Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Jacque Riley, Riley Communications

I had the fortune of meeting Jacque Riley, CEO of Columbia-based Riley Communications, at the SCPRSA roundtable event with Vince Hazleton last month. Apparently, if you want to work with an award winning agency – or get your client on the front page – Jacque is the woman to see! 

Read on to learn more…Oh, and Jacque, let us know how the Asus Eee 900 works out for you…I am super jealous!

o Please provide title and a brief description of what you do: As the founder and CEO of Riley Communications, I’ve seen my job description encompass everything from chief coffee maker to writer, designer and strategist. Clients hire me because I really try to capture and convey the essence of the company – the subtlety of PR is a great way to do that.

o How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry? I think my interest in communication really hearkens back to high school debate. I have always loved the element of persuasion! We had to argue both sides of any given argument, which really helped me develop a sense of empathy.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you? In recent years, it seems like there has been an exodus of excellent reporters leaving the journalism field. There are both challenges and opportunities there, but I’d hate to lose that balance and sense of camaraderie that accompanies the best PR/journalist relationships.

o 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 IABC, as well as my local chambers of commerce and the Midlands International Trade Association and World Affairs Council. I think PRSA and IABC in particular do a good job of connecting me to other professionals and highlighting the issues facing our industry.

o What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations/marketing industry? Differentiate your resume! As internships and entry-level jobs become more competitive, a bland Word template will not be sufficient. Even putting your name in color or using a font other than Times New Roman can go a long way.

o What is the best thing about your job? I love being surrounded by creativity and big ideas. I also have to admit – it’s still a rush to see a client’s article in print!

o What is the thing you like least about your job? I hate making collection calls – I have to save them for when I’m having a bad day so I can channel my anger.

o Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)? I just got an Asus Eee 900! It’s a supercompact laptop that weighs literally 2.18 pounds. Since I take my laptop everywhere (and have the sore shoulders to prove it), I can’t wait to see how it works.

o How do you balance your professional career with your personal life? Even though I’m self-employed, I try to keep a very normal, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. That keeps me in sync with my husband and ensures that there are times of the day when work is just not an option.

o Anything else you would like to add? I really believe in the power of a good story. If you can ferret out the right angle and find a story that is truly engaging, people will be drawn to it.

Jacque Riley
Riley Communications
500 Taylor St., Ste. 102


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