Fast Five

  • Fast Five: Larry Brantley at Chaloner & Associates Wants to Help You Land that Next Job

    Larry Brantley, President of Chaloner & Associates, brings more than 30 years of experience in the communications, marketing and design world to his role at Chaloner.  a national executive search firm specializing in communications, public relations and marketing recruitment. He’s worked with brands such as JCPenny, HP, EDS, Texas Instruments, ConocoPhillips and many others to place executive level talent in the marketing and communications roles.  PRSA Boston recently had the opportunity to ask him for a few insights into the current job market.

    Q: What are some of the key trends you are seeing in the hiring process these days?

    A: Firms are now offering signing bonuses, relocation packages, enhanced benefit plans and increased compensation plans.  It is a candidate market.  Employers are having to compete for talent.  It has not been this kind of employment climate since the late 1990s.

    Q: What skills should PR and Communication professionals be looking to refine / develop as they start a job search?

    A: We all need to be proactive in developing our knowledge in online content creation and management.  Social media is key to all PR professionals.  Whether you create online content or manage crisis communications, it impacts all of us in a world where everyone uses mobile communications on a regular basis.  It is a qualifier in resume screening.

    Q: There was a time when communications and digital marketing jobs were separate.  Is that still the case?  If not, are you seeing employers who are looking for candidates with both sets of skills?

    A: Employers are looking for people who are multi-faceted in their skills and ability to do more for their company.  It is imperative that we, as candidates, are able to multi- task and spin many plates at the same time. Larger firms may separate traditional communications and digital communications to different teams.  However, small to mid-sized companies expect individuals to do both.

    Q: Are employers paying more attention to diversity in the hiring process

    A: Employers are ideally looking to have a balanced approach to life experiences, cultural perspectives and gender views in their business.  We do not have the same constraints that affirmative action required in the 90s, but our customers and clients look to see that our business reflects the market in which we live.  We approach all candidates as “talent”, not male/female, gay or straight, Jewish, Muslim or Christian.  The only consideration for us is who is the best qualified candidate to perform the job function. Our salary range budgeted is the same for all.

    Q: How important is experience vs. an ability to adapt and learn?

    A: Both are critical to the success of a new hire; however, adaptability is a critical component into cultural fit in an organization.  You can have all the experience in the world, but if you are inflexible, you will be out the door.

    Q: What mistakes should a candidate avoid in the interview process? 

    A: We do our best to prepare a candidate for an interview with our clients.  We share a little background on the individuals you may be meeting to help you be relaxed and familiar with who you meet. There are in my opinion some important things to consider-

    • Don’t regurgitate everything listed on your resume.  The resume helped to get you in the door but now they want to get to know you.
    • Let the interviewer lead the conversation. Don’t come in with your own discussion plan.
    • Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not.
    • Thank the contact for their time and opportunity to meet.

    Looking for a new opportunity?  Check out the Chaloner website at http://www.chaloner.com or follow Larry on Twitter at @recruitinglarry

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand or on the go. But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and

    pitch your subject expert!

  • Fast Five with Deirdre Breakenridge, 2018 Social Media Summit Keynote Speaker

    Deirdre K. Breakenridge is Chief Executive Officer at Pure Performance Communications. A veteran in PR, marketing and branding, Breakenridge is the author of six books, including “Answers for Modern Communicators”, “Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional”, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” and “PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences.

    Deidre teaches online PR and social media courses for the UMASS at Amherst  and for Rutgers University’s PR Certificate course. She is also the host of a podcast program, Women Worldwide, interviewing women around the globe who are encouraged to share their incredible stories, educating, imparting advice and offering insights to show listeners. Women Worldwide has recently joined the C- Suite Radio Network, where Deirdre is recognized as a C-Suite Advisor.

    Deirdre will be the opening keynote speaker at the 2018 Social Media Summit on May 11 at Bentley University.  Join Deirdre and a host of other speakers for an amazing day as we explore how social media is being integrated in communications strategies at some of the region’s most visible brands.  Learn more and get your tickets here

    What prompted you to start PR Expanded?

