☕️ We grabbed a coffee with Nicole Kolinsky, Senior Vice President at our L.A. office to talk about working on the West Coast, a life-changing trip to the Czech Republic and her beehive passion (not as in Beyoncé’s Beyhive, but the *literal* one).
How do you like your coffee?
My favorite beans are from D’Amico’s in Brooklyn. I grew up in New Orleans so anything iced reigns supreme. My dad actually started making his own cold brew in the early 80s so I’m partial to that.
What do you like doing outside of work?
I recently took up beekeeping on a whim. I have a bee suit and everything. The level of complexity and specialized roles in the colony is mindblowing. My favorite fact is that worker bees are always all female and are responsible for every major role in the colony. Male bees (drones) can’t sting and do zero work.
When not tending the bees, I’ve been perfecting my skiing. I first learned in college so I’m a pretty cautious skier but I’ve gotten a lot better since moving out west. Pristine snow on your own terms is my kind of winter.
For me, both beekeeping and skiing create the right balance of focus and adrenaline rush — they force me to take my mind off of everything else, quite literally.
You actually started working at the NYC office and then moved to our L.A. office. What are the biggest differences and similarities about the work-life of both offices?
The most obvious difference is the size. Sometimes I miss the buzz of the N.Y. office but I also really enjoy the intimacy and energy of our small but mighty L.A. office — not to mention our ocean and mountain views. What you’ll find in both offices though is an incredible commitment to excellence on behalf of our clients and a massive amount of cross-country collaboration (thanks Slack).
How has BerlinRosen changed since you started working here?
Bigger and better! When I started 5+ years ago, the whole NYC office sat on one small floor. We were pretty lean and scrappy but even then worked on very high-profile campaigns and clients — Fight for $15, Cornell-Tech Campus bid, the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment, to name a few.
Now 170+ people across 3 cities and many well-established specialty areas (tech, urbanism, advocacy, hospitality and more), BR’s client roster has grown tremendously and clients routinely seek us out to work on some of the county’s most exciting issues and projects. We’ve led the communications for the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport from inception to opening and beyond. We work with Brookfield Properties from coast to coast. And we just began work with Virgin Hyperloop One, helping to establish the first new form of mass transit in 100 years.
Even with the incredible growth, it’s great to see that it’s still the same firm at heart. I definitely credit Jonathan (Rosen) and Valerie (Berlin) for that.
What’s your day-to-day like at BerlinRosen?
While I work the majority of the time in LA, no day is ever the same, regardless of what office I’m working out of. There is definitely a noticeable difference in pace and energy between LA and NY clients. It’s a great mix which I’ve really come to appreciate. Some days I’ll be on-site with local clients and reporters, other days I’ll be conducting strategy calls with clients and client teams on the opposite coast. After 2 pm pacific time is the golden hour in LA because the east coast has quieted down and I can focus on west coast clients and getting any writing done. It’s a nice rhythm.
Tell me a life-changing moment that helped shape who you are today.
Visiting the Theresienstadt Ghetto in the Czech Republic was a visceral experience. Theresienstadt was predominantly a labor and transit camp, where Jews were taken before being transported to extermination camps. It also happened to be the place where many Jewish scholars, scientists, artists, and musicians were sent. They organized their own lecture series, musical performances, libraries and schools for children. Bearing witness to the site of such atrocity truly taught me to value the freedoms we enjoy and the power of perseverance.
What advice would you give to candidates applying to join BerlinRosen?
If you want to work with the brightest in the field and seize the opportunity to chart your own path, BerlinRosen is the place for you. Be ready to work hard, work closely with your colleagues, and work to sharpen your professional growth. Oh and have a sense of humor.