I recently had the pleasure of catching up with one of my favorite non-#TeamTerri coworkers, Erica Benken.  Ever since this lovely blonde graced the Kirvin Doak offices with her communicative talents and vertical prowess (but really, she’s stunningly tall), my personal and professional life has remarkably brightened.

I can attest: Erica is a complete blast to be around outside of the workspace, but she’s also an incredible resource to her clients and colleagues.  I’ve been out on the town with Erica, I’ve seen concerts with Erica, I’ve dined alongside Erica.  Yet because I’ve also experienced all of these things without Erica, I firmly understand the level of fabulousness that she contributes to these situations.  And it’s true.  Everything is better with a little Erica on it.  But even professionally, apart from her being a career woman that every PR hopeful (and current practicing professional) can learn something from, I know she is willing to help a fellow coworker whenever she can.  She’s been a saving grace to me before, and I’m certain she’ll continue to be just as invaluable to myself and others in the future.  Because at the heart of it, that’s who Erica is – a selfless, hard working, always-smiling, blindingly gorgeous soul.

In an effort to help the blogosphere get to know Ms. Benken a wee bit better, I compiled a list of 10 seemingly random questions that dutifully brought out the best in her personality, aspirations and inspirations.  I also highly recommend following her on Twitter/Instagram (@EBenken).

World, I present to you…Erica Benken:


1.  If you could bring one thing to the city of Las Vegas, what would you want to bring and why?

As cliché as it sounds, I would have brought with me my family and my friends. I have been blessed beyond belief to have this amazing job and to make amazing friends here, but if I could have my friends and family closer I would literally have everything one could hope for.


2.  If you weren’t able to work in PR or communications, what would your dream field/job be and why?

If I wasn’t able to work in PR, I would definitely want to be a Marine Biologist. I have always been fascinated by marine life, especially sharks and giant squids (such a nerd I know), and I think it would be neat to explore what all lies below.


3.  Let’s pretend you were going to start a magazine.  What kind of magazine would you want to create?  Why? 

If I were to start a magazine I would create something similar to NYLON. I love the unique fashion trends, new music finds and areas of travel it highlights.


4.  If you had the capability to relieve the world of one current global issue, what would it be?

If I had the ability to relieve the world of one issue, I would relieve the issue of educational funding. There are so many cities and schools in the United States and around the world that don’t have enough funding for education, depriving children of the right to learn simply because they cannot afford it. EVERYONE should have the right to learn and go to school, and money should not play a factor in that.


5.  It’s your final day on earth.  You’re allowed one last meal with one last alcoholic beverage.  Please detail this feast.

Hmmm, this is a tricky one because I LOVE food. I would start with a Garbage Salad from Meatball Spot (best.salad.ever.), continue on with my mom’s famous Spaghetti & Meatballs (she’s full-blooded Italian and one of the greatest cooks you’ll ever meet) and I’d finish with a caramel macaroon from Bouchon Bakery at Venetian (they’re amazing!). For a cocktail I think I would have to have a “Little Hot Mess” from Commonwealth, my new favorite cocktail of choice (currently).


6.  Congratulations – you’ve just been given a $1,000,000 check!  The catch? You keep none of it!  Half of it needs to be donated to one organization/charity/cause of your choice. The other half needs to be donated to help stop the extinction of one animal species of your choice.  How will you disperse the funds?

Easy! First, I would donate half to the American Cancer Society. I have quite a few family members and friends who have battled various forms of cancer. I’ve seen how having funds to aid with research has done amazing things, and how having funds to research more in-depth could have possibly led to a different outcome. In regards to animals, I would definitely give the funds to aid in the care and procurement of tigers. They are such beautiful creatures and would be a great loss to our planet.


7.  Oreo has called you to develop a new cookie for them.  What cookie would you create?

How did you know oreos were my favorite??? Let’s be real, you can’t top an oreo; however, if I made Funfetti oreos, now those could be amazing 🙂


8.  If you could institute another national holiday, what would you want everyone to celebrate?

National Travel Day (or National Travel Week if it was possible!),  a day where EVERYONE has to leave town and venture somewhere new. So often we get stuck in our daily routines forgetting there is a whole world out there to see. Traveling to another country, or just to a city a couple of hours away, can be life-changing.


9.  What if something special could happen every time you entered a room?  What would you want to happen?

If something could happen every time I walked into a room, I would want people to smile, but genuinely smile with happiness. I think one of the greatest things you can do is bring a smile to someone’s face. Confetti is cool and applause can be nice, but bringing a smile to someone’s face is one of the greatest feelings one can experience.


10.  If you could spend a week in someone else’s shoes (dead or alive) who would you want to be and why?

This one’s hard for me. I think I would enjoy stepping into the shoes of Florence Welch. I am uber passionate about music, and there is something so enchanting about watching her perform. I would love to know the feeling of standing in front of a massive crowd, especially at a music festival such as Glastonbury or Austin City Limits, captivating people with the sound of my voice and getting them to sing and dance along with me. I think it would also be interesting to step into the shoes of Coco Chanel. I read her biography once and was inspired by this woman who began as a small town girl and developed an iconic reputation of class that still loves on.

˜Ryan Marquardt