Post by Nicole Cieslak.
WebNotes turns the spotlight on member Amanda Karfakis, president and CEO of Vitamin, the boutique web and public relations agency located in Baltimore. Amanda discusses leading her own agency, why she chose PR as a career, and how being a PRSA member has benefited her over the years.
Brief job description: I’m mostly responsible for steering Vitamin’s long-term strategic vision and overseeing our agency’s PR team, which encompasses much more than traditional PR, including social media, media buying, advertising, project management and more.
I’m also heavily focused on recruiting new PR and project management professionals, as well as continuously strengthening our collaborative agency culture.
Hometown: Ithaca, NY
Currently reside: Catonsville, Md. area
Education: Aside from earning an honorary degree in “trial by fire” public relations when I was a young professional, I earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a marketing concentration (and minor in Spanish) from Towson University.
Why did you choose a career in Communications/PR? My career really chose me. I always thought I’d be in business management or international business. But when I was a student I discovered the agency world and landed an internship in the PR department of a top 100 interactive agency after being courted by them for a couple of years. I fell in love with the agency world – it was so much fun, the work was dynamic and the people were smart. I spent months reading about PR and teaching myself everything I needed to know about the profession. It wasn’t long before I had worked my way up the ranks and became Director of Public relations at the age of 23.
How has being a member of PRSA benefited you? Early on in my career PRSA gave me a great education. I’ll never forget the media training session I attended at the Chesapeake Conference in the early 2000s. It helped me set the foundation for how I run media trainings today. Now that I’m much further along in my career PRSA has given me the opportunity to make many valuable connections. Whether it’s connecting with other PR professionals or prospective partners, I’m able to interact with a good and diverse group of people.
Passions/interests/hobbies? My family is my passion. I love learning about different cultures, refining my Greek language skills and cooking. I also really enjoy fitness and exploring the outdoors.
Best piece of advice received: I’ve received a lot of good advice over the years, but there is one piece of advice that really stands out because as PR professionals we are often pulled in multiple directions. Acting on this advice is not always possible and it can’t be taken literally in all instances, but it’s a mantra I’ve repeated to myself in the past to help me manage my day with more ease, fluidity and happiness:
“Control your day – don’t let others control it for you.”
Anything else you’d like to share with readers: Vitamin is growing. As part of our growth we’re building out our PR team. We’re looking for rock star account executives who are strong writers with energetic personalities and 3-7 years of experience in PR. Highly motivated, quick learners and good collaborators are encouraged to apply! More details here.