Donna Imperato: PRWeek Hall of Femme 2016

CEO, Cohn & Wolfe

What would you do if you were not in PR?
I’ve been in communications for so many years, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else. The reason I’ve stayed in the business so long, however, is that I’ve held many different positions that provided a variety of learning opportunities. Being CEO is by far the most challenging, diverse, and most interesting role. So no back-up plan for me.

Talk about the last time you experienced a truly fist-pumping victory moment.
To run a successful business, I prioritize building an environment to attract, develop, and retain the best talent. That’s why there’s always a fist-pumping cheer when we’re recognized for our people and culture, especially being the only large agency named a PRWeek Best Place to Work three years in a row.

When was the last time you endured a real "agony of defeat" moment, a total wipeout? What did you learn from it?
It’s impossible to win them all, so I don’t agonize over losses. You can’t be a CEO and operate that way. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen that often.

How long ago was the last time you truly took the time to recharge your batteries? What did you do?
Thankfully I have a rechargeable battery because I don’t have time to recharge the traditional way.

What is it about the communications sector that frustrates the hell out of you sometimes?
Procurement.

When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine?
A few years ago we set out to transform C&W into an integrated marcomms agency and the firm is now having its shining moment. Our rapid growth — 25% organic growth in the past two years — is being driven by our capabilities to deliver exceptional work for clients on a much larger scale than we anticipated by 2016.

There is significant demand for our services and we are able to deliver thanks to our incredible talent and talent development. 

Words to live by?
Just do it!

Favorite drink?
A good glass of Brunello.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Be kind to yourself.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you as you enter?
Thank you for giving it your all. Well done.

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