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The PR Maven Podcast

The PR Maven® Podcast is the combination of traditional networking techniques combined with the power of social media to build your personal and professional brand. The podcast features interviews with industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers about public relations and their personal brand. Each week, Nancy connects with a special guest to talk about their career, and business or organization, as well as the latest news and events that will give listeners a unique perspective on the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding, including actionable takeaways.

Feb 13, 2024

In this episode, Raffi DerSimonian talks about his career doing public relations and marketing of the arts. As a Waterville, Maine, native, Raffi describes the renaissance going on in the city from arts to dining. Music has always been a passion of Raffi’s. He describes his musical career and helping found Waterville Rocks. In addition to doing PR and marketing for the arts, Raffi is experienced in promoting higher education. Raffi shares some advice for schools and colleges to promote themselves as well as what to do when communicating during a crisis.  

00:00 Introduction to the PR Maven Podcast 

01:32 Introducing Guest: Raffi DerSimonian 

02:58 The Importance of a Handwritten Note 

11:33 How Video Can Drive Measurable Results 

18:19 Waterville, Maine’s Renaissance 

23:37 How Waterville Rocks Was Founded 

24:16 Music’s Role in Raffi’s Life 

29:00 Raffi’s Career Marketing the Arts 

32:15 Advice for Schools When Promoting Themselves 

36:22 Communicating During a Crisis 

39:36 Helpful Resources   


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About Raffi     

With over 20 years experience in results-oriented public relations, marketing and communications, Raffi DerSimonian has cultivated a comprehensive understanding of the intersection between institutional marketing, communications, advancement and the arts. His experience includes leading new brand launches, developing marketing strategies, and planning advancement campaigns for a diverse range of institutions and organizations. Via RDS Group, Raffi works in highly collaborative settings, which allows him to effectively navigate a range of complex and large-scale initiatives. 


Bonus Q&A 

What marketing and PR techniques have you found to be the most impactful over the past year? 

The integration of AI tools into our professional practice has been transformative. We're continuously astounded by their capabilities, marking a significant inflection point in virtually every field, and especially marketing, communications, PR and advancement. We view AI not just as a tool but as a paradigm shift, fundamentally changing our approach to our work. 

Where will you be focusing your efforts in the year to come? 

Our focus remains on leveraging our strengths: helping institutions and organizations amplify their mission by activating the power of strategy, creativity and technology. Our goal is simple: to increase engagement, response and impact.  

If you could give one piece of advice to someone getting started in a PR career, what would it be?  

My key advice for any aspiring professional is to embrace diversity in your experiences. There's ample time to specialize later. Engage in as many roles and challenges as possible – our field offers vast opportunities to apply your unique skills. Gaining broad experience helps in understanding where your strengths lie and what brings you the most satisfaction and joy in your career.