Tag Archives: MDC

Katie Kempner’s Primer on PR and Personality



Katie Kempner may have appeared in the cult-classic films Scam and Class of Nuke ‘Em High, but she’s much better known for her corporate communications credentials. In Epi 38, she switches roles from interviewing others, or landing her clients interviews as a PR phenom, and sits instead in my guest seat.

Kempner and I took a few fun minutes at the top to discuss our mutually limited—yet memorable—acting experiences (see bonus image, below), but then dove in to how taking a risk paid her career-making dividends, and her tangible takeaways about earned and owned media today. 
Stumbling into her Niche
  • When her prospects as an MTV VJ or starlet seemed slim Kempner took a job at a staffing company to avoid having to return to her parents’ home after college.
  • An opening at one of their client’s shops, the then still nascent advertising agency CP+B, changed her career path forever; Kempner talked her way into a role working with their new business division!
  • Kempner stayed with the award-winning agency for almost 20 years, and its acquiring company, MDC, from its roots as a small Miami office to regional powerhouse to a global super machine. But…
  • She always dreamed of starting her own firm. Solid relationships with her employer allowed her to launch Kempner Communications and keep CP+B as her first, and biggest, client.
  • How she lives the “reinventionist” philosophy of one of her current clients and my previous guest, Joe Jackman! (Check out Epi 37 if you missed it.)

I am the product of hard work and being in the right place at the right time.

Media Evolution
  • Kempner has witnessed the rise in popularity of owned media, and she discusses why she still leans more toward earned media, but…
  • Always one to embrace future concepts, Kempner also discusses the benefits of client-created media and how it can help reach an intended audience.
  • Speaking of audiences, we discussed the shifting audience perspectives as the media world functions with fewer high-profile journalists with readership at scale, and more outlets to tell stories.
  • Listen for Kempner’s recommendations on balancing quantity and quality in earned media.

In one way, the proliferation of media is fantastic because there are more places to go.

Kempners Tips for Getting Started in Today’s PR World
  • Be a strong communicator
  • Be careful with your words and a scrupulous editor
  • Knowing why you’re crafting a message can help determine where to place it.
  • Knowing what your clients are trying to say helps to determine to whom they’re talking.

And personally? Just as she asks of the guests she interviews on Perspectives, Kempner’s answer to what advice she’d offer:
“You should speak kindly to yourself…and I don’t mean live in some kind of la-la land where you’re not being realistic, but be good to yourself and be your own best friend.”

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Bonus Image: