QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Elizabeth McRae Smith

She's world-renowned for her incredible spoonrest-shaped nose, has

a yen for all things squaliform*, and won't rest until Britney's out of

the charts. Meet Elizabeth McRae Smith - but watch out for the kitty


Describe the company you work for I am the principal at The McRae

Agency, a boutique firm with offices in San Francisco and San Diego. We

provide PR services to consumer, technology, and business-to-business


Tell us something amusing about your company. We bring our cats to work

at both offices, and often have litterboxes out for their use.

Sometimes, my kitten Charcoal will go into a major meowing spree while

I'm on a client call.

What was your best stunt? It was the "Most Unusual Uses" contest for

WD-40's 40th anniversary, which resulted in a skit on The Tonight Show

with Jay Leno, a cover story in USA Today's Life section, and coverage

in everything ranging from CNN and The Washington Post to Alaska

Airlines Magazine and CNBC.

What was your biggest screw-up? Last year, we planned a launch for a

dot-com-type company in May, after the stock market dive. It was

definitely too late, and the press had already become pretty jaded.

What's the most daring thing you've ever done? Diving 100+ feet

throughout World War II shipwrecks in Micronesia. There were an awful

lot of sharks around.

If you could work on one account, what would it be? I would do PR for

sharks around the world because I think they are misunderstood and being

killed off in record numbers.

What invention would make your job easier? A self-propelled vehicle that

flies so I wouldn't be stuck in Bay-area traffic.

Write the headline for the story you would most like to read in PRWeek.

"Publicists struggle to revive Britney Spears' singing career."

What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? "No problem, I can get

that from the client."

Who would you most like to work with? Edward L. Bernays, the father of

PR. He really knew what he was doing when it came to shaping public

opinion and behavior.

What's your party trick? I can hang a spoon from my nose without any


Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn. In

high school, I drove the ultimate stoner car: a gold Trans Am with the

bird on the hood and T-tops.

What skill would you most like to have? I would love to be able to sing,

especially in karaoke situations.

Which historical figure would you most like to represent? Queen

Elizabeth I - I'm named after her, and she was a pretty gutsy lady.

After all, she had her half-sister beheaded.

What is the secret of your success? A ton of passion for what I do, and

faith in God.

* That's "shark-like" to you.

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