    I launched PR Expanded (formerly PR 2.0) when I was researching and writing my book PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools and New Audiences. The blog was a way to document my social media journey, share topics covered in the book and gauge community member reactions and thoughts that I would include in my manuscript. Since the launch of PR 2.0, I’ve rebranded my blog as PR Expanded, which represents the many opportunities for PR professionals today. PR Expanded continues to showcase new roles and practices in PR as a result of the changing media landscape, advancing technologies and shifting consumer behaviors.

    What is a recent winning move your social media team has made for a client?

    We work with a digital marketing agency that is taking a stand on Artificial Intelligence and marketing ethics. A recent study of 6,000 consumers in the US, UK and Germany reveals consumer attitudes and concerns about AI. Our team was able to immerse ourselves in the survey data to come up with creative pitch angles. Our pitches have led to more media exposure in the form of byline articles, Q&A guest posts, radio interviews and expert commentary in business, technology and industry trade publications.

    What top deliverables do you look for in your social media team?

    Your social media team must deliver outcomes for your business. Yes, there are communication goals as a result of your campaigns, but you’re also tying what you do to higher-level business goals. A social media team that has a purpose and goals and sets up a measurement program that shows how social media directly relates to sales and lead generation, marketing optimization, customer satisfaction or brand health, is a team that gets the attention of the company leaders.

    What big goals or programs do you want your social media team to accomplish this year?

    Companies need to share stories and share meaningful information with the public, but they also need to create a sharing culture on the inside of the organization. Our social media teams are focused on igniting employee champions within the organization to create more strategic participation and greater momentum and engagement through employee networks. As a rule, good communication (including social media communication) starts on the inside of the company.

    What do you look for in a social media professional when you are hiring?

    A social media professional needs a balance of IQ and Emotional Quotient (EQ). It’s great when a candidate knows the areas of social media management, data and analytics and good writing and communication skills. However, the EQ is important when you’re dealing with a community and any issues or concerns that may arise. Showing EQ means stepping back to evaluate a situation in a social media community and having more empathy for your customer. When you blend the strategic with the empathy, you can solve problems and prevent the escalation of issues for your brand.

    When your clients just don’t get social media, how do you explain it?

    When clients don’t understand social media you have to show them why it matters in their world. Showing them could mean sharing the results of a competitor audit and how the competition uses social media. You might also reveal that the top companies in their industry are using social media to attract the best talent. You can also share how their customers, employees, media, and other important stakeholders are on social media giving them a reason to monitor or to engage directly. For these clients, it could be a crawl, walk run approach to get them comfortable with social media and understanding the meaning and value for their business.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Fast Five with Melissa Mann, EF Education First

    Melissa Mann is the social media and content manager for EF Education First, the world’s largest international education company and #1 Top Place to Work in the Boston Globe’s 2017 list. Melissa got her start as a fashion copywriter and remembers the day Instagram launched—she’s worked in social media ever since. She’ll be sharing her knowledge at the 2018 Social Media Summit on May 11 at Bentley University.  Learn more and register here.

    What prompted you to join EF Education First?

    I was working in the fashion industry, managing social media for an ecommerce brand and had the wakeup call that I didn’t actually care about fashion. Since studying abroad in college, I’d realized the benefit of travel and felt very strongly about the doors and perspectives it opened. So when I started asking myself what my values were and looking to align my work with something I believed in, travel was the theme. I found EF Education First through a former colleague and once I learned more about what EF stands for—opening the world through education and breaking down barriers through travel, cultural exchange, and language learning—I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Walking in, you can really feel the culture and the passion of the people who work at EF. I haven’t looked back.

    Do you have a favorite social media campaign? 

    I love seeing what other brands are doing in the social space and there are always a ton of good ideas out there. I really like what Southwest is doing with their “every seat has a story” campaign—it feels a bit like what we’re trying to do at EF with our storytelling and focus on our people. I am also a huge fan girl of Wendy’s on Twitter. They really own their voice and have such a strong personality that actually encourages other brands to pitch in. They’re super fun to watch.

    What are the most common mistakes – and winning moves – social media managers make?

