You don't need to have decades of experience in order to be a catalyst of change in the PR industry. PRWeek profiles 40 dynamic individuals under the age of 40, nominated by their peers and colleagues, who are leading the charge for the next generation of communicators.
PR director, Frito-Lay North America, 38
Alexia Allina leads communications for a portfolio of brands including Doritos, Lay's, Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos, and SunChips.
She recently led the Do Us A Flavor program, which invites consumers to submit ideas for new Lay's flavors for a chance to win $1 million. The initiative stands as the brand's most successful campaign ever, generating 3.8 million entries.
Allina also helped establish Doritos as the premiere brand at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival, building on that this year.
Beyond big-brand efforts, she has spearheaded a news-driving function that has helped achieve $108 million-plus in visibility for Frito-Lay brands in its first year.
SVP and director, North America, Ketchum Change, 34
Described by colleagues as Ketchum's "secret weapon," Christine Andrukonis has helped oversee one of the company's fastest-growing businesses.
Under her leadership, the US Change management, employee engagement, and internal communications team has more than doubled in size, delivered record financial performance, and gained many new clients, including Chase Bank and Weight Watchers.
"We would not have had such a compelling campaign without her clear vision and strong strategy," says Gary Samuels, VP of corporate communications, Quest Diagnostics, which recently launched a new strategic direction.
US digital practice chair, Burson-Marsteller; CEO, Proof Integrated Communications, 34
A digital pioneer, Michael Bassik sold the first online ads to political candidates and created the nation's first online political ad agency, serving as AOR for high-profile clients such as the Democratic National Committee.
As CEO of Proof Integrated Communications and Burson-Marsteller's US digital practice lead, Bassik is the firm's youngest practice chair, youngest US leadership team member, and the youngest CEO of a WPP agency.
He has helped achieve 24 consecutive months of growth. Combined, his groups have served more than 50 Fortune 500 clients, including AIG, Coca-Cola, Ford, and HP.
Director, communications and external affairs, Livestrong Foundation, 37
Rae Bazzarre had just six days notice leading up to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong's infamous confession with Oprah Winfrey in which he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.
She was still able to devise a plan to reassure patients who relied on Livestrong's services and reinforce the message that it was misled by its famous founder. She has since ensured the charity would stay in the spotlight for the right reasons.
"Few communications pros face scandals of this scope," says Katherine McLane, VP of communications and external affairs at Livestrong. "Fewer still could handle it with Rae's wisdom and efficiency."
EVP, global practice leader, digital, GolinHarris, 37
Jeff Beringer founded GolinHarris' digital practice, which supports account teams and clients across 39 offices worldwide. He has also increased agency revenues from digital services by more than 35% each year during the past five years.
Beringer was the brains behind The Bridge, which helps clients get their message across in the right place at the right time. The initiative earned the 2012 PRWeek Innovation of the Year Award.
He has also overseen authoritative research on the impact of real-time marketing in various global regions.
"Our industry is better off because Jeff chose to be a part of it," says Gary Rudnick, president of the Americas at Golin.
VP, corporate communications, ADT, 31
Julie Binder joined the security systems company as global head of corporate communications in October 2011, shortly after it was announced that the $3 billion business unit would spin off from parent company Tyco International in September 2012.
Her achievements include creating a thriving network of "communications champions" across 206 offices and facilitating 25 CEO meetings and workshops across North America to help define and develop ADT's goals and values.
Binder continues to lead the transformation of employee communications using enterprise social network Chatter to link 16,000 employees at the organization.
Global digital practice leader, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, 28
Andrew Bleeker helped get President Barack Obama re-elected. That is among many notable accomplishments for one of the youngest PR pros on this list.
The former Obama 2012 senior strategist now advises Fortune 100 clients around the world for Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
Bleeker also founded Bully Pulpit Interactive, where he provides online marketing strategies for clients including the World Food Programme and the Alliance for Climate Protection.
"Andrew understands the 21st century architecture for digital marketing," says H+K global chairman and CEO Jack Martin. "He guides companies in how to execute at the next level."
CCO, Chobani, 30
In just five years, Greek yogurt brand Chobani has gone from entrepreneurial startup to a billion-dollar global company.
Since joining in 2009, Nicki Briggs has led PR efforts that have helped facilitate the meteoric rise without the benefit of national TV advertising until its fourth year. Briggs has excelled at harnessing social media to reach consumers and influencers. She also played an integral role in Chobani's bold sponsorship of Team USA for the 2012 Olympics.
