guiding the career in public relations

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Five Women PR Pros and Their Success Stories

November 17th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Public relations is about so much more than writing press releases and going out to events. It’s also about constantly dealing with problems and fixing them in style. Guest post writer Briana North profiles five successful PR women who have done that – and so much more. The one thing they have in common – in addition to being highly successful – is that they also have a big passion for our profession. 

Briana, Heather Whaling

Heather Whaling, Founder of Geben Communication 

Whaling, widely followed and known as @prtini on Twitter, reached success by taking a risk. Back in 2009, she made the difficult decision to quit her day job as a PR Director so she could launch her own PR firm. Whaling never thought of herself as the “entrepreneur” type, but once the idea of opening her own PR firm popped into her head, she ran with it. To ensure that Geben Communication continues succeeding, she stays true to her core business philosophy. 

Whaling launched Geben Communication in order to help small businesses and non-profits incorporate digital strategies with traditional approaches. Now, her clients include a New York Times Best-Selling Authors and Fortune 500 companies.  

Briana, Nicole Garner

Nicole Garner, CEO of The Garner Circle 

Garner first caught my attention when she spoke at the 2013 PRSSA National Conference in Philadelphia, with her energetic and go-getter attitude. The story of her success is a unique one since she didn’t follow the footsteps of many other PR grads before her time. Garner knew she wanted to open her own PR firm, and with her passion and willingness to learn, she successfully did so. 

Garner explains that in order to succeed, you need not one, but a few different mentors so you can learn many different aspects of the business. With PR being such a competitive industry, she believes that you have to differentiate yourself from the others in order to stand out and reach success. 

Briana, Alison Brod

Alison Brod, Founder of Alison Brod Public Relations 

Long before Brod began her own agency, she made a leap by moving to New York without a job, which is a testament to her motivation and drive. She even got her first job by bolding approaching a woman from a fashion agency and asking for any kind of job. After working at a few agencies at just 25 years old, she struck out on her own by relaunching the Burberry brand, a job she got because she, once again, boldly struck up a conversation with someone in the elevator.  

Now, nearly 20 years later, she has a team of 60 women, who represent a range of industries and brands, from Old Navy to Mercedes Benz. Brod’s success has come about, in part, due to her love of building brands; she can’t imagine working any other way. She shares the love of the business by encouraging and teaching other women through her internship program.  

Briana, Liza Bychkov

 Liza Bychkov, VP of Shadow PR 

Bychkov knows that working 24/7 is a lifestyle choice, but it’s one that she loves. At Shadow PR, she represents an extensive client roster that features an array of fashion brands, including Gap, Dior Beauty, black 15in1, Armani Exchange, American Eagle and many more.  

Her success with these clients, she says, is due in great part to her wonderful team of publicists, who work together to create special events and buzz-building projects. Working with such a wide variety of people, she believes that there’s never a dull moment. Part of the reason for her success? She’s not afraid of the word ‘no,’ as she’s always on the hunt for he ‘yes,’ no matter how many ‘no’s she hears. She proves that perseverance and dedication is key.   

Briana, Julia Sloan

Julia Sloan, VP, Global Communications, NARS Cosmetics 

Sloan’s love of makeup began when she was just eight years old, and over time, that love inspired her to throw makeup parties for her friends. When she started her working career, she began with an internship at Cosmopolitan, followed by stints at a variety of PR agencies, including Tractenberg.  

One reason she decided to get into PR is that she understands the importance of public relations to the success of a brand; she also gets great joy out of seeing her brands perform well and get a great return on investment. As a testament to her success, she recently led the celebration of NARS Cosmetics’ 15th anniversary. The 15×15 project included photographing 15 celebrities. Another perk of her job, as she says? She gets to work with industry icons, including Amber Valetta and Isabella Rossellini.  

There’s no easy, simple path to success in public relations. All five of these women have made a name for themselves by working hard and dedicating themselves to their jobs and the brands they represent.

briana_north_headshot-1 Briana North is a recent graduate currently working in the Public Relations industry. In her free time, she enjoys writing about PR, feminism, and pop-culture. Feel free to connect with her via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Tags: Careers · Guest Post

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Esther Workman // Feb 3, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    This is a great article, Briana! These women are paving the way for other females in the industry to hold more upper-level, executive positions. While PR is an industry full of women, the large majority of PR executives are males. I don’t think that women are better leaders than men, necessarily, but I do think that women should overcome the stereotype of middle-level success stories and seek out opportunities to manage an agency or department. Women can assert themselves as leaders by starting their own firm or working their way up by showcasing their managerial and communication skills. There won’t be a dramatic shift of power anytime soon, but over time, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more women stepping into the role of VP of Communications or Agency Director. As you said, there is no easy path in public relations, and with that comes the responsibility for women to develop themselves industry leaders by saying yes to every opportunity and having a passion for our profession.

    Esther Workman
    Platform Magazine Writer/Editor

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