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3 Words

4 Jan

I often share with folks with my concept of sherpas. Finding those people whose opinions, insights and path you respect. They are out in front cutting trail and you can take their path and be part of their journey – learning and growing along the way.

I consider Chris Brogan one of my sherpas – (along with Tac Anderson, who I affectionately think of as ‘The Original Sherpa.’ Heck, that would make a great t-shirt!)

Do I always agree with the insights these two share or the path they are going down? No. But they always get me thinking, force me to revaluate my position, my opinions and develop stronger strategies and insights of my own.

Case in point – I really enjoyed the concept of 3 Words that Chris shared last week…“I come up with three words that I use as guidance for how I should conduct my efforts in the year to come. I set goals around these three words. I build deadlines and projects around these words…”

I have trouble setting resolutions. They’ve never really sat right with me. But I love a good mantra. And I love ‘3’s. 3 words? I can get behind that, stick to that and be inspired and focused through that. Per Chris’ guidance on coming up with your 3…

“Pick three words that help you the way a lighthouse helps a ship in a storm. Give yourself a word that guides you towards a powerful new opportunity, and that keeps you focused on what comes of this year. Use these words as starting points for tangible goals, SMART goals that can be measured and have dates to accomplish tasks by. These words sit above the actual goals, and set your guiding principles in place.”

Here are my 3 Words for 2011

Bones. Breath. Reach.

Bones – because this is a year where I need to really get the bones of the house in order, the infrastructure, the stability upon which to continue to build our agency. Growth has been good and good to us. Unstructured and unsupported growth would not be.

Breath – because besides needing to stop holding my breathe all the dang time I need to remember to take a breath first. Before I react, before I interrupt, before I dismiss an idea, before I say yes, before I say no.

Reach – because this year I need to extend my reach. Reach beyond the comfort zones of the groups and connections I have made to date. Expand my reach in my industry, expand the reach of my voice, reach for new opportunities.

– Jess Flynn

The PR Profession: A Legendary Misconception

22 Dec

“I thought it’d be more glamorous.”

Yes, yes, we know. We’ve all seen or heard of PR people… they usually reside in L.A. or New York, plan elaborate parties, drink a lot of expensive champagne and resemble Victoria’s Secret models.

We can generally thank Samantha Jones for that. You know, the notoriously outspoken and vulgar one on Sex & the City. She’s a publicist, and is relentlessly getting her and her friends into the most exclusive parties, shopping at Gucci and Dior, and using that sharp wit of hers to sway others to get exactly what she wants.

And then there’s me.

So I’m two months into my job here at Red Sky, and have hit reality. Like a ton of bricks. From ten stories high. I’m learning more and more about the public relations industry everyday, and trust me, there’s a lot to learn. It can be intimidating and overwhelming at times. It sort of feels like everything I learned in college has no meaning (which I think about every time I open the student loan statement in the mail), and won’t until it’s applied to real-life situations. Steve Nash did not win MVP by studying the physics of basketball in a classroom for four years, now did he?

Sure, I knew better than to expect glitz and glamour. I’ll never forget the hush that fell over the crowd as my PR 275 teacher told us what the average starting wage was for public relations professionals. There were a few more empty seats after that day. But Dr. Pinkleton didn’t quite prepare me for what I’ve recently realized….

  • PR is about spending hours and hours taping up boxes and carrying stacks ten high, three blocks to FedEx.
  • It’s about having to share a bed with your boss on a business trip (Although I have not yet had the pleasure, Steph).
  • It’s about getting your tender heart hurt every time a reporter is vile and shuts down your pitch you worked so hard on, or coming across “PR Friendly” tabs on websites (that’s when you know it’s rough out there for us).
  • It’s about urgent, sudden deadlines, daily conference calls, long hours and working on the weekends. If you’re looking for a Dolly Parton 9-5, you might want to consider something else….

But you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Because working in PR is also about gaining self-confidence you never knew you had. It’s about learning to exceed your own expectations. It’s about learning from your well-versed coworkers and gaining valuable knowledge you can’t learn from a book.

PR is about constantly getting to meet new and exciting people. And achieving personal goals and pushing your limits.  It’s about that satisfaction you feel when you know you have helped an organization succeed through your efforts. It’s about always getting to do something fresh and new, and seeking out innovative, exciting possibilities.

Being a part of Red Sky feels like being part of a special government ops team. Or an elite club you can only be invited to join. It’s a privilege. It’s an advantage. It’s everything I had hoped for in a public relations job. It’s not what most PR college grads expect; it’s hard work. But I don’t care- I am honored to be here and excited for all the opportunities that lay ahead for me.

-Danae Castellaw

Bringing a Bit of Michael Corleone to the Office

21 Nov

I’ve often found it odd how when colleagues or employees leave a place of employment for another – another opportunity, another path, another job – there is a bit of Michael Corleone channeled...

“You’re nothing to me now; you’re not a brother, you’re not a friend; I don’t want to know you or what you do.”

While that particular mafia sentiment may be a bit too harsh – I do believe the mob mindset holds true with your agency alumni.

You’re always going to be part of the family.

Good, bad and all the parts in between – you helped make it happen at your former place of employment. Success is owed to all of those who contributed. And with any company classified as a ‘small business’ there are a lot of those who contribute. People will move on for many reasons – a new job, a new career, a need for a new direction or new atmosphere. Sometimes they’ll move on for reasons that the employer could have recognized and addressed. Other times, they’ll move on for reasons beyond an employer’s control. But when they move on – they take part of your company with them and represent it to the world. That connection will always be there.

As we grow, we are building our Red Sky alumni network through interns that have moved onto their career path, through employees who have chosen new opportunities. With the uber-connectedness of our new normal it’s pretty easy to figure out who worked where, when. The growing LinkedIn Company profile tab showcases our ‘Departures’. And the social web allows us to keep in closer contact with those who are more than former colleagues, but also friends and still family.

While I doubt we’ll ever have a formal Employee Alumni Network like the Fortune 500’s boast, I do hope we pay more credence in the coming year to our alum and make a stronger effort to….

  • Share in their successes at their new work home
  • Invite them into celebrations with their Red Sky family
  • Ask for their input and feedback as our agency goes through its inevitable changes
  • Seek their referrals on great new candidates to help grow the agency

“I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

– Jess