That campaign – devised by Briggs' team in just six months – led to a surge in Facebook and Twitter activity. Moreover, during the month following the Olympics, Chobani gained a 20.6% dollar share in the yogurt category – a new brand high.
Group director, digital comms and social media, Coca-Cola, 36
Ashley Brown has helped reinvent the way one of America's oldest and best-loved brands communicates with the world.
Since joining Coca-Cola in December 2010, Brown has overseen a "quantum leap forward" in corporate digital communications, including the 2012 launch of the groundbreaking online magazine Coca-Cola Journey and Coke's first corporate news blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled.
Coca-Cola Journey has had – at press time – 5.7 million visitors from 200-plus countries and garnered 22.3 million social media impressions. Its 1 million monthly visitors actively engage with content, as evidenced by 5,654 comments on the site.
SVP, Social@Ogilvy, Ogilvy Public Relations, 38
Rachel Caggiano lived up to the "entirely unflappable" description her colleagues bestowed upon her when she led a team of social media experts to help client BP in the wake of the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
In 2011, she was promoted to lead the BP account globally. During that time, she pioneered an award-winning content marketing model that brings together advertising, digital, and social media, which has helped boost the brand's reputation notably.
Clients such as UPS and Barclays have also benefitted from Caggiano's counsel, while her crisis-management acuity has helped Ogilvy win new business, including Five Guys.
SVP, food and restaurant division practice leader, MWW, 36
Joseph Cohen's passion not only benefits MWW, but the entire industry.
As a senior member of the firm's consumer marketing practice, he helps guide department strategy, staff development, and new business initiatives. Under his leadership, MWW's food and restaurant practice has grown 27.5% in the past year.
Cohen, 2014 national chair-elect of the PRSA, has worked tirelessly to educate the next generation of business leaders on the importance of PR.
"Joe doesn't see PR as just a paycheck," says Michael Kempner, president and CEO of MWW. "He comes to work every day with the goal of making positive change happen."
Senior partner and GM, Allison+Partners, 34
In 2010, at the age of 31, Anne Colaiacovo became the youngest and first female partner in Allison+Partners' history.
A year later, she was named senior partner. Her ascendancy was clearly warranted, as she has helped transform the New York office into a $6.6 million profit center.
Colaiacovo has also carved out a niche for the agency in healthy foods. In doing so, she has helped drive the growth of Allison's food and beverage practice, including its representation of the National Restaurant Association.
Other achievements include launching the firm's consultant network, AllisonPlus, and sub-group for working parents, AllisonPlus Working Moms.
VP, editorial and channel strategy, American Medical Association, 34
With a career spanning government, corporations, politics, and nonprofits, Justin DeJong has proved he can succeed in any sector. He's highlighting that at the American Medical Association (AMA), which he joined in May to lead new media, digital, and social efforts.
In his prior role as public affairs director for the US Department of Agriculture, he led the marcomms strategy to unveil MyPlate – the federal nutrition graphic that replaced the food pyramid.
"Justin's leadership will create a better future for the nation's physicians and medical students," says Rodrigo Sierra, the AMA's chief marcomms officer and SVP.
VP, senior business leader, US markets comms, MasterCard, 39
Seth Eisen's achievements at MasterCard include spearheading an initiative to enhance relationships with customer communications teams.
He leads the US markets communications unit, serves as a member of the North American markets management department, and is on the worldwide communications leadership team.
Eisen has played an integral role in launching key cause marketing campaigns, including Priceless Cities and Stand Up to Cancer.
"Always measured in his approach," says Chris Monteiro, group executive and global head of communications at MasterCard, "Seth brings a consistent, results-first approach to his work."
Courtney Jacobs Engel
VP, PR, Grey Activation and PR, Grey New York, 30
Five years ago, Courtney Jacobs Engel started Grey Activation's PR practice. Her efforts since, including her role in landing the Marriott Hotels account this year, have helped the division become fully integrated at Grey New York.
In 2011, she led Canon's award-winning Project Imagin8ion campaign, which saw the company team with acclaimed director Ron Howard and invite photographers to submit their most imaginative photos to inspire a short film.
In 2009, she helped Calgon relaunch its famous Take Me Away campaign. She also launched Red Carpet Manicure, which was featured on Today three times in one year.
Senior group manager, PR, The Clorox Company, 38
Brad Ferris, an award-winning journalist, is leaving an equally indelible mark on the PR and communications industry.
Key achievements include helping Clorox Healthcare, a division dedicated to reducing the spread of infections, grow from nothing to become the number two market leader in the infection-control industry.
