PRoust Questionnaire: Nelly Benova

The PRoust Questionnaire provides a quick insight into a public relations practitioner’s interests and point of view, as well as their professional beliefs and values. If you are not familiar with the original 19th-century Proust Questionnaire, please see details at the end of this post.

1. What is your most striking characteristic as a PR practitioner?

Being able to gather the real picture of the situation even when the facts tell me the opposite.

2. What is your principal fault as a PR practitioner?

During my time of practice I realized that even if it may sound absurd there are so many different standards for measuring the results of one’s good work. I can’t adapt to this.

3. What is your favourite occupation in PR?

Shaping the opportunities.

4. Why do you work in PR?

Because I love to walk on untrodden ground and PR in Bulgaria is still such a ground.

5. What is your idea of PR nirvana?

PR is a socially respected profession and PR professionals are like one big tribe in which all members are well educated.

6. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery in PR?

To follow procedures that requires time in a situation where you have to act IMMEDIATELY.

7. What qualities do you most admire in a PR practitioner?

Broad-minded thinking, Consistency, Patience.

8. What qualities do you most dislike in a PR practitioner?

Narrow-minded thinking, Arrogance, Boastfulness.

9. Who would you describe as a PR hero or villain?

A PR hero is someone that does what has to be done and does it well. A PR villain is anyone who does what he/she wants and labels it Public Relations.

10. What do you most value in your professional contacts?

Sharing ideas, experience and the opportunity to commensurate with them.

11. Have you ever been influenced by a PR campaign?

Yes, in a different way. I have been attracted to certain causes because of campaigns. There are times when it has happened exactly the opposite way too.

12. Where would you most like to practise PR?

Everywhere in the world where I don’t need to explain what PR actually does.

13. Has a novel, film, play or other work of fiction ever influenced you as a PR practitioner?

There are so many! Even my professional orientation is a consequence of one American novel whose main character was a PR specialist – my ‘first meeting’ with the world of public relations, even before the concept and notion has become part of Bulgarian language.

14. Who do you think has great public relations?


15. Which real, historical or fictional person or brand would you like to give a reputation makeover?

Bulgaria as a brand.

16. Who is your favourite writer?

I would answer this question differently every time because there are so many and ‘my favourite’ depends on the situation. I will name Nikos Kazantzakis today. Because ‘Every perfect traveller always creates the country where he travels’.

17. What one thing is essential to your PR life?

My sensitivity.

17. Groucho Marx is quoted as saying he’d never join a club that would have him as a member.  Which PR club, association or tribes do you belong to—and why?

That’s why we established a club – Apeiron’s Internal Communicator Club. I think that being a part and supporting professional bodies is really important for each profession. I’m member of The Bulgarian Public Relations Society and of the CIPR.

18. Where do you most like to do your professional networking?

Everywhere. What is important to me is to communicate.

19. What’s the best career decision you ever made?

I went to a job interview instead of a friend of mine. She didn’t match the criteria for knowing French well as a second language and said to me: ‘this job is just for you’. I won the position and that was a good stepping stone for my further development as a PR specialist.

20. What skills and abilities do you think tomorrow’s PR leaders need?

They don’t differ from those that today’s leaders have – to look, to see, to think ahead and to have impact on what will happen tomorrow.

21. Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to sing.

22. How would you like to end your PR career?

Writing a script for a Bulgarian movie in which the main actor is a PR professional and is a positive character.

23. How would you describe the current state of public relations?

As facing sliding doors and trying to make a choice which way to follow.

24. What is your PR motto?

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” (Einstein)


Nelly Benova is founder and managing director of Apeiron Communication, part of which is Apeiron Academy (an Accredited centre of the CIPR in Bulgaria).  She is a PR specialist with experience gained over the past 15 years in different public relations fields encompassing business, construction, information technologies, state and foreign institutions, NGOs.  Throughout this time she has been actively involved in the development and professionalization of PR in Bulgaria.  Follow Apeiron Academy on Twitter: @apeironacademy


The Proust Questionnaire was originally designed to reveal one’s personality. Its name and popularity as a form of interview has roots in the responses given by the French writer, Marcel Proust. His first set of responses came at the end of the nineteenth century, when he was still in his teens (from an English-language “confession album”).

For PR Conversations we have adapted this original idea with questions that offer a public relations’ perspective. It will be fun to compare and contrast responses as the series grows. If you would like to be invited to complete our PRoust Questionnaire for posting on PR Conversations, please visit our Crowdsourcing suggestion form.

Earlier PRoust Questionnaire respondents:

Peter V Stanton

Mat Wilcox

Anne Gregory

Markus Pirchner

Heather Yaxley

– Judy Gombita

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