Brian Reid: 40 Under 40 2013

Group Director, W2O Group, and Adjunct Professor and Faculty Adviser to Jacht Ad Lab, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Brian Reid is helping to mold the PR professionals of the future. In his role as group director at W2O Group he’s at the cutting edge of the industry, developing strategic blends of digital and traditional PR that help his clients succeed. In his time at the firm, he has seen the company grow from 25 to more than 300 employees and has provided strategic counsel to the world’s largest life science companies, including Pfizer, Sanofi, Novartis, Vertex, and 23andMe.

He brings all that real-world experience to students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications as an effective teacher. Reid has played a key role in supporting the university’s Jacht Ad Lab, a student advertising agency founded in 2012 that provides graduates and undergraduates with real business experience in a digitally focused communications environment. He challenges students to broaden their definition of media, teaching them to use the social tools they know so well to help achieve clients’ business goals and create powerful content. As someone who is a successful journalist-turned-PR-pro with numerous high-profile placements and business wins under his belt,

Reid is ideally suited to the job. He has been behind the curtain of online operations of some of the biggest names in traditional print, such as The Washington Post and Forbes, and his online experimentation has gained him coverage everywhere from Today to Wired. Reid’s credentials bring a "new level of credibility to Jacht’s hands-on classroom," according to Amy Struthers, associate professor of advertising and PR at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "With Brian’s academic and professional background in journalism, his long history in social media, and his work at W2O, he is ideally suited to guide the next generation of PR professionals to think strategically and to break down the barriers between different kinds of communicators," she says. "He is building the pipeline of new PR stars."

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