Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hip + Urban Girl of the Week: Amira de Vera

I met Amira two years ago and it was like time warping back to my 26 year old self. We share many of the same philosophies in life, have strikingly similar personalities and are both workaholics and Maple Leaf fans. I wonder if any of this has to do with the fact that we are also both Geminis! Currently Amira works in PR and I've watched her grow her career immensely. She's little but you can expect big things from her. Say hello to Amira, our Hip + Urban Girl of the Week!

How did you decide on a career in PR?

My career into PR was actually an accidental one. Like most recently graduated university students, I was unsure of what I wanted to do. I was in Ottawa at the time and working a few part time jobs. I hated all of them and I knew I wanted to do something where I woke up every day and loved what I did. I had always had a love for fashion so I decided one day to pack up my bags and move to Toronto. I had no prospective jobs at the time and didn’t really know anyone in the city so I knew the best way to do it was to get out there and get my foot in the door somehow. I ended up volunteering for Fashion Week and realized that a job in fashion wasn’t for me. From volunteering though, I ended up meeting people in the PR industry. Long story short, I realized I had a natural talent for it and how rewarding the job was. I haven’t looked back since!

What is a typical day in the life of Amira?

The great thing about working in PR is that you definitely never have a typical day! Sure, we have our regular office hours of 9 – 5 but anything can happen during that time period, which is why my job is so exciting. I can be doing everything from pitching the media to running to a photo shoot or a restaurant opening.

What are some of the most memorable events you’ve been part of, and people you’ve worked with in your career.

I like to think every part of my career has been extremely memorable since I’ve started it, but the things that stand out to me the most are the people I meet because they bring a different experience and memory each time. The Toronto International Film Festivals are always the most memorable for me. It’s the best time of the year where you get to meet people from all walks of life who enjoy the same things that I do.

Tell us more about Pennant Media Group!

Pennant Media Group is a boutique Public Relations firm based in Toronto specializing in the entertainment, film, television, music, fashion, hospitality and lifestyle sectors. We work with clients ranging from actors, comedians, models, musicians, authors and filmmakers to consumer products, restaurants, publishers and charities.

I know it sounds cheesy but they are my family. We spend 80% of our time together so I guess it’s bound to happen but in this case, it’s beyond just doing the work. We all love what we do, we love our clients and we feel blessed everyday that we get to share their talents and what they do with the rest of the world. It’s very rewarding to work with great people who share that same passion as you.

We are very excited for the upcoming year of 2013. We have lots of great work coming up, so stay tuned through our website!

What did you study in university? Would you have done anything differently?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in International Relations. It’s funny because people don’t really see the correlation between what I studied and what I do now, but it’s actually a great background to have in terms of Public Relations. You get a general sense and knowledge of what goes on in the world and why it works the way it does and you just translate it to work for your clients’ advantage in terms of publicity.

I definitely wouldn’t have done things differently. I love current events and knowing about the different relations between people/nations in the world, and I think having that background is super helpful in my career.

Favourite places to shop and hang out in your neighbourhood?

I am a big fan of trying out new hot spots and I am lucky enough to live in Toronto where new places pop up on a daily basis. My favourite places right now are Patria on King West and Gusto 101 on Portland Street. Two great places for dinner/drinks or a nice lunch with friends. Fantastic service and delicious food, can’t get enough!

Where do you see yourself at 30?

In terms of career, I definitely still see myself in publicity of course. It’s what I love to do and I hope to keep growing and learn more and more everyday. In terms of my personal life, married would be nice and travelling the world!

What advice do you have for hip + urban girls who are interested in pursuing a career in PR?

Other than the typical go for it, my biggest advice is to constantly learn. The world of PR changes on a daily basis if not by the minute. Keep yourself informed with the media, with what’s going on in the city, the country, the world and get yourself out there. The more you know and the more experiences you have, the better you will succeed in the crazy but fantastic world of public relations.

Follow Amira on Twitter and check out her new blog!

Credits: Photo 2 (Eikona Photography), Photo 3 (Tony Felgueiras), Photo 4 (Don Miller), Photo 5 (Adam Nagy)