29 President, 5WPR
No one can mistake 5WPR president Ronn Torossian, 29, for a pessimist.
"My company is better than every other one out there," he says. "My agency has proven itself."
Such brio is fitting for a lifelong student of the media. He's very adamant about the innate nature of a PR person.
"I believe a good PR person is born [that way]. It's not really something you can learn from reading a lot," Torossian says.
"The type of person that succeeds in PR is an aggressive, type-A personality that knows how to charm and schmooze."
With diverse clients, such as Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group, the Israel Ministry of Tourism, Grolsch, Westin Rinehart, and The National Council on Economic Education (NCEE), Torossian has to embody the true spirit of a seller.
"I speak to a Fortune 100 CEO one day; a leading hip-hop artist the next," he says.
He got his first taste of public relations when he was living in Israel. Peter Vallone, who was running for NYC mayor, came to the country and a friend of Torossian's asked him if he was interested in handling his PR duties.
"It was a lot of money, so I gave it a shot," Torossian says. Torossian says that Vallone got unprecedented levels media exposure during that trip and Torossian found himself on a path to start his own agency. Prior to starting 5WPR in January 2003, Torossian worked at GS Schwartz and MWW Group.
In less than two years, his firm has grown to 30 employees and over $3 million in revenue, he says. To work at 5W, he says he tells potential employees, "If you're locked in a room with no windows, you'll find a way out." "The best PR people can always figure it out," he says.
Morris Reid, CEO of Westin Reinhart, says Torossian's leadership is why 5WPR runs a 24-7 staff.
"He works just as hard as the junior account executive and that sends a message to the staff," Reid says. "They say, 'let's get the job done and sleep tomorrow.'"
During the NBA All Star weekend in Los Angeles, Reid was using his Blackberry exchanging messages with his staff, Torossian and the NY-based 5WPR team at what he assumes was 3am in New York. Torossian was brought to Reid's attention by a colleague and soon had him work on PR for Blue Fusion, Reid's youth marketing firm. He was so impressed that when the lead person at Westin Reinhart's AOR left, he chose 5WPR to run both accounts.
"I was impressed with his intensity," Reid says, adding that the disparity to the two firms didn't handicap Torossian. "You can service any account if you bring the right attitude to the table."
Torossian says he works 18-hour days, six days of week. When people are relaxing, he says, "I'm going after their clients."
Reid recounts a recent VH1 "Save the Music" event he held at his house with hundreds of attendees. When celebrities arrived, Reid says that Torossian, who was invited more as a guest than as the head of the firm handling publicity, announced the stars to the crowd.
"Most guys that have an agency think that sort of the stuff is beneath them," Reid says. "He saw that it was of such a large magnitude that he took the role upon himself."
Somewhat outside of work, Torossian loves to play basketball and says he's met many of his best clients on the court. "A lot of business used to be done in formal networking clubs and on the golf course," Torossian says.
Fitting the trend, Torossian has never stepped foot on the golf course.