What made you choose PR as a career?
“I was drawn to communications and PR in college at California State University, Sacramento, mostly because I loved that it’s something that touches and affects everyone. I also love that it’s something that allows for a lot of different opportunities within the profession – you can be a publicist, a community manager – there are so many options and I think it’s great. I entered college undeclared. Originally, I considered majoring in advertising or marketing. I remember sitting in my first communications class, which was Public Speaking, and we were learning about non-verbal communication. That’s when I realized that communication is used in every setting. I loved the creativity of PR. I also loved that it was writing-based. I’ve always had an interest in writing, so it felt like a good fit.”
Which social media outlets do you use for work and how are each important?
“Throughout my professional career, I’ve been fortunate enough to use all of the major outlets – Facebook, Twitter, etc. Each social media channel is important, because it allows you to reach different people. More importantly, each channel provides different ways to share a story. You can share a story with an image, using 140 characters, a hyperlink – I love the different options. Instagram is probably my favorite, because I love the visual aspects and it brings a lot of stories to life. I wouldn’t say one outlet is more important than another. They’re all important as each outlet delivers messages differently. It just depends on who you’re trying to reach.”
What aspects of your background have been most helpful for your success in the PR industry?
“First and foremost my family. Nothing was possible without their support and encouragement. They are my number one motivating force. When I first moved to D.C., I lived with my cousin who also works in PR. I wouldn’t have been able to grow here in D.C. without her support. Building relationships is also crucial; it’s been a huge part of my success. I’ve had amazing mentors to give me guidance when I needed it and to push me to think outside of the box. Any time you have those types of people in your life, they should be deeply valued as they are in mine. I’ve also benefited from having a diverse background. Between my professional career, volunteering and internships, I’ve had opportunities to explore lots of different types of communication, use different tools and work within different issues, which I think is helpful as you build your resume and look for different opportunities.”
How does a person progress in the PR field?
“I think it’s important for people in PR to define what they are passionate about and what’s important to them in the workplace. Because PR is such an umbrella industry for different careers, it’s easy for someone to find themselves in a position that they think they want to be in, but it’s really not a good fit. When you hold a position that you’re passionate about, you’re more likely to be motivated and do great work. It’s important for communicators to expose themselves to different areas outside of their daily tasks, because it’s easy to get pigeon-holed. I think having a mentor is crucial to growth as well. Having guidance from someone who has already walked in your footsteps is great. Having good co-workers is also important. When you’re surrounded by people who share the same values as you and want to see you succeed, it’s just that much more helpful.”
What makes you love going to work every day?
“Having a good team around me. If you’re passionate about what you do and you like the people you’re around, there’s nothing not to like about going to work. I take pride knowing that I come to work to do something that I like. You hear people say all the time, ‘it’s not work if you love what you do,’ and that’s true.”