Melissa Kandel (MSJ12) is the global director of communications, PR and digital media at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. She manages all of Berkshire Hathaway Homeservice's social media accounts and works with PR agencies to create brand initiatives and campaigns.
Previously, she was the senior staff writer at HSF Affiliates LLC, a company operating the franchise networks of Prudential Real Estate, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, and Real Living Real Estate. She writes copy for brand advertisements, newsletters, marketing materials, and websites; she also manages a network of social media sites. She joined HSF Affiliates at a pivotal time, just months before the launch of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand. As a writer, this presented an interesting challenge to portray the new network — a game-changer for the real estate industry — with a fresh, hip voice while still paying homage to the respected Berkshire Hathaway name and reputation.
Previously, she was a contributing editor at Realtor magazine where she frequently called on her Medill education. The newsroom prepared her to handle the days “when deadlines loomed and my computer screen remained a scary, wordless expanse of white.” Now, she translates the same skills into the world of “brand journalism.” As new digital platforms continually transform the media landscape, it’s all about whether you’ll sink or swim with the waves of change, she says. “At Medill, the philosophy is undoubtedly to swim; you're taught to embrace the cutting-edge. Whether I’m creating viral marketing campaigns, covering luxury property open houses in Southern California, or giving lectures about social media to real estate agents in Palm Beach, Florida, having this decidedly forward-thinking mindset allows me to stay on top of my communications game, no matter the situation.”
She recalls her time at Medill as a year-long intellectual exercise in “anything goes.” As a grad student, she canvassed the streets of the Edgewater neighborhood, asking strangers if they knew it was National Watermelon Day, (no one did); covered a charity sandcastle contest during one of the biggest storms of the summer; and visited the best bakeries in downtown Chicago for a Valentine’s Day exposé on the high price of handmade sweets (“a delicious investigative endeavor”). Looking back, Medill provided her with a wealth of amazing experiences as well as a comprehensive knowledge of journalism that she says she’s thankful to possess.