Inspiration can come in all shapes, sizes, and color. Today, dressed head-to-toe in the formidable black, it comes in the form of an inspiring story about a woman.

Kickstarting her career doing a job she knew deep down wasn’t for her, the Lady in Black took a huge leap of faith and decided to do her own thing right from her basement—which honestly, is not always the best place to summon inspiration having lived in one. And then magic happened. Or as my former, sensible, boss would say, “Luck favors the prepared one”, luck favored her. Her thing, the one concocted in the shadowy, sometimes depressing realm of the underground basement, soon became The.Next.Big.Thing.

Lady in Black, none other than, Natasha Koifman.
President of NKPR, leading North American PR, artist management, and digital agency
Contributor at @HuffPostCanada
Awarded WXN Most Powerful Women (2017 and 2015)

Her motto, akin to my sensible former boss’s line of thinking: Success is no accident. Her story, akin to the one that will inspire you to go after the great, even if the start is as unglamorous as your basement.

Here’s a further list of DID-YOU-KNOW to cement the OMG to make you go WOW:

1. Dividing her time between New York City (SoHo district) and Toronto (Casa Loma neighborhood), Natasha is a celebrated speaker and commentator on public relations, marketing, popular culture and fashion; she is also a frequent contributor for Huffington Post, Entertainment Tonight Canada and Newstalk 1010 radio.

2. A self-confessed introvert at heart, Natasha was born in Kiev and raised in Rome and then Edmonton, before she finally moved to Toronto. She majored in English and moved to NYC for work for several years.

3. Her agency, NKPR, is an amalgamation of her passion for sharing stories of substance and championing important causes.

4. Apart from her trademark all-black look, Natasha’s also fixated with skulls. It feeds into her inner rock chick.

5. Her lifestyle show, one she co-hosts with Taylor Kaye, Natasha Koifman, and Anthony Mantella, is a must-listen. Titled The F Words, because all fun things start with the letter F: Fun, Fashion, Fitness, Feeling {AND, and, in my case, Five Question Series :)} The shows are an average 15 minutes long and available for free on iTunes. I am halfway through the 62 items already!

 

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Q1. An introvert at heart, how did you stumble, then take control and eventually reign over the PR industry in Toronto?

Before I started NKPR, I was working at a job where I was asked to promote anything that came across my desk. I knew in my gut that it didn’t feel right… so I decided to take a leap and start my own company, from my basement so that I could pick and choose the projects and clients I worked with. My intention was never really to grow an agency, rather it was to do meaningful work that I was passionate about. The growth happened because I’ve had the great fortune to work with a team and clients who share the same philosophy.

I always joke that Samantha Jones (from Sex and the City) didn’t do the PR world any favors. There are so many misconceptions that our industry is about parties, socializing and air kissing. As publicists, our real role is to be strategic…to be thinking about how we can support our clients’ business goals and objectives. This usually happens in an office, not at a party.

So while the job does occasionally require me to be “out there”, as an introvert, my focus is always on cultivating deep one-on-one relationships, taking a personalized approach, and developing unique, intimate experiences.

Q2. Your signature look, all black, may I know what the story behind it is?

When I first started in the industry, the trend for women was pastels. I tried to wear them, but it never felt right. When I started wearing all black, I found that people took me more seriously at my job. The consistency helps make people know what to expect and feel more comfortable when they meet me. And without any brightly colored distractions, I can make sure it’s not about what I’m wearing, rather what I’m saying.

Q3. Starting out, did you experience bullying from people within the industry?

I was fortunate that when I launched NKPR, I was able to work with clients and partners that believed in what I was building, and who were supportive every step of the way. I think you can certainly find examples of bullying within the industry, but my focus has always been on creating an environment and corporate culture that inspires, motivates and supports. While along the way there have been people who have advocated for me and guided me, I would say my team serves as my current mentors and sponsors. I work with some of the brightest, smartest and most talented individuals in the industry, and they serve as an inspiration and a source of guidance on a daily basis.

Q4. As one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, what value do you aim to create with your work in 2018?

I want to continue to do good, strategic, meaningful work. I always say that I don’t believe in PR for the sake of PR—it needs to actually influence the bottom line.

Q5. With women looking up to you and hoping to create similar, successful businesses, what advice you would give, taking a cue from your personal and career trajectory?

I read a quote by Pele that I loved: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing.” I think this is so true. There will be ups and downs and a lot of long hours, but if you’re passionate about what you’re doing and you believe in it, then you can do it.

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I think you can certainly find examples of bullying within the industry, but my focus has always been on creating an environment and corporate culture that inspires, motivates and supports.  

Author: AD

Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.

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December 26, 2017

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