March is celebrated worldwide as Women’s History Month, marking a time to honor the significant contributions of women in the U.S., UK, Australia and beyond. Originally designated as Women’s History Week in the United States in 1982, the celebration was extended to a full month by 1987 (rightfully so!), acknowledging the role of women throughout history.

At Coyne PR, recognizing the achievements and contributions of women isn’t confined to just Women’s History Month; it’s a commitment we hope to honor every day. However, March offers us a moment to shine an even brighter light on the extraordinary women within our agency. We’re taking this chance to spotlight their insights with advice to those just beginning their journey in PR, as well as to highlight their perspectives on the evolving role of women in PR across the industry.

Before we dive into what our Coyners had to share, here is a quick reality check: According to The Holmes Report, women make up about 70% of the PR workforce, but they only hold about 30% of the top positions in the industry. This gap highlights the need for active support for women’s advancement in the industry.

That said, take a read through as we aim to share advice for women entering the field of PR and shed light on how we see the role of women in the industry evolving. We also couldn’t resist the opportunity to reflect internally, asking our Coyne team members, who do you admire at Coyne, and why, to celebrate the women who mentor, teach, inspire and contribute to our agency’s success daily.

Advice for women entering the industry: What’s one thing you wish you had known or done at the start of your career?

  • “When I first began my career, I said ‘yes’ to anyone who asked me to take on a project, no matter what my workload looked like. Eventually, I was spread so thin that work consumed my life, and I was incredibly stressed. I wish I had known about the power of saying ‘no’ or relying on someone else for help if I needed it.” Jaida White, Assistant Account Executive
  • “One thing I wish I had known earlier and at the start of my career is to practice work-life balance. Many times, when we get into a routine, it becomes just that – routine. In that way, we can give more of ourselves than we have to give. Our lives are more than our work, which, while important, should not be all-consuming. Our work is meaningful and worthwhile, but in order to see it bloom in its entirety, among other aspects of our lives, we must nurture ourselves first and learn to give grace to ourselves and others.” Carolina Guerra, Assistant Account Executive
  • “It’s ok to say no! Set boundaries. Your time is valuable, and you can’t get it back, no matter how hard you try. Make sure you’re spending it productively for your career, but don’t be afraid to ask people to reschedule if you have a personal appointment or cancel a meeting if it could be said in an email. And aim to understand the difference between ‘urgent’ and URGENT – if everything is urgent, then nothing is urgent.” Megan Crossley, Director, Social Media
  • “Be kind to yourself. PR is a challenging profession that comes with a lot of media rejection and client criticism. Work hard and do your best, but rather than getting down on yourself, learn from mistakes and failures. Also, make sure there are things in your life outside of work that bring you joy.” Janet Schiller, Senior Communications Strategist
  • “Organize your work efficiently. Organization can affect your work or your team’s work, and it’s one of the crucial keys to success when it comes to your career.” Carisa Erato, Assistant Account Executive
  • “Start networking, talking to people (editors, influencers), get to know other people at Coyne and learn about what others are working on outside of your direct team.” Katie Clarkin, Senior Account Executive
  • “To speak up more! If something doesn’t feel right, or you have an idea, use your voice and put it out there! Go with your gut and share your ideas because you’ll never know if you don’t try.” Kristen Urban, Account Executive
  • “Prior to entering the industry, I wish I had not been so scared to be a small fish in a large pond. Coyne is equipped with strong female leadership that continue to break down boundaries, exceed expectations and encourage other women. Younger Gianaly would be pleased to know that she has been hired to work in a space where she is surrounded by, led by and appreciated by women.” Gianaly Santiago, Account Coordinator
  • “I wish I had taken more journalism courses before I started my career. The relationship between publicists/clients and journalists is crucial to the nature of the job and it’s a dynamic that you don’t always get to explore as an intern. Understanding the journalist’s job helps you develop a better partnership with them, so I believe that having more of that insight from the beginning would’ve been beneficial to my learning experience.” Brianna Clyburn, Account Executive


Envisioning the future: How do you see the role of women in PR evolving in the coming years?

