The 2001 AWIB Entrepreneurial Leadership Award Winner - Patrice A. Tanaka

Creative Director
Patrice Tanaka & Company, Inc.

Patrice Tanaka is a third generation Japanese American from Hawaii.After graduating from the University of Hawaii, she was a writer and editor for a local newspaper and then went on to serve as Director of Public Relations for the Hotel Inter-Continental Maui. Patrice knew she wanted to live in New York and moved there in 1979. Within 6 weeks of settling in the Big Apple, Patrice took a position at Jessica Dee Communications and became the 4th person at the company. Two employees left and she became the #2 person after the owner and helped build the business. In 1987, the company was sold to Chiat/Day and when Jessica Dee left, she ran the subsidiary. Finally, in July 1990, she led a management buyout of the firm and set up PT&Co. Patrice states that she is working with the same people from Jessica Dee and Chiat/Day and she basically has had only one job in New York, a job that has changed in dramatic ways.

Since the buyout in 1990, PT&Co. has grown from 13 people to 45 and has emerged as the most esteemed PR firm in New York. Over the last 11 years, the agency has won 150+ industry awards for its breakthrough PR campaigns, been celebrated by “Inside PR” magazine as the #1 Hot Creative Shop” in the country and has been saluted by “Working Mother” magazine as one of “15 family-friendly workplaces in America”. PT&Co has attracted such clients as American Express, Avon Products, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Coors Brewing, Duracell, Ernst & Young, Fodor’s Travel, General Motors, Godiva, Liz Claiborne, Microsoft, Novartis, Procter & Gamble, Charles Schwab, Target Stores, and other.

As if she is not busy enough, Patrice shares her creative energies with a variety of non-profit groups and currently serves on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the Girl Scout Council of Greater NY, NY Women in Communications (where she is now President-Elect) and the US Fund for UNICEF. She is also a founding board member of the Council of PR Firms. Her contributions have been recognized by numerous awards, including: The Star Group’s “Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World” (2001); Inside PR’s “Creativity All-Star” (2000); Asian Enterprise magazines “Asian Entrepreneur of the Year (1999); New York Women in Communications “Matrix” Award (1996); Girl Scout Council’s “Women of Distinction Award” (1995) and others.

Patrice’s advice to entrepreneurs is, “There are so many challenges as a business owner that you really need to have passion to survive. If you work just to earn money, that is not enough.”

Patrice, a person who doesn’t jump around, has been married almost as long as her one job in New York.



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