No detail is too small and no task is too large for clients, according to Maggie Gallant, publicist to the stars.
In an improv class the Atlanta native learned a career-changing lesson: Never say no. As the actors worked together onstage, one partner would ask a question, and the other took the material and ran with it.
Gallant applied that go-getter philosophy by always trying to exceed the wants and needs of clients. Now 37, she has taken just two vacations during her 17-year career. She is dedicated to brand strategy work with prominent clients including Spanx, Target, Neiman Marcus and the Kentucky Derby. Gallant has created award-winning campaigns for HGTV, DIY Network, Oxygen, Bravo, Discovery and DirecTV.
“It’s a very intimate relationship,” said Gallant. “My job is to care for every element and facet of what my client is doing. You have to be ready to do things that are not in the job description.”
Gallant recently has moved back to Atlanta for a new job with APA PR, the first public relations firm to sprout from a Hollywood talent agency. She is building the Atlanta office from the ground up at One Buckhead Plaza to connect with the thriving film and TV industry in Georgia.
The stakes are high with high-profile people in the media, she said. Her job is like being a cheerleader — similar to her high school days at the Westminster Schools.
Gallant created a major in public relations at George Washington University. She stepped into a role as a feature writer for USA Weekend during college; soon after, she was trained to be the kind of publicist reporters would want to work with.
She built her career in New York and Los Angeles, living a bicoastal lifestyle for 15 years. She founded Spotlight Communications, then created and led the entertainment and lifestyle division of PR agency Rogers & Cowan. She served as a guest lecturer at New York University and received UJA-Federation of New York’s young leadership award for her commitment to philanthropy.
“I plan to die at my desk at a very old age,” she joked.
She was just plugging along, hopping flights with her dog and crashing at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles for work, when everything changed.
When you are a publicist, especially in entertainment, you suspect anything can happen. You learn to think on your feet, she said.
It was Passover. She was visiting Atlanta to celebrate her mother’s 70th birthday, and a friend wanted Gallant to meet Jason Isenberg. The pair met for coffee, and she was hooked.
“I knew right away that he was a mensch. I was immediately stressed out. I knew I was going to be moving to Atlanta. There was something when I met him and we locked eyes. I started thinking about changing my life,” she said.
Gallant and Isenberg married in 2015. They built a home with room for her stepchildren, Jacob, 11, and Ava, 7, and a baby who is due in September.
It’s been a whirlwind, but Gallant lives by television host Tim Gunn’s mantra, “Make it work.” Her love of family, including local cousins, outweighs the convenience and familiarity of New York. She pushed back her fears to figure a way to make herself happy.
“It’s all important: connecting to family and community, falling in love, deciding to do something that had never been done before. My career has always been precious to me. I feel lucky. As I watched other people struggle to find what they’re good at and what they’re excelling in, I never had that challenge. Now, it took a long time to find my husband,” she said with a laugh. “Before I met my husband, the love of my life was my career.”
Gallant decided to keep her apartment in New York. There are times, though not at eight months pregnant, when she needs to hop on a plane and prep a client in New York for a morning TV interview.
Gallant chooses clients who inspire and captivate her, like Dylan’s Candy Bar by Dylan Lauren and Skinnygirl Cocktails by entrepreneur and “Real Housewife” Bethenny Frankel. “When you’re a publicist, you are talking about brands all day long,” Gallant said. “You have to be excited about it.”