Ronn Torossian was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in The Bronx and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, he founded 5WPR in 2003 as a one-man office. Today, the firm employs more than 175 communications professionals in the company’s headquarters in the iconic Helmsley Building in Manhattan. The name, 5WPR – stands for the 5W’s of marketing – who, what, when, where, and why.
Torossian is one of the most well respected Public Relations professionals in America. He is on the board of numerous charities, including his family foundation, The Ronn Torossian Foundation. He lives with his kids on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
What is your hobby?
How did you get started with this hobby?
I’ve been involved with helping people since my childhood. In my home, giving back to your community was basically a requirement. From a very young age, I have known the importance of giving. As for what inspired me, my mother, Penny Waga. She’s my hero.
I would not be who I am today without her, and that includes my belief that giving back is necessary to be successful.
Tell us what you love about your hobby.
Helping people is awesome and amazing and great.
What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?
This is a bit harder to answer, as so much of charity is seated in not buying anything for myself, but instead giving that money to those in need.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?
Practically everything; it’s a hard hobby to dislike. I get to help people in several different ways, whether it’s with education or helping them connect with their community and heritage, or even donating to cancer research, I feel great about all of it.
Are there any good books for beginners?
I quite enjoy “A Path Appears” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It goes into the importance of accountability as well as some of the neuroscience involved in philanthropy. I re-read it annually as it inspires me to give more and ensure more goes to the intended receipients of charity.
How has your hobby changed your life?
Giving to charity and being involved with charities has made my whole life better. It’s our obligation as people to leave the world a better place and I genuinely think giving to charity has made every aspect of my life better. As Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
Find a cause that speaks to you, don’t pick a charity at random. Really connecting with people is the single greatest way to enhance the aspect of giving, which is something I think we all take for granted every day.