Scott Allison, CEO of Allison+Partners, has built one of the fastest growing public relations and public affairs agencies in the nation. In 2001, along with partners Andy Hardie-Brown and Scott Pansky, he raised the capital to found the firm. Twelve years later, Allison+Partners continues to take the industry by storm. The firm has been named a 2010 Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report and has won an enviable list of global leaders as clients. Scott oversees the growth of the agency and remains actively involved in providing strategy to many high-profile executives and client accounts. His success has led to his recognition as a finalist for both the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® award and the American Business Awards Communications Executive of the Year. Prior to founding Allison+Partners, Scott served as West Coast president of Connors Communications. He began his public relations career at one of California's largest independent public relations firms, The Gable Group, where he was responsible for launching its nationally recognized cause marketing practice. Before entering the public relations field, Allison served as a supervisor with Direct Communications, a San Diego-based political consulting group and as Deputy Communications Director with United States Senator Pete Wilson.
What's the most interesting thing that you do every week?
Outside of work, I box two times a week. While I took up the sport only recently, I enjoy testing myself physically and sparring against other (often younger! ) opponents. At work, I love the fact that we have such an exciting and eclectic client mix; one day I might be sitting down with CEO of Hyundai to discuss strategy, and the next day, I'll be talking to a technology start-up looking to acquire funding. It certainly keeps life interesting.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
Certainly my time working for US Senator Pete Wilson had a significant influence on my career. I was fortunate to have Otto Boss, who served as Senator Wilson's head of communications, as a mentor. He showed me the ropes in politics; luckily, he talked me out of a career in politics and steered me toward PR.
What do you wish more people knew about?
Allison+Partners? Excuse me while I climb on my soapbox... I truly believe that you cannot commoditize the PR business. The most essential components in a successful PR campaign are people and passion. I wish I could show every prospect how we're different and how we generate results that just blow away what they've seen in the past. Our clients also appreciate that in addition to having some of the brightest, most energetic people in the business, our team is a nice group of people to be around.
Where do you think the PR industry is going?
I believe we've entered a golden age of PR; while we need to adjust the models and the people who manage them, the industry is going to grow as never before, in directions that we're just beginning to imagine.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut. It was hard to be a kid in the early 70s and not want to be an astronaut.
What's your biggest success?
Avoiding all of the clichés; in addition to having two kids who have grown up to be terrific people, I've been able to spend enough time with them, from coaching my son's teams to having breakfast with my daughter each Friday. And obviously, I'm proud of how our company has grown and flourished; we've done great work for clients and created great jobs at the same time.
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