Q: What is your most memorable public relations success?
A: I have been fortunate to enjoy many memorable occasions across all the industries my firm represents such as healthcare, travel and tourism, real estate, and life sciences. However, there is one client that stands out, both for the impact of their work and the duration of our working relationship: Samuels & Associates.
When I first moved to Boston, I lived in the Fenway – during which time its best-known known watering hole was Copperfield’s, a step up from a bar down the street, “The Rat”. Over the past 20 years, Samuels & Associates has transformed Fenway into a livable neighborhood, flush with restaurants and housing options, while keeping longstanding commitments to the community and its neighbors. Our work with the Samuels team has spanned across all forms of communications and PR services, all while giving our internal team the opportunity to help create and implement a vision for a welcoming, sustainable, and diverse neighborhood.
Q: Communications Evolution is PRSA Boston’s theme for PRSA’s 75th anniversary. Can you describe some ways that you’ve seen our industry evolve?
A: In the early days of my career, while at WBZ-TV, one of my mentors was John Henning – and I was fortunate that we remained lifelong friends and colleagues. During the mid-2000s, when social media was beginning to eclipse traditional forms of communications tools, I asked John: “What is the difference between old media and new media?” His response: “Nothing much. It all begins with a story. However, the ways we tell stories have certainly evolved.”
Media relations is at the heart of all we do and it’s what we love – we like reporters (some of us enough to marry one)! As public relations professionals, we are storytellers and media relations experts, and we need to be much nimbler and more reactive to quickly, effectively, and with a human voice get directly to key audiences. The additions of social content, web, email and now zoom/video, is a game changer that opens a world of communications opportunities.
Q: Did you have a failure in your career that taught you an important lesson?
A: Of course – more than one. But what I remember most is the first year my company was in business, we were involved in a competition and prepared a formal submission to an RFP. It was, to my mind, a thoughtful, engaging, strategic and tactical response. However, we misspelled the name of the client on the cover page! Fortunately – the client was forgiving, and they remain as one of our firm’s most longstanding clients. That situation taught me lessons beyond just good proofreading – it taught me to
s l o w d o w n.
Communications is a business of judgment calls. And in agency life, you are moving fast and making countless judgments every day. The big failure is when you don’t step back and look backward and think about those judgments and what (if anything) you could do differently. So I try to look – not so much for failures, but maybe missed opportunities to do things a little differently and apply those to the future work. It’s also why having a team of diverse perspectives matters, it creates more opportunities to both in the moment and retrospectively considers how things could be more effective.
Q: What song is currently on repeat on your music playlist?
A: DuaLipa and Elton John: Cold Heart Remix