Senior Public Relations Specialist
Length of PR career (so far): 9 years. The first 6 years I spent at a national PR and social media agency and the last 3 years I’ve worked in-house for a global subscription billing provider. It’s been great to experience the best of both worlds.
Your most memorable campaign: There have been a lot, but my first B2B client, 3Tera, is one of my favorites. Knowing absolutely nothing about grid and utility computing—which later spawned cloud computing—I dove in, studying everything that I could get my hands on. Within a couple years, we helped take 3Tera from being covering sporadically on tiny, grid computing industry blogs, to being regulars on Forbes, Businessweek, InformationWeek, CIO, etc., and eventually acquired by CA Technologies in early 2010. Now that I think about it, I’m still waiting for a large bonus from that buyout.
Favorite journalist to work with: Anyone that will cover my pitch angle. Haha, jk. But seriously. It’s hard to pick just one because there are so many great journalists I’ve worked with throughout the years.
Biggest complaint about social media: I love social media for numerous reasons, including how it allows anyone to share their point of view. However, the lynch mob mentality that takes over social media after someone makes a mistake is disgusting. While I understand that injustices in the world need to be called out, shaming and bullying individuals via social media after they’ve already apologized is just unnecessary.
Most outrageous client request: Now that I work in-house, I don’t get the outrageous client requests like I used to. However, I recently re-read my “Top 10 Craziest PR & Social Media Requests” post and it brought back some of the hilarious memories of shaking my head on the other end of some client conference calls.
What got you interested in a PR career? Heading into my last semester at Purdue University, I had barely enough marketing/PR experience to qualify to represent my dad’s family stone and tile company. However, after submitting for and winning an afternoon of job shadowing at national PR and social media agency BLASTmedia, I was hooked. An ever-changing, exciting job with a lot of young, talented and ambitious people—it was too good to be true. I decided to write a letter to the company thanking them for their time and letting them know that I would love to work for a company such as BLAST. To my surprise, I was offered an internship, and later a full-time position.
Most interesting thing about your job: While my office is in Chicago, our company is headquartered in Cologne, Germany. This can make communication (different time zones, language, etc.) challenging at times, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. It’s been great to travel to Germany and learn more about their culture and traditions.
Rate your math skills from 1-10: Can I still use a rating I probably would have received when I was a math minor (for a bit) in college? If not, then I’d sadly have to say 5 or 6. If I had a quarter for every time I had to Google basic equations like “how to calculate percentage increase”, I’m not sure how much money I’d have…mainly because of my poor math skills.
Best advice to a PR student: Be Persistent. It’s a prerequisite in our industry, so why not show off your persistence before you are hired? This can obviously be taken to the extreme, but if you really like a company, be persistent in getting your foot in the door, securing an interview or helping your resume move to the top of the stack through great interview follow-ups.
What do you read daily? I have a process each morning (after combing through emails) of skimming Google News, competitor and industry keyword Talkwalker alerts and Twitter. I also glance through my blog RSS feeds including AirPR, Hubspot, PR Daily, SHIFT PR and Spin Sucks. Between all of these activities, I typically have five to fifteen tabs open for reading throughout the day.
Favorite way to de-stress: Playing sports like basketball or ping, or lounging on the couch with my family watching Netflix. One look at our puppy Bentley and it’s hard to be stressed out—he’s too cute and playful.
Worst PR crisis in the news this year so far: As always, there were a lot this past year. But being a big sports fan, I think Deflategate in the NFL was one of the worst. Everyone lost—Tom Brady, the Patriots, the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL fans.
Cocktail of choice: My default is Bacardi and Coke. I just have never grown out of it.
Favorite movie this year: Straight Outta Compton. I grew up listening to a lot of rap and hip hop music, but I had no idea about the origins of some of the best artists of our time and what they had to go through.
Childhood “dream job”: I think I jumped around from veterinarian to housecleaner to chef, but the one that pursued all the way through college was being a pro baseball player.
Three people you’d love to invite to dinner: Michael Scott, Andy Dwyer and Cosmo Kramer. While I realize they’re all fictional characters from some of my favorite comedy series of all time, I’m still holding out for this dinner. Three hilarious guys who have no grip on reality would make for an entertaining evening.
Your ideal Saturday: Exercise, binge watch some Netflix with my wife and dog, grab dinner with the wife and then meet up with our friends for drinks out or around a camp fire.
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