Sasha Brookner, CEO and principal of Helio Public Relations, knows what it’s like to be every woman. A graduate of UCLA, she’s been in the business for over two decades. And, over her award-winning career, the dynamic veteran publicist has learned to embody what her clients need at any given moment while never negotiating her integrity—something that has secured her status as one of the best to ever do it.
“Someone once said that PR is a mix of lawyering, psychology, and journalism, and I think that’s so on point,” Brookner, a super star in her own right, tells PRWeek. “I feel like a lawyer when I’m filing copyright complaints, trying to get photos off the internet that my clients don’t like. I feel like a therapist when I’m listening to their problems. And I definitely feel like a journalist because so much of my job is spent writing.”
While Brookner—who is just as likely to be found practicing Senegalese dance as she is studying the work of British economist John Maynard Keynes—is able to navigate all roles flawlessly, she is first and foremost dedicated to her clients and creating space for them to be uncompromising in their art. From star studded musicians and fashion designers, to actors, producers, painters and authors, it’s easy to understand why Brookner’s boutique PR company has created a buzz in the industry. The company reflects the ethics of its creator.
“First and foremost, it’s critical that publicists stand behind their clients,” Brookner says. “It’s our job to protect their artistry and authenticity at all costs.”
Brooker’s gamble on an unconventional brand of marketing has paid off. She’s been the creative brain behind campaigns for some of the best in the business. Her clients today have appeared in Vogue, In Style, and Harper's Bazaar. Still, even with her print bona fides, she’s seamlessly made the transition to the digital world.
“A lot of the publicists I came up with in the late 90s and early 2000s have retired,” Brookner tells PRWeek. “They got burned out. They didn’t want to dive into learning the new digital marketing platforms. It can be stressful. It’s like being in a courtroom and the laws keep changing. What worked a decade ago is completely antiquated.”
Though Brookner sometimes misses the days of electric live television performances that dominant the next day’s headlines and cultural conversations, she’s made her peace with the power of instant gratification and TikTok. And her willingness—indeed, her expertise—in staying current so that her clients are positioned exactly where they need to be makes Helio a PR company to watch.
“Yes, hiring an independent publicist is essential to an artist’s career in terms of establishing visibility and creating buzz, but what’s most important is the relationship between an artist and their publicist, Brookner says. “I really put my all into these campaigns to try to help artists share their narratives and I think sharing stories is one of the most powerful things you can do.”
Watch her full on-camera interview for PR Week below and follower her on Instagram @helioprmarketing