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Going Direct – Why Owned Media Continues To Be Vital In Your Communications Mix

By Travis Claytor, APR

Ask 10 PR professionals for the definition of public relations and you’ll probably get 10 different definitions. Public relations experts may be known as content experts, event planners or even celebrity publicists. As the public relations industry evolves, so do the perceptions about the profession, and unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about PR professionals.

This likely, in part, is due to the many elements of a strategic communications plan that PR practitioners are responsible for: media relations, brand managements, social media, content creation, crisis communications, issues management and the list goes on and on.

If you subscribe to the Spin Sucks PESO model (and you should), there are four main buckets within the integrated communications process:

P – Paid

E – Earned

S – Shared

O – Owned

While I could write multiple articles on each of these areas – you can read more about the elements of a Strategic Communications plan, including the PESO model, here – today we’re going to focus on owned media and why it continues to play a crucial role in managing an effective communications strategy.

Define “Owned Media”

Owned media channels are the channels we, or our clients if you’re an agency, own and operate, where we have full control. What it does NOT include are social, or Shared, channels.

Ask yourself this question – do you own the content you put on Facebook? How about the data from your fans or followers? Or the user experience on the platform? If you think the answer to any of these is yes, I’d encourage you to read the Facebook Terms & Conditions a bit closer.

So, owned media are our websites, landing pages, blogs or anything where we control the content, the cadence, the data, branding and user experience.

Benefits of Owned Media
As consumers’ attention spans decrease, and the news cycle speeds up, earned and shared outlets are oftentimes creating content that is skimmable at best.

Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned are all crucial elements of a successful strategic communications campaign. But, with the lack of control of shared channels, or inconsistency of earned channels, and the resources needed for paid channels, your owned channels are more important than ever.

In a time when PR professionals are navigating through hundreds of thousands of news outlets, blogs, news websites, digital publications and streaming content, owned media channels offer some distinct advantages.

As strategic communications professionals, we look to reduce the number of variables to the success of our campaigns – basically we all feel the need to be in control of who sees our messaging and how they consume our content.

Owned media channels offer the control we’re looking for – in cadence, messaging priority, user experience, brand representation, and data mining. It also allows you to tailor content to specific, niche audiences in the ways they want to consume it.

Messaging Priority and Brand Representation – what does your content say about your brand? Working through earned or shared content, you leave this to chance. But, by making your owned channels one of the pillars of content creation, you control the messaging each and every time new content is distributed.

Cadence and Consumption – how often does your audience demand content, and in what way are they engaging? Hopefully you’re paying attention to some of the KPIs across your channels and you know this answer already, but if not, start digging in now! By focusing on your owned channels, you have the versatility to control how often you put your messaging out for audiences, and doing it in a way that maximizes engagement and ultimately action.

Data – this is probably the biggest advantage of owned media channels. From audience behaviors to content and website engagement, data drives everything we do and gives us the knowledge to create campaigns and content that drives real results. Having access to this information allows us to create content with intention and purpose.

“The But” of Owned Media

There’s always a “but” and working with owned media is no different.

First and foremost, this is all you. Your content, on your channel, the way you want audiences to consume it. That means you need to know the best way to deliver this content and dedicate resources to do it the right way.

With great control comes great responsibility.

One of the biggest challenges of working with owned channels is the potential of not being trusted. These are, after all, your channels and there’s no obligation for you to be objective, which could lead your audiences to be suspicious of your intentions.

It should come as no surprise that, as PR practitioners, we need to build trust and credibility with our key audiences, no matter who they are. It’s even more crucial for a channel considered to be biased. In order to achieve that credibility, make sure transparency is paramount in your approach.

The Takeaway

Simply put – owned media channels are crucial to a successful communications campaign. And so are the others.

Don’t get lost looking at the shiny object as you’re creating and executing your strategic communications campaign. National media hits are great. Shared and social media channels are crucial for engagement. Paid efforts provide targeting opportunities and amplification. And owned channels provide control.

It’s easy for public relations practitioners to focus on getting that next media hit, or launching a new social media channel. But if we’re really going to create meaningful results for our businesses and clients, we need to think in an integrated and strategic way.

How do these elements fit together? How do they enhance the results of the next tactic, or better move your audiences to take action?

Strategy is the name of the game for an integrated communications campaign. Act and execute with meaning and purpose, and you’ll find success with all elements of the communications process, elevating your client and the industry.

