Dale Bornstein, Hall of Femme 2018

CEO, M Booth

What would you do if not in PR? 
I would definitely do something people-related. My dream has always been to host a talk show. Can you say Dale DeGeneres?

Other options: life coach, executive coach, or professional "hyphen-ator" – a term coined by a former colleague because he thought I was like a "hyphen" – connecting the right people or the right organizations.

I love making connections for people that benefit them personally or professionally and in doing so, make some magic happen.

Talk about the last time you experienced a fist-pumping victory moment.
More and more, I find my fist-pumping moments have something to do with my son. Whether it’s on the golf course, basketball court, or tennis turf, I’m an over-the-top cheerleader. Humble brag: My son’s got game. But off the field, I’m also fist pumping. 

Recently, I attended his school event to showcase a social studies unit called "You are what you eat." The students traced their family heritage and then created art, poems, and essays that mashed their family research with their own interests and passions. My son’s poem was entitled "Souped up car" (marrying the "you are what you eat" theme with his car obsession). As someone who loves a good turn of phrase, a well-played pun, or an unexpected homonym, my heart leapt a little.

By the way: The high five is actually more my jam. 

When was the last time you endured a real "agony of defeat" moment?  
Well, my last literal wipe out happened on the ice and I would describe it more as an "agony of the tush." But I got right back up, steeled my smile, and sought to defy my skating coach’s wildest expectations. Muscle memory took over, I relaxed into the moment and nailed my scratch spin in a way I had never done before. 

It was textbook technique and a real breakthrough moment that reminded me it’s not the falls that matter most, but how we get back up.

How long ago was the last time you took the time to recharge your batteries? And what did you do?
We sprint through our daily lives, often juggling more than we should. So in the past few years I have adopted a true corporate athlete mindset – sprint and recover. 

The last time I did some good recharging was over the holidays (our agency closes between Christmas and New Year’s). I find it’s easiest to recharge when I go away and immerse myself on the tennis court or at my favorite wellness and longevity center in Miami. 

In January, I also had the unexpected treat of recharging at the J&J Human Performance Institute, an immersive (no iPhone), two-day experience that reset my personal compass and unleashed my energy potential. The ensuing 90-day training mission has continued to keep me positive and energized. 

What is it about this industry that frustrates the hell out of you sometimes? 
I’m still amazed at how much time and creative capital we give away for free during the pitch process. I would much rather do a project for a prospective client and be selected as an ongoing AOR based on a great team that delivers great work.      

When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine?
I consider myself lucky every day I walk through our open café area. The music is humming and there’s a real energy that comes from a diverse collection of folks doing what they love in a place they love. It’s validating to see how inspiring a "people first" culture can be.

Often, I’m stopped by a junior Boother who has a great idea and wants to run with it. So I grab my cold brew and just say, "Yes!" 

Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women…
as a female CEO, I do whatever I can to mentor and coach women in our industry to stand up for what they deserve. I also lead by example and align pay with performance. I believe strongly in a meritocracy and that those who perform should be rewarded – irrespective of gender.  

Words to live by? 
"Be the doer great or small, do it well or not at all." That’s how my mom raised me. 

"A place for everything and everything in its place" is another one of my mom’s favorites and frankly, it’s advice I wish my 12-year-old would internalize.

My mantra these days: "Progress, not perfection. Breathe, calibrate, celebrate." I’m a fan of celebrating everyday wins – big and small. And finally, "Be kind."   

Favorite drink? 
Of course, some of my favorites happen to be clients such as Honest Tea’s Just Green Tea. If I’m living dangerously, I enjoy a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc at dusk on my balcony overlooking the ocean in South Florida.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Make the weekends count as much as the weekdays.

Who are the three people, living or dead, you would like to host at a dinner party and why? 
I’m going to take some liberty here and make it a progressive dinner. 

For the first course or two, I’d love to host Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Tina Fey, because these are ladies who lead; ladies who laugh; ladies who call it like they see it, and ladies whose voices shape the zeitgeist. They are also inspiring working moms who are willing to get into real conversations about the challenges of parenting and juggling it all.    

But for dessert and coffee, I’d love to host Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and my uncle Irving.

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