WHO: Diana Kearns-Manolatos, PR Phenom
By Emma Bragdon
BIO: Diana is a results-driven PR professional with almost 10 years of experience developing impactful, strategic communications programs that increase brand recognition and share-of-voice for global financial, technology and professional services organizations. She currently serves as Director of Communications at Synechron, one of the fastest-growing digital, business consulting & technologies services providers based in New York. Throughout her career, she has worked with over 40 technology, financial services and professional services organizations and numerous top 100 fintech brands, including Sapient, Interactive Data, BAE Systems, Fidessa, eFront and NICE Actimize.
Diana is passionate, driven and dedicated to her craft, and everything she does. As Associate Director at Articulate Communications and a Manager at Aspectus PR, she worked with publicly-traded and early-stage companies to achieve breakthrough coverage with mainstream press including CNBC, WSJ, the FT, Bloomberg, and Dow Jones and managed internal and external communications for over $9.5B in M&A activity. While there, she earned the agency’s awards for best client case study and coverage of the month, however, she is most proud of her work mentoring the communications professionals of tomorrow.
Financial consulting has always been an area of interest, and in 2009, she led marketing and PR for ACI (a financial services consultancy) and launched the compliance arm of the company at the advent of Dodd-Frank. At Crain Communications, as head of marketing for Financial Week, she solidified her focus on financial services, media and marketing and has never looked back. Diana holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree from Fordham University, is an avid supporter of the American Cancer Society and serves as an Advisory Board Member of Uzeeum.
Diana has written a blog post about her favorite Queens Museums featured as recommendations in this profile. Read more “5 Can’t Miss Museums In Queens“
E: Diana, congratulations on your appointment to the Uzeeum Advisory Board, you must have a special place in your heart for museums.
D: Thank you! As someone who enjoys travel, whenever I go abroad, museums are my portal into the culture and ethos of a city. Museums help to remind me of the beautiful things in life. Just like a good book, a painting, sculpture, exhibit, farm, film or garden can transport you to another time and place – into the mind and soul of the artist, architect or so many others. That experience can be transformative.
E: What is your favorite museum?
D: I’ve always enjoyed The Met. From the grand steps at the entrance to the sheer breadth of the collection, there is something there for everyone. Personally, I always preferred the Italian Renaissance paintings. I remember when I was in high school, I took my first trip to The Met after taking a seminar in European history. We had been discussing the dark colors used by Caravaggio in his paintings, but it was a completely different experience seeing the impact that the trembling hand of the artist in his old age had on the trembling hand in his painting. Similarly, when I was in college at Fordham, I took an art history course. Week after week we sat in a dark classroom looking at slides of pivotal, historic paintings and sculptures. One of our project assignments was to go to The Met and observe a painting or sculpture that we had learned about in class and write about everything new we saw by seeing it in person. I visited Degas ballerina sculpture in bronze “The Little Fourteen-Year-old Dancer” and still remember all these years later how strong yet delicate she looked.
E: Do you have a favorite museum memory?
D: A few years ago, the MoMa had a black and white exhibit that used special bulbs in the hallways to impact your vision so that everything you saw was in black and white. It was a very creative use of technology, science and experiential art together that really got you thinking about different views of reality. This was easily a decade ago before experiential marketing and digital culture changed expectations about virtual reality, so it was very cutting-edge for its time. I also visited the exhibit with my younger sister, so being able to share the experience with her was especially memorable.
E: What was the last museum that you visited?
D: I recently visited the Queens County Farm Museum after moving out to Long Island and learning it was just 15 minutes from my house. The museum is free, there are animals to see, and they sell fresh produce from the farm. It was a great find. After resisting the urge to buy a dozen jars of locally-made honey, I left, inspired to look into other local Queens museums. Some I had been to before and others were a revelation. I’ve put together this list of top 5 museums in Queens to share what I’ve found.
E: What’s your favorite NYC experience?
D: Walking through Central Park. My favorite spot is the Angel Fountain where you can sit by the water and watch the boats pass by you. It is close to the John Lennon Imagine Memorial and Sheep Meadow. Every October, I walk the five mile trail through Central Park to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research in support of the American Cancer Society, and one memorable year after the walk, I took my engagement photos in the park with its wonderful foot bridges and fall foliage. It is a special spot.
E: There are so many great spots to eat brunch in NYC. Do you have a favorite?
D: Tea & Sympathy. It is a British themed little hole-in-the-wall, and you may need to wait forever for seating, but it is worth it. I don’t drink coffee, and love tea with milk and sugar. They serve it in colorful tea pots and little tea cups, and the biscuits and clotted cream are delicious. Alice’s Tea Cup is another cute place. It’s a literary-themed tea shop echoing Alice in Wonderland’s tea party with the Mad Hatter. It’s a nice stop for tea lovers, book lovers and little girls who like scones.
E: Which museum is on your bucket list?
D: I finally went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and the reflection pools are breathtaking. I had been wanting to go since it opened to honor the memories of those who were lost. I’d also like to go to the American Finance Museum, since I work in the financial services industry, and it is so close. I feel like I need to see these museums in my own back-yard most of all. I’m lucky enough to have visited the Louvre, the Vatican Museum, the Pergamon Museum, the German History Museum and the Holocaust Museum, among many others already. There are really just so many to see.
E: Which NYC museum do you typically recommend to out-of-towners?
D: I usually recommend the Met, the MoMa and the Museum of Natural History (if you like dinosaurs), in that order, but for those who have been before, there are so many other known wonders and hidden gems to visit. From now on, my list is going to be those top 5 museums in Queens.
E: Which item might you donate to a museum that best represents your life in NYC?
D: My iPhone – not that I could ever part with it, but it would be a great addition to the Museum of the Moving Image or the American History Museum.
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PHOTO CREDITS & DISCLAIMERS
* Copyright Queens Museum
** Copyright Queens Botanical Garden
***Copyright Queens Country Farm Museum
**** Copyright Queens Zoo
***** Copyright Museum of the Moving Image. “Photo: Peter Aaron/Esto. Courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image”