 

 

 

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PRSA Panel Spotlights Value of Having a ‘Seat at the Table’

By Joseph Priest, APR

Since the birth of public relations, just a little over 100 years ago, a holy grail of our profession has been to be fully respected by having a “seat at the table” with senior management. It’s been a long and complex journey to achieve this, but today many organizations have by and large integrated public relations as a management function and contributed to the maturation of the profession to help it be seen as a crucial part of business.

More recently, though, the challenge with this has shifted to keeping this seat at the table and continually proving our value in today’s tumultuous political environment, fiercely competitive business playing field and rapidly evolving technology landscape. While these forces have made the practice of public relations more challenging, they’ve also shown the value of public relations professionals having a seat at the table in managing mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics.

I recently had an opportunity to gain more insights on this when I attended a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Tampa Bay chapter event titled “C-suite and Pro Panel” on Oct. 8. The discussion featured an innovative format that included two C-suite executives along with their public relations counterparts, as well as a communications adviser who is a member of the C-suite herself and also works closely with the C-suite of her clients.

The panelists included these six leaders:

  • Gary L. Sasso , president and CEO, Carlton Fields 
  • Kate Barth, senior public relations manager, Carlton Fields 
  • Sam Sipes, LCSW, BCD, president and CEO, Lutheran Services Florida
  • Terri Durdaller, MPA, vice president, Communications, Lutheran Services Florida
  • Jesica D’Avanza, founder and chief strategy officer, Round Square
  • Kecia Carroll (moderator), marketing and communications director, and corporate social responsibility strategist, KC Roberg


The attendees consisted of over 20 public relations professionals representing a mix of different companies and levels of experience from around the Tampa Bay area.

Over the course of an hour, the executives and their public relations counterparts walked us through the dynamics of their working relationships, the major areas of public relations they focus on, and the crucial factors to the success of their power partnerships. The discussion offered a number of insights into how to have a seat at the table and establish an effective relationship with the C-suite, what the most common challenges and opportunities are that executives and public relations professionals regularly face, and why managing and protecting a brand have become increasingly challenging with the competitiveness of today’s economy and the rapid evolution of today’s technology.   

Here are some of the major areas that were explored and the takeaways from them.

Strategy
The two CEOs on the panel, Gary Sasso and Sam Sipes, both testified to the importance of having their public relations leaders involved in the senior levels of management with a seat at the table. This includes having regular personal meetings through which a genuine relationship of familiarity and trust can be built. In parallel, the public relations professionals, Kate Barth, Terri Durdaller, and Jesica D’Avanza, explained that in their roles it was imperative to listen well, be frank and attempt to add value in every interaction.  

Media Relations and Coaching
Both Sasso and Sipes said they had received media training and praised its value as vital in being able to handle the complexity and unpredictability of live media interviews and conferences. A poll of the attendees in the room revealed that many of their executives had been trained as well. Sasso and Sipes also shared some of their experiences with working with the media and how media training helped prepare them. In particular, the training exposed them to mock situations that provided effective insights and best practices on how to best address these situations.

Crisis Management
With a 24-hour news cycle and ever-expanding range of mobile and social media channels that empower people to share news instantly, having a thorough and carefully planned crisis communication program in place is more vital than ever, the panelists said. At the same time, it’s equally as important to have a public relations leader who can detect and divert a crisis or manage and mitigate one as best as possible. How a crisis is prepared for and how it is managed have critical consequences for a company’s reputation and brand, as well as its internal and external stakeholders.

Internal Communication
The panelists also shared some insights in the area of internal communication, and they discussed some of the best practices they’ve learned for engaging employees as well as building trust and credibility. These included making strategic use of today’s multitude of employee digital communication applications, such as intranet, instant messaging, video chat, social networking, and employee recognition tools, to communicate instantly and in diverse ways to reach the right audiences at the right times.

Agencies
One of the final topics that the panel addressed was the best way to integrate the expertise of a public relations agency in an organization’s communication program. In particular, Sasso and Sipes examined the business case for having someone like Kate Barth or Terri Durdaller in house versus having no in-house public relations counsel and only an agency or consultant. The CEOs said it was invaluable to be able to have an in-house public relations executive fully committed to the company’s interests and expert in the company’s business. On this topic, Jesica D’Avanza, head of her own communication and consulting agency, offered that an agency should above all strive to be a seamless extension of the clients it serves.  

