Laura Klebanow is the newest account supervisor in the Proof DC office. She joined Proof with more than nine years of strategic content development experience in both agency and in-house settings, serving world-class institutions including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as well as companies operating in healthcare, cybersecurity, and banking and financial services industries. She excels at storytelling and developing omni-channel campaigns for clients pursuing robust business goals while maintaining high-minded social and cultural values. Laura holds a degree in Writing and Art History from Loyola University Maryland.
We sat down with Laura to ask her some questions and learn a little more about her background.
I like communications because it’s about finding and taking opportunities. Working in communications affords me the honor of seeking opportunities to put the great work that foundations and nonprofits are doing out into the world. I especially enjoy working with these types of organizations because most of the time, they’re focused on doing the actual work they set out to achieve, not the work of talking about it. Strategies gives visibility to the efforts of organizations and enterprises that may not have the time or resources to do it in a robust way for themselves.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
I actually have two. The first is when I was working at the Holocaust Museum. I was fortunate enough to be there when the institution celebrated its 20th anniversary, and worked with a team to promote an immense amount of rich programming that honored Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans responsible for liberating concentration camps–real heroes both. It was rewarding to be able to raise awareness of this critical history and its lessons and contribute to what became a deeply emotional reunion.
Second, when I worked at Lincoln Center, I had the opportunity to help coordinate and promote an appearance and performance by Stephen Sondheim. This allowed me to have some personal correspondence with Mr. Sondheim himself. He ended up being very happy with the writing that I put together and receiving that positive feedback from such a brilliant and influential artist was an indescribable feeling.
If money were no object, what would you be doing?
My background is in poetry, so I think I’d be working on my personal writing. I was a creative writing major in college, so I’d love to have time to dedicate to that. Creative bandwidth can be hard to come by!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?
One of my previous bosses once told me that no matter how entry level your position is, you can still read everything that you’re photocopying. It’s important to stay up to date and be aware of what’s going on, so that you’re able to already have some insight and offer value when given the opportunity.
Another piece of advice that has informed my work style is that to be a good colleague or manager, you have to strive to understand what type of feedback, support, and recognition people are looking for in order to build trust with them. Some people want to receive a lot of attention for good work, whereas some others appreciate less public recognition. Good team players understand and respect the needs of their colleagues.
What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was And The Band Played On by Randy Shiltz, the quintessential nonfiction account the AIDS crisis. It documents what happened with a great deal of character development, nuance, and emotional sensitivity, and shows the great power of well-rendered longform journalism.
What is the best communication campaign you’ve seen recently?
Two campaigns come to mind: PayPal’s New Money ad from this year’s SuperBowl and M&Ms recent 75th Anniversary Candyman campaign with Aloe Blacc and Zedd. I really liked PayPal’s commercial because of its perfect timing with the rising popularity of digital wallets and how it co-opts the traditionally disparaging term “new money” and makes it something democratic and aspirational. The ad felt like a big, splashy, attention-getting commercial, which is exactly what you want from a SuperBowl advertisement.
The M&Ms “Candyman” collaboration seamlessly incorporates all of the nostalgia of the original “Candyman” song with snippets from well-loved M&Ms commercials from past years. I also think the song did a smart, strategic job of using two really popular contemporary music figures to drive interest — it’s good enough that people would want to actually listen to it as a song unto itself rather than just a commercial.
Proof is unique because of the support we receive from our Canadian offices. It allows our nimble DC team to be part of a large, recognized, international brand, while still maintaining a small agency feel. Normally an agency is either one of the big guys or one of the little guys, so it’s unique to have the feeling of both at Environics. It also allows us to bring a personal, high-touch, senior level of service to every client relationship, not just the biggest ones.