Ferris joined Clorox armed with a decade of agency experience from stints at Carmichael Lynch Spong, Ketchum, and MSLGroup.
Prior to this, he developed his media expertise as a reporter and anchor for NBC and Fox affiliates in the Washington, DC, area. He was also a wire correspondent for Associated Press Television.
SVP, social media, Marina Maher Communications, 32
Harnessing the power of online influencers has been Samara Finn's calling card since joining Marina Maher Communications in 2004.
Now SVP, her achievements include pioneering the use of Twitter for major brand announcements, such as the launch of Sofia Vergara as a CoverGirl spokesperson live from a commercial shoot.
When P&G's beauty team wanted high-quality coverage of their holiday 2011 products, Finn created a groundbreaking event to capitalize on bloggers' need for quality video content for their sites.
"I consider Samara to be one of the top PR pros around," says Kristin Booker of the blog, Fashion. Style. Beauty.
President, C.Fox Communications, 34
Carrie Fox was just 25 when she launched her eponymous agency. In fewer than 10 years, C.Fox Communications now represents Fortune 100 companies, international NGOs, global foundations, and regional startups.
The past five years have seen a 115% increase in total revenues and her impressive client list includes AARP, the World Cocoa Foundation, UnitedHealth Group, and the US Department of Commerce.
Among many coups, Fox coordinated a visit by President Barack Obama to one of the company's small business clients, Gelberg Signs in Washington, DC, as the backdrop to the launch of his July 2010 jobs report.
CEO and cofounder, Carrot Creative, 31
With Carrot Creative, Mike Germano founded one of the first full-service social media agencies. His now 55-person firm based in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn, NY, counts Target, Home Depot, and Disney among its clients. Carrot was also the first to reveal a new car through social media, launching the Ford Explorer on Facebook.
Germano has also helped strategic partner Weber Shandwick set up its social offering. In addition, Digital DUMBO, an event Germano created, brings together digital employees throughout the city. Now a global event series, it has expanded to many nations – including the UK and Spain – to help propel digital communities.
SVP, Prosek Partners, 35
In the tough world of financial services communications, Caroline Harris has enjoyed a career of vast accomplishments. She started in the UK working in media relations for HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland before pursuing a lifelong ambition to work in the US, joining Prosek Partners in 2006.
In addition to leading some of its largest financial services brands, including Lloyd's of London and Capital One, Harris was instrumental in establishing Prosek's London office last year. Overall, she has generated more than $3 million in new business for the firm.
Harris' contributions have not gone unnoticed, as she is consistently rated one of Prosek's top leaders in an annual internal survey.
Partner and cofounder, Sanitas International; partner, Barbaricum, 39
Christopher Harvin has forged not just one, but two, successful, parallel careers in PR.
He has helped Barbaricum grow from four employees to more than 60 and become a leader in the US government contracting communications business. The firm provides communications for some of the largest Department of Defense and national security clients, including the US Army.
Wearing his other hat, Harvin cofounded boutique communications firm Sanitas International, which has represented global businesses and foreign governments such as Trinidad and Tobago and the United Arab Emirates.
SVP, Weber Shandwick, 33
As SVP of Weber Shandwick's global technology practice, Garland Harwood has counseled some of the biggest names in consumer technology and digital entertainment, such as Amazon.com, Samsung, Microsoft, and THX.
He serves as client relationship lead for Amazon and has expanded the account from one business unit in the US to multiple divisions across several international markets.
Harwood also oversaw critical launches for Samsung, including the company's 3D and smart TV debuts.
In recognition of his ability to drive global collaboration, Weber sent him on an eight-week tour of Sydney, Beijing, and Shanghai to help integrate the firm's teams in Asia-Pacific.
Director, PR, UnitedHealthcare, 35
Kristen Hellmer has been instrumental in shaping the corporate reputation of UnitedHealthcare during a period of great change.
As director of PR at the organization, which provides health benefits and services to more than 40 million people, she oversees communications in the Western US region. Her role involves handling the challenges of each individual state's health system amid significant reform and creating and implementing communications strategies for the multiple programs in these areas.
Previously, Hellmer served as lead spokesperson and communications adviser on environmental and energy policy for President George W. Bush.
VP, PR, American Red Cross, 39
In times of disaster, Laura Howe spearheads communications efforts for the American Red Cross.
She is a pioneer of using social media when disasters strike and has worked with Dell to create the first social media center for humanitarian purposes. The center proved especially valuable during Superstorm Sandy, providing real-time information that helped people work out transport routes and get food and supplies to those who needed them most.
