QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Ed Trissel

At first glance, the Vistance Group's Ed Trissel looks like the embodiment of a high-end consulting, corporate responsibility guru. But look a little closer, and you'll see a wittle fwuffy koala bear (who really wants to work with JetBlue).

At first glance, the Vistance Group's Ed Trissel looks like the embodiment of a high-end consulting, corporate responsibility guru. But look a little closer, and you'll see a wittle fwuffy koala bear (who really wants to work with JetBlue).

Describe the company you work for Vistance Group is a New York-based consulting firm specializing in corporate communications addressing clients' high-stakes business challenges and opportunities. We focus on the areas of corporate positioning, executive coaching, financial communications, issues and crisis management, and corporate responsibility.

Tell us something amusing about your company The day we were meeting with our bankers, movers arrived at our office to take away our rental furniture before the permanent furniture arrived. Unfortunately, the movers arrived early, which left us with an empty lobby and conference room. Seven of us in one office isn't ideal, but it didn't keep us from achieving our goal.

What was your best pitch? Securing a half-page profile on Jim Morgan, Applied Materials' chairman, in USA Today during this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) in New York City. The piece focused on his leadership ability at a global company. It just so happened that USA Today is delivered to every room at the Waldorf Astoria, which hosted the WEF. Timing is everything.

What was your biggest screw-up? Leaving Ketchum too soon. They really know how to manage their business, and they treat their people well. If it weren't for my experience there, I would not be in this position now, so I'm forever grateful.

If you could work on one account, what would it be? JetBlue. They're well-managed and successful. We believe they have a tremendous growth opportunity - and we would hope to grow along with them. We would also like to consult them on future plans (e.g., IPO, financial communications).

Write the headline for the story you would most like to read in PRWeek "Management consulting firms continue acquisition spree: More PR firms targeted as industry is recognized for business acumen and strategic thinking."

What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? If you're from the school that stresses never publicizing your competitors, you'll agree with this. I once told a trade reporter how much I respected Kekst & Co., Clark & Weinstock, Sard Verbinnen, Brunswick Group, and Abernathy MacGregor. Oops ... I just did it again.

What's your party trick? I can make a match stand on the end of a matchbox. The trick is to get the match to ignite ever so slightly, so it adheres to the matchbox.

If you were an animal, what would you be? Koala bear. Everybody likes Koala bears.

What is the secret of your success? I think like a businessman first, a marketer second, and a communications strategist third. By mixing in self confidence, good judgment, and creativity, things tend to work out.

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