    I think one common mistake is trying to retro-fit a channel to a solution. We’re always looking out for “the next big thing” and it’s easy to get wrapped into the craze of “let’s do this on Facebook live!” or “let’s add 5 polls to our Instagram stories!” I think it’s important to be able to take a step back and really identify what the goals are and decide what the best platform is to accomplish those goals. Winning moves are when you can adapt quickly to those changes, however, and leverage them in a way that supports your business. The sooner you can take advantage of updates like customizing your ad creative for Facebook, the sooner you’ll see that ROI.

    What are the top three skills in demand by your management?

    For anyone going into social media, I think it’s important to know a little bit about a lot of different areas of marketing. Of course you need to be specialized in social media, but there are a lot of us out there whose roles touch so many different pieces, from acquisition to customer care to email marketing.  Having some knowledge in each of those areas will make your role as a social media manager that much easier (while making you more marketable). So that being said, knowing how to run and manage some paid media (in particular, Facebook and Instagram ads) is a huge benefit. Knowledge of analytics and experience with tools like Google Analytics or Moz are also incredibly useful skills to have in your toolbox—bonus points if you can build your own reporting dashboards and make it easier to present that to your stakeholders. Finally, I think it’s super important to be detail-oriented. Social media is big and it’s fast, and it’s easy to make a mistake, like push an Instagram post to the wrong account (been there). Being organized and giving your attention to the small details will help keep you on top of it all.

    When management just doesn’t get social media, how do you explain it?

    This is a tough one; I think all social media managers and content producers go through this. I try to focus on the engagement and nurturing piece. Social media ROI can be really difficult to prove, but what you’re really building through social is a loyal, engaged community. Social gives you the opportunity to keep your brand top-of-mind for people (potential customers, e.g.) who are interested in what you have to say. By producing relevant, interesting content that ties back to your brand, your followers will remember (and choose) you when it’s time for them to make a purchase.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

     

  • PRSA Boston Fast Five: Networking v Connecting. Which Works Best?

    In Career, Fast Five on

    As a member of Xennial Nation – that nuanced demographic between Gen X and Millennials – Boston-based business ignitor Ryan Paugh resists typecasting, especially where his skill of cultivating social-based communities is concerned. First, he’s a self-described introvert. Yet he’s made a career of guiding individuals and organizations to purposefully pursue relationships of mutual benefit for career and business upside. His secret sauce? Quality and discernment over the less meaningful metric of questionably valid ‘followers.’

     

    Debunking conventional ‘networking,’ a word he thinks should be retired, Ryan has now added the book, ‘Superconnector to his portfolio of influential entrepreneurial tribes. When she saw it on Entrepreneur.com’s top reads for 2018 list, Loring Barnes, APR, PRSA Fellow, sought him out on LinkedIn to ask how all of us can become more successful at creating connections that count.

     

    Q: There are a lot of gurus who write about connecting, and there are influencer-like
    bloggers who actually do it, like Gary Vaynerchuk. As a networking expert, who are the voices you’ve turned to, whose wisdom you respect or find affirming to your own? Do you have some top podcasts that impart wisdom about networking?

    A: Jayson Gaignard is someone who we really look up to. He’s the founder of The Community Made Podcast and has been touted as being two-degrees of separation from everyone you want to meet. He’s a master curator in the entrepreneurial world, but his lessons can help reshape any community into something better than it once was.

     

    Believe it or not, we all know “superconnectors.” My favorites aren’t the ye olde internet celebrities you might expect. In the book, we showcase a wide variety of relationship-building all stars from a CPA in Homestead, Florida to a successful home services contractor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We want people to read this book and think, “I can become a superconnector too.” Anyone who tries can attain this.

     

    Q: LinkedIn is the essence of a networking democracy. Still, too many people don’t use it, or don’t use it to maximum effectiveness. What advice would you give them that is actionable?

    A: Video is the hot new thing on LinkedIn and using it seems to boost higher search algorithmic weights, or more simplistically, raises your visibility. It’s as simple as using your smartphone to post commentary or insightful musings that shares your knowledge and your charisma.

