Melissa Waggener Zorkin: PRWeek Hall of Femme 2017

Melissa Waggener Zorkin, founder and CEO, WE Communications

What would you do if you were not in PR? 
I’d be a film director or producer for a living, and pro bono teaching women in Africa how to be entrepreneurs. When I was 5, I wanted to be an astronaut, but I realized you have to sit for too long, which is grim no matter what the scenery.

Talk about the last time you experienced a truly fist-pumping victory moment. 
Just recently, when my daughter was given her white coat upon entering med school.

When was the last time you endured a real "agony of defeat" moment, a total wipe out? What did you learn from that moment? 

It was a literal jump-for-joy moment at a cancer-survivor event, resulting in knee surgery. Learning moment: Sometimes the floor is further than you think.

How long ago was the last time you truly took the time to recharge your batteries? What did you do?
I went to northern Uganda to spend time in a community talking to women entrepreneurs, dancing with the community, and learning about growing hot chili peppers. The minute I landed on the dirt runway, I was welcomed by a young boy running out and handing me a pretty cold Coke. The moment I get off a plane in Africa, I find my humanity within seconds.

What is it about this industry that frustrates the hell out of you sometimes?
It’s that we have never held hands across agencies to use our collective brainpower and creativity to conquer something world-changing together.

When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine? 
We all shine when we tell stories that move people to action.

Words to live by? 
To what end? We exist to leave every person and place we cross just a little bit better. 

Favorite drink?
Like food, the most tantalizing aspect of sharing drinks is the people you are with, but local or craft cocktails are my favorite.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self? 
You are right in choosing Pam Edstrom as your partner.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you as you enter? 
Simply, hello.

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