How did you get your first job in this field?
I was working at a small PR firm in Simi Valley. We worked on a number of issues: community building, influencer and stakeholder management, and media relations for corporate clients and nonprofits, among others. Building that greater understanding of PR and message building helped introduce me to the broader points on the industry.
Did you have any relevant experience or training?
In college, I was part of Mrs. Reagan’s advanced team. Advance teams travel ahead of a candidate or elected official and help prepare and produce events for them. I was putting together events in the western part of the U.S. and that became a calling card for a lot of opportunities. I was able to make amazing contacts with great people and it all provided great training for me that I was then thankfully able to ladder up into greater opportunities.
What advice would you give someone seeking a career in your field?
I default to what I did and my personal experience: take a look at the public sector for a couple of years. Go work for an elected official or your local government. That will provide you with so many opportunities for understanding strategic communications and how messaging works.
And I always counsel young people this: be as good a writer as you can be. A good writer can come up with something of real value. The biggest disservice you can do is not work on your writing skills. Secondly, meet as many people as possible. Seek out opportunities to establish strong bonds and network as much as you can. The connections you make will turn into lifetime contacts.
How do you see the future of the profession? What are the positions in this field with the most potential for growth?
Anything that is digital has a huge impact on communications. In today’s world, we’re all publishers. Technology has revolutionized how we communicate and the news cycle has become much more fast-paced. Those with a strong understanding of integrated marketing – the understanding that news can be communicated in both traditional and digital platforms – have a real advantage.