Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Beth Thomason, APR

This Friday we are happy to feature Beth Thomason, APR of Thomason PR for the Palmetto PR Diva Dish section. Liza and I had lunch with her this week – where she introduced me to Corporate Deli (love it!) – and also shared recent photos of her two boys! Read on to to learn more about how she balances being a mother, a wife, a friend and a business owner so successfully, and have a great holiday this weekend.


Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:

As the owner of Thomason PR, I’m an independent practitioner providing strategic public relations and marketing communications planning, media relations, copywriting, collateral development, project management and event planning services to Upstate businesses. 


How did you become interested in the public relations industry?

I entered college with every intention of majoring in News/Ed and aspiring to work for a newspaper, having served on my high school newspaper staff and thoroughly enjoying it.  However, my sister, who had just graduated from college and started her first newspaper job, encouraged me to explore other avenues.  Being the good big sister she has always been, she knew the newspaper industry wasn’t for me, so I signed up for a PR 101 class at USC and was inspired.  I quickly discovered how I could fuel my journalistic passion in the field of public relations and gain access to so many different career paths.  


What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?

Technology has drastically changed the speed in which we share information and the methods in which we communicate.  I’m dating myself here, but I remember when it took a couple of weeks to write, approve and distribute a press release, using the fax machine to go back and forth with a client on changes, ordering photos with pre-printed captions and then photocopying and mailing out the releases to a select few media outlets.  That process now happens in a matter of minutes with far greater impact.


Are you involved in any professional associations?  If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?

I’m a member of PRSA and most recently served as the Upstate Independent Practitioners Committee Chair.  I also serve as the Communications Coordinator for my church.  Earlier in my career, I was involved in several associations and held various leadership positions, but I cut back a few years ago when I started my own business and had limited time to commit to volunteer activities.  


What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations industry?

I strongly recommend completing a couple of internships, whether paid or unpaid.  An internship provides excellent work experience to include on your resume and sets you apart from students with no PR-related work experience.  Internships also offer excellent opportunities to explore different career paths you can pursue with a degree in public relations.  By getting hands-on experience, you can discover a particular passion and help determine where you will be most fulfilled in your career.


Please describe your experience in obtaining your APR.  Was it different than you thought?  How has it made a difference in your professional career?

I had the pleasure of preparing for and taking the APR exam with two colleagues, which made the process much more bearable than going it alone.  I enjoyed the opportunity to reexamine the history of our industry, read about the PR pioneers and study the theories behind what we do.  The process also reminded me of some of the basics that we often forget in our busy day-to-day activities.  


I took the accreditation exam in the previous testing format, which consisted primarily of short answer and essay questions in the morning and the development of a full-blown PR plan in the afternoon.  The examination was very intense and totally draining after several weeks of preparation, but well worth the time and the effort.  It was rewarding to me both personally and professionally to become accredited.  As an independent practitioner, I feel having my APR has given me added credibility when marketing myself to potential clients and it has certainly benefited my career as an IP. 


What is the best thing about your job?

Being my own boss.


What is the thing you like least about your job?

The fact that I never leave work…with an office in the middle of my home, I feel like I’m always at work and find it hard to resist the urge to check my e-mail or answer my phone outside of my regular work hours.


Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your own practice or one of your clients)?

ISO Poly Films is the cover story for their key trade magazine, Flexible Packaging, in this month’s issue!  The company is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, and I have had the pleasure of working with ISO Poly for seven of those successful years.


Thomason PR is in its fourth year of business, and I’m finally getting around to working with a designer to create a branding package, including a real logo and website!


How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?

One of the earliest lessons I learned after going out on my own was not to take on too much work and learn to say “no” to new business opportunities to maintain my desired work schedule. I set boundaries and strive daily to protect them.  By choice, I work part-time and have created a schedule that allows me to spend the afternoons with my boys – I have a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old.  There will always be time for more work, but there will never be more time to spend with my children…they grow up way too fast!


Anything else you would like to add?

Simple words of advice:  Unclutter your life.  Be true to yourself.  Laugh often.



1 Comment

  1. […] reading all 17 chapters of “Effective Public Relations”), using the flash cards that Beth Thomason was so nice to loan to me, re-reading my notes and using the APR study guide I received from Brett […]

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