Joanna Huss

CEO of Huss Group, Joanna Huss and her team provide traditional and social public relations and marketing services to clients across the nation. You’ll likely remember her as the country’s “youngest big city press secretary” from 2007-2013, when she helped to modernize Pittsburgh’s communications platforms. Fresh off the heels of running Pittsburgh’s largest Social Media Day event, Joanna shares her plans for the holiday week—from dining at her favorite local eateries to planning an upcoming trip to Paris to see Coldplay—not to mention “raising her two adorable rugrats.”

Monday, July 3

I start my mornings with a cortado from Commonplace Coffee in Squirrel Hill, a short walk from my idyllic Walnut Capital townhome. The best baristas, Izzy and Jeh, always make me a coffee-art design—a heart or a tulip. What can beat starting your day with coffee and art?

It will be a light day in the office after coming from leading Pittsburgh’s largest Social Media Day, #SMDAYPGH, held last Friday at Bakery Square’s new office building where our firm is headquartered. I’ll review video from our event and cut each of the six sessions into educational videos for clients seeking to ramp up their social media knowledge.

Later, I’ll run the trails at the best park ever, Frick Park. As a kid, I always loved the woods, and running on Rollercoaster Trail is a great stress reliever.

My gorgeous kids (Hannah, 5; Mikey, 4) and I are heading to my friend and real estate agent Sepi Miller’s house for a campout and Independence Day party. There’s nothing like sleeping in a tent!

Tuesday, July 4
I’m making my classic mojitos at a friend’s place for a July 4th cookout. My porch garden includes two pots: one for mint and one for basil. Mojitos and pesto are where it’s at. I’m really big on what I call “lifestyle design” and it’s important to take some quality chill time with family and friends. No work today!

Joanna Huss
Joanna moderating the Pittsburgh Social Media Day panel hosted by Huss Group at Bakery Square. From Right: Ari Lightman, Andi Perelman, Benjamin Weaver, Salena Zito, Joanna Huss. Photo by Lauren Kucic.

Wednesday, July 5

The kiddos and I will stop at Commonplace, where they’ll gobble down coffee cake (their favorite treat) before heading to tennis camp at Frick Park’s clay courts.

At the office, I have a conference call with Huss senior consultants Rob Swadosh and Charlie Crane to discuss new business opportunities along the Eastern seaboard. Then, I’ll meet with Shawn Fox, a long-time colleague and fellow board member at Life’sWork, at Asiatique. Their Pad See Ew is the best in the city and I love checking out Chef Ling Robinson’s high-heeled shoes!

I’ll get back on track with my guitar lessons with Mikey at Sunburst School of Music. I’ve perfected “Blackbird,” and now I’m on to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” Guitar is something I’ve recently picked up. As client and author friend Niki Kapsambelis—who wrote The Inheritance, about a family on the front lines of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s—has taught me, learning a language or instrument is one of the best things you can do to prevent this disease.

Thursday, July 6

We’ve got an early meeting with Just Ducky Tours as they celebrate their 20th anniversary in Pittsburgh and look to mark the occasion with their fans. As the city’s vibrancy has grown, so has Just Ducky.

I’ll return to reviewing video from our Social Media Day event held last week. More than 100 social influencers and marketers joined us at Bakery Square. We had amazing panelists and session leaders from Google, The Wall Street Journal, Niche, Carnegie Mellon and more—we can’t wait to share this success as we plan for next year’s event.

I’ll have lunch at Everyday Noodles, one of my favorite restaurants. Their rolled onion pancakes with sliced beef are quite literally the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

Friday, July 7
I’ll start the day with a run in Frick Park and then spend the day doing fun activities with my kids. I’m leaving next week for a business trip to New York, so I want to double down on my quality time.

We’ll start at Square Cafe—who doesn’t love the staff, vibe and food there? We love that they stay local with fresh Uncle Charley’s Sausage.

Next, we’ll head to the North Shore Water Steps before it gets too crowded. If we have the energy, we’ll head to the Carnegie Science Center and check out their new sports exhibit.

Joanna Huss
Joanna’s kids enjoying some laughs near the Mellon Park fountain. Photo by Maya Tuttle.
Joanna’s kids enjoying some laughs near the Mellon Park fountain. Photo by Maya Tuttle.

Saturday, July 8

I love starting my Saturday with physical activity. I’m overdue for a bike ride, so I’ll ride a few miles to meet my good friend and colleague John Mahood, CEO of Imagebox. We’re taping our third podcast today at his Garfield headquarters. We’re looking forward to rolling out top marketing and social PR tips for nonprofits and institutions.

I’ll head to Pittsburgh Juice Company to stock up on their Green Goddess juice after a long week of activity. When the kids are in bed, I’ll start thinking about what I want to take to Paris, where I’ll be seeing my favorite band, Coldplay, in concert at the Stade de France. Who knows? I might even run into President Trump, who will be in town for Bastille Day!

Sunday, July 9

I’ll pack up a delicious picnic and head to Citiparks’ Bach, Beethoven and Brunch series at Mellon Park: one of the city’s best-kept secrets. My kids love the fountain, and the vibe is so chill. It’s a perfect way to relax and soak in city culture and expose your children to life’s greatest pleasures, nature and music.

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Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.