In a communications and PR career, you hold the daunting responsibility of helping the public see your company in the perfect light. As you write press releases for the media, pitch your products to the public, and work with publications to tout your story, you're strategically influencing the way people view your company and brand.
But that's pretty easy when you think your company rocks.
And when we chatted with five PR professionals, that was the common theme. Whatever backgrounds they came from and degrees they'd earned, these communications gurus all had one thing in common: They're extremely passionate about their company's product or industry. And when you have that kind of excitement, you just can't wait to share it with the world.
While enthusiasm might get you pretty far, here's a look into what else helped these PR experts get to where they are now.
Press Whisperer, Hipmunk
"Well, like everybody else, I started out in college as pre-med," Jacqueline laughs. But when she discovered that chemistry wasn't exactly her forte, she switched her focus to English, satisfying her love for reading and writing. To make sure she was gaining some other practical skills, she simultaneously picked up a degree in communications.
Her first job was at a venture capital firm, but she quickly realized she didn't just want to throw ridiculous amounts of money at startups with a passing "good luck!"—she wanted to be involved in a more hands-on way. After a few years at a PR and marketing firm, her passion for travel startups was solidified, leading her straight to Hipmunk.
As Press Whisperer, Jacqueline is the face of the company, making sure Hipmunk is in the news, on the news, and staying relevant to consumers.
Director of Marketing & Communications, Pose
Alisa ended up at Pose after what she calls "a series of happy accidents." In school, she majored in journalism and cinema studies, then landed her first job at an online media startup—“which only lived so long," she admits.
That, however, opened up the opportunity for her to freelance. Hired by big names like The New York Times and The Guardian, she wrote everything from travel pieces to event coverage, but interestingly enough, most of her assignments focused on fashion. Luckily, those were the stories she enjoyed writing the most—an interest that eventually led her to Pose.
Now, as Director of Marketing and Communications, Alisa is tasked with business development, handling the company's PR, and building an ever-growing audience for Pose's fashion community.
Communications Associate, Tasting Table
In college, Samatha earned a degree in psychology—but she wanted to find a way to incorporate her love of the culinary world into her career, too. Eventually, she came across Tasting Table, which allowed her to use the communication and people skills she'd learned in her formal education, as well as the penchant for delicious cuisine she'd developed on the side.
As part of the communications team, Samantha focuses on three main areas of the company: press and PR, social media strategy, and event planning and execution. But, that doesn't limit her interaction with the rest of Tasting Table's employees. Depending on her project of the moment, she also works with the sales, operations, and editorial teams. "Everybody kind of touches everything here," she shares, "which is really cool."
Public Relations Coordinator, Gucci
Alex was on the fast track to a career as a lawyer, until a semester abroad in Paris changed everything. There, he realized that his true interest was in communications—specifically, within the realm of luxury goods. To work toward his newfound passion, he worked numerous internships, and eventually, it all paid off when he was offered a coveted spot on the communications team at Gucci.
In his role as PR Coordinator, Alex spends his days communicating Gucci's brand, which could mean emailing the company's international offices, sending samples to stylists and publications, and coordinating details for fashion shows. But what's the most exciting part? "What I love about this job is the constant exposure to international communications and always getting to be involved with so many different people."
Marketing Manager, Sir Kensington's
Amelia has always worked in food—so it was no surprise when she decided to major in food studies. But what exactly do you study about food? “It's all about what food means to people, how it affects them politically and economically, and food's role in our daily lives," she explains. Later, she rounded out her education with a more science-based approach to food when she added a focus in nutrition. Overall, she's a self-proclaimed "total, geeky foodie."
True to that nature, she worked for several food startups post-graduation, including a raw foods company and ice cream company, before fully realizing her passion for condiments and discovering Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup. "I eat condiments on a spoon," Amelia admits. "So this was kind of a dream come true."
At Sir Kensington's, Amelia works with PR agencies, garnering press coverage for the company and its products. But it doesn't stop there: She also develops promotional materials and coordinates marketing campaigns to help new clients discover great ketchup.