Jennifer Cohan, Hall of Femme 2018

President, Edelman New York

What would you do if not in PR?
When I was young, I wanted to be the first woman Secretary of State. I’m glad other admirable women beat me to it. 

Talk about the last time you experienced a truly fist-pumping victory moment.
Recently, a teammate posted a link to a new campaign we worked on with #bestworkofmylife. My fist pump was joined by a little throat lump when his father responded, "I’m so proud of you, son."

When was the last time you endured a real "agony of defeat" moment? 
We lost a client with whom I’d been deeply involved. I felt terrible about it for a long time. Too often in agencies we rationalize loss to make ourselves feel better. Losing a client should hurt. It helps ensure we don’t take them or the work with which they entrust us for granted.

How long ago was the last time you recharged your batteries?
I love to travel, particularly to far-flung parts of the world. Several times a year we head someplace off the beaten path, where almost always we don’t speak the language, and the culture or environs are totally different from our New York home. Last December, my partner and I went 150 miles into Alaska’s Arctic circle to chase the northern lights. We saw them twice. They took my breath away.

What is it about this industry that frustrates the hell out of you sometimes?
We must measure the impact of our work on clients’ businesses and reputations.

When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine?
The best purpose work comes from the PR industry because it pursues real change. At a time when people’s trust in institutions has thoroughly eroded and business must step in where government can’t or won’t, our industry’s purpose work is more urgent than ever.

Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women, I will...
Pay women based on their contribution to the business, not their gender. 

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Something I tell a 20-year-old whom I mentor: "Nobody but you can set your goals or achieve them, but there are many people who will want to help you along the way. Take every one of them up on it."

Favorite drink
Starbucks is a client, so I drink prodigious amounts during the day. I’m not a big drinker, but cocktail of choice is a bourbon.

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