President & Founder, Reed Public Relations (Nashville)
Length of PR career (so far): I have been in the industry for 12 years. It’s all been on the agency side.
Number of 2 a.m. calls from a client this month: No calls, but I do have clients who like to e-mail throughout the night, especially if we’re in the midst of a big campaign or crisis. I’m a night owl myself so I usually don’t mind. There was one stretch of time where several Sunday afternoons in a row, while at the park with my son, I’d get a call. We do a lot of restaurant and hospitality work and a client crisis isn’t limited to business hours!
Biggest complaint about social media: As a whole, I love the connectivity that social media brings and how brands can communicate with their audiences in new ways. However, I don’t love when clients react on social media and don’t stay on message. Social media can feel less formal in some ways so it’s easy for clients to forget their influence and skip consulting their PR agency first.
Best thing about working at your agency: I love that I am expected to be a lifelong learner. I have to really get to know my client’s industries and business models to be good at my job—along with staying current on industry trends. An agency is a great fit for someone like myself who has a natural curiosity and can’t sit still. There’s always more to learn. At RPR, we encourage this with things like Ted Talk Tuesday, where a team member will share a Ted Talk and lead a discussion on how we can integrate the key points into our work.
Last time you didn’t do any work all weekend: That’s a hard one! I would say this past summer when I had my daughter, but she was born on a Monday so I’m pretty sure I was doing something by the following weekend. As the owner, I’m always working in some capacity, even if it’s just thinking about a new prospect, checking balances for the company account or getting caught up on housekeeping items.
Most misunderstood thing about PR: The best results take time. If you have never done any sort of PR before, you’re not going to be in Fast Company tomorrow. You need to lay the groundwork first. And even then, pitching and actually seeing a story come to fruition can take months.
What got you interested in a PR career? I actually declared PR as my major my freshman year before I had a true understanding of the industry. Growing up, I always wanted to be a journalist and I still don’t know why my eighteen-year-old self determined that PR was a better fit. It probably had something to do with having to take fewer early morning classes that semester. Priorities. I knew I wanted to work in an agency after studying in London my junior year. I shadowed at the Edelman office there and fell in love with the energy.
Most interesting thing about your job: It’s definitely the people. I’ve always been told to surround myself with people smarter than myself and I think I’ve done that. Between my brilliant (and a little bit sassy) colleagues, a business coach who challenges me, really smart clients and our PRGN partner agencies, I’m constantly interacting with some pretty sharp people. It keeps me on my toes!
Number of meetings you were in last week: My role is to meet with new business prospects, mentor employees and provide strategy and guidance to clients as directed by my senior team. That basically means my entire job is to attend meetings or lead conference calls. I typically have 3-5 meetings per day. I only worked three days last week because I am still on a semi-maternity leave, so I probably had around 12 meetings.
Rate your math skills from 1-10: I’d have to say a six. I’m good at budgeting and financial projections, but I’m not the best person to help my son with his math homework.
Best advice to a PR student: Be reliable. If you say you will do something, do it. Be on time. For the love of God, please be on time.
What do you read daily? I always read The Skimm. Most mornings I’ll also check out The Tennessean (Nashville’s daily newspaper), The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. I also review all of our client clips daily so that keeps me up to speed on everything from the restaurant to senior living industries.
Favorite way to de-stress: I’m a sucker for a good spa day but they are few and far between in this season of life. On a more regular basis, running is my therapy. On the rare occasion that I run and then get a massage, I’m in heaven.
Brand most in need of better PR: I’ve been on four flights recently and they have all mentioned that the Samsung Galaxy Note is banned from airplanes due to the fire hazard, so I’d say at the moment they need some help. They typically have strong marketing (hello, Ellen’s Oscar selfie!) so I predict they’ll recover.
Favorite non-work hobby: I love to run. I’m usually training for a distance race of some sort—anywhere from half marathon to a 50k.
Cocktail of choice: Red wine
Childhood “dream job”: I wanted to be a reporter. I also said I would most definitely NOT own my own business. I had entrepreneur family members and the perceived instability scared me.
Your next big adventure: I’m currently on a plane to Portugal with my three-month-old. Traveling with young kids is always an adventure. We’re on our way to the fall meeting for the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN). Following the meetings, we are heading to Spain and eating our way through Barcelona. PRGN’s fall meeting in 2017 is in Japan so that will be the next bucket list item.
Your ideal Saturday: I would have nowhere to be and hang around the house with my two kiddos and husband all day.
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