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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Laura Livingston Rubin, Principal of LLR Consulting

Laura Livingston Rubin founded public relations and marketing boutique LLR Consulting in 2001, serving a mix of fashion, design and lifestyle clients. Rubin’s perspective and reach are global, whether she is working to insure coverage during London and Paris fashion weeks for a designer label, overseeing the marketing for a luxury home goods purveyor in the Caribbean, or managing the international design media outreach for the launch of an accessories boutique in Macau. Laura Rubin successfully works with established, internationally recognized brands as well as launching new fashion designers, artists, boutiques and galleries. She garners these nascent, entrepreneurial businesses with vital industry and consumer attention in order to deliver critical, bottom-line results.

In 2009 Rubin expanded LLR Consulting’s client roster to include organizations operating in the nexus of sustainability and design. Drawing on her background in environmentalism, she is able to provide companies in this space with fashion and design media savvy while understanding their core attributes.
Committed to aiding charitably-oriented organizations, Rubin consistently provides one or more philanthropies with the services of her organization. Through her work at LLR Consulting she has supported a variety of issues about which she is passionate including arts education, international development and women’s health, among others. Rubin’s efforts in the areas of events and public relations move these organizations’ agendas forward.
Prior to establishing LLR Consulting in 2001, Rubin served as the Director of Corporate Communications for USA Networks, Inc. Before taking that position she was employed by a division of the organization, USA Interactive, as the Marketing Director and subsequently the General Manager of Interactive. Rubin began her professional career at Ernst & Young as an Associate and Senior Associate, where she launched several innovative marketing tools, including conceiving of a co-branded financial planning site with ELLE magazine geared to women. Laura was also instrumental in writing and marketing Ernst & Young’s series of books on entrepreneurs, women in business and financial planning for women.
Throughout her career, Laura has moonlighted as a freelance journalist for various publications, writing articles on diverse subject matter such as hot spots in Manhattan, the beauty industry’s response to 9/11 and countering corporate “hate sites.” It is this experience that in part helps her better anticipate the needs of journalists in her publicity work today.
As an undergraduate at Muhlenberg College, Rubin interned for Congressman Paul McHale (D-Pennsylvania) as well as McMahon, Schlicker & Associates, an environmental lobbying organization in Washington, DC where she wrote legislation on the pesticides in the diets of infants and children, which was passed into law.  We are so pleased to present her as our latest Mover and Shaker!  

Peachy Deegan interviewed Laura Livingston Rubin for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan:How did you get into Public Relations?
Laura Livingston Rubin: I'm an accidental entrepreneur. I started my career at a lobbying firm in Washington, DC but quickly became disenchanted with beltway politics. I decided to apply my skills to the private sector and one thing led to another.
What do you think will be the hottest fashion/lifestyle trends internationally for 2010?
People are longing for a combination of authenticity and levity. The ubiquitous rocker chic look will continue but abate. We still need our tough girl armour in these challenging times, but we're also craving softer elements that connote optimism. We want to see the hand of the artisan present in the purchases we make - whether it's a leather purse or a jar of honey - conveying veracity.  
Of all of the brands you work with, who do you enjoy working with the most and why?
I have to fall in love a little in order to take on a client, so I really don't have a favorite. I feel incredibly fortunate to work with such an amazing roster of talented entrepreneurs, business owners and charities.
What designers do you admire most and why?
Chadwick Bell's committment to artisanal quality is inspiring, that much more so given his age. His designs have a refined, quiet sense of luxury that transcends the trend merry-go-round while still feeling current. His respect for and understanding of the craft of creating beauty never fails to move me.
Another designer that operates by his own rules within the industry is Tracy Feith. His prints transport me to sunny days; just walking into his stores cheers me up. Some of the most fun I've ever had has been in Tracy Feith dresses.
What criteria makes a good client?
Talent, intellect and passion. It's important that they have a strong point of view, something to put out in the world, otherwise there's nothing new in their news. One of my mentors in PR said, "You can't dress up a pig." The product has to be there otherwise it won't matter how well written the press release is, you won't get the results. And in the process you'll dammage your reputation by aligning yourself with an inauthentic message.
What do most clients and people in general not realize about Public Relations?
Successful PR isn't just throwing parties. There is a great deal of strategy-driven work that occurs behind the scenes that if done correctly is never seen by the public. Events are only one tool, though they are often the most visible which is why they're the element most associated with our business.
Peachy Deegan works with many people in Public Relations on a daily basis but only the very best make it to Movers and Shakers.  What do you think makes you different?
Thank you, I'm flattered to have been chosen as a Mover and Shaker. I hope you could ask anyone that has worked with or for me and they'd tell you the same thing: that I treat everyone I encounter with respect regardless of their title, position or place on the masthead.
Do you have future political ambitions?
I don't have political ambitions for myself but I could certainly see myself helping a candidate run for office. I have a couple of friends from my Washington, DC days that may indeed throw their hat into the political ring in the future, and when that time comes I'd be there to support them.   
What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
Overcoming illness at a young age inevitably changes one's perspective. Prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer I felt driven as if by external forces. I now work  joyfully and excellence is the natural end result.
What are you proudest of and why?
Kicking cancer's ass.   
What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
Work with the Edible Schoolyard, which it looks like we're about to do in New Orleans
What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
At the table with my friends, or wherever my nieces and nephew are.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
I have to choose just one? Kirna Zabete and Pas de Deux for their edit, The Strand bookstore for my lit fix, and Union Square on Saturdays because I'm a greenmarket groupie.

What is your favorite drink?
High: Pol Roger
Low: Freshly-squeezed watermelon juice from Liquiteria

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Blue Hill for special occasions, Northern Spy for every day.

What is your favorite Manhattan book?
"Manhattan, When I Was Young" by Mary Cantwell. It made me appreciate the difficulties my mother's generation overcame as they entered the workplace, making it possible for subsequent generations to have fulfilling careers.
What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
A few years ago I learned how to play tennis from a pro in the parking lots of the Lower East Side. It was a far cry from the country clubs of Chappaqua and a total blast.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
You're really tapping into the heart of what makes New York special when you sample its many varied subcultures and activities all jumbled up in close proximity of one another. Start with a Russian Bath in the morning followed by a Turkish coffee, check out the skate parks under the Brooklyn Bridge, go for vegetarian dim sum lunch in Chinatown, visit galleries in Chelsea and finish the day off with a sunset kayak on the Hudson followed by champagne and oysters at The Standard. Where else in the world could that agenda exist?
What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
When I was about 5 years old the Picasso retrospective show came to MOMA. I was small enough to get in front of the crowds and see the work from inches away. Guernica rocked my little world.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
New, high end hotel bars are overrated. Classic, slightly dusty New York gems such as the Oyster Bar in 
Grand Central are underrated.
Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Gotham Gadgets, which is ironic because I'm hopeless when it comes to technology.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
Every year I go to (at least) one new country and try to learn (at least) one new skill.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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