Over the course of more than 20 years, Susan Radzyminski has built a notable career as a marketing and public relations professional in the architecture, engineering and financial service industries. At KeyBank, she was instrumental in the development of Key4Women forums and initiatives and contributed to Key’s continued market leader position in the region. Now a Principal at EYP, one of the nation’s leading architecture and engineering design firms, Susan is responsible for leading branding, PR, marketing, and business development strategies. She is an active volunteer in the Capital Region. Her energy, focus, and strategic skills have contributed to the success of local organizations including: The Women’s Business Council, The Arts Center of the Capital Region, Upstate New York MS Board, and Women Against MS. Her passion for helping others also has a powerful exponential effect. A thoughtful mentor, she champions others’ development while encouraging them to enrich their lives further through volunteering for causes that speak to their passions.
Attendees of our upcoming Women in PR event will get to hear from Susan firsthand, but until then, you can learn a little more about her from the answers to these five questions…
What path led you to your current position?
I graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in business, and one of my favorite classes was Public Relations, which featured visiting PR executives who shared their work experience as case studies and we developed responses to their challenges. I found the strategies for creating positive visibility and handling crises fascinating and inspiring. That led me to pursue a career in PR, and I landed my first job as a PR coordinator at an international engineering firm in Chicago. My job was to promote the positive outcomes of the hydroelectric dams the company designed. My boss was a seasoned PR executive who pushed me to work closely with the marketing team, and I grew an appreciation for how powerful PR and Marketing are when the two disciplines work together. From that point, I sought positions where I could use my marketing and PR skills. I joined the marketing team at KeyBank and developed advertising and sponsorship strategy working closely with my colleagues in PR and Community Engagement. We referred to our model as the three-legged stool, one reinforcing the other. I moved to EYP as the Director of Marketing where I lead a team of marketing, PR and communications professionals building our national brand through an integrated approach.
How does a focus on public relations help your organization meet its strategic goals?
As EYP continues to develop into a national firm growing in new geographies and specialty markets, Public Relations is a key part of our strategy. As a professional service firm, it is critical for our architects and engineers to be recognized as thought leaders endorsed through the credibility of presenting and publishing our expertise and work. Public Relations is a powerful connector of our brand to what is relevant to the people who hire our expertise. We use PR to connect in a meaningful way with our clients every day.
What other jobs and personal experiences have affected how you practice today?
My volunteer work for not for profits has allowed me to learn about how different types of organizations operate and has given me exposure to situations outside of my business practice. I have learned that every type of organization should have a PR and marketing strategy that supports the mission, vision and goals of the organization. The most successful ones embrace the power of PR at the top of the organization. It is my practice to involve senior leadership in marketing and PR strategy in every organization.
What is something you’ve learned by working in PR that civilians wouldn’t know?
What you don’t say is as important as what you do say. Sometimes no comment is the right answer. Keeping your organization out of the media is often the more difficult job of a PR professional.
What single key piece of advice would you offer a new practitioner or someone contemplating a career in public relations?
Honesty and responsiveness are the best traits of a good PR person. Be ready to be on the hot seat and always stay true to your values, integrity and knowledge.