- Cooper, Robertson & Partners
- Professional Development & Public Relations Committees
If you have not had the pleasure of meeting December’s Member of the Month, Vanessa Weber, take a minute and learn more about this vivacious, motivated individual. In her current position as Proposal Coordinator for Cooper, Robertson & Partners, she is an asset to our industry and SMPS-NY. She is much appreciated as a dedicated member of both the Professional Development and Public Relations Committees. Read below as Vanessa has shared some personal and professional insights with us.
1. Where are you from originally and what brought you to New York City?
I was born and reared in TriBeCa in Manhattan’s lower west side. For most of my life, I lived on the 39th floor of an apartment complex that faced the Hudson River. I never tire of the view. I loved growing up in the city and, despite never having taken a course in architecture or having never entertained thoughts about entering this industry when I was younger, have always been super sensitive to architecture and public spaces. Buildings have been an important part of my life since I first looked up.
Interestingly, my childhood neighborhood sits across the street from Stuyvesant high school and borders Battery Park City, both designed by the firm for whom I work: Cooper, Robertson & Partners. It’s a full circle situation.
2. What is your favorite local in New York City and why?
Whenever someone not from the city visits me, I take them to my favorite hot spots: the Olive Tree restaurant on MacDougal that plays Charlie Chaplin films all day, has chalkboard tables with endless supplies of chalk, and cheap, delicious food. The Housing Works bookstore on Crosby below Houston is a fun place to kill time. Barney Greengrass on the upper west side is one of the few places left in the city that serves traditional Jewish food, served with a side of NY attitude. Their bialys and onion eggs are amazing but you can forget about getting a table during weekend brunch.
My favorite place of all no longer exists I am heartbroken to say. Chumley’s was a speakeasy in the West Village that was, arguably, one of the most famous speakeasies in the word. It’s where the term “84” originated – in restaurant speak, 84 is what you say when an ingredient or dish has been sold out. In 1930, the owners of Chumley’s used to call out 84 as code for, “everyone leave and go next door to building number 84” whenever the cops were coming for a raid. It was a favorite hangout for people like Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Humphrey Bogart. My sister and I would go there during high school and order beers. True to tradition, they never carded. It was such a beautiful, fun, charming place. But the roof fell and caved in about five or so years ago and they never reconstructed. Chumley’s will be missed.
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3. Where did you attend college and what was your major?
I went to Skidmore College in upstate New York and majored in English. I loved it. I spent most of my time buried under newspapers at the SkidNews office, where learned how to write, research, and use InDesign. Working on the school paper has done more to help my career than my college degree. It helps me do my current job. One of these days, I’ll go back and get an MBA.
4. Do you have any siblings?
I have a twin sister, Rebecca, who works in the same industry. Rebecca is a marketer for Cerami & Associates, an acoustical engineering, audiovisual, and IT firm. We didn’t plan to be in the same field, but it’s worked out nicely – whenever I need an acoustical engineer for a proposal, I call her up. We work well together and I’ve always entertained the thought of one day going into business with her. Twin marketing consultants anyone?
5. What is your favorite Movie of all time and why?
Annie Hall. Is that cliché? I love everything about that movie – the writing, the aesthetic, the clothes, the way New York looks, the humor, the cast – for Woodyphiles like myself, it’s perfection. It may be because I’m a Jewish, left wing New Yorker with political parents who also grew up in the city, but I have a strong connection with that movie. More than just a love note to Diane Keaton, it’s a love note to the city and its architecture (in every sense of the word). I’ve seen the movie more than 100 times and yet, each time, I pick up another reference or detail I never caught before. One of the greatest thrills of my life was on my birthday last year when I went to Café Carlyle and saw Woody Allen perform jazz. He looks exactly the same as he does in his movies. Soon Yi was not there.
6. What SMPS-NY event are you looking forward to in the coming year?
BD Live is one of the best SMPS events I have ever been to. I think of it as a more intimate version of the breakfast panels but at night and with drinks! I went last year and found the whole night so helpful on many levels. First, you get to meet coveted end-users, it’s a great way to pick up tips on the perfect pitch (and tips on the ‘do nots’ of making a pitch), and the clients tend to be pretty open and honest about what they like in a consultant and what they don’t like. It’s prize information. SMPS has the word marketing in its title but business development is, arguably, one of the most important parts of marketing. BD Live stresses this point. Katherine Cusack, Director of the Professional Development Committee, will host this year’s BD Live, so I have no doubt it will be a fantastic night!
Interview by: Elise Martos, Marketing Coordinator for Dominick R. Pilla Associates PC.