Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Jo Halmes, APR

I’d like to consider myself a modern working girl, but I have to admit I am a bit superstitious.  And since it’s Friday 13th, I’m not exactly going to avoid all activities and human contact, but let’s put it this way:  If something disappointing happened to me today, I’d blame it on the Big 1-3 in a heartbeat.  And that’s just the way it is.

Enough superstition, let’s talk about Jo Halmes, APR, entreprenuer, business woman and soon-to-be mother of three!  How does she do it all?  Read below to find out.

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

President of Halmes Strategic Marketing & PR. Provide marketing and PR services as an independent consultant to various businesses and non-profit organizations.

 

o        How did you become interested in the public relations industry?

By a fluke. I always liked to write and found out through a friend after changing my college major for the fifth time that I could actually make a career out of something that came easily to me versus going into a field that I wasn’t passionate about.

 

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

The use of technology. Even simple things like email and web sites have made practicing our profession much easier. It’s pretty amazing to see how quickly you can gather information on any topic and how fast people can communicate with the tools that are available. It’s grown exponentially in just even the past 5-10 years.

 

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

I’ve been a member of PRSA and the South Carolina chapter I think since I began my career. It’s been a great networking and educational resource for me throughout the years. I’ve developed some very strong professional relationships (as well as friendships) with colleagues throughout the state that I know I can call on for support and advice at any time. These relationships are invaluable.

 

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 industry?

Do an internship. Classes and class projects are great, but there’s nothing like real-life experience to help you fully understand the profession. Even if the internship is unpaid, it will be worth it in the long run. It will help you build relationships while letting you gain experience that you will be able to put on your resume.

 

 

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

It was stressful, but empowering once it was over. I took the exam under the “old” process, so I had to go back and re-learn a lot of theory. The exam itself included case studies, so I was glad I could apply my practical, daily knowledge to the exam. Overall, I think as an independent practitioner, the APR has been a great self-marketing tool, helping me to establish my credibility right off the bat with new clients.

 

 

o        What is the best thing about your job?

The flexibility. Even though I have a fairly strict routine in getting my projects done and meeting client needs, I still have flexibility with my time when I need it. This allows me to spend more time with my family – especially my children.

 

o        What is the thing you like least about your job?

I could always use more time, but couldn’t we all?     

 

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

      My biggest excitement right now is with my personal life – baby #3 is on the way this summer!

 

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

I learned the hard way when I started out that I have to keep both very, very separate if I want to do them well. When I’m at work, I’m there 100% with no personal distractions unless there is an emergency. When I’m with my kids, I’m with them 100% as well. I schedule my time accordingly and try to really stick to the schedule. I think this is the only way I can be fair to both my clients and my kids.

 

 

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