Aaron Kwittken | The Innovator 25 North America 2021

Aaron Kwittken

Founder/CEO of

Chairman, KWT Global

New York, NY

Hometown: Armonk, NY 

“In order to make sustainable change, we need to invest in getting more diverse people interested and engaged in our business."

In late 2020, Aaron Kwittken launched PRophet, an AI-driven, SaaS platform designed for and by PR professionals to test and re-test pitches before pitching. The idea being, AI will help PR professionals craft targeted pitches, optimized for the highest chance of success. And when clients make unreasonable media requests, PR professionals can arm themselves with data and say: "No, that won't work — here's why. And here's what will." 

"AI is going to have a huge influence on how we engage with journalists going forward," Kwittken predicts. PRophet was brought to life from an internal competition created by MDC Partners (now merged with The Stagwell Group) intended to draw out the most innovative ideas at the intersection of technology and marketing strategy.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? 
I am most proud of fostering employment and career opportunities for hundreds of people over the past 20 years.  Seeing people grow and thrive after they leave the "agency nest" is the most meaningful and important aspect of leadership. 

I'm also proud to have focused KWT Global on developing and activating real social impact programs for clients before "purpose" or ESG was a "thing" and I'm proud of conceiving of and building the industry's first AI-powered pitch platform called PRophet.

We're at a pivotal moment on the future of the office and how we work. How would like to see 'office/work culture' evolve?
We all need to admit that “office” work will be forever, indelibly changed post-Covid. With a few exceptions, hybridized environments are going to be the norm, as will be specificity around why and how people should be together.

I'd like to see a three-day in office work week with at least one of those days designated as "all hands" days where everyone is physically present.

It is impossible to build and sustain a winning culture when everyone is remote. And culture is everything. 

In an industry fueled by creativity, serendipity and lifelong learning it's critical that we find a way to engage with each other IRL while also leaning into the upsides of workplace flexibility like remote work. Doing so will help us cast a wider net for talent and even surface dormant talent that left the workforce because of the industry's historic workplace rigidity.

How can the PR industry make real progress in diversity, inclusion and equity?
I think we are getting better at the short game when it comes to education, training, recruiting, transparent reporting, etc. BUT we also need to focus on the long game which centers on both supply and demand. 

In order to make sustainable change, we need to INVEST in getting more diverse people interested and engaged in our business. That means we need to spend more time raising awareness about our profession in high schools, universities and especially HBCU's.

What makes you most excited or proud to be part of the PR industry? 
Two things:

1) The rapid rise of comms-tech. Our jobs have the potential to be drastically and dramatically improved – not replaced – through artificial intelligence (AI). This technology has the potential to completely reimagine how we actually use truly performative technology and the implications for our workflow – helping our industry navigate an ever more competitive and transactional news environment saddled by contracting newsrooms and expanding freelancers by deploying a data-driven approach to media intelligence and relationships.  It’s a big catch up moment to other areas of marketing, wherein all areas are and have to be data driven. 

Mark Penn, has long said that great strategy is the result of data and creativity joining forces. AI is going to have a huge influence on how we engage with journalists going forward – the trick will be relying on our professional and creative instincts to find inspiration – and leveraging AI to improve performance and refine our pitch strategies. It’s why I built PRophet and the latest sea change confronting PR’s evolving role in an integrated world. It won’t be the last but will be seminal moment for all of us who operate in the media ecosystem.

2) The breakneck convergence of reputation/comms and ESG/social impact. Our profession is best positioned and experienced to lead since we are the guardians of brand values and integrity. We can't and should not cede this ground to traditional advertising agencies or commercially driven creatives.

What are your fears/concerns for our industry? 
I fear that pandemic may have dismantled the human part of what we do. People are focused in jobs, not careers and their pact with their employers is broken and highly transactional and no longer relational. Companies are more disposable and staff have expectations around work life that may not be sustainable.

What inspires you? This could be a person, place, activity, etc.
My Mom. She's a holocaust survivor and raised me as single parent from age 11. Her strength, wisdom and resilience could never be taught in a master class. She IS a master class. I am grateful that she's still here at 90 years young.

What are you thinking about most these days? 
Mental health and well-being.

Equity, equality and belonging at work.

What is your idea of happiness?
First and always, my human and canine family make me happy. After that, being able to give back to others (community care) and myself (self care).