Patrice Tanaka: Co-Founder, Chief Counselor & Creative Strategist of PadillaCRT

My NativeAdVice:


Patrice Tanaka is Co-founder, Chief Counselor & Creative Strategist at PadillaCRT.  Patrice co-founded her third PR & marketing agency, PadillaCRT, on September 1, 2013.  In so doing, she and her former partners at CRT/tanaka created with Padilla Speer Beardsley the "largest, employee-owned PR agency" and one of the "top 10 largest, independent PR agencies" in America.  She is also the author of "Becoming Ginger Rogers. How Ballroom Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, a Better Partner and a Smarter CEO," published by BenBella Books.

1) How did you get into the PR industry and why?
I was working for a small newspaper in Hawaii and someone offered me the position as PR Director of the Inter-Continental Maui in Wailea.  I wasn't quite sure what PR people did at the time, but my thought process went like this:  I get press releases from these people; I could write these releases, therefore, I could do PR.  It was silly and simplistic, I know, but that's how I got into PR.

2) How does your firm utilize social media and stay ahead of competitors?
We have a group of about 20 "Socialites" - that's what they've dubbed themselves - who make it their mission to stay on the leading edge of social media and to inform and educate the rest of our 180 employees at PadillaCRT.  We also use Yammer, an internal Facebook-like program, to connect all 200 employee so that we can communicate and share information and insights quickly and easily.  And, our agency's Buzz Bin blog has been ranked as one of the "top 25 PR industry blogs."

3) What is a great night out like to you?
Going to Dizzy's Club Coca Cola for great jazz or staying in with friends and catching up over some nice reserva wines from Rioja.

4) What brands do you rep and what is the niftiest PR move you have implemented for them?
Wines from Rioja (Spain), Prosciutto di Parma, KitchenAid, Barnes & Noble, BASF, Rockwell Automation, Merck Consumer Care, Girl Scouts of the USA, United Healthcare, among others.  One of the accomplishments I'm proudest of is that our integrated marketing campaign for Rioja Wines has increased shipments by 45% over the past three years and the brand awareness we've generated for Spain's oldest and most prominent wine region contributed to a Rioja wine being ranked #1 on three major lists of "top wines of 2013," including the Wine Spectator.

5) What is your life motto/quote?
I have two: "Share your cookies and toys" and "Pursue your joy...with a sense of urgency."

6) What would you say are the top two personality traits someone needs to do a PR job well?
Passion and perseverance.

7) Who is your mentor and how do you stay so successful in the PR industry?
I have many mentors, including Mark Raper, president, and Lynn Casey, CEO, of our new agency, PadillaCRT.  Each of us used to run separate, highly regarded PR agencies.  Today, our new agency, PadillaCRT, created last September, is a roll-up of all three firms.  If I'm successful, it's because of three "themes" that are common to Mark, Lynn and me:  "collaboration," "creativity" and "community."  I believe all three are essential to creating an innovative organization that can flourish and succeed.