In over a little more than 100 years, public relations has come a long way in gaining a seat at the table. This discussion was compelling in demonstrating how the profession has met this challenge while at the same time illuminating the challenges today in keeping that seat.

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PRSA Tampa Bay Stocks Food for Charity

By Joseph Priest, APR

It’s becoming somewhat of an annual tradition at PRSA Tampa Bay.

On Oct.11, our chapter’s Public Service Committee organized our participation in the United Way’s Day of Caring for at least the fifth year in a row. The event is an annual effort by the United Way Suncoast chapter that recruits volunteer teams from companies and organizations across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and DeSoto counties to help local charities for a half or full day. This year, approximately 2,300 volunteers from over 35 businesses were mobilized to tackle some 96 projects for local social service agencies, schools and community organizations.

This year, our team’s project was to lend a hand at a food and clothing store run by Metropolitan Ministries that helps provide needed items to disadvantaged families. For a few hours, we helped sort, stock, and organize a wide assortment of goods, like canned sauces and vegetables, bagged rices and beans, and boxed cereals and snacks.   

Our Day of Caring team included three members this year:

  • Stephani DioGuardi.
  • Joseph Priest.
  • Jenna Stock.

Although we only had a few hours to contribute, our team had an amazingly rewarding experience. We were able to fully restock a set of food shelves so that needy families could shop more quickly and efficiently at the store, and so that more families could be served at the store. It was rewarding to be a part of this effort, and rewarding to be a part of PRSA Tampa Bay.


Restocking the shelves with a full supply of goods.

There’s also another chance to help Metropolitan Ministries this year. In December, PRSA Tampa Bay will be hosting its annual holiday mixer and toy drive. To participate in the drive, members and guests will be asked to please bring one or more new, unwrapped gifts to donate to the Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent. Each donation will entitle the giver to a raffle ticket and a chance to be selected for one of several special prizes from a drawing that will be held.

Stay tuned to the PRSA Tampa Bay site for more details on the date and location for this year’s holiday mixer soon. We hope you can come, and we hope you can donate a toy!


Mission accomplished!

 

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There’s Power in that Pause

By Mary Haban, APR

I just had to swerve. Though I didn’t crash, I came close. The community event my colleague and I were methodically planning for almost a month was nearing completion. And days away from launching. Then—we got the call.

The voice on the other end didn’t have good news. In fact, it was a detour we weren’t prepared to take. Our challenge? The venue our event was scheduled to take place in, the one we had just paid to promote in a televised segment airing in 15 minutes, was already booked by another group. The issue was, no one knew until that day.

A decade ago, my reaction to this news would have looked and sounded a whole lot different.  But these days, I realize that call was a gift. The reason? I gave myself permission to pause. As I hung up the phone, I sat quietly and thought to myself. “What will we do now?” In that moment, the answer became clear—adapt.

As luck would have it, that pause proved powerful. It gave everyone, and especially me, time to regroup and make way for an even better plan to take shape. And that amazing partner helping us book the initial venue? She offered us a more enticing option, complete with swaying palm trees and sparkling waters. What’s more, she, the television station and our team of partners agreed to promote our new and improved event location on their social channels. So, what looked like a pothole on our roadway to success, turned out better than any of us could have ever imagined. 

As public relations professionals, we are continually in motion, running on high-octane, never knowing when that next pothole or fender bender will appear along our roadmap to success. And that’s precisely why we must sometimes, yield, tap those brakes and adapt.

The theme of adaptation was front and center at this year’s Sunshine District Conference held right here in Tampa Bay. As one of three lucky scholarship winners to represent our chapter, I sat captivated while scores of talented speakers shared their own valuable stories of swerving, near misses and ultimately, transformation. It reinforced something we, as a PR community, already know. We are never alone. And trusting the process, well, that takes trust.

As the winds of change blow through our profession, our foundation is often shaken to the core. But if we pause, and ponder the possibilities before us, our gifts as communicators and collaborators have that chance to shine their brightest. Today, I’m grateful for that call. Though it wasn’t in my PR plan, it did make me smile, knowing my colleague and I had the chops to take it on, with grace, grit, and an extra dose of patience that 99% of the time clears the way for that powerful pause to come into play.

