Boathouse President Peter Prodromou previously spent over 15 years helping to build and lead Racepoint. Holding several roles from head of global accounts to CEO, he has worked with brands like AT&T, Dassault Systems, and Samsung, startups defining the next generation of innovation, as well as government leaders.
In August 2022, Prodromou assumed the role of president at the Massachusetts-based independent, full-service integrated marketing and communications agency. With a keen interest in the power of AI, Prodromou is enthusiastic about leveraging its potential to gain a deeper understanding of audience engagement patterns and preferences.
We caught up with Prodromou to get his take on the future of the communications industry.
What book, podcast or other media do you recommend to other comms pros?
Prodromou: This has nothing to do directly with public relations and communications, but currently, I’m listening to American History Tellers, a terrific podcast covering a range of topics in American history – from the attempted insurrection by Aaron Burr, to the advent of the temperance movement and the passage of the 19th amendment. It has always been my belief that the most important tool a practitioner can have is intellectual curiosity and the capacity to engage with clients in a meaningful way outside of a specific assignment. It’s the quality I most often seek in prospective employees. And this particular podcast, in addition to providing hours of entertainment, fills that gap for me.
What’s your favorite tool you use regularly for work?
My phone – because I can literally do anything on it, from communicating with clients, to research, to writing and editing. I used to run a global company with offices in a dozen cities on four continents, and I managed the bulk of my work on my phone, to the point where on long trips, I would try and leave my computer at home to travel lighter. We have come a long way from placing the dumb phone – an unnecessary appliance, at the time – in everyone’s hands, to smart devices that give us the power to run a global business from our pocket, today.
What excites you most about the future of communications?
The prospect of using AI to understand better how and where key audiences are engaging. While generative AI is interesting, what really fascinates me is the ability to see trends in big data sets and leverage that visualization to better understand attitudes, behaviors and the psychology of the people we are trying to reach. There’s a whole category of less discussed AI focused on this.
What communications challenge keeps you up at night?
Access to great talent, critical thinkers and skilled practitioners. It may be a cliche, but this one rarely changes because, at the end of the day, the ability to service an engagement remains rooted in the availability and accessibility of great people.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Jumping from AC to VP. It was easier jumping to CEO and running a global company. It took a long time for me to recognize that my skill set was more focused on ideas and strategy than on the details of the many title classes between entry-level and executive leadership. Which, for a long time, created frustration and a lack of satisfaction. Once I got to the idea phase, I had renewed energy and sustained satisfaction, because I was finally doing something I was good at.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
The person who owns the client engagement has the power. This kept me focused on the objective of ensuring strong client satisfaction and great performance.
Isis Simpson-Mersha is a conference producer/ reporter for Ragan. Follow her on LinkedIn.