27,VP, Porter Novelli
When a member of a company's AOR begins working in-house for that client, the opportunity for a cultural clash is, to say the least, nearly unavoidable. So when Peter Horowitz, PricewaterhouseCoopers' senior managing director of global PR, returned to the company after a hiatus, he mandated that Kate Alexander, VP at AOR Porter Novelli, be brought in-house four days a week. She had spent eight months on site in that capacity, although she now only spends two days a week there.
"My first impression was that she was a very articulate, intelligent young professional who seemed to really get it," Horowitz says. "In terms of serving a client like PWC, you have to get inside the client's skin."
Horowitz says Alexander, 27, fit in well with PwC's culture, a necessity when an agency rep takes on work in-house. He says her immediate cohesion was potentially even more difficult than a new hire because she had to jump into serious work immediately.
"If you import your own culture, it probably won't work," Horowitz says. Celebrating her fourth year at Porter Novelli this year, Alexander was promoted to VP in April. In addition to leading the PwC account, she also helms another (unnamed) Fortune 500 account. She also handled initiatives for PwC's seventh annual global CEO survey and the agency's annual review.
Prior to joining PN in June 2000, she worked on corporate and tech accounts at Creamer Dickson Basford, which eventually became Euro RSCG Magnet.
She majored in English and media studies at Fordham University.
Alexander's new role as VP provides additional leadership responsibilities, which she takes very seriously.
"It's not just a responsibility for the client, it's also my responsibility to mentor the team," she says.
There are two New York-based junior people on the PwC team, and a global network of senior professionals pitch in, Alexander says. The other, smaller Fortune 500 account has two individuals from the consumer side contributing. Alexander cites PN's small-team setting as a boon to her growth.
"My experience at PN is that if you show initiative and intelligence, people embrace that and give you more responsibility," Alexander says. "There are a lot more opportunities, especially if you're a self-starter."
Both Horowitz and PN New York corporate practice director Jon Goldberg praise her media outreach abilities.
"She can be incredibly tenacious in media outreach. If we're considering a particular project's success will be coverage in The New York Times, she won't rest until she gets that coverage for us."
Horowitz feels that agency work provides Alexander with a great opportunity. "The truth of the matter is that the agency world is a young person's game," Horowitz says, adding that he sees the hunger in his daughter's eyes, also a PN employee. "She's in an agency that values her talents; she'll go as far as she wants to go."
Alexander enjoys her work at PN and hopes to explore new business opportunities, while honing her leadership skills.
"I want to help them develop the skills needed to be a good PR person, which, a lot of the time, managers don't have the time to do, due to other responsibilities," Alexander says. "I hope that I can be the manager that I always looked up to." To return to the list, click here.