Mary Haban, APR (left) takes time to pause for a fun photo with Jenna Stock, PRSA Tampa Bay president, at the 2019 PRSA Sunshine District Conference. 

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2019 Call for Chapter Award Nominations

PRSA Tampa Bay Chapter – 2019 Call for Chapter Award Nominations

PRSA Tampa Bay is seeking your input on members that have made significant achievements in public relations and management practices, advancing the profession, meeting the needs of the community and strengthening our chapter. Please review the details below on each category and provide your comments on the most qualified candidates using the nomination form. Deadline for nominations is Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, at 5 p.m. Self nominations are encouraged. Please direct any questions to [email protected].

Deanne D. Roberts Excellence in Community Relations Award
This category recognizes a chapter member or local agency who has given pro-bono public relations support to one or more community organization throughout his or her professional career.

Excellence in Chapter Service Award
This award is presented to a chapter member who has been with the chapter for more than one year and has made outstanding contributions to chapter management and member programming.

Michael B. Manning Leadership Award
This award is presented to a chapter member who has demonstrated exceptional leadership within the chapter.

Sue Ellen Richardson “Rookie of the Year” Award
This award recognizes a chapter member who has been with the chapter for two years or less and has demonstrated the commitment to be involved and to make a difference in member programming.

Tampa Bay Chapter President’s Award
This award recognizes up to four chapter members who have gone above and beyond for the good of the chapter. Please provide full details of the project that individual completed.

Tampa Bay Chapter Life Achievement Award
This category honors a senior chapter member who has committed his or her professional career to public relations and has achieved numerous accolades in public relations management, community relations and overall PRSA service.

Nominate someone today!

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Member Spotlight: Kaley Infield

This Member Spotlight profiles Kaley Infield, APR, who is marketing manager at The Bank of Tampa. She joined PRSA Tampa Bay in 2012, currently serves as website and newsletter chair of the Digital Communications Committee, and also served as a member of this year’s PRSA SunCon Committee.

  1. First news publication you read in the morning?

I typically get a quick download each morning by checking the Tampa Bay Times and the Washington Post.

  1. First public relations job?

In 2011, I started as external communications specialist at Gerdau, a global steel company with its North American headquarters based here in Tampa, and it was one of those jobs where you get exposed to all aspects of PR, everything from public affairs, to media relations, to marketing communications, to advertising and branding. Having gained so much exposure to so many core competencies so early in my career gave me the experience and confidence I needed to grow into a leader in the PR profession.

  1. Most important career mentor, and why?

It’s so hard to pick just one. I am very fortunate to have several influential mentors and dedicated supervisors who have guided me and helped me grow as a professional.

  1. Top grammar, style or writing pet peeve?

Unnecessary capitalization. It literally drives me crazy!

  1. Most rewarding accomplishment in public relations?

Completing my APR. I received my official “pass” letter from the Universal Accreditation Board in late September, so that one is pretty timely!

  1. Advice to new public relations professionals?

If I had any advice to offer, it would be to try and dip your toes into many aspects of PR and communications early in your career. It will make you a versatile, well-rounded professional, and it will keep things exciting.

  1. Job you would pursue if you weren’t in public relations?

I have a photography side hustle, and if I weren’t in public relations and marketing, I would love to pursue that as a career. I am also a true crime junkie, and I think it would be very interesting to be an investigative reporter or a detective.

  1. Favorite movie?

The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  

  1. Favorite vacation?

My husband and I love to travel, and so far our favorite trip has been to Scotland, where we went with our best friends as a group and spent a great deal of time in the Scottish Highlands, an otherworldly place. In a few months, we’re headed to Thailand, and I can’t wait to see how it compares with our last trip!

  1. Any three dinner guests?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tom Petty and J.K. Rowling.


My husband, Steven, and me with our dogs Arlo (left), a border collie, and Zero, a golden-chow mix.


Traveling with friends in Scotland in 2018.


My husband and me on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, hunting dinosaur fossils.


On most Saturdays during the fall, we can be found in the Swamp cheering for my alma mater! Go Gators!

 

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Team Returns to Met. Min. to Help Job Seekers

By Joseph Priest, APR

PRSA Tampa Bay has done it again. On Aug. 27, the Public Service Committee returned to Metropolitan Ministries for a second résumé-review and job-search counseling session to help disadvantaged job seekers in the nonprofit’s life skills program. The session follows a first visit we made in May.


