Scholastic’s Stephanie Smirnov joins Lippe Taylor

The veteran of Edelman and DeVries replaces Tracy Naden as chief engagement officer.

New Lippe Taylor executive hire Stephanie Smirnov. (Photo credit: Jason Hall).
New Lippe Taylor executive hire Stephanie Smirnov. (Photo credit: Jason Hall).

NEW YORK: Lippe Taylor has named Scholastic’s Stephanie Smirnov as its chief engagement officer.

Smirnov, who was EVP and head of global corporate communications at Scholastic, started at Lippe Taylor on Monday, reporting to CEO Paul Dyer. She is managing the agency’s client leadership teams and has four SVP direct reports.

The chief engagement officer role had been held by Tracy Naden, who remains at the agency and a member of its executive team, the firm said in a statement.

Naden’s move and Smirnov’s hire are part of a restructuring of the agency’s engagement teams to create greater leadership opportunities for VPs and SVPs, Dyer said via email. The firm said it is planning to announce Naden’s new role within weeks.  

Smirnov’s long-standing relationship with Lippe Taylor founder Maureen Lippe is part of the reason she left her senior in-house position for an agency.

“I started in the beauty and fashion space and I travel in the same professional circles as [her], and I have always respected and personally liked her very much,” Smirnov said. “So when the opportunity came up, it moved pretty quickly.” 

The excitement of agency life was also a big draw, she added. 

“This was less about getting to do something I hadn’t done before and more that I missed being on the agency side—the pace, the hustle and the energy,” said Smirnov. “I realized I missed client service and here comes Lippe Taylor.”

In addition to learning the ropes at the agency, Smirnov said her first tasks will include helping her teams with pitches and assisting her staff and clients with planning. 

“I’ll be jumping in and helping with pitching,” she said, declining to say what prospective clients the agency is pursuing. “I love new business and I’ve always loved pitching, and we’ll be plenty busy with that between now and the new year.” 

Smirnov started at Scholastic in March 2018 after leaving Edelman, where she was MD of brand practice in New York. Prior to that, she spent more than a decade at DeVries Public Relations, most recently as its CEO.

Scholastic declined to say how it is planning to replace Smirnov, but Iole Lucchese, EVP, chief strategy officer and president of Scholastic Entertainment, praised her as “a valuable colleague” and noted her work heading “global communications leading up to and during our 100th year.”

In August, Lippe Taylor also hired Seiden’s Kate Charles for the newly created role of chief planning officer.

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