Name: Alyssa Sotak
Job title: Account Director
Company you work for: Weber Shandwick
Career background: It isn’t often somebody will admit, ‘I’m back where I started.’ In my case, it’s true – and I’m proud of it. My career began at Weber Shandwick Toronto nearly seven years ago. I gained experience and earned recognition working on consumer, corporate, government, not-for-profit and retail clients. After some time, I left the agency to join Citizen Optimum, where I worked with a talented and creative group. I rejoined Weber Shandwick in 2010, and transferred to our Vancouver office last June.
As an Account Director, I help realize our agency’s one team philosophy by leading national client teams. I’m responsible for directing all account activity, including strategic planning, tactical execution and overall team performance. I also help generate new business leads.
Career aspirations: I aspire to continue to learn and grow. It’s essential in this business.
Greatest career challenge: I’m in the midst of the greatest challenge of my career – entering a new market. I’ve worked hard to learn the landscape, expand my network and establish my brand. My colleagues have been a source of support, and I’ve met great people from the Vancouver PR community. It’s a work in progress, and I’m getting there.
Greatest career success: My greatest success isn’t tied to a strategy or metric, but rather my relationships with colleagues and clients. I’ve been recognized as both a mentor and partner, and in my view, that’s a significant achievement. It also has the potential to lead to great things.
Biggest career mistake or regret: No mistakes or regrets – only learnings that I’ll apply in future.
Favourite PR/communications campaign: Weber Shandwick recently conducted a national campaign with Omron to raise awareness about heart disease and communicate the importance of home blood pressure monitoring. The program centred around figure skater, Joannie Rochette, who touched our hearts during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics when she bravely took to the ice after losing her mother to a heart attack. We took an ‘inline’ approach – building in both traditional and social media components, including a Twitter chat. The campaign was a resounding success, and the people involved really enjoyed working with Joannie and bringing much needed attention to this issue.
PR role model: I’ve had several mentors at different points in my career. Fortunately they’re all still in my life.
Best place to ‘do coffee’ in Vancouver: Café Bica is a great spot for conversation and coffee.
Favourite journalist to pitch to: How can you expect me to choose a favourite journalist? That’s a career limiting move. I enjoy pitching all journalists.
Favourite website: For work: Globe and Mail. For pleasure: Rolling Stone.
Favourite social media site: Facebook. A friend once told me I was ‘prolific.’
Fun fact about you: Some people call me ‘IMDB.’ I seem to know a lot of random movie-related information.