Bianca Mashal Headshot (3)Bianca Mashal

Assistant Account Executive

Waggener Edstrom Worldwide

Some might say I got started in public relations by chance—others might say it was fate. I was initially a broadcast journalism major, but my passion for writing pushed me onto an alternate career path and I soon discovered the world of PR.

Upon graduating Syracuse University, I had completed five PR-focused internships, both in-house and agency, spanning fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Soon afterward, I began my professional career in hospitality/nightlife public relations at a New York-based boutique agency.

Fast-forward to present day and you’ll find me at Waggener Edstrom Communications, where—in just one year—I have been lucky enough to work on multiple accounts within the spirits and consumer tech sectors, while also diving headfirst into Microsoft Windows marketing. Asking me to choose my best experience at WE is like asking a child to pick his or her favorite type of candy—it’s hard to choose just one and the answer won’t be the same for long.

When you find yourself working on behalf of a brand that you wholeheartedly believe in, it’s hard not to apply the “I can’t believe I get to do this,” mentality every day. That is how I would describe my experience working on the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon account for the past ten months. Product launches and cocktail pitching are common on spirits accounts, but my time with Woodford Reserve has shown me that the brand is anything but common – it truly is special.

For the past nine months, our team has been preparing for one of Woodford Reserve’s most important initiatives of the year: its annual sponsorship as the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. Our team collaborated to develop a multi-faceted campaign, including several partnerships with top industry talent, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Woodford Reserve’s Kentucky Derby sponsorship. With the support of my team, I happily assumed full responsibility over the development and execution of one the campaign’s major components: a consumer-facing online voting program to identify the charitable organization that will receive the net proceeds of Woodford Reserve’s annual $1,000 Mint Julep Cup.

Amidst the planning, I received a call one November morning, letting me know of the team’s unanimous decision to have me represent WE onsite at the 141st Kentucky Derby. It was in those few minutes that the feeling of “I can’t believe I get to do this,” suddenly reached new heights. I realized that my team and overall company not only believed in my capabilities as a PR professional, but were excited for me to have this one-of-a-kind experience.

When it came time for Derby Day, I noticed an elevated sense of reward as I saw my team’s hard work and planning finally fall into place. I felt only feelings of gratitude, excitement and determination when I reflect on the incredible opportunity I had been given to be onsite at such a crucial and significant event.

The phrase “I can’t believe I get to do this,” was no doubt uttered time and again while I was down in Kentucky, and I thank both Woodford Reserve and Waggener Edstrom for the opportunity I’ll surely never forget. I may have lost my exacta bet on the big race, but I still walked away with a winning ticket–my unmatched experience at the 141st Kentucky Derby.