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PR PROfile: Cassy Dump, Pascale Communications

Cassy Dump

Account Director

Pascale Communications

Length of your PR career (so far): Combined experience in marketing, journalism and PR: 12 years. I’ve been with Pascale Communications almost 4 years.

What got you interested in PR? I was a writer naturally, and when you write well people tell you, “you should be a journalist.” It turns out I don’t fancy journalism—I like adjectives too much. I was always very creative at making gifts and have a knack for fostering relationships with new people and one day someone told me that’s what publicists do. “They sell concepts/ideas instead of products.” After I figured out that my natural talents aligned with public relations, I applied for my first coordinator position… The rest is history.

Biggest complaint about social media: Inaccuracy of news reporting. We see so many things go viral that are completely false.

Most misunderstood thing about PR: There is no perfect/finite formula.

Your most memorable campaign: We are still currently working with a scientific imaging client in conjunction with NASA. They now have one of their devices on the International Space Station (ISS) and working with NASA’s investigators and engineers to promote their work and coordinate press has been the highlight of my career thus far.

What was one of the toughest placements you secured, and how did it feel? I worked on a nationally syndicated segment, ‘The Morning Show with Mike and Juliette’, on how online dating is evolving. The struggle was attempting to take the taboo away with online dating and the younger generation. Getting the placement made me feel like, “Hey this is possible. You pitch and pitch and pitch and then finally you throw something at the wall and it sticks. It’s a gratifying feeling.”

Best thing about working at your agency: It’s virtual; I can work when I want, where I want (which typically means always and everywhere).

Favorite journalist to work with: I like all the journalists I work with equally 😉

Number of 2 a.m. phone calls from a client this month: Zero.

Most outrageous client request: “Can they helicopter me in for the filming? I just thought I would ask.”

Last time you didn’t do any work all weekend: By choice or necessity? I work a lot, but it’s because I choose to, and I like what I do. It’s also because I believe effective PR is done in real time. Healthcare is a different beast.

Number of meetings you were in last week: I was at a conference, so in two days, 12.

Your nightmare client in 3 words: Doesn’t take advice.

The moment you realized PR is more important than you thought it would be: The moment I joined healthcare I embarked on a journey I could have never imagined. It’s challenging, interesting and a whole different type of PR than I could have ever intended to facilitate. It’s also compelling—we watch lives change on a daily basis. There is nothing more moving than the human interest side of what we help our clients do.

Most interesting thing about your job: Working with the most prestigious and revered surgeons and researchers across the world in both academic settings and private practice. In PR, I worked in hair care and cosmetics first, then finance and real estate and now healthcare. There’s nothing more interesting and impactful than watching new technology that saves and improves lives be made available to the public consumer.

What key skills should PR professionals have today? I think having strong writing skills is essential. A lot of PR professionals don’t even know AP Style. Another side of that is that there are not enough PR pros that know about website creation and search engine analytics, and how those things factor into the content you’re putting out.

Lessons learned in PR: Not every publicist is for every client and vice versa. Finding the right agency or account person is a huge part of the success and experience. Cohesiveness and ability to work together are crucial. Clients demand results, but aren’t interested in understanding how things work. They neglect the process. I think that managing expectations is often poorly done, and a little PR edification is sometimes necessary for streamlining client/agency goals.

Best advice for PR student: Ask. Ask anything and ask often. Ask for help, ask for advice, ask for criticism. I have been offered many incredible opportunities because I simply asked for a chance. People won’t always say yes, but you won’t ever know what they will say if you’re not at least bold enough to ask.

Brand most in need of better PR: Uber. They need to say something, anything, other than that they are “a technology company that provides a service.” Drivers have committed heinous crimes in the U.S. and abroad and they seem unengaged in their own PR crisis.

Last book you read: “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.

Favorite cocktail: Hendricks Gin Gimlet

Favorite movie this year: I haven’t been to one, is that terrible?

Favorite non-work hobby: Walking my awesome tank-of-a-pitbull, Lily.

Your first “real” job: Every job is real and should be viewed so. I believe the ones we don’t consider “real” contribute just as much to our professional and personal development. Waiting tables is mad real! My first job was as a hostess at Coco’s.

Three people you’d like to invite to dinner: President Obama (we have the same birthday), Dan Pallotta, and Dr. Meg Jay. The conversation would be riveting. If you don’t know who the second two are, definitely look them up.

What’s your next big adventure? Traveling on an “around the world” ticket for as long as my bank account and my agency can stand. (2016, I’m ready for you!)

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