QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Stephanie Houser

Meet Stephanie Houser, president of tech boutique agency Digital Clarity.

Meet Stephanie Houser, president of tech boutique agency Digital Clarity.

She's a menace on the golf course, though it's her sense of humor, rather than her swing, that makes her really dangerous.

No wonder, then, that she's angling for that prized Howard Stern account.

Fore!

Describe the company you work for Digital Clarity is a hi-tech PR boutique specializing in software and emerging startups. We have offices in San Francisco and Phoenix.

How did you get into PR? There was a software startup in Phoenix that was hiring an office manager. I ended up being the third person hired. Within two weeks, I was given the title of director of marketing and PR.

What was your best pitch? Pitching the bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal in Spanish. We ended up going out for margaritas.

What was your biggest screw-up? I inadvertently replied to an e-mail copying hundreds of people.

What's the most daring thing you've ever done? On my honeymoon in Bora Bora, I unwittingly went swimming with a school of sharks.

What is the biggest item you've ever put on your expense report? When I was a cocky account executive with my former company, I took a client, along with his client, to dinner in Boston at an exclusive men's club.

I also invited my best friend, who lived in town. We had wine, cigars, the works. In the end, I submitted my first $1,000 dinner tab. Yes, it was approved.

What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? I had a press lunch with an older writer who I didn't know very well. We looked at the menu and I said, "Yuck, there's rabbit on the menu." The writer said she planned to order the rabbit, and that I'd have to try a bite. It does not taste like chicken!

Who would you most like to work with? I would love to work with Howard Stern. I absolutely love him. I think he's the funniest man alive. One of these days, I'll have a client who is willing to go on The Howard Stern Show.

What's your party trick? I know a lot of dirty golf jokes.

Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn I was a child commercial star. I did five commercials between the ages of five and 12 for one of those companies where they asked you to send your check or money order for $19.95 to so-and-so at the end of the commercial. The names of the products were: The Tweedle Needle, The Doodle Loom, and The Knit Wit. They were re-running on Nickelodeon a few years ago.

What skill would you most like to have? I'd love to have a minus-two golf handicap so that I could keep up with Alice Cooper.

What is the secret of your success? I think the people you surround yourself with and communicate with are the secret of success. I absolutely agree with the premise of Tim Sanders' book, Love is the Killer App. I hope I am thought of as what he terms a "love cat." A love cat is someone who "freely gives access to their network without expecting anything in return."

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