Our team: (from left) Joseph Priest, Kate Barth, Ginain Grayes, Karen McAllister; Olivia Keegan, Luis Reyes and Noel Ramos, Director of Employment Services for Metropolitan Ministries.

The life skills program provides a range of life-management and career-building services to help people in critical economic need. These services include one that takes in people for a period of six to nine months during which they live at residence halls on Metropolitan Ministries’ main office and attend a series of workshops and activities to help them reset their life and prepare for a new future.  

Our team took part in one of these workshops to help about 10 economically disadvantaged job seekers who were looking to rebuild their communication skills in order to restart their careers.


Kate Barth (left) shares her tips.

Olivia Keegan (next to screen) offers her counsel.

 

Six chapter members and guests participated:

  • Kate Barth.
  • Ginain Grayes.
  • Olivia Keegan.
  • Karen McAllister.
  • Joseph Priest.
  • Luis Reyes.


Our session consisted of presentations from each team member on our top writing and job-search tips; an on-site review of all résumés on areas such as neatness, organization, and effectiveness; and one-on-one meetings with the job seekers to share our feedback and provide advice on their job-search strategies.

 

The volunteers complete an on-the-spot review of the résumés.


One-on-one sessions formed the final part of our team’s visit.

Although we only had a little more than an hour, our team had a productive visit. We were able to offer high-level communication advice to job seekers that don’t normally have access to this kind of counsel.

Here are our team members’ impressions on what they found to be the most rewarding part of their experience:

“Witnessing the spirit of hope. No one would be where they are today without the effort from others.”

-- Kate Barth

“Interacting with the residents and sharing knowledge that they may have found helpful in their job search was by far the most rewarding part of the event. It warms my heart to think our group could have helped the job seekers land their next dream job, which is the goal.”

-- Olivia Keegan

“The most rewarding part was the individual time I was able to have to connect with participants and listen to their experiences and goals. Sharing my tips and lessons I've learned in my professional journey made me realize how much I enjoy coaching and helping others better themselves and their situations.” 

-- Ginain Grayes

"I appreciated hearing about the residents' goals. They all had varied work experience and a great desire to work and contribute their talents to the Tampa Bay community. I hope they are all able to find ways to make that happen."

-- Karen McAllister

“Equally as rewarding as having individual meetings with the job seekers was witnessing my team members share their individual expertise and demonstrate their passion to serve our profession. I’m fortunate to be able to have them as my colleagues.”

-- Joseph Priest

The Public Service Committee is planning to build on this session with similar events later this year. Stay tuned for more details on these here on the PRSA Tampa Bay website.

Olivia Keegan (left) and Luis Reyes (second from right) meet with job seekers.


Kate Barth (right) goes over a résumé.

 

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Extended Deadline: Submit Your PRestige Entries by Aug. 30!

Recognizing yourself is usually the last thing on your to do list, right? Well, no more procrastinating! The deadline for the 2019 PRestige Awards, presented by Business Wire, has been extended for you, the humble, the busy, the deserving-to-be-recognized public relations professionals.

The deadline for entering is now Friday, Aug. 30 at 11:59 p.m.

The PRestige Awards offers companies, marketing and communications agencies, and independent practitioners the opportunity to have their PR successes recognized.

Be sure to review this list of award categories. Whether you’re a chapter member of Tampa Bay PRSA or not, you’re invited to apply and showcase your commitment to the industry from wherever you are in the country.

In addition to the opportunity to be honored, you will also be able to attend the inspiring PRestige Awards luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the University Club of Tampa. What better place to celebrate success than the center of Tampa’s business scene?

Please review this information on how to enter the PRestige Awards, and we’ll see you on Nov. 6!

As the great author Douglas Adams wrote, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Don’t let this deadline go whooshing by you!

Deadline: 
Friday, Aug. 30 by 11:59 p.m.
PRSA Tampa Bay Member: $75 per entry - Submit Award Entry
Non-Member: $95 per entry - Submit Award Entry

Note: All students enter for free! Must submit entries using “.edu” email addresses.

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Deadline for Prestige Awards is Friday, Aug. 16

The deadline is almost here for the 2019 PRestige Awards, presented by BusinessWire. The Prestige Awards offers companies, marketing and communications agencies and independent practitioners the opportunity to have their PR excellence recognized. It’s the leading way for Tampa Bay public relations professionals to honor great work in the field of PR. The deadline for entering is one minute before midnight, Aug. 16.

