studio (un)scripted: 5 questions with amy burke friedman.

AMY BURKE FRIEDMAN, OWNER/CEO, PROFILES (and the person who, after answering these questions for the studio, asked, “now, what can I be doing to help you???” because she is just that much of a queen).

The Studio is my happy place, where is yours? 

On the sidelines watching my kids. Thursday swim clinic? Let’s do it. Friday night lacrosse practice? I’m there. Saturday soccer match? I’m the loudest. Sunday tennis lesson? Can’t wait. I love seeing my kids find their strength, gain new skills, be part of a team, and have fun.

At the beginning of 2023, you were named Owner/CEO of PROFILES, a PR, marketing and events-first agency in Baltimore. First, congratulations (again) and second, tell us about how you forged that path. 

Thank you so much for your kind words! The path to becoming the Owner/CEO of PROFILES has been an incredible journey, one that I am deeply grateful for. Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with a remarkable team of talented, creative, and supportive individuals.

I studied journalism in school, but after interning in the marketing department at Baltimore magazine, I realized I loved the media more than I wanted to be the media! Following my graduation from the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) in 2002, I took a job in public relations with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. It was a valuable experience that allowed me to build strong relationships with the media and gain foundational PR skills. However, I was eager for more challenges and growth.

I joined the PROFILES team, and under Amy Elias‘ mentorship and guidance, I had the opportunity to learn, innovate, and take on leadership roles. This nurturing environment allowed me to ask questions, make mistakes, and bring ideas to fruition.

I worked with large corporations, nonprofits of all sizes, on events, on projects, and on really hard things that I didn’t know what I was doing! With time, I honed my skills, built confidence, and took on more responsibilities.

As I continued to grow professionally, I contributed to the company’s growth through business development efforts, mentoring and supporting younger colleagues at the onset of their careers, and diversifying our service offerings. Fast forward to today, I’m proud to say that I recently celebrated my 20th anniversary with PROFILES on October 1st and will mark my first year as Owner/CEO on January 1st.

This journey has been marked by continuous learning, unwavering determination, and the invaluable support of my colleagues and mentors. I’m excited to lead PROFILES into the future, building upon the strong foundation that has been laid and continuing to provide exceptional PR, marketing, and event services to our clients.


That said, one of the many things I love about you and the PROFILES team is that no matter your title, rank, tenure or age, everyone at the agency is willing to do whatever they can for each other and your clients. Recently in fact, you were feet-on-the-ground for all of Artscape. A lot of agencies send more junior associates to work those kinds of events. How does this play into the core values of the agency and why is it important to you?   

As a close-knit team at PROFILES, we’ve always believed in the importance of rolling up our sleeves and getting hands-on, regardless of titles or ranks. This philosophy is deeply rooted in our core values. It’s not just about expecting others to do something I wouldn’t; it’s about leading by example and fostering a culture of unity and collaboration.

We understand that in a smaller agency like ours, each team member plays a pivotal role in our collective success. There’s no room for hierarchy when we’re striving for excellence. Moreover, I genuinely enjoy getting involved in tasks that some might consider “low-level.” Being on the ground at one of the country’s largest arts festivals like Artscape isn’t just an opportunity; it’s a privilege. It’s a chance to support our vibrant arts and cultural community and help them gain the recognition they rightfully deserve.

Being part of the first Artscape in three years was nothing short of magical. Contributing to the festival’s successful return was incredibly rewarding, and it reinforced why we do what we do at PROFILES. Our commitment to going the extra mile isn’t just about what I’m willing to do; it’s a testament to our team’s dedication and our promise to our clients.

In the end, there’s very little I wouldn’t do for our agency and our clients. I believe it speaks to the values we hold dear and the commitment we have to making a meaningful impact in our industry.

As a powerful female in integrated communications with a team full of eager, smart and hardworking women, what advice do you tend to offer those hoping to accelerate their career with hopes of becoming an executive? 

Here are some key pieces of advice I can offer:

  1. Never Stop Learning: My father once told me that if you’re not learning in your current role, it might be time to reassess. I’ve carried this with me throughout my 20 years at PROFILES, constantly finding opportunities to learn from colleagues, interns, clients, and others.
  2. Expand Your Horizons: To grow in your career, you have to step out of your comfort zone. Engage with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives to broaden your horizons and enrich your understanding of the world.
  3. Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with individuals who challenge you, inspire you, and complement your skills. I owe a significant part of my success to the guidance and support of colleagues like Amy, Jamie, Bridget, and many others who have played a pivotal role in my journey.

Success is not a solo endeavor. It’s the result of continuous learning, expanding your network, and having a strong support system.

If you could ask me anything, what would it be?

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), I’d like to ask you a personal question. Many of us have been touched by the experiences of friends or family members with breast cancer. Is there a particular woman in your life who has inspired you with her strength and resilience in the face of this challenge? I’d love to hear a little about her story and how it may have impacted your perspective.

Connect with Amy on LinkedIn. Check her out on Instagram and while you’re there, give PROFILES a follow, too.

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