The PRSA NJ member spotlight recognizes and helps us get to know our fellow chapter members. Each month, we randomly select a PRSA NJ member or members to highlight. This month, we are featuring Marla Camins who joined PRSA NJ in November 2016. You will get to learn more about Marla below and find out why membership in PRSA NJ is important to her.
Senior Leader, Internal & External Corporate Communications for Wakefern Food Corp.
PRSA NJ member since 2016
How did you get into the field of PR? I used to do PR for U2, it was all pro-bono. Ha-ha. Little joke. I did not actually ever work for U2 however, I did transition into the field of PR after working as a celebrity magazine editor for over a decade. These were the “salad days” of my career, and in this role, I was lucky enough to work with the top publicists in the entertainment world, a group of celebrity-wranglers who knew their trade inside and out. If you weren’t smart – they’d eat you for breakfast (and maybe dinner too). Over time, through osmosis and my own curiosity about what it would be like to work on the other side of the table, I learned the wondrous art and craft of the PR world. Eventually, I left the publishing world and was lucky enough to land a directorial PR role at a local non-profit. That job led to new roles in management at different PR and creative agencies – work which I loved. Agency life was fun, but eventually I founded my own marketing and PR start up and pivoted my skills as a comms leader. I was fortunate to sell this first business to venture capitalists. After that, I opened a few other SaaS marketing/businesses in the PR field, many were also sold to private investors. Flash forward to about seven years ago when I was lucky enough to land my current role as a communications lead at Wakefern Food Corp. – an $18 billion dollar privately-owned cooperative headquartered in New Jersey. At Wakefern, our comms team is small, mighty and wonderful. As you might imagine, working in the supermarket industry during these unprecedented Covidian times means no two days are ever the same. In fact, when I fire up my email in the morning, there’s no telling what brand new comms challenge will have hijacked my inbox. But, I have to admit, yes the deadlines are fast and furious. Yes, the rules of the game may change from minute-to-minute. And yes, the work is unrelenting. But the challenge of PR to me is so fully immersive, intoxicating, heady, and rewarding that it’s impossible not to be all-in…all the time. True fact: I enjoy every messy minute of it.
What do you love most about PR? There’s something magical about the alchemy of creating a resounding buzz around an event, a company, a product, a person, or even an idea…but that’s just one of the reasons I love being a player in the PR world. Mostly for me, the fun of this business is in the strategy. However, we go about our business, we are at times advisors, magicians, content creators, soldiers-at-arms, influencers, data-crunchers, star-makers, writers, communicators… actually, there’s no end to the skill-set a good public relations leader needs to master. But for me, strategy is where it’s at. Once we set our blue-print down and decide on a chosen path to build out a new campaign, fire up a new initiative or (more recently) figure out next steps to deal with an emerging crisis — the die is cast. The game is on. And that’s when, the battle really begins. As the famed Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher Sun Tzu, wrote in his tome, “The Art of War,” the success is all about the planning: [T]he general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. . . many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat . . It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.” – Sun Tzu, Chapter VI (“Weak Points and Strong”).
What is the value of being a member of PRSA NJ? PRSA NJ is the secret weapon in the back pocket of every PR pro in the state – and if it isn’t, it should be. The organization presents an amazing network of professionals who’ve banded together, willing to offer their time, thoughts, insights and hard-earned tales, all in a spirit of pure-play generosity. I’ve relied on this group’s collective wisdom more times than I can count, and my gratitude is only punctuated by the respect I have for the leaders and organizers of PRSA NJ who truly put their blood, sweat, and tears into making this organization not just a resource, but a lifeline. I’m so proud and humbled to be a member – thank you for having me.
We are glad to have you Marla. THANK YOU for being a valued member of PRSA NJ and to all of our members for helping to add to the success of our chapter!