For the opening party of the swanky 32° Luxe Lounge, Dana Lombardo gave guests chills.
She introduced a new, upscale European bottle service lounge to Philadelphia by hand delivering invitations made of ice to guests. Minus some melting, the out-of-the-ordinary invitations easily brought guests into the lounge and out of the cold.
“The invitation was a big block of ice and inside was a bottle of vodka and plastic shot glasses,” Lombardo said.
The Temple grad and current professor is a force to be reckoned with in the Philadelphia public relations industry. She got her start as a bartender at the defunct Egypt nightclub, and now operates the public relations and advertising departments of Old City’s Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar as well as Brulee: The Dessert Experience, 32° Luxe Lounge and Vino Noir Wine Bar in Atlantic City, N.J.
Her skills in the restaurant and night life industries have served her customers well. The public relations “power girl” shares her secrets for success to Temple students, teaching writing for the mass media in the School of Communication and Theater.
“I love to teach. I love when my students leave and they’ve learned something,” she said. “I love being in the classroom and having intellectual conversation with students and watching them grow.”
The restaurants she represents are incorporated under Libre Management properties, which she’s worked for as marketing director for the past seven years.
“When we do things for these places we want to give people an understanding of who we are and what we are about,” she said.
Finding new ways to represent Libre Management’s properties is a big part of her public relations career, but Lombardo said she also spends a lot of time rewriting and editing press releases, as well as working with magazines or Food Network TV shows.
“It’s never an average day,” Lombardo said. “I don’t remember any two days being the same.”
Lombardo said the hardest part of her job is that with unpredictable, exciting days often come long hours.
“Time is of the essence,” Lombardo said. “I think it’s the hours you put in that can sometimes be a downfall.”
Though Lombardo often leaves for work early in the morning and doesn’t get home until 10 at night, her job is still never done.
“I’m at the properties all of the time,” Lombardo said. “You need to know what’s going on with your product so you need to be hands-on as well as in the corporate office.” Lombardo may not get much time to rest, but the satisfaction she gets from her work is unparalleled.
“You create strategies and try to create press and attention for products,” she said. “It’s a great thing to watch unfold.”
The press attention and great teamwork are only two slices of the PR pie. Despite the long hours, there’s always a perk or two along the way.
“I’ve been very lucky,” she said. “I’ve met fantastic stars.”
Lombardo has met the celebrities Prince, Bruce Willis, P. Diddy, Jamie Foxx, Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys and numerous athletes. And the list, amazingly, goes on.
Lombardo said that while she loves working for Libre Management, her No. 1 passion is teaching others, something she hopes to someday do full time. She considers Temple to be a big part of her success, and enjoys giving back to a school that she said has done so much for her.
“I had fantastic teachers at Temple. I couldn’t ask for more,” she said. “I was able to use everything they taught me in the real world … and that’s amazing.”
According to Lombardo, that means if you’re reading this, you’re most likely off to a good start. But aside from the courses she took at Temple, she credits her success to hard work and familiarity of the business.
“I think I would suggest, for any career, to be happy with what you’re doing,” she said. “Even though work is still called work, do something you enjoy.”
Kristen Granero can be reached at email@example.com.