If there’s one thing I’ve learned since graduating college, it’s that success is rooted in connections.
Even the most famous Jews like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses all relied on the right connection to help them achieve success.
Though no one can really compete with G-d, expatriate Pittsburgher Heidi Krupp-Lisiten is proud of the connections that have helped her succeed.
The 43-year-old marketing and public relations CEO says that her life has been all about connections.
“And if you look to what the connections are, they can really help make your dreams come true.”
Her company, the highly respected New York-based, Krupp Kommunications, grew out of knowing the right people, mastering her craft and taking “a leap of faith.”
Together with her husband, Darren, who serves as acting CFO and COO, Heidi is now in the business of connecting the world with her clients.
Some of the campaigns she’s worked on include the launch of New York Times bestsellers, “The South Beach Diet” and Jon Stewart’s “AMERICA (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction.”
“We’re conduits,” says Heidi. “We take messages from leading authorities of information and we share their message with the world.”
A Greenfield native and Allderdice graduate, Heidi majored in journalism at Ohio State University, and worked for a soft drink company and later a supplements company in New Jersey after earning her degree. However, she says she maintained strong a love for journalism and PR and was deeply focused on trying to work in television.
In 1991, Heidi landed a job as a publicity assistant for ABC’s “20/20” with a little help from a family connection.
Working on segments for Barbara Walters and assisting in publicity for reporter Catherine Crier, Heidi developed the connections and skills she would need to take her to next level. Though, in order to actually make a living, she admits that she was also employed as a waitress during that time.
In 1995 Heidi left ABC and was encouraged to start her own company by her “fairy god mentor” Jan Miller, a literary agent.
“Jan has an amazing ability to tap talent and to let people believe in who they are and to help people reach their greatest potential,” says Heidi. “And that’s what she did for me.”
Jan suggested that with a mere $5,000 and a few contacts, Heidi could start her own PR firm.
Unfortunately her connections and skill could only take her so far. Heidi still needed the $5,000 to start the company.
Connections, skill, it’s time to meet luck.
Heidi explained that while in a clothing store in New Jersey, a woman randomly approached her and expressed interest in buying her 1989 Toyota Celica convertible.
Five-thousand dollars later, Krupp Kommunications was born.
While many of her opportunities have been rooted in the connections she’s made, it’s Heidi’s talent and experience that are responsible for her success.
Starting as a one-woman publicity firm in 1996, Krupp Communications is now a 30-person operation.
“We’re not a company that just does personal publicity and red carpet events,” says Heidi. “We do publicity that equates to tangible measurable results whether it’s a new business, making a book a best seller or helping a product gain public attention.”
Staying true to her hometown, Heidi says she’d love the opportunity to have Pittsburgh as a client, adding that the “real reason to go to Pittsburgh is for the people.”
Her strong connection with her high school friends and closeness with her family keep her returning as often as possible.
And because it’s just a simple direct flight from New York to Pittsburgh, Heidi doesn’t even have to make any connections.
(Jay Firestone, a Pittsburgh native and Web editor for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, writes about Pittsburghers who now live somewhere else. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)