You know what they say about rolling stones? It's safe to say Caitlin Friedman has gathered no moss. The Massachusetts native began networking in her first job out of college, when she was at Lisa Ekus Public Relations, one of the first PR agencies to focus on cookbooks. Friedman quickly made a name for herself in the field, and it wasn't long before the bright, outgoing publicist was offered a job as a segment producer at the Food Network in New York City. Twelve years later, she's co-owner of YC Media, a New York public relations and marketing firm that counts among its current and past clients Amazon.com, cookbook author Jamie Oliver, and houses from Bloomsbury to Morrow. Friedman's also co-author of a series of business books for women, is working on turning the books into a TV series, and travels nationally speaking to women about their careers. “Like many of us, I wear lots of hats,” she says.
The early years of Friedman's career had her trying on hats in television, book publishing and PR. After working at Food Network for about a year, she moved to books in 1998, helping create the cookbook program at Broadway Books. There, she worked with authors including Ruth Reichl and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. A few years later, she struck out on her own and launched Caitlin Connelly Communications; one of her clients was Jeff Bezos, who hired her to launch Amazon's kitchen store. But the personable Friedman “started to get a little lonely,” so she partnered with an acquaintance and friendly competitor, Kimberly Yorio, in 2000 to form YC Media. The firm took on clients in the food world, including a host of cookbook authors and publishing houses. Their roster was impressive: Artisan, Chronicle, Clarkson Potter, HarperCollins, Hearst, Houghton Mifflin, Running Press, Sterling, Wiley and many others. Their specialty: focusing on only a few books each season and orchestrating major media campaigns for them that involve book tours, events and, often, appearances on national television. “Starting an incorporated business was tough,” Friedman recalls. But, she says, “after mistake #4,000, I pitched the idea of us writing The Girl's Guide to Starting Your Own Business to Kim. Lucky for me she said yes.”
Collins published that book in 2003, and since then, Friedman and Yorio have gone on to pen three others: The Girl's Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch) (Broadway, 2006); The Girl's Guide to Kicking Your Career into Gear (Broadway, Jan. 2008); and, coming in April 2009, Happy at Home, Happy at Work: The Girl's Guide to Being a Working Mom (Broadway). The books have sold well. Friedman and Yorio have appeared on The Today Show seven times, and two of the books were BusinessWeek bestsellers. Friedman is working with a production team on the West Coast and two U.K.-based writers on turning Girls Guide into a scripted series.
In between running a business, writing books and creating a TV series, Friedman is writing a children's book and a YA novel, and has several TV show ideas that are in development. She is also raising four-year-old twins with her husband, writer Andrew Friedman.
“I'm someone who literally can't sit down for very long,” Friedman says. “Because I was raised by a Buddhist, I try and meditate each day, but the most I can do it is 15 minutes. If I like what I'm doing, then being busy energizes me. I'm most comfortable working on several things at once.”