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Stacey Cohen CEO of Co-Communications: “You need to invest in yourself to build any lacking skills and surround yourself with others that you can learn from”

Below are two pieces of advice that I live by: We all need to manufacture our own opportunities and take life by the reigns. Take on more risks, stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, and remove any self-limiting (I can’t) conversations. You need to invest in yourself to build any lacking skills and surround yourself […]


Below are two pieces of advice that I live by:

We all need to manufacture our own opportunities and take life by the reigns. Take on more risks, stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, and remove any self-limiting (I can’t) conversations.

You need to invest in yourself to build any lacking skills and surround yourself with others that you can learn from. Take advantage of a mentor or coach who can help release your inner super hero. Consider creating a personal board of directors — — a group of individuals who have competencies in different areas.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Stacey Cohen, founder and CEO of Co-Communications, a full-service marketing and communications agency with offices in New York and co-founder of College Prime, a company that provides social media and personal branding training to high school students to succeed with college admissions, internships and beyond. She is a Huffington Post blogger, TEDx speaker, and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Crain’s, Sales & Marketing and other leading national media. She holds a B.S. from Syracuse University, MBA from Fordham University and recently completed a certificate program in Media, Technology and Entertainment at NYU Leonard Stern School of Business.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started Co-Communications in 1997 in a spare bedroom of my house with no lofty goals — — just to “do it better.” My vision was to bring the missing link — — collaboration — — which I encountered with other marketing communications firms. All of this crystallized in the mid-90’s when I was hired by a Connecticut marketing firm to develop an annual report for a biotech company that was going public. The agency would not allow me direct client contact which I found extremely frustrating. This was an example of what not to do in marketing communications. Working in a silo does not generate optimal results. While many think that “Co” in Co-Communications is part of my last name, it is actually based from the Latin derivative (Translation: “with”). It stands for collaboration which is a principle that allows us to develop long-lasting client relationships and is at the core of our team’s success. Communications requires collaboration — — a true partnership with others where ideas are born, exchanged freely, executed and sometimes tossed out.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The most interesting campaign we worked on rebuilding the Tappan Zee bridge — — “Build the Bridge Now” — — to raise awareness about replacing the Tappan Zee bridge with a New Hudson river crossing, the largest public works project in state history. Besides gaining an education into how bridges are built, we had the opportunity to interface with many stakeholders — — from business groups to environmentalists to politicians to special interest groups.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I arranged for The Executive Director of a large youth organization to appear on a segment on a local television plugging an upcoming event. They needed an extra in the background to showcase some of the many activities that would take place during the event. I volunteered my daughter to have her face painted on air. I tried prompting her to smile by stretching my mouth with her fingers to mimic a smile. To my chagrin, when I viewed the segment, the Executive Director had a smile from “ear to ear” throughout the segment because as he explained he was following my directions😊

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Co-Communications use of technology and new media has proven to be our largest marketing advantage. For instance, we have a keen understanding how to integrate search engine optimization (SEO) with content generation. We have mastered SEO in a way that has brought proven results to our clients. For one of our non-profit clients, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, our internet prowess directly resulted in a $50,000 sponsorship and six-figure donation in dog food by Eukanuba. In the early days, we implemented a unique e-mail distribution service for news release distribution which allows the ability to track each campaign. We have added Inbound Marketing to Co-Communications suite of end-to-end services and have been actively involved in clients’ sales processes, helping to cultivate leads and drive conversion. At the end of the day, marketing is not just a pretty picture; we align our marketing strategies and objectives with clients’ business goals. Our research informed strategies produce work that moves the needle and measurable ROI.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

In I’m in the midst of working on book project on Personal Branding which I hope to complete early 2018. I’m extremely passionate about helping people “be” and communicate their best selves to pave the way for success in the 21st century. I speak often on the topic of personal branding to various audiences (CEO’s, college bound, professional women, bloggers, business owners, career transitioners), My aim is to educate individuals on the importance of developing an authentic personal brand, including the online/offline tools and techniques that can equip one for success in college, career and beyond. It goes without saying that I particularly enjoy helping women crystallize their brand.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Below are two pieces of advice that I live by:

We all need to manufacture our own opportunities and take life by the reigns. Take on more risks, stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, and remove any self-limiting (I can’t) conversations.

You need to invest in yourself to build any lacking skills and surround yourself with others that you can learn from. Take advantage of a mentor or coach who can help release your inner super hero. Consider creating a personal board of directors — — a group of individuals who have competencies in different areas.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My parents no doubt are my biggest inspiration. Neither of them were college educated and had no means (my father lost his parents at age 17) but were extremely driven to make a good life for us. My father worked in sales by day and played drums in a band at night; my mother was a full-time bookkeeper and often brought work home. By the time I turned nine years old, they had saved up enough money to move from a very small apartment in Brooklyn to a beautiful house in the suburbs. I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. Both of my parents had successful businesses of their own in the woman’s apparel industry and in the later years — real estate. Dinner conversation was often business-related. I recall my father sharing his new company name/logo with us and proudly showing us pencils that displayed his company name. I have always been a risk taker and love to take on a challenge. I started my first business when I was 14 years old. My friend Jennifer and I sought a way to make more money than the standard hourly babysitting rate. We started a home waitress service and placed an ad in the local Pennysaver with the ad headline: We Set, Serve & Clean up. Let us help you at your next party. We had no overhead and our only expense was the purchase of a white uniform which we bought second hand. We ended up increasing our earnings by 500%. Plus, we were booked for months out with much repeat business. My parents instilled a “can do” attitude from an early age that has only gotten stronger throughout the years. Although they did not have the luxury of attending college, they inspired us to be avid learners. Both of my sisters boast doctorates and I have an MBA in Marketing.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Philanthropic endeavors that Co-Communications supports is largely focused on children and women in business. I have personally been a supporter of and mentor to women in business for nearly two decades. Representative organizations that we have lent marketing expertise and funding to include: Women’s Leadership Institute, Women’s Enterprise Project (WEP); March of Dimes; Association for Women in Communications and Women’s Leadership Council.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why.

1.Lead with both your head and heart. Make sure that those individuals that you lead feel recognized, productive and important.

2. Eliminate distractions and place laser focus on a few select areas that have the greatest impact. This will ensure the best ROI.

3.Allow others to come up with solutions to work-related issues and challenges. Encourage them to be a problem solvers and not problem spotters. These are critical learning moments.

4.Encourage a “can do” attitude and empower your team to take risks. Failure is an inevitable part of success.

5.Maintain a culture of accountability throughout the work environment starting with yourself. “Owning it” is key to leadership and business success.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

#cando — — Be a problem solver, not a problem spotter and continually challenging yourself

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been By Wayne Gretzky

This is relevant to my life because we always need to be one step ahead. If you continually look back, you will not make progress. Anticipation is key to success.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Stacey Ross Cohen Socials:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/staceycohen4

https://facebook.com/StaceyRossCohen

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/staceycohen2

Twitter: handle — @StaceyRossCohen

Instagram: handle — staceyrosscohen

https://www.instagram.com/staceyrosscohen/

Co-Communications Socials:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoCommunicationsPR/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/co-communications-inc.

Twitter: handle — @CoCommPR

https://www.twitter/com/cocommpr

Instagram: handle — clearly_co

https://www.instagram.com/clearly_co
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