Habits: Donna Imperato, CEO, Cohn & Wolfe

Never make decisions based on short-term gain.

Morning ritual
I rise at 6am to make breakfast and lunch for my 14-year-old daughter who has a long commute to Bronx Science High School. My 11-year-old daughter is the next meal shift at 7am. I call Asia and Europe starting at 7:30am. Then I go to the gym to run, box, lift weights, or practice yoga.

Required reading
I read The Wall Street Journal every day and The New York Times if time permits. My team sends me articles daily that impact our business or clients.

First PR job
I was very fortunate to start my career as editor-in-chief of a business title called Westchester Illustrated. They clearly didn't want to pay an experienced editor salary. Having no support or reporters, I learned a lot quickly and had to rely on press releases for filler stories.

Best career advice
Never make decisions based on short-term gain. Always consider the long–term impact.

Proudest career achievement
Becoming CEO in 2002.

Most regrettable career moment   
Letting real talent get away is always regrettable.

Most distinct aspect of your personal office
I have hundreds of shoes at home, but keep more than a dozen pairs of stilettos in my office. I rarely wear anything with less than five-inch heels, so when a particular pair starts hurting, I have options.

Favorite city to travel to on business

Visiting our office in Milan is probably my favorite business destination. It's very civilized. The people, food, and shopping – when I have time to enjoy them – are all incredible.

Person to call in a crisis
There are a number of people, ranging from Martin Sorrell, to my colleagues, or my assistant. I miss the late Howard Paster, former EVP of PR and public affairs at WPP. He was probably the person I called most often.

Mentor
If I could choose one now it would be Charlotte Beers, the first female CEO of a global ad firm. I have the privilege of talking to her on occasion. A brief call with her makes a world of difference on my perspective, my outlook, and my decisions.

Ideal job, if not in PR
I wanted to be in the performing arts when I was in high school. Acting and dancing were my focus. I also choreographed school plays.

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