In the Spotlight: PR Executive Angie Bournias

NEW YORK – Sometimes, all you need to know is someone’s name. It might be a coincidence, but sometimes people strive – consciously or not – to fulfill the “onoma” with which they were baptized. Angie Redumis Bournias’ first name is Evangeline, in Greek, Evangelia. She will quickly inform you that means “tell the good news” – unless you’ve already seen the press release. Angie has owned and operated a small public relations marketing communications company for the past 30 years, first as a sole practitioner freelancer, next as a division leader in an acquisition by a larger firm, and currently as a media relations consultant and strategist. She is also the wife of James Bournias, mother of three, and now a Yiayia of four children ranging from ages 3 to 13.
TNH: So you’ve turned your name into a badge of profession?
{42855}AB: How appropriate is this fact when I describe my work? My paternal grandmother provided this name. Bottom line, good news is what it is all about, providing the client, the media and the audiences with the best public face of the item, situation, person, company, event, even the crisis.
TNH: The public relations business is hard to define.
AB: Public relations (PR) is a direct yet ambiguous term that refers to relations with the general public. This general public can include a myriad of audiences from the community and the consumer to business and government leaders. PR practice is hilarious, frustrating, rewarding, interesting, and complicated, often at the same time. Flexibility, timing, ethics and accuracy are words that should be in everyone’s professional vocabulary.
TNH: Rewarding. Are there fun moments?
AB: One day I will write a book about the professional adventures of a PR person who delivered Krispy Kremes at 5AM to local radio stations when this donut icon opened its first store in Michigan; the July “bad hair” days during the more than 10 years of representing sailboat races along Lake Huron, the (Yikes!) boa constrictor and aggressive parrot visit to a local TV station to promote a national grocer’s pet fair sponsorship, or sharing tears in a hospital parking lot with a newscaster after my client sponsored a wish for a precious child who just wanted to go to New York City.
TNH: How do you help the people you work with/for?
AB: I organize and attend strategy meetings, spend hours on the telephone and computer, write press releases, craft customized speeches, hold the hand of a nervous speech deliverer, am a sympathetic listener, connect with governors and mayors and seemingly perform miracles along the way. But, there are no miracles, just hard work. As a PR person I am the voice of caution and conscience. It is pretty close to being a mother. Honesty and responsiveness are always the best policies; reality checks and balances are others. I can never promise coverage because things like breaking news can change the plan dramatically, but when you least expect it, a retailer’s “ugly tie contest” is on network Father’s Day coverage after it hit the silly news wire. “Under promise and over deliver” may be good ways to work with clients, but you also need the honesty and trust that comes with experience.
TNH: What are some principles to which you adhere?
AB: First, you must be truthful. Is this really the new sliced bread? Next, manage the expectations of the media response. Then craft the messages that resonate with the appropriate audiences and never make promises you know are unrealistic. This is the ethics side of my business. I have been known as “Mrs. Careful,” another motherly trait, honest with my assessment of situations, and consistently direct with my counsel.
TNH: Has your life path been influenced by your Ancient and/or Modern Greek and Orthodox heritage?
AB: My Greek heritage is an amazing gift! The positive attributes of our ancestors’ wisdom, hospitality, and vitality are with us forever. Our parents, our children, our friends and our communities share a connection that can never be taken from us. The issues facing Greece in 2011 are sad and uncertain but isn’t life today? We are all challenged but looking ahead to brighter lights and hopes for happier times in every home, every neighborhood and every city around the world.
Father Tom George, who is the son of a dear friend of my father, asked that I join his church’s Centennial Committee to assist with spreading the word about the first 100 years of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Downtown Detroit’s historic Greektown. It has been a beautiful journey back into time with special people who are documenting the year of events and honoring the historical significance of the original parishioners and their families.
I also spent time with the National Philoptochos Board in March 2011 when they gathered together in our Detroit Metropolis as they embarked on the first phase of their mission to establish a Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy in New York City.
TNH: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
AB: My wonderful marriage to my Greek high school sweetheart, Jim, and our three beautiful, talented, independent children: Mary, an automotive engineer; Nicholas, an oral surgeon; and Christine, writer and brand design manager. Each is an individual, motivated by excellence in each of their fields, connected by family and heritage. We are also blessed to have a lovely daughter-in-law who gifted us with her own terrific family. Grandchildren complete our family as only they can. I can’t get enough of them. They always find my “Hello My Name Is” stickers in my desk drawer. Call them to dinner, and they are all wearing their “personalized” badges written in crayon and markers.
TNH: What’s the greatest lesson that you have ever learned?
AB: I’ve learned not one but many lessons. Top of list: I know how to appreciate the good times, the love and blessings in my life and not focus on what is not but what is. I have learned to be flexible with my time and obligations and not be undone by schedule changes of plan. I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously and enjoy a good giggle when I face a silly situation. I’ve learned to have flexibility with more than Plan A, B, C, etc., because I will be happy if any of the plans become reality. I’ve learned that a bright idea will come at odd times and that I had better write it down before it slips away. I have learned that my Greek family, extended family and friendships are to be treasured forever, so I welcome more people into this circle every opportunity I have.
TNH: Do you have role models?
AB: I have many role models. They just happen to be from my family. They had that extraordinary Greek work ethic and sense of humor that has been passed down to my sisters, cousins and me. My mother, Mary Redumis, who had kind words for every one; My father, Nicholas Redumis, wonderful pastry chef, restaurant owner with a dazzling smile, deep dimples, and unmatched talent. Both left our lives too soon. My aunts and uncles, and my mother in law and father in law, who stepped in to become my guardian angels when my father died and my mother had to move to Indiana to be with her own mother when I was just a young married woman with a six month-old child.
TNH: What goals did you set for yourself?
AB: As a child, to achieve all As; as a teenager, to graduate; as a wife and mother, to see everyone happy and healthy; and most important, to always have the strength and courage to face whatever life brings.
TNH: What are your most enjoyable pastimes?
AB: I love to travel and play golf. I love to receive a phone call at 8:30AM from dear friends to meet at 9 for breakfast if we can. Babysitting, because as they say, “what happens at Yiayia’s stays at Yiayia’s.” We have our own little secret fun. Christmas is the ultimate joy as decorating the family room tree is a treasure hunt from a big box of sentimental ornaments. As they all grow, the tree is beginning to fill to the top instead of just the bottom branches.
TNH: Share some words of wisdom with us.
AB: To my family…before you know it, tomorrow will be here, and you will be beyond the stresses of today. Remember, you can’t change the past nor predict the future so make what you do count in the present. For clients…if you don’t want to read it, don’t say it.
And, my favorite, “a smile will take you everywhere.”


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