I’m always impressed by people who put their networking skills into action and I’m truly amazed by how quickly my friend George Perlov has been developing a thriving and diverse consulting business that reflects his interests and passions. I met George years ago when he was early in his career at the Ad Council and we’ve been meeting every few months at a variety of midtown eateries for breakfast ever since. This is about 14 years now 🙂
When he left the Ad Council as EVP for Research & Innovation two years ago, George knew there were three things he wanted in his practice – advertising for socially responsible causes, international training and development, and challenging strategic assignments. Let’s start with that last one, challenging strategic assignments. During his tenure at the Ad Council, George member of the Communications Network, the communications affinity group of the Council on Foundations which he found to be a great place to meet other leaders in nonprofit communications.
At their 2009 conference George reconnected with his buddy Doug Root from the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh. The foundation was looking to do some research on and develop a communications program to raise awareness about air quality issues in the Pittsburgh region. Doug introduced George to his colleagues in the foundation’s environmental program and since last spring he’s been hired by the foundation to lead their qualitative and quantitative research program, develop a strategic plan and conduct an RFP for a communications agency (more on that later). “It’s a fascinating issue,” says George, “since Pittsburgh was named Most Livable City by The Economist, yet it has about the worst air pollution in the country. We have a lot of work to do to change attitudes and behaviors.”
On the international front, George has always been very excited about training organizations in other countries on how to develop campaigns on social causes. Having lived in Japan early on in his career, coupled with his interest in global affairs, made him the de facto “international guy” at the Ad Council. He was tapped to do a number of trainings in Eastern Europe while at the Ad Council and helped develop a communications plan for a hepatitis prevention campaign in Moldova (yes, there is a real country named Moldova!)
George kept up with the international connections he made at the Ad Council, and that has led to two very exciting opportunities. In 2009 he was invited to be a keynote speaker at the first-ever Russian conference on social issue advertising in Moscow. And he’s now working with a group in Jamaica that is trying to do the work of the Ad Council in that country. He hopes that the business model that is created for this new organization in Jamaica can be replicated in other developing nations, and that a network of such organizations can be established worldwide.
So coming back to advertising for socially responsible causes, George was introduced to Robin Raj, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Citizen Group, a SF-based marketing and communications agency that helps build brands that lead with their values. Citizen works with corporations and nonprofits to create campaigns and initiatives that have social and financial impact. Immediately recognizing that they were simpatico, Robin quickly offered George the opportunity to consult for the agency on strategic new business partnerships.
Seeing the opportunity for organizations in his network to benefit from Citizen’s services, George introduced the agency to the Heinz Endowments, who selected the agency to develop the public awareness campaign for the air quality initiative. He’s also connected Citizen with his friend Michael Cowan, also a Communications Network member, who works at ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and Citizen is now contracted to develop communications to support Engineer’s Week 2012, an industry-wide initiative to build public interest in engineering and other technical careers.
You can see by all of this activity why I’m impressed by George’s networking skills. I just connected him with a contact of mine at the Boy Scouts for another of his clients (someone he met at a New York Women in Communications networking event J) and I’m sure it’s going to lead to something very good.
George is someone I highly recommend- he is extremely bright,a true entrepreneur,and someone who works 200% + for all of his clients!
George Perlov Consulting
Social Marketing, Strategic Planning, Research & Evaluation
(212) 686-6610 x13 (o)
(917) 748-2543 (m)