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RADINA RUSSELL: Financial Public Relations Specialist, Brunswick Group

BSBA University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

MBA Columbia Business School

Previous Job Experience:

Vice President, Equity Research JPMorgan Securities

Merchandise Accounting, Saks Fifth Avenue

Briefly describe your day to day activities and responsibilities as a Financial Public Relations Specialist:

I work with a wide array of clients and help them determine the best way to announce information that has a financial implication. This includes, but is not limited to, quarterly earnings, CEO transitions, M&A, IPOs, crisis situations, shareholder activism and other significant changes. There is no typical day for me. Sometimes I’m on the phone with bankers and lawyers all day digging into the structure of a transaction so I can write a press release. Other times, I’m at a client site prepping an Investor Relations team on how to answer questions.

Prior to accepting your position at Brunswick Group, you served as VP of Equity Research with JP Morgan Securities. What prompted your job change and, specifically, how did the recession and the effects thereof play a role, if any, in your decision to switch things up in your career?

My career in equity research was going extremely well, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t see myself doing research over the long term. I was quietly looking for a new role within the investment bank, but I wasn’t coming across anything that interested me. The good news is that my job was secure, so I didn’t feel compelled to take the first opportunity that presented itself. I received a call from a headhunter one day who asked me to meet with Brunswick. I’d never even heard of financial PR, so I told the fellow I wasn’t interested. He was persuasive, however, and convinced me to take the meeting. Over the next five months, I continued to interview because it was tough to leave the safety net of the bulge bracket bank. But I finally pulled the trigger and left.

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We all know the vital role networking plays in our careers, what suggestions would you give to those seeking to change jobs/careers at this time?

1. If you have the luxury of time, use it. Don’t jump at the first few things that turn up just because you don’t like where you are. Talk to people. Ask for more meetings. Negotiate.

2. Use your network and your friends’ network. Ask people if they know people in X industry and take meetings with them.

3. Expand your horizons. Talk to people with whom you wouldn’t normally interact, like the person next to you on the plane or in the airport lounge.

4. Find a couple good headhunters who are interested in someone with your background.

5. Follow- up. If you meet people, send a nice follow up note. Invite them to drinks at a later date.

What are the major challenges in your current position, and what solutions have you deemed best to handle these challenges ?

Knowing when to speak up and when to shut up. Don’t be intimidated by titles and positions. If the CFO is saying something incorrect, it may be necessary to respectfully correct him/her in front of an entire room of people.

What would you contribute your level of success to?

Knowing the difference between self promotion and “firm” promotion. If I am at the top of my game, I can make my boss appear to be the smartest guy in the room. This makes me an indispensable asset.

Any advice for younger colleagues?

Work strategically and don’t assume you’re entitled to anything just because you’re smart. And know who your friends are.

–interview by Rashida Maples, Esq.

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