  • “The role of women in PR will continue to evolve in the coming years. They bring skills and attributes to the communications industry that are vital to its continued success. They are going to drive innovation in the industry through their commitment to technology, creative insights, emotional intelligence, empathy, collaborative approach, and, most importantly, adaptability. These strong traits and characteristics will continue to produce strong, exceptional leaders in PR.” Clara Heffernan, Chief People Officer
  • “Skies the limit. I would love for more women leaders to emerge at the top of the org chart. For such a woman-dominated profession, there needs to be more women in the CEO/Chief Communications Officer role. With more and more clients moving to emotional-based, purpose-driven marketing, women are a natural fit to lead those efforts.” Jenn Kamienski, Executive Vice President
  • “2023 was truly the ‘Year of the Girl,’ and I think the love, respect and empowerment of women that flourished across all corners of the media landscape will continue into 2024 and beyond. Just look at March Madness right now, the coverage of the women’s game is INSANE! Women in PR are the ones elevating powerful stories of other incredible women, and inspiring others to do the same.” Sarah Wilson, Account Executive
  • “Women hold a significant place both in the boardroom and at home – and that won’t change. They excel in ‘the juggle’ of responsibilities and will continue to pave new paths as trailblazers, making challenging tasks appear effortless despite the complexities involved.” Erin Drelick, Senior Vice President
  • “I see women’s roles growing both within the industry and in terms of who our brands need to reach. We know that women are often the decision-makers and purchasers of a home, so creating authentic and meaningful ways to connect them to our brands will be increasingly important.” Jessie Stivers, Senior Account Executive


Celebrating the women of Coyne: Who do you admire at Coyne and why?

