You don’t have to be in the industry to know that Natasha Koifman is a pretty big deal in the public relations world.
She’s the type of person who seems to know everyone, with a crew of highly influential, change-making friends. Her public relations company, NKPR, works with a well-curated selection of some of North America’s biggest brands and with no shortage of famous faces. Throughout the year, NKPR, represents a range of clients, including everything from Flow Water, Saje Natural Wellness and Mountain Equipment Coop, to the Thompson Hotel.
In addition to her PR chops and relentless charitable work with the Paul Haggis-founded Artists for Peace and Justice, Koifman is known for her signature #NKallblackeverything outfits she chooses from what is one of the most coveted closets in the city (as one can only imagine) inside her Forest Hill home.
We caught up with Koifman at the NKPR IT lounge to hear from herself what it takes to achieve the ranks of PR royalty.
Stop thinking success happens overnight.
“You really do work hard. People think you’re an overnight success, but it takes 20 years to become an overnight success – I think it’s 18, people often say. You have to put in the time and you have to put in the effort and have to care,” says Koifman. “Nowadays, there’s this expectation – and I think it’s because of social media – that you can instantly become successful and should be successful, and I think that discourages people, which is unfortunate. It just takes time to really build and create something.”
Follow your gut.
“Following your gut instinct is also really important,” says Koifman. “Often, it’s that instinct that influences my choices. Even if people tell me I shouldn’t do something, I will still do it because it feels like the right thing to do. So, you have to be your own person and actually have that vision or a sense of ‘I really want to do this.’”
“I’m always thinking about what the end result is supposed to be; I am always thinking backwards as opposed to forwards,” says Koifman. “Someone asked me earlier how I stay on path and never move away from that path. It’s because I’m always thinking, if this is the start line, then this is the finish line. That way, you know exactly how to get there. But if you actually can’t envision the finish line or what you feel the expectation or end result is supposed to be, then you can’t see and are really going to go off track.” She says an understanding of this end result at all times and on every project and initiative really helps. “I evaluate that all the time,” says Koifman. ” I do this exercise I call ‘the five I ams.’ It helps you to determine your values; for example, ‘I am philanthropic,’ or ‘I am a leader.’ I change them sometimes every year or two. It helps to ground me in myself and to know who I am right now and what I need to do at this particular time.”
Don’t do it all yourself.
“I don’t know if perception is reality, but I will take it,” says Koifman when I ask how she manages to maintain her schedule and look so flawless all the time. She admits the #nkprallblackeverything wardrobe helps. “This morning, it was 5 am – I was up at 4am – and wasn’t sure what I really wanted to wear, but because it’s all black, it doesn’t really matter. That uniform helps,” says Koifman. Something that also helps is having a team of experts behind you. “I think that when you don’t have time to worry about your look, if you can, you should hire people to do that for you,” says Koifman. “I work with amazing people at The Room; I have an incredible dressmaker/seamstress who tailors all my clothes. I don’t think that there’s anything I have bought that doesn’t need to be tailored. The reality is that it should fit to your body. I also have great makeup artists.” When it comes to nails, hair and makeup, Koifman’s team helps her convenience cause by coming to her. “At the end of the day, getting done for me it just every day life. For me, it’s really important to make sure I feel good and that’s part of that process,” she says.
Be strategic and simplify.
“I could probably travel on a two-week business trip and just do a carry-on. Probably not in the winter – but in the spring and summer for sure,” says Koifman. “I think the black helps, but I discovered this brand – they happen to be a client – but it’s an amazing Canadian brand for travel called Sympli, and their stuff doesn’t wrinkle. I could take four pieces and make eight outfits out of them and it doesn’t wrinkle at all.” She says all you need is to pack the right shoe that will go with everything. “I will always do a Golden Goose sneaker and one high heel. I have a few pairs of the exact same Alaia shoes; one for evening, one for day, one if I need to get one fixed, one in New York and one in the office. They are the same height so they work with everything I wear,” says Koifman. “I’ll pick those and a Golden Goose sneaker and I can mix and match. I have a five-day, five-city road trip coming up that will be entirely carry-on.”
Koifman looks for two things in people she wants on her team: kindness and a positive attitude. “You can teach a skill-set, but you can’t teach someone to be kind, nice and warm, and have a positive attitude,” says Koifman. “I want them to step up when their colleague needs help – that’s very important. You can’t teach kindness; you either have it or you don’t. Having that positive attitude, which is the ‘can-do’ attitude, as opposed to constantly putting up barriers, is also key. I had a client once tell me they loved that we were solution-based. You’d be surprised to know how many people focus on why something can’t work; we say, let’s focus on why it can work. It’ a glass half full versus half empty mentality. You can tell right away which type of person someone is.”