"Laura's leadership in the use of social media in disaster response has literally saved lives," says American Red Cross chief public affairs officer Suzy DeFrancis.
Director, global communications, Global Communities, 36
With a "ferocious energy," David Humphries has revolutionized communications at international NGO Global Communities.
When the recession struck, he was one of only two managers retained in the external relations department and was told, "do something useful with it."
Within six months he restructured the team, employed a PR agency, and shifted focus to digital media – all at a large cost saving.
In 2010 alone, Humphries achieved more positive media coverage than in the preceding 58 years of the group's history. He also led the rebrand from CHF International to Global Communities as part of the organization's 60th anniversary in 2012.
EVP, Zeno Group Santa Monica, 37
Jay Joyer has helped fuel Kia Motors' transformation into one of the fastest-growing automotive brands in the US.
With his previous experience working on Mitsubishi, General Motors, Lincoln-Mercury, and Ford accounts, Joyer was the man Zeno Group wanted when the agency won the Kia pitch. Since then, he has helped Kia's media exposure increase year over year, culminating in more than 19 billion impressions in 2012. Over the last decade, Joyer has managed the launch of numerous key vehicles, including the Kia Soul.
Such is his stellar reputation, he served as interim PR director at both Kia and Pizza Hut during times of flux at both companies.
EVP and GM, The Axis Agency, 39
Carmen Lawrence has helped some of the country's most iconic brands successfully establish themselves in the Hispanic market.
Lawrence identified the business potential in this lucrative market long before others and has helped shape The Axis Agency's approach to multicultural marketing.
Under her leadership, major brands including Verizon Wireless, Unilever, and Nestlé have become leaders in the Hispanic market.
A key player in the firm's growth, she has helped expand Axis' presence into five markets.
"Carmen is the embodiment of professional excellence in her field," says Armando Azarloza, president of The Axis Agency.
VP, corporate affairs, Mattel, 37
An agile comms pro, Dallas Lawrence joined Fortune 500 toy company Mattel in May and now oversees corporate and executive communications, reputation management, and government affairs.
His career has spanned senior communications roles in both the legislative and executive branches of government, including leading a communications unit for the Secretary of Defense.
Prior to joining Mattel, Lawrence was chief global digital strategist at Burson-Marsteller, where he provided leadership to more than 100 digital strategists and worked with big-name clients including the Nuclear Energy Institute, Accenture, Coca-Cola, Ford, and Bank of America.
GM, Edelman Digital, New York, 32
Described as "the epitome of poise" by colleagues, Liz Lee is a true leader in the digital field.
As GM of Edelman's New York digital practice, she oversees a group of more than 100 experts who are breaking new ground in digital and social marketing. "Liz's approach to digital is setting the standard for how the practice develops across the world," says Kevin King, global practice chair, Edelman Digital.
In the last decade, Lee has transformed the unit. Within the past two years, she has increased the practice's revenue by 150% and doubled its size.
The team has also won new business including Heineken USA, eBay Global, Pfizer, and Samsung TV.
EVP, director, strategic planning, analytics, and research, Porter Novelli, 37
During her 12 years in the industry, Loretta Markevics has worked in almost every marcomms role and left her mark.
In just two years at Porter Novelli, she has had a huge impact on the company's flagship HP account. She also doubled global strategic planning billings and recently launched Porter Novelli Influence Modeling, which identifies which mix of content, delivery channels, and stakeholders have the best chance of influencing a target audience to get a particular response.
"Loretta's that rare combination of smarts, spunk, and drive," says Michael Ramah, chief client officer at Porter.
VP, comms and public affairs, National Retail Federation, 32
Since joining the National Retail Federation in April as its VP of communications and public affairs, Katie McBreen has already helped boost the group's profile.
Previously, she was senior director for communications and strategy at the US Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful lobby group in Washington, DC, and largest business federation.
McBreen joined the chamber in 2006 and having quickly been promoted, she was tasked with day-to-day management of the most significant campaign in the chamber's history – the $100 million Campaign for Free Enterprise. Highlights include building a fanbase of more than 100,000 people on Facebook in one year.
VP, corporate and digital comms, Univision Communications, 36
With a "tireless devotion to her craft," Rosemary Mercedes has helped to position Univision as a top broadcast network.
In 2012, bilingual Mercedes created a communications strategy that successfully launched three new networks for Univision and UVideos, the bilingual digital network for Hispanic America.
