Global VP, Media Relations, TerraCycle
On his first day at TerraCycle, the CEO fired Albe Zakes' boss and told him he would have to manage the department until a replacement was found. His official training was being handed a press release and saying "get this in a newspaper in Atlanta." At the time his only tool was Bacon's Media Database.
Over the last six years, Zakes has worked his way to the top of the PR department and become a leading spokesperson for the company and a growing expert in low-cost and social media marketing tactics. With little previous PR experience he helped TerraCycle battle Scotts Miracle-Gro by running the "Sued by Scotts" Blog and media campaign in 2007, which received national media attention from the New York Times Magazine, BusinessWeek, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal and many more.
Under Zakes’ management, TerraCycle's PR department has secured over 10,000 unique media placements since 2007—including over 5,000 in 2011 and almost 2,000 YTD in 2012—and secured over $200 million dollars in Ad Value for TerraCycle's partners and products. To this day, TerraCycle has never paid for an advertisement or used outside agencies, even while becoming an Inc. 500 company with operations in 20 countries and almost 20 million in annual sales.
App he can’t live without: “Definitely HootSuite. It allows me to monitor all of TerraCycle's various social handles and my personal ones at the same time on the same program. Also a great Riddles game I have, which helps to keep one sharp during those endless hours of travel.”
Inspiration in his PR career: “My grandfather. He was an orphan with no education who faked documents to join the Navy at 16, but he was the center of attention and life of the party everywhere he went. Watching how he used humor and kindness in a casual, honest way to win friends (and influence people) left a lasting mark on me that later drew me to PR.”