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Wunderkinds 2020

Karina Yücel, 28

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Photo courtesy of Karina Yücel

Digital Marketing and Community Engagement Manager
Thompson & Bender

If you ran in the Yonkers Marathon last year, Karina Yücel may have played a part in getting you there. The social media strategist was integral to the campaign run by her employer, Briarcliff-based PR firm Thompson & Bender, which increased the number of marathon participants from just 200 in 2017 (before her involvement) to well over 1,500 last year. 

“The great response to our campaign and delivering for our client has been really exciting,” says Yücel, who was recently promoted to digital marketing and community engagement manager. Promotional efforts behind the 2019 marathon were strictly limited to social media outlets, reinforcing the platform’s efficacy and Yücel’s ability to maximize it. In her two years at Thompson & Bender, Yücel has also helped mastermind successful social media campaigns for Business Council of Westchester, the Cross County Shopping Center, the City of Yonkers, and The Westchester Parks Foundation.

With degrees in public relations and sports communication and media, Yücel was basically “thrown into” social media advertising during a brief internship she completed while getting her master’s degree. “I started with the basics, and everything kind of took off,” she explains. Today, her polished skills are crucial for the firm, “as we are really seeing a big push from clients to pursue social media — especially those with smaller budgets.” A focus for Yücel: Gen Z. “Sounds funny for me to say,” Yücel notes, “but it pays to keep up with what the young people are doing.”

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