Adam Abdalla, Cultural Counsel
Formerly in the arts department at Nadine Johnson’s shop, Mr. Abdalla made waves this summer by striking out on his own with the brilliantly named Cultural Counsel, and his approach has already won clients like will.i.am’s optics brand ill.i, the Perez Art Museum in Miami and Los Angeles’ Night Gallery.
Michele Hug, Nasty Little Man
Does managing affairs for Iggy Pop, Ryan Adams and Beck sound intimidating? Not to Ms. Hug—that’s her job. She’s the brains behind the Foo Fighters “Broken Leg” tour, which allowed Dave Grohl to keep rocking out, even in a wheelchair.
Sara Pallas, LaunchSquad
Ms. Pallas has already led campaigns around IPOs and acquisitions for an impressive range of marketing, software and Internet security firms—including some vaunted “unicorns.”
Christina Graham Hayes, The Door
Rachael Ray and Cat Cora are just two of Ms. Hayes’ clients. No pressure, then.
Elizabeth Gray, APCO Worldwide
Ms. Gray can’t take all the credit for IKEA’s halo after the furniture giant upped wages, but APCO’s skillful rollout did not hurt.
Stefanie Goodsell, Kekst and Company
After trial-by-fire jobs with Hillary Clinton and Kirsten Gillibrand, Ms. Goodsell now helps manage major crisis PR situations—including working with former FBI director Louis Freeh during his Penn State sex abuse investigation.
Anntal Silver, Kekst and Company
Ms. Silver has retail bona fides, having handled media relations for Toys “R” Us, Lowe’s and LVMH. Her experiences in M&A, however, helping companies like Johnson & Johnson, Forbes Media and American Airlines, shows she’s a formidable adviser as well.
Kedzie Schotters, Public
Director of client accounts is a big title, but Ms. Schotters seems to have no problem keeping Qatar Airways, Citibank and British aviation company Air Partner in line.
Mike Grillo, Ruder Finn
As VP of social and digital at RFI Studios, Ruder Finn’s full-service digital shop, Mr. Grillo blends the worlds of PR and tech and recently helped Nokia market the launch of its virtual reality camera.
Theresa Gilbert, Global Strategy Group
Ms. Gilbert, an account lead on Con Ed’s aggressive digital and social media channels, had a hit using multilingual Facebook ads to educate Con Ed users about natural gas safety.
Robert Dowling, Hudson Cutler and Company
When he left FleishmanHillard, where he headed East Coast operations, Mr. Dowling looked back for about 30 seconds before forming Hudson Cutler, which is tying together social, influencer relations, PR and old-fashioned brand building for blue-chip clients.
Mitch Markson (TBA)
After a yearlong hiatus from the business, the cause-marketing pioneer is set to launch a channel-agnostic “idea development” firm. We’re eager to see Ogilvy PR’s former president of brand marketing—and onetime brand marketing head/global creative director for Edelman—break boundaries anew
James LaForce (TBA)
LaForce + Stevens ceased to exist this fall after 19 years as a fashion PR powerhouse—think Target, Banana Republic, Williams-Sonoma, Perry Ellis. Word on the street was that founder James LaForce did most of the heavy lifting: now he’s preparing to hang his own shingle.
Steve Solomon, Steve Solomon Inc.
Mr. Solomon, 76, led Rubenstein’s real estate practice forever; he’s the one who started Barbara Corcoran’s ubiquitous Market Reports. In October, he went indie. His Steve Solomon Inc. is a boutique PR firm devoted exclusively to real estate.