August 1, 2013
Mary (Horvat) Gura, APR, is a vice president, group director at Edelman Digital in Chicago. She provides strategic and creative counsel to a variety of clients that range from travel, consumer packaged goods, automotive and pet.
Previously, Gura worked at Weber Shandwick where she led global traditional and social media relations for GM’s centennial celebration, and launched the first-ever employee blog. She is a multiple recipient of Silver and Bronze Anvil Awards, a past board member of IABC and an American Heart Association volunteer.
Gura holds a B.S. in public relations from Kent State University. She resides in Chicago with her husband, two toddler-aged boys and two fun-loving pugs. You can follow her on Twitter: @MaryHorvat.
Name: Mary (Horvat) Gura, APR
It varied from a ballerina to a teacher and even a chef. My parents told me that I could do anything if I worked really hard at it.
Vice president, group head, Edelman Digital, Chicago
What changed (i.e. how you became interested in public relations):
I took a business class in high school and fell in love with public relations. I knew that was my path and pursued it ever since.
First public relations job:
Dual internships at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., and a non-profit adult literacy organization called Project: Learn in Akron, Ohio
What you know now that you wish you’d known then:
Just go with it. Some of the best opportunities in my career came out of left field. Words of advice from the awesome Bon Jovi: “Map out your future, but do it in pencil.”
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
“Stay true to yourself” — from my father-in-law. He raised five kids and is full of nuggets of wisdom.
Greatest professional accomplishment:
My team — I take a lot of pride in mentoring staff. They are the future of the industry. Seeing them succeed is the most incredible gratification.
If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:
A professional party planner. It’s ridiculous how much I love throwing birthday parties for my two little boys. This year, we had a petting zoo in the city and enough food to feed an army to celebrate my youngest son’s second birthday. Next year, we may take over an entire block — or two.
Passion — I love what I do, and as a result, it provides balance and sparks inspiration.
Make a “business case” for public relations:
The industry is at a crucial point, as the lines between public relations and advertising continue to blur due to the rise of the digital and social media space.
But, this is what public relations has been about since the beginning of time — storytelling and influencer engagement. It’s an opportunity to continue to evolve public relations’ offerings to dial up these core competencies to reach business objectives through strategic, yet creative tactics.