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How a public relations firm is born

By: Sophia Nitsolas, Account Executive. Sophia was a Social Media Coordinator Intern at Philly PR Girl during the summer of 2016.

“There was no stopping it,” said entrepreneur, Kate Marlys.

A Jersey girl, who graduated from a small suburban high school in the southern part of the state, Marlys went to college up north by the Big Apple. Her first job lead her to travel from coast to coast, yet she was still in love with one city and one city only–Philadelphia.

Just looking for a way to channel the stress of the cold, corporate world, Marlys began to blog.

Little did she know that a minuscule blog on her favorite places to wine and dine in the city would be a redefining catalyst to her future.

“The blog took off, and I was being asked by many for event planning and PR help,” said Marlys.

Hiring her cousin as her accountant, her other cousin as her lawyer, an editor, and an intern or two, Kate began to embark on a new career path–heck, a new life path.

Drawing from the success of her special events blog, Philly PR Girl LLC, a full time public relations firm for event planning, social media management, marketing and promotions, was born.

Its roots were planted in rich soil from the start in a 20 ft by 20 ft office space in the Philadelphia Building, which lies in the heart of Center City. Beginning with only a handful of employees but with a network of hundreds of connections locally and nationally, Kate Marlys, 5’6 with her highlighted brown hair, piercing blue eyes, warming smile and driven nature, transformed into the Philly PR Girl.

“Is this really happening?” said Marlys throughout the entire process.

Philly PR girl is now a home for about 20 employees and interns and 50 clients.

Still located in the Philadelphia building, but now in a larger space, Marlys and the company can’t even begin to fathom when it got the chance to expand so fruitfully.

Although there are over 20 competing firms in the area, Marlys believes it is their social media presence that sets them apart.

“I always say there’s enough work for us all,” said Marlys.

Brandon Szecker, working alongside Marlys as a PR manager at the firm said, “We’re a team who’s super local and very connected with various people in the city. We have a firm pulse on everything going on.”

Missing only the time off and bonuses of the corporate world, Marlys expresses that being an entrepreneur is no easy task, but can lead to irreplaceable happiness.

Helping with the PR for the PA Conference for Women was a huge career moment for her. Her favorite event is Preakness in the Piazza, a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) benefit where guests attend with their best hats and fun suites to watch the Kentucky Derby rain or shine.

“When you work for over 6 months and pour your heart and soul into an event and then it rains, no down pours the minute your event starts,” said Marlys, “that sums up last year’s Preakness at the Piazza- but guess what? It was an amazing event that raised over $150,000 for the MS society.”

Marlys is described by one of her PR student interns, Stephanie Rocha, as someone who does not let anyone take her down. Her company has thrived on supporting other women entrepreneurs just like her.

Every day in the PR world is different, but Marlys shares that working events and being on site is her favorite part of her day. With humility and great success, Marlys credits mentoring college students to being her greatest accomplishment.


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