Professional Awards Spotlight: Allison Epstein, 2023 “Ringer Award” Winner

PR professionals are an essential cog in New England’s diverse business community. From technology firms to retailer leaders and nonprofits, organizations across the region rely on their communications teams to spread awareness, build their reputation, and increase their impact. Each year, our Professional Awards honor practitioners who empower their clients and their own teams to reach new milestones. The Ringer Award, given to an individual who, within their 5-12 years of experience, demonstrates excellence in strategy, client and staff management, creativity, and communication skills.

Sound like someone at your organization? We’re accepting 2024 Professional Awards submissions until April 15. Nominate your colleague here

Allison Epstein, last year’s Ringer Award winner, began her career on a mission to tell stories and maintain her philanthropic spirit. At Teak Media, Allison found her professional home, where she channels her expertise and passion into impactful campaigns for a diverse array of nonprofit clients. Her adept strategic mind and steadfast commitment to listening and learning delivers exceptional results for her clients. Read on to learn what makes a Ringer Award winner. 

1. What sparked your passion for public relations? 

It’s funny – I think I was always meant to be a publicist. Growing up, I was very involved in community  events, athletic leagues, and the performing arts which meant that I participated in and helped to plan,  promote, and execute all different types of events. I also watched family members volunteer for local and  international organizations and modeled their philanthropic spirit as a teen volunteering and raising  money for charities alongside friends. While in college studying media communications and dance, I  thought I wanted to be a reporter and even completed a TV news internship. Although storytelling was my  passion, I realized I wanted more – more control, more variety, and more flexibility in my professional  career, thus my shift into the public relations field.  

2. What specific strategies or habits have contributed to your success?  

Ultimately, the key to working as a publicist is to work with your clients and colleagues as partners and  friends. At Teak Media, we embrace each one of our clients’ missions as our own. Bringing together  different areas of expertise helps us to develop well-rounded campaigns that ultimately achieve the  desired results. While all my clients are nonprofits, each works in a vastly different industry. On any given  day, not only do I need to be aware of what’s going on in each of their fields, but I also need to know how  to execute our shared goals and strategies. Therefore, listening and learning are two strategies and  habits that I believe are critical to success.  

3. How do you keep up with the changing PR landscape?  

When I started at Teak Media in 2012, traditional media was still the main goal for most of our clients.  Getting a front-page story in The Boston Globe was the gold standard for local coverage. I could easily  pick up the phone and call a weekly newspaper in a town across the country and coordinate interviews.  As time passed, the number of reporters to contact and media outlets to pitch has shrunk. Today, there is  a large focus on the digital side, especially with the ever-changing social media universe, and a driving  demand for paid media placements, which makes it hard for small nonprofits to compete. To keep up with  the changing PR landscape, I read all of the time and participate in trainings and webinars when I can. I  also pay attention to campaigns that influence my own life and seek to understand why they do so.  Earned media will always be important for nonprofits as will fundraising events. I like the challenge of  fitting the pieces of the puzzle together. 

4. What advice would you give PR professionals who want to grow into leadership positions?  I always say this, but I truly believe it takes a village. Lean into your network. Work hard. Roll up your  sleeves and learn how to do as much as possible. And don’t be afraid to engage mentors in the industry.  As Kris Jenner says, if you are told no, you are just asking the wrong person. And remember – you don’t  get what you don’t ask for so don’t wait for somebody to ask you, a little tip from Reese Witherspoon.  

5. Let’s hear your 2023 Ringer Award acceptance speech! (doesn’t have to be your actual speech  from the awards ceremony — I remember yours!) 

Oh gosh – it’s always nice to be recognized. But I don’t think about the nose to the grind work on a daily  basis. Rather, I think about the stories behind the missions and work of my clients and the impact or  results. Those facing unimaginable challenges can teach you so much about life and inspire you. If I can  use my position and skill sets to make even the smallest difference in their lives, then it’s all worthwhile.