     

    Q: Do networking successes break down along gender lines? If so, how and what advice do you offer in your book, ‘Superconnector’, that makes networking an easier, more familiar memory muscle?

    A: I can only speak to my experiences as a man, but it’s clear that many women don’t feel like they’re playing on a level playing field in business. I’m sure to an extent that imbalance relates to networking success (or failure) as well.

     

    The good news is that superconnectors, our new archetype for relationship-building success, see gender as a non-factor.  They investigate someone’s story below the headline, or in the “gray area.” You have to be the Sherlock Holmes of discourse to really make a powerful impression. So, whether you are reaching out cold to a CEO or entrepreneur (a rising number of which are women!), its likely your demonstration of that under layer of their biographical information that will make your overture more likely to bear fruit.

     

    Q: What is your daily networking routine? What do you read, how many outreaches do you make? How do you measure the return on your time?

    A: Connecting is fun and rewarding, like a puzzle. That’s why I outline a disciplined approach to it so that anyone can reap the benefits without having it overtake your day. I restrict my travel radius for introductory meetings. This allows me to actually give back more of my time to family and community.

     

    I’m also both strategic and immersive in planning how to network at meetings, receptions and conferences. This all starts with self-awareness. I’m actually an introvert, and I know that I won’t thrive as a participant in a crowded networking event without a plan. But at in a smaller group, like a dinner, I can be a terrific guest who emerges with some very viable connections. Knowing yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and where you thrive is so important to making meaningful relationships.

     

    Q: Will networking continue to evolve? If so, how do you see it changing in the future?

    A: Social media has been a blessing and a curse. It’s important to understand the distinction between connected as a profile hyperlink, and evolving a purposeful relationship with someone who you come to know, reciprocally. Data shows that we’re beginning to see a preference shift from open networking to more focused curated environments where with a greater likelihood of meeting great people because thought was put into who’s actually in the room. I expect to see this trend continue in years to come. Knowing how to approach these situations is going to make it far more likely that you’ll advance your pitch, open up a dialog or even open the door for a future job discussion. We spend more time planning vacations than we do planning our networking. But if we reversed that, we’d have more time for enjoying vacations that are made possible by our networking success.

     

    You can read the first chapter of the book HERE!

     

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

     

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

     

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    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

     

  • Fast Five with Peter Brown, Principal, Peter Brown Communications

    In Fast Five, IPN on

    On February 28, IPN member Joshua Milne and Peter Brown will speak before the Independent Practitioners Network at the Wellesley Free Library about media and PR around the Boston Marathon.  Click on this link for more details and to register to attend the event.

    Peter’s relationship with the Boston Marathon dates back to 1983 when he first produced the race for WBZ-TV and then did so for more than 20 years. When he left Channel 4 in 2004, the Boston Athletic Association asked Peter to volunteer in two ways:  first as the BAA media liaison riding in one of the vehicles that precedes the elite athletes on the course and the other as a Governor of the BAA’s Board of Directors.

    Peter says some of his best TV memories are producing those live events.  After WBZ, Peter went on to become Vice President of Public Affairs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  His boss at the Brigham became CEO of Partners Healthcare and asked Peter to join him as his Chief of Staff.  In this role, Peter worked directly with the CEO and senior leadership to support the mission of Partners and its hospitals and oversee external affairs.  In May of 2015, Peter left Partners to open his own communications consulting business, Peter Brown Communications.

    The IPN Network recently sat down with Peter to chat with him about this career.

    Q: What sort of things do you do at the Marathon?

    A: When I left Channel 4 in 2004, Jack Fleming, now COO of the BAA said, “You’ve know this race.  We need someone to be on the lead media vehicle.”   How do you say no to that?  My role on the truck is to make sure the still photogs are in a position to get the pictures they need and to serve as a backup to the systems that are in place to track the runners.  Sitting in the truck in front of the elite athletes, I always say I have the best seat in the house on Marathon day. The race is evolving right in front of us.

    Q: Why did you make switch from TV to public affairs?

