They limbo, they drink scotch and they don't sleep, but buying
corporate membership for the local brothel was a mistake. Honest. Meet
Ignition Strategic Communications' very own double-act, Cindy DiBiasi
and Sydney Rubin.
How did you get into PR? We got into PR to answer the question, "Is
there life after journalism?" Sydney was covering the release of an
Islamic Jihad hostage in Syria and thought it was time to trade holy
wars for wholly-owned. Cindy was hot on the trail of a rapist with a
foot fetish when she decided there must be something better than
Describe the company you work for Ignition is a PR/public affairs and
communications training firm for the technology and healthcare
industries. We have offices in Washington, DC and Austin, TX.
What do you do? We assist reluctant skydivers.
Tell us something embarrassing about your company Last year we bought an
exclusive membership to what appeared to be an unusually trendy club
only to find out afterward that it was a brothel.
What is your greatest achievement? Orchestrating the public challenge to
the government's first attempt to censor the Internet: the
Communications Decency Act. Working alongside attorneys representing
AOL, AT&T, Apple and others, we argued the First Amendment case in the
court of public opinion while lawyers won over the US Supreme Court. On
the healthcare side, we prepared Procter & Gamble to win FDA approval
for a food product that had required a dollars 250 million investment to
What's the most daring thing you've ever done? Flying on a relief flight
to Armenia hours after an earthquake there killed 25,000. There was no
control tower, no electricity, a dense layer of snow clouds and dozens
of planes circling the airstrip. Our pilot, flying for Medicins du
Monde, had to find a hole in the dense snow clouds and land by the
lights of the Soviet trucks. Imagine a roller coaster 10,000 feet high.
We landed. A Yugoslav plane four hours later didn't, and 40 people died
in the crash.
What time do you get up? We're single moms and business owners. We never
What invention would make your job easier? Real-time delivery of
unblended scotch over the Internet.
What is the biggest item you've ever put on expenses? Sydney once
expensed snow chains needed to get to across the French Alps to an
avalanche site for a story. The snow chains were turned down as an
Every week for the next year, she expensed dollars 1.50 for "OFL."
Someone in accounting finally asked: "What is this item, OFL?" and
Sydney replied, "One F****** Link." It may not have been the biggest
item, but it was the most creative.
Write the headline for the story you would like to read in PR Week?
"Ignition principals retire to Bali with Red Hot Chili Peppers."
What's your party trick? Cindy can limbo at 14 inches.