Gini Dietrich

The 11 PR Professionals to Follow

By: Gini Dietrich | December 22, 2015 | 
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11 PR Professionals By Gini Dietrich

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to you…11 PR professionals to follow, 10 holiday movies, nine PR gifts, eight PR trendsseven PR blogs, six must-watch PR webinarsfive PR books, four PR podcaststhree productivity toolstwo Spin Sucks Crazy secrets, and the one PR tool you need for 2016.

This is the most difficult list I have ever had to write. I started with a list of 53 and had to whittle them down. That is not a fun thing to do!

Now I know why there are lists of 50 or 100. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings!

But we have only 11 PR professionals we can include. So here we go…

The 11 PR Professionals to Follow

  1. Melissa Agnes. I met Melissa a little more than a year ago when introduced by mutual friend, Deirdre Breakenridge (see the fifth day of Christmas). We hit it off immediately and began to share war stories, audiences, and resources. She did a crisis communications webinar for us that remains one of my personal favorites. She is the bomb when it comes to crisis communications (maybe “bomb” wasn’t the right word there) and she has a really pretty website that I show to fellow communicators quite often (check out the resources section).
  2. Susan Cellura. Never before have I worked with someone who takes the bull so firmly by the horns as Susan. She started her business in August—which, BTW, could possibly be the very worst time to start a business—and she is killing it. She is doing a lot of corporate communications work with gigantic companies and with small businesses. I’ve truly never seen someone set a goal and go after it like she does. You want to watch her.
  3. Abbie Fink. Abbie is one of my very best, in real life, friends. She is the general manager at HMA PR in Phoenix and is a Counselors Academy board member. Not only is she a brilliant PR professional, she is one of the most thoughtful people on earth. She’ll see something in a random spot and buy it for you because it reminds her of you. She also sends me an extra bag of peanut brittle for Christmas every year. I know no one else gets that (and no, I don’t share).
  4. Shel Holtz. I have had the pleasure of knowing Shel for many years now. I remember being scared to meet him because he’d been a bit critical of something I wrote about, but that fear was unfounded. He’s ridiculously intelligent so he’s a lot of fun to be around. He just launched For Immediate Release when Neville Hobson retired from podcasting and it is probably the best out there. He invites two or three co-hosts each week and they dissect the latest news. Plus, he’s really not afraid to say what he’s thinking and I really, really love that.
  5. Rebekah Iliff. I met Rebekah way back when AirPR was a marketplace that matched PR firms with tech companies. I watched her PR prowess as she worked her way into the top PR blogs, working with the top PR influencers, and then into the top business publications. She’s a force to be reckoned with and it’s fun to watch her from the sidelines. She thinks like I do—very analytically—and she doesn’t understand why PR professionals can’t measure our efforts back to cold, hard cash. It’s something the AirPR team is focused on and I love them all for it. Plus, she’s hilarious. I mean, really, really funny.
  6. Liana Miller. I’ve known Liana peripherally for a very long time. After we launched Spin Sucks Pro—and it flopped—I would get an email notice that someone had paid $50 for some content inside there. Because we had sidelined the business, I would send her a note to say I was refunding her money, but she could keep the content. So now the joke is that whatever we launch, she’ll buy. She runs a PR firm in the LA area and comes from big agency experience so it’s really fun to watch her grow. I love to watch her brain work and I’m often envious of the types of reporting she does for clients. You’ll learn a lot from her.
  7. Jason Mollica. Let’s be fair, I heart Jason because he shares a love of Robert Downey, Jr. Or is that Ironman? It’s kind of one and the same. Or maybe it’s because he challenges me with his smart thinking. Last week he asked me if I’ve ever considered calling myself a digital marketing expert versus a PR pro and a really interesting conversation ensued. He owns JRM Comm and teaches at American University. If you follow him, you’ll definitely be challenged in your thinking.
  8. Michael Smart. I met Michael a little more than a year ago when we spoke on a PRSA panel together…and my life has never been the same. Just like his name implies, he is one of the smartest people I know. We had him host a webinar for us on media relations earlier this year and it was, by far, the most popular we’ve ever had. He knows hard work is how you get media relations to work and he’s not afraid to show people how to roll up their sleeves and get it done. You know I love that. A ton.
  9. Eden Spodek. You know when you meet someone in person and they bring you macarons, you will be friends forever and ever. That is Eden. She runs a PR firm in Toronto and has become quite the Kickstarter expert. (I keep asking her to write a Kickstarter blog post for us…maybe this will push it to the top of her list.) She also teaches and writes and co-hosts a podcast. She has a few things going on and she is one to watch because she is evolving and she’s doing everything right.
  10. Joe Thornley. One of my most favorite people on earth is Joe Thornley. I co-host Inside PR (with Martin, too!) with him so I get to see his face (via Zoom) every week. He is completely unassuming, but probably one of the smartest people on earth. He runs Thornley Fallis, one of the largest PR firms in Canada, but he has a really interesting and very different take on PR. Every time we record Inside PR, I’m surprised at what he’s reading, what his #IPRMustKnow is, and how he can relate it back to our industry. You want to just get inside his Pocket account.
  11. Martin Waxman. And last, but certainly not least, Martin Waxman. Martin and I have known each other for many years and he quickly became one of my most favorite people because of his very dry sense of humor and his quick wit. Plus, you know the stereotype about Canadians being really polite? That stereotype exists because of Martin. In the time I’ve known him, he’s merged his PR firm with another and then sold his interest in it. He now teaches and does a lot of professional training for corporations. Someday I’ll figure out a way to work with him. Follow him and learn about his obsession with Klout.

