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Alison Bailin Batz, Senior Account Executive, HMA Public Relations

by | May 1, 2017

Length of PR career (so far): I started my post-college career at HMA Public Relations in February 2004—and have been here ever since—so I’ve always worked on the agency side. Through HMA, however, I’ve had the chance to work with nonprofits, government, tourism, retail, professional services and everything in between (oftentimes, in the same day).

Your most memorable campaign: From 2005 to 2008, we were the agency of record for the Circle K Tempe Music Festival, a project where I also served as the event spokesperson. After dealing with 4am live remotes that involved giant reptiles (to show off the kids’ area, of course) and 10pm news shots where I jumped onto a jet ski in frigid Tempe Town Lake (to show off the Red Bull extreme water show area, of course), all the while remembering key messages of the event, I was pretty confident I could do anything, and required very little sleep to do any of it. A close second, however, was helping to launch Arizona Gives Day in our state, a one-day program involving 800-plus nonprofits that has raised several million dollars for our community.

Most poignant professional moment: Tie—Being a part of the PRSA Phoenix team that hosted the PRSA Western District Conference; and earning a national media relations award for our pro bono work on behalf of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale

Biggest complaint about social media: I am a control freak—and social media can sometimes feel like the Wild, Wild West.

Alison BalinBest thing about working at your agency: The people are pretty darned great, and so different than me! But, I think that makes us all “work.”

Last time you didn’t do any work all weekend: In November 2015—I was on a cruise ship and the wi-fi went out.

What got you interested in a PR career? I was actually a business major in college—until that awful Accounting 240 class. As I often do when stressed, I turned to carbs to cheer me up after a particularly boring class, which took me to the remote location of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on the ASU Campus. Halfway through my volcano brownie, I noticed the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism (ASU campus is literally several miles, so I had missed it in my first year in college). I walked in the building that day—and transferred to a Journalism major with an emphasis in Public Relations within the hour. And while I dropped that Accounting Class, thereby saving my straight A record, I do actually use math in my daily work life all these years later, albeit more from an excel spreadsheet than an accounting log.

Most interesting thing about your job: The characters—everyone from the media to the clients to my co-workers have a story (or stories). And I love hearing them all.

Number of meetings you were in last week: 20+

Best advice to a PR student: Get an internship—or a few. And learn AP Style!!

Rate your math skills from 1-10: A solid five, as long as not accounting (see above)

Alison BalinWhat do you read daily? Phoenix Business Journal Online, Arizona Republic, Facebook trends, Twitter, AZ Foothills, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Phoenix Bites, Reality Tea and usually a handful of the local monthlies like So Scottsdale, Uptown Magazine, Entertainer Magazine and North Valley Magazine.

Favorite way to de-stress: I love nothing more than a multi-course wine dinner with a friend or media preview of the latest hot restaurant or bar. Well that, or playing euchre with my family.

Worst PR crisis in the news this year so far: That brand that is the “United States of America.” To say we didn’t take an international hit in the past year is crazy, no matter what one’s politics are. But, we will rebound!

Brand that does the best PR: The brand that is “Adele” is about the most authentic out there right now.

Favorite non-work hobby: Planning cruises – and writing about them.

Cocktail of choice: I actually write a couple of cocktail and wine columns in my spare time for Arizona magazines, so this always changes. Right now, there are a couple cocktails – The Ice Queen and The Creole Lemonade – I am pretty partial to from local watering holes (Virtu and Southern Rail, if you happen to be in Phoenix!). But when the pros aren’t mixing me the drinks, I stick with Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco and SUPER jammy red wines.

Your first “real” job: I worked at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess as a Turndown Attendant in the late 90s with my four best girlfriends. I was actually turning down a bed in a casita when I saw out of the corner of my eye that Princess Diana had been in a car accident and died.

Your next big adventure: Headed to Cabo San Lucas for work and play, both to be a part of my sister’s destination wedding and to source for a series of big stories I am doing on luxury digs and dining in Cabo.

Favorite current TV shows: Survivor (yes, it is still on!), the entire Bachelor Franchise, Game of Thrones, SVU (Benson and Stabler forever!), Young & the Restless.

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