  • “Lauren Mackiel and Jen DeNick. They are not only dedicated to their craft, but they are incredibly devoted mothers. Each and every day, they are presented with a challenge, an issue and a hurdle, but they both leap right over to conquer another day. It isn’t easy to do it all, but these ladies should be applauded and celebrated for all they have accomplished in this lifetime.” Jenn Kamienski, Executive Vice President
  • “All the mothers at Coyne. Maintaining a work/life balance is hard as a young adult – I sincerely admire all the mothers pursuing a career while being present in their children’s lives (especially a career that isn’t always 9-5).” Jaida White, Assistant Account Executive
  • “Julie, Pascal, Sue – all of the amazing women on our administration team. They’re the heartbeat of Coyne – keeping things running smoothly while also coordinating fun culture events, helping with mailers, office logistics, etc.” Alyssa Cosentino, Vice President
  • “Grace Boyd-Dias – She is such a hard worker and a pleasure to work with!” Anna Barnes, Account Supervisor
  • “Pascale Vaval. She keeps it real and never apologizes for being herself. In a world where we are constantly pressured to act and think like everyone else, Pascale is a breath of fresh air. Her authenticity is infectious and empowering, and she has instilled in me many life lessons without trying. She might be the most humble person I know. Never wanting the spotlight, yet always supporting her friends and family with love and care. I also admire her creativity, from her love of leopard print and lipstick to her gold medal DIY Halloween costumes.” Justin Rush, Account Coordinator
  • “I admire so many leading ladies at Coyne! Throughout my career here, though, when I would think of ‘who I want to be when I grow up,’ Lisa Wolleon was the first person to come to mind. She has such poise in challenging situations. She clearly communicates, is creative, kind and respectful, and is such a strong leader; people want to be in her presence. Newer Coyners, though, truly inspire me as well – their fresh perspective on what it means to be a working woman and what they value aligns with how I want to lead my life.” Megan Crossley, Director, Social Media
  • “The Humana Girls. Every woman on the account is so different, but is equally as inspiring for their creativity, organization and confidence, among plenty of other traits. They can really juggle it all and continue to produce great work that impacts the health and well-being of seniors all across the country.” Sarah Wilson, Account Executive
  • “Janet Schiller. She is so poised, humble and extremely smart, as well as an excellent writer.” Ann Smith, Vice President
  • “Linda Bernstein Jasper for so many reasons. She is intelligent, collaborative and creative. Clients adore her. She’s raised two amazing college-aged children and does stellar work for her clients. She’s supportive on a professional level but also on a human level. I feel *so* lucky to work with her.” Erin Drelick, Senior Vice President
  • “Linda Bernstein Jasper – She’s driven and passionate about providing the best work to our clients and she is a force to be reckoned with.” Carisa Erato, Assistant Account Executive
  • “Jen Launchi, because she is so smart and creative, very hard-working, and a great leader at Coyne. Jen is always leading by example and creates a great atmosphere for collaborative work.” Katie Clarkin, Senior Account Executive
  • “Amanda Iodice Acevedo! There are so many smart and strategic women at Coyne that I look up to and learn from every day, but Amanda is one I have worked closely with for years and, to this day, someone I consider a great mentor (and friend). From client interactions to unlocking creativity to being an all-around great leader – I’ve learned so much from her in the early stages of my career and now as I take on a supervisor role. On top of it all, she makes working at Coyne fun, and I’m forever thankful for our Slack chats.” Katelyne Ortega, Account Supervisor
  • “Team Rottner! I’m lucky to work daily alongside three intelligent women who offer mutual respect, different perspectives, and genuine collaboration that encourages creativity and drive.” Mikaela Jenkins, Social Media Manager
  • “I take immense pride in having commenced my professional journey alongside Shana Walther as interns 17 years ago, a collaboration that endures to this day. Shana embodies the quintessential colleague and mentor, inspiring me and many within our organization and beyond. The greatest testimonial for our agency is that she chose Coyne PR as the place where she wants to be.” Chris Tamburino, Vice President
  • “I’ve had many mentors, managers, and team leads spanning my six years at Coyne, and can attribute a great deal of my personal and professional growth to Jackie Peskin, Sara Swantkoski, Stacy Bataille, Erin Drelick, Alyssa Cosentino, Shannen Walsh, and Kristin Capone. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing each of them transition into various phases of life, from moving into new homes, getting married, having children, and raising families, all while carrying the responsibility of delivering the highest quality of client service with their own style and grace. I admire their fearless leadership, strategic thinking, unique perspectives, and their ability to continuously pivot to achieve our clients’ ever-evolving goals. They each prove how possible it is to be a true PR powerhouse while simultaneously wearing the hats of wife, mother, sister, friend, and mentor, and for that, I am forever grateful! I hope to make the same impact on my female teammates and colleagues at Coyne as they have done for me.” Bridget Mackey, Senior Account Supervisor
  • “Stacey Cooney! Stacey has been a great mentor and leader since I started at Coyne and has taught me so much about thinking creatively, authentically and strategically. I admire Stacey’s work ethic and ability to find creative connections for all the different Coyne clients in things she loves – from Sports to Hallmark to Orange Theory. A key bonus, Stacey is also just a great person to be around, and I know that whether we are brainstorming, budgeting or on a work trip it’ll be enjoyable.” Emily Altemus, Account Supervisor
  • “Working under Lisa Wolleon’s leadership for nearly a decade has certainly shaped the professional I am today. Her confidence in herself and her team has instilled in me my own confidence and motivation to excel in the industry, just as she has. I value Lisa’s knowledge, creativity and ability to lead with poise under pressure – all of which make her an inspiring leader not just for the women of Coyne, but everyone.” Stacey Cooney, Assistant Vice President
  • “I truly admire Cristin Urban & Jen DeNick who lead our Hilton team fearlessly. Cristin & Jen not only provide indispensable counsel to the highest levels at Hilton, but they also support our team at every turn and aren’t afraid to shake things up if it will make our work-life balance easier. I’m inspired by their ability to balance everything from work life to professional growth – I look to them as a career role models.” Taylor Gray, Senior Account Executive
  • “I work with an amazingly strong network of intelligent women. Aanchal, Alexandra and Brianna are three mentors for me as they continue to offer insights, advice and feedback that aid my professional and personal growth. Upon my introduction to the team, I have always felt like an important asset, given their ability to make me feel welcomed and valued.” Gianaly Santiago, Account Coordinator
  • “I am incredibly fortunate to work with an exceptional and supportive group of women on the Hilton team. Their mentorship has been essential to my professional growth, inspiring me to be a better publicist and team member daily. I also appreciate that I can work with an agency where women are prominently in leadership roles, allowing me to learn from their experiences as I forge my own path at Coyne.” Brianna Clyburn, Account Executive