This week’s person to know is Natasha Koifman, President of NKPR.
How did you get started in PR?
I fell into PR. I was working in NYC as a journalist and I was always being pitched by publicists…and I could really tell the difference between the publicists that took into consideration what’s in it for the reader and the journalist and the one’s that just didn’t think strategically. So when I moved back to Toronto – PR was definitely an industry I was interested in pursuing. I love the ‘thinking’ involved – as publicists we tend to think backwards – always thinking about the end result….I guess that’s the natural way my mind works. :)
Favourite celeb experience?
I sit on the board for Artists for Peace and Justice which is a non-profit organization founded by Paul Haggis and friends that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty around the world focusing on serving children and their families in the poorest communities in Haiti by supporting programs focused on education, health and dignity.
When we launched APJ at TIFF in 2009, most people couldn’t point to Haiti on a map. Six months later the hurricane hit. The country was devastated, and so Paul hosted a brunch at his house in LA to raise funds for relief efforts. Together with the help of celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Gerard Butler, Pierce Brosnan and Simon Baker, we raised over $4.5 million. It wasn’t just one of them, but their collective generosity that made it possible to change the lives of so many children in Haiti.
It’s either that or when Brad Pitt said he liked my ring…I still can’t believe that actually happened!
Your major career influence?
I like to think that I am mentored by ALL the incredible people that are in my life every day. At NKPR, we have such inspiring client partners and my team is truly brilliant. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by people that consistently challenge me to be the best I can be on a daily basis.
Best advice you’ve received?
The best advice I ever received is to know when to make decisions based on your heart and/or brain. If you are in a positive mind-set follow your gut feeling but if you are in a negative mind-set then you need to trust your brain.
If you weren’t a publicist, what would you be?
I would want to be either a fashion designer or stylist – I love everything fashion!!
Something about you people would be surprised to know?
I think people would be surprised to know that I have a secret obsession with tattoos! I have two tattoos, one on my forearm that says “Be brave,” the other says, “Gratitude 26.”…Life is about being brave and embracing change, and the first is a constant reminder to do just that. Whether it’s in your career or personal life, I believe in making bold choices to get to the life that you want and the life you are meant to live. The “Gratitude 26” on my wrist is an everlasting reminder to be grateful. 26 signifies a lucky number for me where the most amazing things have happened to me on this day through out my life, including the day my son was born. Both messages are permanent representations of my personal philosophies on life.
A place in Toronto you’d be proud to take people to?
My house is my oasis – It’s on a quiet side street, and it doesn’t feel like you’re in the middle of the city. I love having people over to my home. Being located where it is allows me to throw some of the most fun parties with our clients…This year, we kicked off the Film Festival at my house with the RW&CO X Coveteur and SKYY Cocktail Countdown Double Feature Party in my backyard. To celebrate in true NKPR style, we even parked an ice cream truck in my driveway!
I also have developed an obsession with wall art, and am proud to display some of the contemporary pieces I’ve collected from Izzy Gallery, like my most recent photo of Victoria Beckham from Ellen von Unwerth’s first Toronto exhibition. Everyone who knows me knows that I love skulls. One of my all-time favourite pieces is the crystal Damien Hirst skull in my home office.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
There’s so many that I love. I’m a real foodie. I love Joso’s for the fish, Scaramouche for their beef pasta and La Societe for their French onion soup.
Your favourite Toronto neighbourhood and why?
My own! Most people don’t know where South Hill is, but I love it because it’s close to Bloor-Yorkville and a hop, skip and jump from Forest Hill. The village has some of my favourite casual spots like Aroma, and the flower shops at Avenue and Davenport are the best in the city. Most importantly, the area has some great parks, where I love to take my dogs, Grady and Decoy.
A Toronto resident, other than yourself, who’s making a positive impact on the city?
I’m really inspired by the work Jim Searle and Chris Tyrell are doing with Dare to Wear Love, the annual fashion gala event celebrating Canada’s fashion industry’s talent and commitment to social justice while raising funds and awareness for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Proceeds raised from the event put money directly into the hands of grassroots organizations in Africa that are turning the tide on the AIDS pandemic and I’m honoured to be a part of this year’s event.