‘Adapt or die’: Meet the PR pros building the next generation of startups

Trained in public relations? You probably have the skills to launch a startup, as did these PR professionals who took the entrepreneurial plunge.

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There are only a handful of occupations in which networking is considered an art form, pitching complete strangers is a regular occurrence, and it’s acceptable to make last-minute alterations to a slide deck while friends roll their eyes at the dinner table.

Amanda MacNaughton, co-founder of social marketing platform Promojam, sees many overlaps between the agency life and the startup life.

“I would not have been able to start a company had I not worked in the PR industry,” said the Los Angeles native. “I learned in PR—an industry that was, and still is, rapidly changing—that if you don’t adapt, you die.”

MacNaughton began her career as a beauty publicist for a boutique agency in Manhattan. She rose through the ranks quickly and developed a reputation for anticipating trends. Her skills would prove invaluable when she formed a company in 2008 with her brother, Matt, and was called upon to convince investors of the merits of the idea in the time it takes to ride an elevator.

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