Standing tall at 5 feet tall (with heels on), Yudi Fernandez is a force of nature. Joining Schwartz Media in 2011, she has risen through the ranks to the role of Account Director, helping lead the firm’s real estate, finance and corporate communications practices as well as Hispanic publicity, marketing and digital media campaigns.
Soundbytes decided to take a closer look at the Cuban powerhouse in “20 Questions with Yudi”:
Q: Would you rather read a book on a Kindle or paperback?
I’m old school and definitely prefer paperback over Kindle. I like to mark the pages with memorable quotes that I want to read again.
Q: What is your favorite book?
I have several across various genres. My favorite childhood book was “La Edad de Oro.” I always enjoyed reading its poems and short stories and still today, the book brings back fond memories from my childhood in Cuba. I recently read “Setting the Table” by Danny Meyer. He shares his passion and lessons on business, hospitality and serving excellent food. Growing up, “The Night by Eli Wiesel” touched me and was an unforgettable memoir.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Growing Schwartz Media Strategies, continuing to work on meaningful campaigns and expanding our team with talented professionals.
Q: What challenges did you face when you transitioned from journalism to public relations?
The hardest parts for me were learning the client relations aspect of the business, how to build a campaign from scratch and make that campaign sustainable and successful in the long term.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
The storytelling we do every day, the relationships we build with clients and the media, and working with a talented team that challenges and motivates me.
Q: What is the number one most played song on your iPod?
Any Alejandro Sanz tune.
Q: What do you love about Miami?
It’s a great place to do business and meet interesting people from every corner of the world. Nowhere in this country is the American dream more alive than in Miami.
Q: If you were the Mayor of Miami and had unlimited funds, what would you do?
Improve roadway infrastructure and invest in an initiative to motivate Miamians to walk more. Also, I would pay the commissioners adequate salaries to hold them truly accountable like I would to the CEO of a company.
Q: If you were reincarnated as an animal/drink/ice cream flavor, what would it be?
Red sangria with a splash of dark rum.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
Every aspect of my job is challenging in various ways but fun – no one day is the same.
Q: What is your favorite color?
Q: What do you do for fun?
On a Saturday morning, you can find me taking a walk in downtown Miami and savoring an iced café con leche at Tinta y Café with my partner.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stop and smell the roses. I was always at point A planning how to get to point B and C. I wish I would have enjoyed the moment a bit more.
Q: As a public relations professional, how do you balance advocacy and objectivity?
I put myself in my client’s shoes and the shoes of the reporter, and I speak to my clients with honest counsel.
Q: What media outlets do you follow on a regular basis?
There are too many to list.
Q: What’s your morning routine?
I check my email, shower, then head to the office, make coffee and browse the morning’s headlines.
Q: How do you deal with a public relations crisis?
I get the facts, counsel my clients and manage the media with honesty and professionalism.
Q: What does public relations mean to you?
Helping my clients grow their businesses by raising their public and business profiles.
Q. What philosophy do you live and work by?
I’m a firm believer in having a strong work ethic and setting the example for others. I strive to be who I want to become.
Q. What is the biggest public relations fail and win of all time?
Of all time is a broad brush stroke, but I’ll take a stab at it:
i. The Apollo mission to the moon was a big PR win. It got the world thinking about new possibilities
ii. Government PR communications and actions post the Katrina Hurricane