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Coming in as a study abroad student for one semester at Franklin had him hooked. Elliot Tomaeno ‘08 decided to spend the rest of his education at Franklin pursuing a degree in International Communications. The allure of Franklin’s academic and social experiences along with its close-knit family was something so different from his experience at the University of Arizona. Becoming a part of Sorengo and the local community was one of his fondest memories during Elliot's time at Franklin. Late nights with friends at Club One and exploring Lugano were as much a part of his experience as his favorite Academic Travels with Anne Flutti to Africa.  Reflecting on his path from Franklin to his current position, he credits professors like Rebecca Self and staff like Laura Thompson as some of the many people who helped him become the person he is today. 

Elliot Wall

Elliot is now the founder and owner of Astrsk PR, a full-service public relations agency based in New York that focuses on technology companies. One of the things he enjoys most is the ability to work directly with consumer brands in helping them get the press and publications they need, ranging anywhere from the Wall Street Journal to the Ellen Show.

While Elliot is continuing to create success, it was not an easy path to navigate. After graduating from Franklin, Elliot worked at five different PR firms before founding Astrsk on his own at age 27. He founded the company with the intention of offering his clients a more focused PR approach. Now, Astrsk is based out of SoHo, New York and has over 19 staff. The company began by working with early stage startups and has grown to service mature, well-known companies such as Cole Haan, Red Bull and Universal Pictures. Since its inception 2012, Astrsk has grown to be a locally and globally recognized name launching over 230 companies to success. In 2015, Elliot was named one of the Top 50 PR Professionals in the Tech Industry by Business Insider and Adweek’s “30 Under 30” in the PR Industry

On top of his success, Elliot makes an effort to give back. Astrsk donates 10% of its work pro-bono to help up and coming start-ups share their story and make an impact throughout the world. Elliot hopes to expand Astrsk by triple its current size in five years with offices in both Europe and the West Coast. 

When asked about the projects he was most excited about, he talked about his work with companies like Jewelbots, a toy that helps teenage girls learn to code, or Squarespace, a web platform that allows anyone to easily build a website. The global exposure and experience Elliot gained at Franklin has certainly come in handy: at present, only 30 percent of Astrsk’s companies are in New York, while many others are based around the globe. One of Astrsk’s biggest clients is QuizUp, a trivia app company based in Iceland. 

“The education outside of class, learning other languages and being outside your comfort zone was fundamental”, he says when asked about how his Franklin education and experience prepared him for success. The opportunity to meet other people from different backgrounds through Franklin and seeing how those people lived was eye-opening for him. His advice to current students? “Take advantage of the environment, whether that’s learning Italian or taking day trips around Switzerland.”

Soaking in the experience extends beyond graduation. He readily admits,“You don’t need to get into a career right away. Though I love my job and my career, I sometimes wish I had taken a year to travel after college”. Elliot is, in many ways, a typical Franklinite: “Home is in Arizona with my family, but also San Francisco with my friends, New York with my business, and Lugano with Franklin“. No matter how many places he goes, as with many of our alumni, Franklin and Lugano will always be a home for Elliot. 

See more info about Elliot and Astrsk at:

http://mashable.com/2015/09/29/astrsk-pr-startup-success/#zJ8SDCot4SqF
https://www.entrepreneur.com/author/elliot-tomaeno 

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