“Make Friends, Not Clients Or Colleagues” 5 Insider Strategies With PR Pro Cindy Garnick
I had the pleasure of interviewing Cindy Garnick, CEO Garnick Entertainment Media Group. Cindy is one of the most respected Publicists and Producers in the industry spanning from NYC to LA in the last decade. Cindy has been described by moguls in the industry as extremely tenacious always with laser focus and a keen eye. Cindy describes each project/talent as a machine. “There are many moving pieces to a campaign. All must move together symbiotically to build best momentum. I think that is my specialty, seeing the big picture with my third eye, and strategically bringing it to life.” She specializes in Public relations, imaging and branding, Lifestyle hosts, TV Experts, Music, Entertainment, Influencers and TV production. We work with Sports Personalities, International Grammy winning artist, Award winning Film makers and some of the most renowned speakers in the world.
Yitzi: Thank you so much for your time. I know that you are a very busy person. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I started out infront of the camera. I was the talent during a time where it wasn’t safe for young women to be in the entertainment world. My father being a professional musician working in Vegas during Rat Pat days really didn’t want his little girl out there. I was a skilled vocalist and trained by the best. However, I chose to settle down in my early twenties and have children. I modeled frequently and still had my hand in the business. Was even hired to teach talent and recruit. I had an unmistakable eye for raw talent. My son started to follow in the families footsteps at 15 landing in a national rock band. I stepped in seamlessly to lead the band and promote. I started to go back to my roots in communications. Before you knew it, I hung a shingle that was called Next Level Entertainment. I wanted everyone who was passionate about their art to reach that next level. I think I was living vicariously through them. I figured out in this modern day just how to do it. One thing led to the next and Garnick Entertainment Media Group was born. I networked all over the country, one introduction after the other. People wanted to work with me because I was as passionate about their projects as they were. Soon I broke into TV production and found myself rubbing shoulders with top executives and Celebrities that spanned internationally. I wondered why so many wanted to work with me and I was told because I believed in them. I’ve yet to take on a client that I truly do not resonate with. And here I am today being interviewed by Buzz Feed! My mantra is #YesYouCan.
Yitzi: How did you get involved in the PR industry?
I was told early on by mentors that with my passion and selling abilities, I should be an agent (which sometimes I think I am) as well as a publicist. I had a knack for imaging/branding and packaging talent. I had an innate understanding of how to pitch. With my experience as a TV producer it all seemed to fit together, complimenting each other. It’s just natural for me to wear all hats. One referral after the other and what I didn’t know, as Richard Branson has stated…”If offered a job that you are not sure of, take it and then go figure it out.” Funny, the climb has been really fun. I love it, every single day!
Yitzi:Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
I’m not a fan of elevators, they seem to break when I’m in NYC. On more than one occasion I’ve been 30 floors up. We had a 3 hour meeting with two other publicist an actress from Orange is the New Black and an international Super Model. My colleague and very good friend was giggling on the way up as she knew I was nervous. Of course as we wrap this 3 hour meeting up, you know the elevator was broken and I convinced everyone to follow me down 30 floors.
Yitzi: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m working with 3 NFL World Champions from The Philadelphia Eagles…a winning underdog you may have heard of. #GoBirds.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mary Buffett former daughter n law of Warren Buffett and a talented singer/songwriter who has been working with John Mayer’s producer for 5 years.
One of my really favorites has been Sharon Katz and The Peace Train. Sharon is a multi Grammy winning international artist and film maker of When Voices Meet. This is her true story of Apartheid in South Africa. I remember the day we met. Her story was so moving to me. I encouraged her to continue with her movie, her story needed to be told. Just last year WHYY On Tour did a piece that I pitched which was being considered for an Emmy nomination.
Yitzi: What are you most proud of?
Personally, my beautiful children and grandchildren. Professionally, I did it! I set out to make a name for myself in this industry. Not just any name but one that carries with it respect and integrity. My personal mantra is say what you mean and mean what you say.
Yitzi: I know your job is not easy. What drives you?
Passion. When I speak of “Passion”, I feed off of the excitement of my clients. It gets into my soul. I take my position very seriously. It is quite an honor to help deliver ones dreams. Often they are lifelong dreams.
Yitzi: Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR?
First, find someone successful in the industry who is very forthcoming and wants to share their pearls of wisdom with you.
Stay away from negativity and those who do not believe in you.
Surround yourself with positive people and a mentor who wants to raise you up and not fearful you will dim their light. In this business we need to surround ourselves with positive energy. You will attract what you are. Remember water seeks it’s own level and integrity, integrity, integrity.
Over deliver, you can never go wrong.
Yitzi: You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
I love this industry. I love to resonate with other like minded individuals.
1. Make friends, not clients or colleagues. If you authentically gel, it makes all the difference.
2. Be a good listener. (No mouse on a wheel) Meaning, while someone is talking, stay in the moment and connect rather than plan your next question or move when it is your turn. It’s really easy to see in someones eyes. They have a very far away look. Is that someone who you would want to work with? In the same token, make sure they are good listeners too.
3. Might be silly but always have business cards and an old fashioned pen.
4. Connect. Do not sell, simply connect.
Yitzi: Which skills do you think are most important to becoming a successful PR professional?
It starts with your last question of networking,because your name and contacts are everything. In my experience, just showing up has yielded great success for me. Be a person of your word. Don’t be on time, be early. Listen carefully to your clients needs and OVER deliver. Develop rapport with them right away. Many new clients are very gun shy and have been burned in the past. Work hard right away to alleviate these uncomfortable feelings so you can work symbiotically together and build momentum quickly. This will ensure longevity and set a positive tone.
Yitzi: You are in a position of influence. How have you used your position and skill to bring goodness to the world?
It’s important to me to pay it forward. I have a soft place in my heart for the Autistic Community. I’m also a TV producer who specializes in Lifestyle. I come in contact with so many causes and Celebrities/influencers who I speak to on a daily basis. It thrills me to have the ability to help multiple causes. It’s highly gratifying and I’ve made life long friends in the process.
Yitzi: Who are some of the most high profile clients you have helped? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Well, you know…I cannot kiss and tell! But you never know there may be a book in the near future!
Yitzi: What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Sleep on it, everything in the end works out. Deep breaths.
2. You cannot believe in your client more than they believe in themselves.
3. Not every action needs or deserves a reaction.
4. Listen to your gut. You know the answer right away, don’t ignore it.
5. How to wisely monetize. (I wish I knew then what I know now)
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.
Originally published at www.buzzfeed.com.