He's seen Bill Clinton in his underwear and gives his staff tacky toys.

He's seen Bill Clinton in his underwear and gives his staff tacky toys.

He's seen Bill Clinton in his underwear and gives his staff tacky toys.

Meet Andy Plesser, principal and chief cheer-leader of Plesser Associates.

OK everybody, give us an 'A'!

Describe the company you work for It's a small boutique of 10 employees with headquarters in New York and a satellite office in San Francisco.

We are a b-to-b practice with a range of media, tech and corporate finance clients.

What do you do there? I am the cheerleader, strategist and teacher. My main jobs are to cultivate and inspire my staff and help guide the clients.

How do you make a difference? We generate publicity. That's not only an exhilarating power trip for me and my staff, but it also builds reputations and value.

Tell us something embarrassing about your agency. We're a fairly sophisticated firm with top-notch clients, but to inspire the staff, we award really tacky toys like wind-up robots clutching dollars 5 bills. I know this sounds demeaning, but it's all in good fun.

What is your proudest moment? Meeting Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton in their private White House quarters on Inauguration Day in 1993. I represented Sara Phillips, the designer of Hillary's ballgown, and personally delivered the dress. After I handed over the dress, Bill greeted me in stocking feet and asked me what to wear for the big night out.

What is your most embarrassing moment? I ran a press conference in Houston two hours after the space shuttle Challenger exploded. I should have canceled the event but the client said the tragedy was irrelevant to the story! I made some press calls and felt really embarrassed to pitch the event.

How did you first become interested in PR? At my mother's knee. She was an amazing party hostess. In high school, I threw the best parties and went on to be social director at Antioch College.

What will be the next big thing to hit PR and why? Martinis at lunch. Well, actually, maybe beers after work. I think the next big thing will be personalization, one-on-one relationships and informal get-togethers with clients and the media.

There's been too great an emphasis on e-mail and conference calls and the entire process has become far too impersonal.

What is the best invention of all time? The telegraph. It first linked us electronically and created our information society.

Name one thing about your past that people would be surprised to learn. I was jazz impresario in the late '70s and loved it. I promoted avant-garde jazz concerts in San Francisco's North Beach and in Golden Gate Park, and later in New York's East Village and Central Park. As a promoter, I handled publicity and got tons of press in the process. In fact, I got into the PR business through my work in the performing arts.

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