Berger: In age of Twitter, exec prefers the personal

Women's Impact Report 2011: Cindi Berger

As co-chair and co-CEO of PMK*BNC, one of showbiz’s most formidable PR and marketing agencies, Cindi Berger navigates the vast, intricate media landscape for dozens of celeb clients and high-profile projects. Despite the breadth of her reach, she measures her own success by the quality of relationships that she rigorously nurtures one-on-one.

“In this age of emails and texts the art of communication gets lost,” Berger says. “I really try to impart in my staff — we don’t just email, we communicate. We pick up the phone and have a conversation. We build relationships. Relationships are what define a career.”

Berger should know. In December, she received the New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award before accepting the New York Women in Communications Matrix Award in April.

Over the years she has seen the nature of her business change dramatically, most notably due to the advent of social media. “Those 140 characters on Twitter can be positive, but they can also be a hornets’ nest,” she says. “We all know the adage, ‘think before you speak.’ In today’s world you must also read before you hit ‘send.’ It sounds so elementary, yet it’s a cautionary tale some very smart people learn the hard way.”

For Berger, the focus on communication and quality relationships is not exclusive to clients such as Simon Cowell, whose show, “The X-Factor” premiered Wednesday on Fox. Or Rosie O’Donnell, a longtime client, whose talkshow bows Oct. 10 on OWN. Or Robert Redford, who has a film just starting production as well as a launch in the spring, Sundance London, as the indie-film fest seeks to establish a European footprint.

“This business is not an exact science,” Berger says. “The only way to really learn it is to apprentice with someone. The accolades are nice, of course, but when I see the strides and success of the young people in my office that I mentor, that’s when I feel most proud.”

Title: Co-CEO and Co-Chairman of PMK*BNC
Role models: My grandmother with her flaming red, perfectly coiffed hair. She introduced me to the world of theater and film. (Later) I was privileged to work with Billie Jean King and Barbara Walters. They paved the way for so many women.
Career mantra: “If you mess up, fess up. The truth will always come out.”
Leisure pursuits: “I spin and I ski with the family.”
Philanthropic passions: UNICEF, amfAR.