live at Queen and Spadina, right in the heart of the city, so I’m just a quick walk/drive to everything.
Least favourite thing about Toronto?
A winning sports team would be nice. I also wouldn’t mind being able to have a beer in the park.
A Toronto resident, other than yourself, who’s making a positive impact on the city?
Karen Stintz, Chair of the TTC. She’s shown her tenacity and fearlessness by taking on one of the most polarizing issues that affects everyone in the city. The TTC is nowhere near where it should be for a world-class city, but it’s certainly getting closer under her watch.