Q&A with Polly Winograd Ikonen, Senior Counselor

Headshot photo of Polly with San Francisco skyline in the backdrop.
Photo of Polly Winograd Ikonen.

By Landis Staff

Can you tell us about your background?

My career started 35 years ago at a PR agency that specialized in the luxury lifestyle sector. I then moved in-house and spent several decades at major cultural institutions on both coasts in roles that spanned the full MarComm spectrum – advertising, content marketing, special events, audience development, sales collateral, B2B lead generation, etc. You name it, and I’ve probably done it!  And now I’m happily back at an agency, working with environmental and healthcare clients.

What is your favorite PR campaign you’ve worked on?

It’s so hard to pick just one out of a 35-year career! It could be working to promote the Lalique crystal Olympic medals for the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville (landed the cover of Sports Illustrated for that one!), or promoting the year-long centennial celebrations for our current client, Save the Redwoods League. Or touring South America with the New York Philharmonic, or launching the original production of the Tony-winning Broadway show Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations right here in Berkeley…

A picture of Polly with the original cast of “Ain’t Too Proud” at the 2017 SF AIDS Walk opening ceremony - a promotional appearance.
A picture of Polly with the original cast of “Ain’t Too Proud” at the 2017 SF AIDS Walk opening ceremony – a promotional appearance.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love being a strategic advisor to our clients, helping them to see connections that may not be obvious to someone on the inside. I also love helping them to identify the “why” that underlies their efforts so that they can prioritize and create the key messages that will accomplish their goals.

What is your least favorite part of your job?

Pitching! Can you believe it? While I absolutely love working with journalists to develop and shape a story, I really (really) hate pitching. That’s why I’m so grateful for my many pitch-whiz colleagues here at Landis Communications! Love being part of a team!

What is one thing you wish you would have known about a career in PR prior to entering the field?

To be honest, I knew pretty much nothing about PR when I entered the field. (I was a liberal arts major who could write and speak French – and that was about it.) I had no idea it would be so varied, creative and intellectually engaging – which is exactly what I had hoped for!

If you weren’t working at Landis, you would be…

My escapist fantasy has always been to work on a ranch, riding horses (which I only barely know how to do), across prairies and mountains, and just being outdoors all day long.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m a lifelong choral singer and currently sing with Pacific Edge Voices, based in Berkeley. I love doing pretty much anything outdoors: hiking, biking, swimming, etc. Living in Northern California has definitely spoiled me for that; I love that I can walk out my door and be on a trail in the East Bay hills in 10 minutes. I also cook and struggle to exercise some restraint at our weekly neighborhood farmers market at this time of year.  Now an empty nester, I’m also enjoying rediscovering couplehood with my husband of 23 years, going out for dinners, to the theater or concerts.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a total sucker for marching bands. I loved being in my high school flag corps, and every time I hear those drums and brass, my eyes well up. Every time.