Rana Komar’s Journey in Leadership

By Zoë Ihaza

Rana Komar is the kind of person who never misses major events in her personal life. Komar states, “There are days where there are gives and takes. There are certain things that you hold firm. It’s about communicating responsibility to people in your environment.” Additionally, Komar is an art lover. Her favorite artist is Mark Rothko because of his simple yet complex expression through color, which resonates with her.

To really know Komar, you have to know the company where the bulk of her career evolved. Weber Shandwick prides itself as collaborative problem solvers, which allows teams to be focused on collaborative teamwork in each of its regions across the globe.

In addition, the company culture consists of people knowing each other’s passions and interests. The company has a curious culture and is innovation and future oriented. Yasmeen Scott, a consumer PR intern at Weber Shandwick affirms this as she says, “I believe the leadership at Weber Shandwick to be attentive when it comes to giving those even as interns a chance to showcase what they can do. They are also teachers trying help the next generation grow into their potential and giving everyone the tools, they need to succeed.

”It is interesting to note that each office is unique at Weber Shandwick. While all offices are different sizes, some offices offer specialized services such as corporate and healthcare. Headquartered in New York, Weber Shandwick has acquired diverse talent and the firm is committed to values that permeate throughout the organization. Komar said she is grateful for what she describes as exceptional leadership throughout the agency.

Komar’s drive for developing an evolving communications industry is demonstrated through her previous organizational leadership positions. Prior to her role as president, Komar served as General Manager of Chicago at Weber Shandwick. In this role, she crafted strategic solutions to client business challenges.

Komar is a graduate of Northwestern University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and political science. Her favorite part of having a double major is that her university experience allowed her from an early age to understand the value of bringing multiple aspects of yourself. She states, “Your focus/passions/ point of view into things – and that we as people bring that complexity and flexibility into how we work and collaborate makes both the work and the collaboration even stronger.”

With over 20 years of experience within the industry, Komar was recently promoted to serve as general manager for North America. In addition, Komar retains her role as president of the central region at Weber Shandwick. Under Komar’s leadership, she oversees daily operations, client relationships and talent management within the Central Region for Weber Shandwick.

Moreover, she is a member of the College of Communication Dean’s Advisory Council at DePaul University. “I am thrilled to have Rana as a member of the College of Communication Dean’s Advisory Council,” said Lexa Murphy, acting dean. “She is generous with her time and expertise with a genuine commitment to educating and mentoring the next generation of communication professionals and leaders.”

After acquiring leadership experience, Komar discovered her own personal leadership style, which she describes as “hands-off.” She has trust and brings questioning by aiding others to offer a solution to a problem rather than imposing her views on probable solutions. Moreover, Komar’s workplace enables her to be herself. Her philosophy towards her leadership style is emulated in Weber Shandwick’s commitment to work-life balance. This year, PR agency was named PR agency of the year and in previous years, it was named one of the best agencies to work. Thus, Komar shares that the agency is committed to a hybrid, flexible schedule during the pandemic.

Komar aims to foster an environment where all employees can thrive. She remarks, “I am a huge believer in empowerment and trust – and my role is to help others be their best and to figure out how to help them thrive. So, letting people learn, take risks, trust their instincts, but also be the parachute on their back when they need it, is how I like to think about leadership. Also, one of my favorite quotes is ‘when we trust people to get the job done, we get leaders’ by Simon Sinek.”

Komar says she finds joy in solving challenges, always viewing the glass as half full. She holds that challenges are an opportunity for possibilities and learning. Susan Howe, chief growth officer at Weber Shandwick describes Komar as extraordinary. She notes, “Rana is an extraordinary leader. She started her career with the firm as an intern and rose through the ranks to lead one of our most successful, sizable and innovative units.  Throughout her career she has been passionate about the development of our people and the culture of our agency.”

Throughout Komar’s career, she credits obtaining a pool of knowledge from others within and outside of the industry. Komar grasped an understanding of leadership by observing and posing questions to others. Moreover, she notes that the key is to distinguish between people who do things well and others who do not.

Another acumen on Komar’s leadership is that she is grateful for women who have blazed the trails in order for others to become leaders within the industry. She avows that women should never doubt themselves. She states that if “mansplaining” ever occurs within the workplace, it is necessary to own it and speak up.

Komar offers the following advice for anyone aspiring to be a leader:

  • Solve complex challenges
  • Be resilient
  • Be resourceful
  • Be optimistic
  • Collaborate with others
  • Be curious

To learn more about Weber Shandwick, visit https://www.webershandwick.com/. Check out Weber Shandwick’s Purpose Decoded for more insights from its Social Impact team.

Zoë Ihaza recently graduated with a Master of Arts degree from the the Public Relations & Advertising Graduate Program at DePaul University. Zoë enjoys blogging and curating media content. She aspires to be a top-notch media maven at an advertising or public relations agency. Connect with her via LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/zoë-ihaza.

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