Life Lessons From Mom That Also Apply to a Career in PR

For some of us, “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” still rings true. Play nice, share with others, don’t interrupt, work hard; the list goes on.

For me, a lot of the advice I call upon in my adult life revolves around what my parents taught me. I use their advice in parenting, how I treat my loved ones – both family and friends – and everything in between. Much of their advice I even apply to my career as a PR executive. In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share my thoughts, and those of my teammates, on how Mom’s early lessons stick with us and still help us in our careers today.

momWhen I was young, I struggled with math. Words always came much easier to me. As the daughter of two parents who worked for a national newspaper, you could say it was in the blood. How could I get through this math monkey on my back and change my perspective? My mother taught me that we all have to do things we don’t want to do. We all have to tackle the hard things. Part of life is this yin and yang of easy and hard. So with the assistance of kind teachers, patient parents, and most importantly a change in me, I switched my thinking and began to use the mantra, “I will not give up.” I heeded my mother’s tough advice. She didn’t have a ton of sympathy, but rather told me over and over, “Keep at it, be tough, and do not give up.”

I am no longer tackling Pi or the Pythagorean Theorem, or cringing after being called up to write on the blackboard in math class  - but each day as a PR professional, I am still faced with challenges that call for mental toughness and confidence. This is when the parts of my job that are harder and grittier than others call for my mom’s good old “don’t give up” mantra. This mantra makes for happy clients, solid journalistic relationships and a constant quest for me to deliver top results while striving to do better.

My PerkettPR colleagues shared what they’ve learned from their mothers as well. Here’s a collection of the awesome advice that they still carry with them in their PR careers.

From Christine Perkett

My mother taught me not to undervalue myself – which comes in handy when negotiating as both employer and vendor. My grandmother taught me that men are like street cars — a new one will always come along. I say the same is true clients – not that I don’t appreciate the ones we have (I so do!), but that they come and go and that losing one is not the end of the world.

 From Susan Sweenie:

My mom taught me that even when dealing with someone tough or not interested, just kill them with kindness. 

From Crystal Monahan:

I’ve had the privilege of having two moms in my life – my actual mom and my stepmother. Although different in innumerable ways, they both share one admirable trait that I have tried to emulate in my life and career. They both possess a remarkable work ethic. They work dawn to dusk if necessary. They have held multiple jobs to provide for their families. Nothing is beneath them – if it needs to get done, they do it. They both understand that nothing in life comes free and great pride comes from a job well done.

I’ve always tried to do my best and work my hardest, and have always appreciated the sense of accomplishment at seeing the results of my efforts whether it’s completing monthly status reports on time, writing a solid press release, or seeing my clients in the media.

Whenever I’m feeling lazy, I think about my two moms and I know they’ve probably already accomplished more in a day than many people do in a week, and I’m inspired to get back to work.

From Susie Dougherty:

“Mind your manners…” Something my mom was a stickler about, much to my benefit. I think most of us (well, maybe not as many as I’d like to think) grow up to be mindful of the simple words and gestures that help make us respected adults. But with today’s email and social media – suddenly a lot of those manners have gone out the window. Thanks to my mom for somehow making those words stick –even as the Internet has fundamentally changed in so many ways how we communicate. I’m still using my manners behind my laptop or iPhone or tablet screen – and I know that stands out to clients, reporters and even my own colleagues.”

From Jennifer Hellickson:

My mom’s a big proponent of the Golden Rule – treat others as you’d like to be treated – and this goes a long way in PR. Going that extra mile for both our clients and our colleagues in the media means trying to not only think from their perspective, but also anticipate their needs, as well. This creates a better working environment for everyone and ultimately allows us, as PR professionals, to better serve the company’s mission.

From Heather Bliss :

Mom taught me so many amazing lessons, but one of the most valuable was to be a good listener and problem solver. She has an uncanny ability to be able to listen to ANYONE, and I mean anyone. Whether it’s a family member, friend, colleague or a stranger on the park bench next to her — if they have a problem my mom has the time and patience to listen and to try and help solve it. I learned how to translate some small part of this gift of hers to my work in PR to really listen to clients and understand the issues they face and try to problem solve solutions as my mother would with quickness and calm.

And, fellow PerkettPR staff member (and new mom herself) agrees:

Johanna Lucia adds:

My Mom always taught me the importance of being a good listener. She helped instill this very powerful life skill in me, and when it comes to PR– we need to hear our clients. Listening to our clients’ wants and needs is a vital part of our role and in helping develop effective PR strategies.

What inspirational mom lessons can you share with us? Do you have a favorite piece of advice learned in childhood that still remains a part of your work habit today? Please share your stories in the comments.

So you think you can intern? PerkettPR launches contest for first-ever internships at digital PR agency

If you’ve read this blog you know we talk a lot about the impact that social media is having on the PR world. Recognizing the value of an integrated agency approach, we’ve expanded our services over the last two years to include social media and digital production services – all of which we provide in-house (as opposed to outsourcing, which many agencies do). As a result, Our PR strategies call for a lot of new thinking, digital tactics and technical capabilities. We also recognize (along with the experts that we respect) that the recipe for success is still being perfected. We believe bright people with good ideas and an interest in the future of communications can have an impact right now.

Are you up for discovering new paths to success for clients?  Do you see value in digital communications and social media for marketing and PR? We want to hear from you! We recognize that the newest generation of employees entering the workforce are more naturally inclined to have this skill set in place. Therefore, for the first time in over a decade of business, PerkettPR is looking for interns that are capable of opening our eyes to new possibilities, executing on important communications strategies and excited to learn just how a PR firm helps companies and brands effectively communicate with key audiences.

Think you’ve got what it takes to intern at a virtual agency? Enter our contest for the chance to work with a nationwide, senior-level team in either Boston, Detroit or San Francisco.

Here are the official application guidelines:

  • The paid internship program will be awarded to up to three accomplished students or graduates with studies in public relations, communications, business, video production, English, journalism or marketing
  • Length of internship will be determined with individual contacts
  • We’re looking – ideally – for one intern in (or near) each city: Boston, Detroit, San Francisco
  • Submissions must be sent via video message (Facebook* or Seesmic**), blog post (yours with a link to ours), Twitter pitch campaign, or on our Facebook page. Or, better yet, something you create – show us  something we have never seen before. The submission is open to your creative interpretation – just don’t send us a paper resume. Show us your work digitally.
  • Must have excellent writing and research skills.
  • Must have a fully functional home “office” and be willing to meet and work remotely with co-workers at least once a week
  • Interns will work with PerkettPR’s PR and Social Media teams to study, create and implement social media, digital content and PR programs and services. They may also have exposure to and contact with clients, partners and journalists.
  • Submissions or links may also be emailed to: IWantToIntern[at]perkettpr.com.
  • Finalists will be asked for full resumes.

Applications will be accepted through June 26. A handful of finalists that will then be interviewed for the position in late June/early July.

Here’s what we’re looking for you to answer in your submission:

1.  Who are you, what do you do and where are you?
2.  What is social media?
3.  How does it play a role in PR? How can they both benefit businesses?
4.  What great examples of PR and social media integration have you seen? What makes it great?
5.  Where is the future of corporate/brand communications heading?
6.  List three words people would use to describe you.
7.  Why do you want to work for PerkettPR?
8.  What will you bring to our agency that no other candidate will?
9.  What is your favorite tech gadget or site and why?
10. Who is one person in business that you admire?

*  Video submissions to our Facebook page can be left on our wall after you become a “fan.”

** Video submissions can also be left right here as a reply on this post via the Seesmic widget that is accessible below the comments area. A free Seesmic account is required.