• Temple PRSSA

Speaker Recap: Marisa Lalli



On Tuesday, November 17th, Marisa Lalli, senior vice president and general manager at WE Communications, spoke to the Temple PRSSA chapter. WE is a public relations and integrated marketing communications firm with locations in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Austin, Boston, and New York.


Lalli started off by sharing WE’s reputation and accolades. The firm is one of the largest independent communications and marketing agencies in the world: it has over 1,000 staff members and hundreds of international markets. WE was founded in 1984 by Melissa Wagener Zorkin and Pam Edstrom. WE is most known for their work with Microsoft but had numerous other notable clients as well, such as Honeywell, Morgan Stanley, Volvo, and McDonalds.


Lalli’s activity “Planning 101: Strategies and Tactics” explained the differences between business goals, communication goals, strategies, and tactics when creating a PR plan. Business goals are goals the business wants to achieve through the plan, while communication goals are ones specific to methods of communication. An example of a communication goal is increasing social media engagement by 20%. She then clarified the difference between strategies and tactics. Strategies are the “how you’ll do it,”(reach your goal) while tactics are the “what you’ll do” to achieve the goals. She gave an example that was a bit comical:


Goal: Get my boyfriend to break up with me.

Strategy: Make him think I’m cheating on him.

Tactics: Dab on other men’s cologne before dates, consistently be 10 minutes late.

Several PRSSA members shared their own examples of goals, strategies, and tactics, and Lalli walked them through which ones worked and which ones needed a little help.


After the activity, Lalli touched on the WE Internship program and its remote opportunities. She also talked about how WE has been working though COVID-19 and how important it is for communicators to meet consumers and clients where they are emotionally and mentally, especially during this pandemic.


Lalli ended the session by sharing the most memorable campaigns and accounts she has worked on at WE Communications. These memories included attending an event planning bootcamp for the Grammy Awards and meeting Oprah for the first time while working on a Microsoft Surface campaign.


It was a pleasure being able to learn so much from Marisa Lalli and her experiences in the industry. The session was a great refresher on the key points of creating a PR plan. It was also encouraging to hear about how exciting and rewarding a PR career can be.


This blog post was written by Irene Bak, Digital Committee Member.

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