Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:15 P.M.
by Christina Steward
Often referred to as the Oscars of the PR world, the PRWeek Awards are a chance to salute the industry’s best. In March, the 2012 winners were announced; among them was Cari Steiner, the 2012 Young PR Professional of the Year.
“It’s always good to recognize the emerging talent in the industry and another of my favorite winners was Fahlgren Mortine’s Cari Steiner . . . proving you don’t have to work at one of the large network big city agencies to be successful at the PRWeek Awards,” said PRWeek Editor Steve Barrett in a blog post about the event.
This award honors a practitioner with less than three years of experience, and is judged on evidence of outstanding achievement in handling clients or senior-level staff, development of PR strategy, business savvy, creativity, knowledge of PR tactics and contributions to business objectives.
“The MC first called the runner-up, and it was not me. I thought, ‘There’s no way. I did not win.’ Then, my picture came on the screen as the announcer called my name. I couldn’t stand up – I was shocked,” said Steiner on her reaction after winning. “My manager at the time, Aaron Brown, [and] my CEO Neil Mortine and Chief Engagement Officer Melissa Dykstra were all jumping up and down and hugging me. I was just really proud and overwhelmed with happiness. I couldn’t believe how lucky I had become in my life – to be receiving this amazing honor and working at one of the best places to work in PR in our country.”
Steiner is a senior account executive at Fahlgren Mortine, where she specializes in national and local media relations, blogger relations, social media, public relations writing and event planning, and handles consumer and business-to-business public relations.
“Although they can contradict themselves, I am most passionate about media relations and social media,” said Steiner. “I do not feel that newspapers are dead; they are just changing and are just as important to the PR industry as being involved in all mediums of social media.”
Steiner also feels so lucky to find an agency where she can serve nationally renowned clients, such as Scotts Miracle-Gro, The Limited and Scentsy Inc.
“[Winning this award], I think I was able to show that if you love your job and make smart choices on your career path, and are able to be as lucky as I was to find an agency like Fahlgren Mortine, it will all be worth it in the end,” said Steiner.
Steiner graduated in 2009 from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University with a degree in journalism and public relations. The journalism department offers different areas in specialization, such as public relations. Students start with main journalism classes, learning AP style, and then go into press release writing and managing campaigns.
“I was originally a magazine journalism major,” said Steiner. “One night I went to a PRSSA meeting with a sorority sister and I got so excited about public relations that I changed my major.”
It was a good decision.
Aaron Brown, senior vice president at Fahlgren Mortine, is also an alumnus of Ohio University journalism department, where he met Steiner after visiting as a guest speaker.
“When I recruited Cari in 2010, I was looking to add staff who could transform the culture of our new office,” said Brown. “Because of her approach to PR and her personality, I knew she would make an impact to the industry.”
One of Steiner’s biggest inspirations is Steve Jobs and his quote, “Make a dent in the universe.”
“I keep this quote hanging up in my office,” said Steiner. “He was so inspirational and his life teaches us so many lessons, not in just life, but how to be passionate about what you do.”
Steiner also stated that no matter what you do, add value.
“One of my mentors always said, ‘When you go to a meeting, don’t just sit there. Add value. No matter how young you are, show that you have a purpose,’” said Steiner.
For recent graduates and other young PR professionals, Steiner said it is important to keep confidence and know that there is so much more to learn in PR industry.