Not only is she able to secure major media coverage for Univision, but Mercedes also spearheaded the most recent ratings news that Univision beat NBC as the number four network for the first time, prompting high-profile coverage on The Tonight Show, Late Show with David Letterman, and in The New York Times.
VP, communications, information systems and global solutions, Lockheed Martin, 35
Jessica Nielsen's star continues to rise in a career characterized by many communications firsts in the defense and IT worlds.
In June she was appointed VP of communications at Lockheed Martin. Previously, Nielsen was executive director for global communications and influencer relations at Dell, where she handled all facets of communications for the company's $8 billion services solutions group.
There, she built a team from scratch in under a year, rolled out the unit's first internal three-year strategy, and held its first two cloud computing social media think tanks, generating more than 7 million discussions.
Director, corporate communications and public affairs, The RLJ Companies, 35
As a talented storyteller, Candace Randle is most definitely one to watch.
A consummate communicator, she has consistently earned key media coverage in top outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, and Fox.
Randle joined The RLJ Companies, a wide-ranging portfolio of businesses that includes financial and insurance services, hotel real estate, private equity, sports, movies, and entertainment, in 2008 and has significantly helped to boost the brand's name.
Prior to RLJ, she served in numerous political roles, most recently as an aide to US Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
Group director, W2O Group, and adjunct professor and faculty adviser to Jacht Ad Lab, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 38
Brian Reid is helping to mold the PR pros of the future.
In his role at W2O Group he's at the cutting edge of the industry, developing strategic blends of digital and traditional PR to help his clients.
In his time at W2O, Reid has provided counsel to the world's largest life science companies, such as Pfizer and Sanofi.
He then brings all that real-world experience to students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications as a teacher. He also plays a key role in supporting the college's Jacht Ad Lab, an ad agency that provides students with real-business experience.
VP, communications, Trulia, 37
Ken Shuman is a hot property in PR having played a crucial role in the growth of real estate search site Trulia.
Since joining in 2008 he has built the company's internal PR team from scratch and created a national print and broadcast profile that sees Trulia featured daily in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.
Most recently, he shaped the process for the company's IPO in September 2012, which saw shares closing at 40% higher than the opening price.
"Ken has not only grown our visibility to key audiences, but has also helped manage internal affairs across our 500-person company," says Pete Flint, CEO and cofounder, Trulia.
EVP and MD, New York healthcare, Cohn & Wolfe, 39
In her nine years at Cohn & Wolfe, Lisa Talbot has been instrumental in establishing a solid foundation for the firm's New York healthcare unit. In 2012 alone, the practice grew 22% year over year.
She directs the agency's work for several of the world's top pharmaceutical companies and has strategically pursued pipeline business across critical therapeutic areas. As a result, Cohn & Wolfe now represents 50% of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies including work on seven global franchises.
"Lisa is that rare talent of intelligence, masterful skills, and true dedication," says Cohn & Wolfe CEO Donna Imperato.
VP, corporate communications, Walmart, 39
David Tovar has spent his whole career on the frontline of high-pressure industries and today drives communications for the world's largest retailer, Walmart.
Leading a team of 20, Tovar has been fundamental in managing high-profile initiatives and the company's corporate reputation, tackling issues ranging from a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation to leading media relations for the company's groundbreaking $4 prescription program.
Previously, he worked for tobacco company Altria Group finessing complex PR strategies, such as managing a $146 billion judgment against Phillip Morris USA and the tobacco companies.
SVP and partner, corporate affairs, FleishmanHillard, 36
Sarah Vellozzi has played a key role in cementing FleishmanHillard's position as one of the leading agencies for global reputation management.
She manages core accounts for the corporate affairs group including the Secretariat of Communications of the Federal Government of Brazil.
Since 2009 Vellozzi has successfully helped Brazil engage global audiences with an ongoing international PR program, which garnered covers with The Economist and Newsweek, interviews on CNN and CNBC, columns in The New York Times, and pieces in more than 70 publications.
Colleagues describe her as "a true professional" and a "leader who embraces challenges."
Lauren Wesley Wilson
Communications strategist and account supervisor, MSLGroup Washington, DC; founder and chief networking officer, ColorComm, 28
Described as a "dynamic game changer," Lauren Wesley Wilson is the youngest PR professional to make it into this year's prestigious list.
Currently an account supervisor and communications strategist at MSLGroup, she is also the founder and chief networking officer of ColorComm, the only membership organization exclusively for executive women of color in communications. ColorComm started as an invite-only lunch series in Washington, DC, in May 2011 and has since expanded to New York and Chicago.