Take a minute to review this list of award categories. If you’re a Tampa Bay PRSA chapter member or even if you’re an occasional guest to PRSA programs, the chances are good that you’ve done something spectacular this year.

So why not earn some recognition? The contest is open to members and as well as non-members.

And by the way, the PRestige Awards are presented at a ceremony which is always inspiring and educational. Many examples of outstanding PR work will be featured and discussed -- just take a look at last year’s winners. This year’s awards luncheon will be Nov. 6 at the University Club of Tampa, a beautiful venue with a spectacular view of Tampa Bay.

Many of us are so busy working that a deadline is easy to forget. But you still have time to be recognized for your successes. Please review this information on how to enter the PRestige Awards and we’ll see you on Nov. 6!

Deadline:
Friday, aug. 16 by 11:59 p.m.
PRSA Tampa Bay Member: $75 per entry - Submit Award Entry
Non-Member: $95 per entry - Submit Award Entry

Note: All students enter for free! Must submit entries using “.edu” email addresses.

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#PRSASunCon Day Two: Heave Ho, Landlubbers and Old Salts

#PRSASunCon Day Two: Heave Ho, Landlubbers and Old Salts

Whether an old salt (seasoned PR pro) or landlubber (emerging practitioner), day two of #PRSASunCon left us all feeling empowered to weigh our anchors and set sail.

My top takeaways from this second and final day of #PRSASunCon were:

We need to not only tell our stories, but shape and define them.

Dr. Kanika Tomalin, deputy mayor and city administrator for the City of St. Petersburg, shared how she earned her stripes in the PR industry, culminating with her current role as second in command for Florida’s fifth-largest city. The common thread through all stages of her career? Storytelling.

As deputy mayor, Dr. Tomalin described how she was sought out for her PR expertise and charged with something that had never been done before in St. Petersburg’s history: rewriting municipal marketing by telling the ‘Burg’s story. She created a marketing team for the city and worked to rebrand the area, in the process building a national reputation as one of America’s most attractive places to live, work, and play.

The rebrand is real:

  • Created the new St.Pete.org
  • Launched engaging, audience-charged social media platforms: @StPeteFL (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter)
  • Developed compelling digital content and redefined public access TV via SPTV



Dr. Kanika Tomalin, giving her keynote speech at PRSA SunCon

Partnership opportunities can exist – even in the most unlikely of places.

Partnerships are an essential component of many PR efforts. Rob Vernon, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Nicole Paquette, Humane Society of the United States, shared how their partnership has led to many successful efforts to reform policy in support of animal welfare – despite the fact that there are many times they also agree to disagree on issues.

Lessons learned:

  • Address, up front, when partnership goals aren’t being met on both sides or there is disagreement; also know when to walk away
  • Compromise is king
  • Partnerships, even with unlikely allies, are powerful
  • Ensure clear and open communication at all times; transparency is imperative


Ambitious introverts walk among us in PR – and I am most certainly one of them.

Morra Aarons-Mele, founder of Women Online/The Mission List and author of “Hiding in the Bathroom: A Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home),” helped crystalize who I am in the PR-verse: an ambitious introvert.

What’s that, you say? According to Morra, ambitious introverts are those of us who may feel exhausted, disenfranchised, and discouraged by the 24/7 grind of always being “on”; those who are adept at managing their energy and setting limits. Ambitious introverts commonly experience FOMO and were cautioned to embrace “onlyness” – the concept of owning who you are and harnessing why your unique characteristics make you special. One of her most striking lines was that ambitious introverts are those who have learned to game the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – professional “E” seekers who, deep down, are profoundly “I.”

Because PR can seem most well-suited for extroverts, what is an ambitious introvert to do when faced with another (dreaded!) networking event? Exude a façade of normalcy – despite your racing heartbeat and sweaty palms? Well, sometimes, but here are some other tips Morra shared for navigating networking:

  • Be strategic about what networking events you attend, focusing on those that will help fulfill a desired outcome for you
  • Build a network of super connectors – those who you can continuously turn to and rely on, outside of networking opportunities, to help you move forward
  • Do something you love. This will allow your passion to shine through, and other people will naturally seek you out.



Morra Aarons-Mele, giving her keynote speech at PRSA SunCon

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