People of the Year

J.J. Colao, PR Professional of the Year (Agency)

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To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, he’s looked at PR from both sides now.

As a Forbes journalist, J.J. Colao received lots of questionable pitches. By closely working with PR pros, Colao developed an understanding of industry processes and became frustrated by the lack of substance, depth, and expertise in technology PR.

In response, with no PR experience himself, Colao founded Haymaker in 2014—funding the venture with his credit card. It’s come a long way from those early days; today it’s a million-dollar enterprise. Colao has earned the trust of the CEOs and executives running multi-billion-dollar companies such as Grubhub and Etsy.

For cultivating a successful firm—and reimagining PR practices—J.J. Colao is Ragan and PR Daily’s PR Professional of the Year (Agency).

Colao consistently executes thoughtful, well-informed efforts for clients, while promoting mutual understanding among the public relations, technology and media communities. He approaches PR in a genuine, honest way, even encouraging founders to think carefully before hiring a PR firm.

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