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Steve Schonberg

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Steve Schonberg
Steve Schonberg
What inspired you to get into PR?

In college (at Boston University) I majored in Communications and minored in Political Science with the intention of going into politics. My belief was that in our modern world it’s more critical than ever to be a great communicator. You can have the best ideas, but if you can’t convey them quickly and with precision, you’re not going to get very far.Once I finished my studies, I went into public service and sadly realized it wasn’t for me. The bureaucracy made it impossible to have an immediate impact. So, instead I transitioned to Cause Marketing and helped the world’s biggest brands direct their marketing muscle to make a significant impact in our domestic and global communities.

Continuing down that path, I parlayed my work with these brands to also help communicate their product lines that enable consumers to live happier, healthier and more productive lives.

What do you think is the key is to successful PR?

So much of our history and cultural existence is based in storytelling, even dating back to the cavemen. Fast forward to 2014, where that power has transitioned from community leaders to every day folks—among whom storytelling is no longer a creative outlet, it’s the status quo.

We tell stories through so many mediums, in seconds and with a variety of means (cell phones, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), the only way for brands to break through is to insert themselves in those conversations and show their relevance and role in improving consumers’ lives.

What is your biggest PR win?

My biggest PR win is actually one from my personal life. In 2003, I lived in Boston just blocks away from the State House, where our elected leaders were debating whether or not Massachusetts would be the first state to approve gay marriage.

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Living there with my now ex-husband, we felt powerless and frustrated—unable to make a measurable impact in the cause. Picketing outside the State House felt small, but working in PR, I found a way to think BIG.

I then pitched MTV a show about our lives, and the result was a 1-hour “True Life” documentary about us navigating the complex political and cultural implications, and ultimately becoming the 44th same sex couple to ever be married in the U.S. What I always claim to be the “best pitch I ever did,” the documentary went on to air around the world, in many countries who at the time were debating their own definition of marriage. That year, we received the 2004 GLAAD Outstanding Documentary Award for our work benefitting the GLBT community.

The relationship didn’t go very far, but the story sure did.

Besides PR, what are some creative outlets that help inspire you day-to-day?

To my earlier point, I’m incredibly passionate about storytelling. I’m also obsessed with theater. Merging the two, I’m a publicist and also a writer in my free time. I write reviews and interview celebrities, all with the goal of encouraging people to engage with, and attend the theater every chance they get. Currently, I serve as editor for the website, “Center On The Aisle,” am a weekly contributor to The Huffington Post and have appeared on NBC, forecasting the 2014 TONY Awards.

What is that beach shot about?

Steve SchonbergI absolutely love that photo. First, because of where it was taken – on the beach in Provincetown, MA. Somewhere I’ve spent a lot of time and have many fond memories of – plus besides the beach, they have great shows at night. Double the fun! I also think it reveals a lot about me. Fun and welcoming with just a hint of my edgy side (the tattoos peeking out on my shoulders). A lion, because I’m a Leo, and a blackbird, because my grandmother, who has since passed, and I shared a love for the song, “Bye Bye Blackbird.”

Where is your favorite place in the world?

There’s two. Broadway, and home in Forest Hills where I live with my incredible partner, Brian and our adorable dog, a Jack Russell Terrier named “Pickles.”