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PRSA Tampa Bay Member Spotlight: Nicole Mantzanas

July 10, 2013

Every two weeks, we put a spotlight on a PRSA Tampa Bay member to learn more about their public relations background, advice on best practices and why they love working in the field.

This week’s #PRSATB Member Spotlight is on NEA Group’s Principal, Nicole Mantzanas, whose fifth grade teacher was the first to praise her writing skills fueling her passion for reading, writing and now, public relations.

Name: Nicole Mantzanas

Nicole Mantzanas

Nicole Mantzanas

Title: Principal

Company/Organization: NEA Group

PRSA Involvement (past and present): I’ve held nearly all positions in the PRSA Tampa Bay chapter, including president in 2010.

Links to Personal and/or Professional Social Channels:

1)    Tell us a little bit about your career, educational/professional background and how you got to where you are today.  

I have degrees in both Public Relations and Telecommunications from the University of Florida. I originally wanted to go the reporter route but realized quickly it wasn’t the career path for me. My first job, oddly enough, was in the marketing department at WFLA News Channel 8. Following that, I worked in non-profit public relations at the Shriners Headquarters, then corporate PR at Catalina Marketing. My skills and experience then led me to open my own firm, NEA Group, in 2010.

2)    What do you wish someone had told you when you first started your career in PR?

I wish someone had told me to relax and not worry so much about what I “wanted to do with my life” and just let things happen naturally. My career has progressed in ways I never imagined, but in the beginning I was so concerned about what I “should” be doing. I also wish someone had told me that being nice doesn’t translate to being good at the job. I’ve learned the hard way that I’d rather be good at what I do than nice; I still struggle with it.

3)    In grade school, what things did your teachers note on your report cards that you feel correlate to the PR pro you are today? 

When I was a child, my parents often heard, “Nicole would rather talk than do her work” – luckily, I am in a field where I have to talk a lot, so this works out for me! My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Painter, was the first to praise my writing skills and encourage me to write more. Her encouragement is what really helped fuel my passion for reading and writing.

4)    When you see a great story in the press, what’s your immediate thought?

My first thought is often to congratulate the PR person for landing the story. I know it probably took months of hard work to get the story in the press. I’m always supportive of other PR people and friends in PR who get great placement for their clients. It often helps me to work a little harder for my clients and it shows the value of having professionals like us on staff, or on retainer as it may be.

5)    What personality traits and intangible qualities do you look for when recruiting new PR talent?

When it comes to intangible qualities, I look for someone with drive, a willingness to work and a little humility. I think an important quality of a successful PR person is the ability to leave their ego at the door each day. It’s not about us, it’s about our clients and our employers, and any work we do will often get critiqued and criticized. That takes someone with a thick skin. Better to have it sooner than later, as it took me a while to build up my own.

If you are interested in being featured in a “PRSATB Member Spotlight,” please reach out to Jenna Stock.

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