Now it’s your turn. Which PR professionals do you think everyone should follow?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • Frank Strong, whose Sword and the Script blog is full of awesome insights.
    And the PR person for Die Hard, for doing a great job on this awesome CHRISTMAS movie, despite what some heathens might think…

  • Danny Brown And don’t forget the guy who works tirelessly to promote the squirrel lobby. Everyone needs an advocate!

  • WHAT A GREAT LIST! Putting some thought into my own suggestions!

  • LTreu

    Great list! Thanks for putting it together… I added everyone on Twitter I wasn’t already following!

  • RobBiesenbach YES!!!

  • Adding these to my reading goals for the new year. Thanks, Gini…

  • Danny Brown RobBiesenbach I don’t like either one of you. (Happy Anniversary, Rob!)

  • LTreu Thank you, sir!

  • Word Ninja Happy, happy, merry, merry!

  • biggreenpen It was REALLY hard. I mean, really hard.

  • Keena Lykins

    Gini, thank you for following my wishes and leaving me off the list. 🙂

  • susancellura

    OMG!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am honored! You are an amazing coach, ginidietrich !

  • ginidietrich xo! Merry Christmas!

  • AbbieF

    So nice of you! Honored to make your list. Happy Holidays.

  • garykarr

    ginidietrich SpinSucks A fine list, but picky note: 12 days of Christmas starts on Christmas. 🙂 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Days_of_Christmas

  • ginidietrich

    garykarr Yes, we know. We addressed that on day one. We don’t blog during the holidays so it’s our own version. SpinSucks

  • garykarr

    ginidietrich SpinSucks Color me #pedantic

  • ginidietrich

    garykarr LOL! We got the same feedback last year. I don’t think people really want to read a PR blog during their holidays.

  • garykarr

    ginidietrich I don’t think people want to write a PR blog during the holidays. 🙂

  • Wonderful list, Gini!!

  • Thank you so much, ginidietrich! I’m honoured/honored to be included on your list this year. I guess I’m on the hook for that Kickstarter post now too. 😉 I appreciate all the guidance and encouragement I’ve received from you (and martinwaxman) over the past year. If it weren’t for shelholtz and his first social media webinar back in the early 2000s – the launch of Skype was the bonus app he shared – or FIR, I’m not sure I’d be on this list either. 

    I’d send your some macarons but I’m not convinced they’d stay intact or fresh in transit. xo

  • ginidietrich

    garykarr I know I don’t!

  • ginidietrich RobBiesenbach

  • EdenSpodek Send them anyhoo, the squirrels will enjoy. ginidietrich

  • Danny Brown Would you like some squirrels too? 🙂

  • EdenSpodek We have a family of squirrels. We feed them. You can send macaroon though. 🙂

  • No Danny Brown and No shout out to Dear Abby. Dammit, the squirrels have clearly taken over management, or maybe you let Steve Harvey make this list in which case there is no telling what might happen.

  • Danny Brown I must! Of course, you’re on my list of people who’ve been helpful this year too. 🙂

  • Well someone has to correct all the wrong stuff Gini tells you..!

  • ArikHanson1

    Danny Brown Second Frank. His blog has been one of the true hidden gems of all of PR/marketing blogging for years.

  • ginidietrich I can ONLY IMAGINE.

  • ginidietrich (and as far as people to follow, one of my faves is asherinian who leads comms & pr for the United Nations Foundation)

  • AbbieF I know you were short peanut brittle this year and decided ginidietrich would be ok with just one this year. But I think best you tell someone else no brittle this year than disappoint Gini!

    Great list Gini. How come this isn’t one of those ‘same old list of famous people for clickbait lists’ like everyone else always does?

    Oh wait it is because you aren’t like everyone else. At least the Where’s the Beef?! lady has no reason to ever comment here.

  • Man, what a force of smart, awesome people here. I’m surprised this post doesn’t just automatically implode under the weight of such amazingness. Spin Sucks: Defying the laws of physics since 2015! Hi everyone!

  • martinwaxman

    biggreenpen Thanks Paula. Fingers crossed :). Merry Christmas!

  • biggreenpen

    martinwaxman thanks! Happiest of Holidays to you too!

  • This is a great list of well-deserving through leaders.

  • nicolerpr

    Deirdre Breakenridge, for sure. She got an “honorable mention” but someone I recommend EVERYONE follow. Her show is awesome and she’s wicked smart!

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