Getting to know Infinite Global Vice President Zinie Sampson
June 16, 2023
Leadership Spotlight: Zinie Sampson, Vice President at Infinite Global
Zinie Sampson recently joined Infinite Global as a vice president, bringing vast experience as a former Associated Press journalist turned corporate communications professional. She has successfully navigated the sectors of law, corporate compliance, healthcare and legal technology, placing her clients in the limelight and establishing them as thought leaders on intricate, pressing issues.
Her media relations and strategic communications prowess have helped clients secure high-profile placements in leading outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.
We sat down with Zinie to learn more about her background in journalism, her prior experience in PR and her interests outside work.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in the Midwest and moved to Richmond, Virginia, for a post-college internship with The Associated Press that turned into a lengthy and rewarding first career. Being Taiwanese immigrants, my parents were disappointed that I didn’t pursue medicine or law, but they eventually got over it. I’ve enjoyed my professional life, but it’s the relationships and experiences outside of work that have been the most fulfilling. Among the things for which I’m most grateful: my family, including my husband and daughter and our pitbull-mix dog, Otis.
What were you doing prior to joining Infinite Global?
I most recently was with a national communications firm that works with law firms, legal tech providers and other professional services companies. I worked with great people there and remain friends with many of them, including a couple of my current Infinite Global colleagues whom I’m happy about working with again. I enjoyed collaborating with team members, especially helping newer associates develop their media relations and client-facing skills, and I particularly appreciated the relationships I developed with clients I’d worked with since pivoting from journalism to corporate communications.
What sparked your interest in public relations?
I wasn’t specifically interested in PR, but I increasingly wanted to find a way to use my skills in a more controlled setting than the breaking news and continuous deadlines of a major international news service. Among my final AP stories were a Navy jet crash and the ouster and subsequent reinstatement of the president of a major public university – just a small sample of many physically and/or mentally strenuous assignments. Given my longtime interest and experience covering legal issues, I interviewed for an in-house PR job at an Am Law 100 firm and enjoyed getting to know several team members during the process. The firm’s PR leaders referred me to their national PR agency, and that firm was one of my first (and favorite) clients.
What do you like most about working at a PR agency?
The most enjoyable aspect of agency life has been working with smart, kind people – coworkers, clients and journalists – on intellectually significant issues, much as I had in my first career as a journalist. I enjoy learning from my colleagues as well as sharing my knowledge with them. The pace and volume of work are challenging and engaging in a good way – but, as many of us have realized in recent years, it’s important to guard one’s personal time and maintain a healthy work-life balance, and Infinite has been intentional in encouraging team members to do this.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
I enjoy playing tennis, which is good exercise and a fun social activity. The occasional drama that arises in tennis club leagues can be entertaining as well. Music also has been a longtime interest. A couple concerts already on the calendar later this year: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. I also am involved with the volunteer fundraising board of our local animal shelter, an open-admission facility that serves thousands of homeless animals annually.
Starting in 2012 after leaving AP, I’ve volunteered each election cycle for candidates I support, and I particularly enjoy canvassing and speaking with voters about issues that are important to them, what’s at stake in each election, and why voting matters. We should never take our democracy for granted.
How does your previous career as a journalist inform your work in PR today?
Writing news stories under immediate deadlines and filing them on the wire honed my ability to quickly synthesize and distill a large volume of information into succinct, clear writing. Similarly, the constant editing and proofreading required on the job obviously have been useful in my corporate communications roles. Reporters’ curiosity and critical thinking skills also are valuable attributes for PR consultants: anticipate and answer the questions that clients might ask before they ask them; ask the right questions so you can fill in any information gaps and determine how best to present their messages; and in some cases, help them understand why what they think is big news really isn’t that newsworthy.
And having been a reporter and editor enables me to provide firsthand insight into how we can effectively assist journalists as we help our clients achieve their communications and business objectives. Finally, my experience covering disasters, violent crimes, significant court cases, policymaking and legislation – and a host of other high-profile news – trained me to adapt to rapidly evolving developments. It also provided the opportunity to connect with people that I otherwise wouldn’t have met and to understand and feature their voices and perspectives in my stories. Adaptability and empathy are useful in all professions, not just journalism or corporate communications.
Curious to know more? Learn more about Infinite Global Vice President Zinie Sampson here.