Pizza-loving, hard-working, and drawn to agency life, 2021 PRSA Boston President Kristin Foley comments on her career choices, the Boston PR field, and her great PRSA Boston leadership team.
You’ve worked in agency PR for nearly 10 years now. What drew you to the agency side of PR?
I’ve always wanted to work in an agency because it’s a great place to start. You experience PR at the ground level—dealing with all the strategies and tactics. I also enjoy having a chance to work with different clients and learn about different industries. You’re never bored; every day is different! Also, I enjoy agency culture. I get to work with like-minded people around my own age—and that makes going to work all the more enjoyable!
In LinkedIn you describe yourself as “hard working.” What else is needed to succeed?
There are some “soft skills” that aren’t taught in college but are really important in this field. I’d say number one is being organized, followed by being able to prioritize. I find on any given day, I may start off with an agenda, but by the end of the day, many other things may have come up, and I need to deal with them. Also, it really helps to be someone who can “roll with the punches” –who’s not easily overwhelmed or stressed. You often have to change directions, figure it out, and organize what you need to do.
Did you have any big “pivots” during the pandemic?
Like many others, people at our agency started working from home, and we also had to re-think media relations and be clear about the media environment with our clients. Early on, the media was 100 percent focused on the pandemic. We had to be extra sensitive to what was going on in the world and think through if what we were pitching made sense, given the times. Now, the pandemic has become more part of everyday life, but we still need to keep that sensitivity.
What do you hear about the PR field in Boston?
At first it seemed like the pandemic would really hurt PR and marketing, but that has not been the case. In fact, I see more opportunities than ever. It’s a bit of a talent war among Boston agencies, so people have options. I think with the pandemic, many companies have needed to figure out new ways of making money—or to pivot in other ways. PR can get those messages across and communicate a company’s mission and values.
Is there a surprising fact about you?
I’ll have to think about that. Here’s one: I really like pizza! (But perhaps everyone who knows me, knows that.)
What are you proudest about PRSA Boston, especially during the past “pandemic year”?
I am so proud of our board and leadership team and how they have come together. We’ve been able to adapt and keep professional development going. Programs are now virtual, but members seem to enjoy this. We now have another option to serve people, so perhaps in a way we’re come out of this pandemic year even better!