For more than 25 years, Leyla Naile Turkkan has channeled public relations as a catalyst for cultural advancement and social change. – from the groundbreaking protest rap of Public Enemy, through the Beastie Boys’ watershed Tibetan Freedom Concerts to leading media strategy for artist-activists such as KRS-One and Ice Cube.
Leyla’s ability to craft memorable, iconic and surgically precise PR campaigns has elevated a wide array of entertainment clients, non-profits and executives from the underground to the mainstream, securing for them continued relevance and career longevity in a fickle and chaotic media environment.
In this vein, Leyla has formed The Catalyst Group – a collective of highly skilled and seasoned publicists with diverse expertise. Together, they conceive of and execute custom-tailored, impactful campaigns for a select group of clients across the entertainment and pro-social spectrum.
Leyla with Chuck D and Grandmaster Flash
Before launching The Catalyst Group, Leyla founded the groundbreaking PR and marketing firm Set to Run. In short, when hip-hop and alternative music were born, Leyla was in the delivery room. In addition to the aforementioned hip-hop artists, STR repped David Bowie, Slayer, New Order, The Cure and The Breeders among many other legendary artists. She held executive positions at Columbia Records, The Atlantic Group, EMI Records, Rush Communications, and BET Networks. She also helped launch and promote the iconic Def Jam Records, and continues to work with Def Jam Founder Russell Simmons, who serves on The Catalyst Group’s Advisory Board.
Upon its founding, The Catalyst Group created a credible brand for The Roots and ?love, leading to their anointment as the house band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and subsequently “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” TCG also led the campaign for Raphael Saadiq and his critically acclaimed 2008 album “The Way I See It,” which was nominated for three Grammys.
Leyla currently sits on the Marketing Committee for the Institute for Humane Education’s Solutionary School, helping increase its visibility. She also advises the New York Civil Liberties Union on visibility campaigns.
A first generation Turkish-American of Muslim descent, Leyla received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she majored in Music & Psychology. She also did postgraduate studies at Sarah Lawrence in Fiction & Creative Writing. She resides in New York City.