    A: It was a great opportunity to join BWH. I always believed the heart of journalism is good storytelling. Brigham brought a depth and breadth of extraordinary human-interest stories involving doctors, nurses, patients and staff members — a treasure trove of compelling stories to share with the media. I kept my foot in the media room by offering them good stories.

    Q: How did you make the transition to chief of staff at Partners happen?

    A: My boss at the Brigham is an inspiring leader, Dr. Gary Gottlieb.  Gary and I worked together for close to 12 years.  He left partners in March 2015. Our deal was, when he goes, I go.  I stayed on to help with the CEO transition but always wanted to start my own communications business.

    Q: When did you go out on own, and how’s it been?

    A: I launched my firm on May 3, 2015 – my birthday, a date I would remember.  My only challenge is with my “boss,” who makes me work weekends and nights!  Actually, it’s been a delight. When I was at Channel 4, I supervised more than 100 people.  Now as your own boss, you set your own schedule. You are the architect of your fate.

    I’m a communications consultant, not a PR person per se.  I work with people and organizations to create and develop their stories and work with them on how best to tell their stories to their audiences, both external and internal.  I also do crisis communications, media training and public speaking coaching.  Overall, it’s been a lot of fun and another great learning experience in life.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Fast 5 With Barry Wanger, APR, Fellow PRSA and President and Founder of Wanger Associates

    In Fast Five, Membership on

    Barry Wanger, APR, Fellow PRSA, president and founder of Wanger Associates in Newton, has closed the award-winning agency he founded 32 years ago.  He has worked in communications for 52 years, including serving as a newspaper editor and reporter, director of public affairs for major universities, and political press secretary.

    Barry is a former president of the Boston Chapter of PRSA, chaired many committees, served on the Board for nearly a decade, and was co-chair of the Hospitality Committee at ICON17. PRSA Boston recently sat down with Barry to learn more about why he decided to work in PR, highlights from his career and what’s next for him.

    How did you get started in public relations?

    Like many of us in the field, I started as a newspaper editor and reporter for papers in California, Connecticut and the U.S, Virgin Islands.  After I became a press secretary for presidential and other political campaigns. When I was handling Tom Atkins campaign for mayor in Boston in 1970, he introduced me to Ed Bernays, who is regarded by many as the father of public relations.  We became friends and he inspired me to go into PR.

    What were some of the major campaigns you’ve conducted over the years?

    I’ve probably worked with more than 100 clients but my most memorable projects would include The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, the largest private property robbery in American history; the launch of the $100 million American Business Collaboration for Quality Dependent Care, the biggest corporate business collaboration of all time; the first International Youth Employment Summit that brought together more than 100 journalists from 25 countries in Alexandria, Egypt, and the 50th anniversary of the Framingham Heart Study.

    You’ve won more than 30 public relations awards over the years. Which are the ones that were most meaningful to you?

    I’m most proud of being elected a Fellow of PRSA. As far as individual honors, the Diane Davis Beacon Award from our chapter and the Chrystal Bell from the Publicity Club of New England are the most meaningful as they both are for lifetime achievement.

    Your career in communications has involved more than public relations. What are some of the other things you’ve done that are most memorable?

    I think covering forest fires in California and the Vietnam protest rallies in Washington were among the highlights of my journalism career.  In politics, working on Sen. Muskie’s presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire and dealing with the famous “crying” incident was an unforgettable experience.  I also loved my time in Washington heading public affairs for the National Endowment for the Humanities, promoting some of their major grants and going to the White House to celebrate NEH’s 25th anniversary.

     

    What’s next?

    I’m putting the final touches on a biography of Arnold Hiatt, a philanthropist, political activist, and arguably one of the most successful and influential American corporate executives of the last half of the 20th century. If that’s successful, I may try to do others.  My wife and I plan to do a lot of traveling and I’ll consider working on short-term projects as part of a team for other PR agencies.  I also serve on the Board of two nonprofits, give advice to tourists at the Boston Visitor’s Bureau, and am working on my bridge game.  Certainly, I’ll go to more Red Sox games and read books that I’ve been wanting to get to for years.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go. But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization.