Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Amy Bomar, president of Bomar Marketing Solutions

After reviewing Amy’s profile, I think there is one general traits professionals in the public relations and marketing industry seem to have in common. And that is the fact that we love to be busy, meet deadlines and have action-packed days. Read on to learn more about Amy Bomar, president of Bomar Marketing Solutions.

Also, we are looking for a few good professionals to profile each Friday for our Palmetto PR Diva Dish section. If you are interested in participating or would like to nominate someone, please let me know!

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

I’m an independent public relations and marketing practitioner located in Greenville, South Carolina. Services include strategic public relations planning, copywriting, media relations, media training, issues management, collateral development and branding.

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

A love of writing first led me to this career. I studied communications and journalism in college. When I entered the business word, I discovered that my communication, writing and strategic skills made public relations a great fit for me.

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

Constant access to new information is so exciting these days. It helps us all become better educated consumers and learners. The Internet is such a great learning tool, I use it constantly for research and professional development purposes. Of course the rapid access to information can also be a challenge if your organization or one of your client’s organizations is portrayed poorly online!

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 various groups through the years. Currently, I’m a member of the South Carolina Chapter of PRSA (SCPRSA), a member of PRSA’s Independent Practitioner Alliance and I’m planning to join the Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society (I worked at a healthcare organization for 14 years and have several healthcare clients today). While being a member of a professional association is great, I believe you really get your value out of your membership through involvement – serving on a committee, regularly attending meetings etc. This year, I’m serving as chair of SCPRSA’s Communications Committee, which has given me the opportunity to work and make friends with PR professionals throughout the state.

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?

Keep reading! In order to be an outstanding advisor to your clients or employer, you need to be knowledgeable about all kinds of topics – from PR to politics to local business news. Read a variety of publications (online or print), blogs, books etc. Learn about the latest trends, interesting facts and keep up with what everyone is talking about. Become a life-long learner!

o What is the best thing about your job?

Okay – this probably says something about my personality, but I love to be busy. In one of my former positions, I loved crazy media days when we had some kind of crisis occurring – the media were camped out, the phones wouldn’t stop ringing, our pagers were going off and we had to be five places at the same time. I love making decisions in times of crisis. I actually enjoy deadlines (crazy, I know). Writing assignments are also one of the favorite parts of my job.

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

Downtime in between projects. Of course that never happens, because there is always something I should or could be doing (or learning)!

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

My business is doing very well and I’ve had several new client developments recently.
My family and I moved to Greenville a little more than 1 ½ years ago and I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been so welcoming to me. I’ve made many great friends in the local PR and marketing community. I’m also very grateful to the amazing group of independent public relations practitioners in the Upstate who are so supportive of one another, sharing resources, advice and opinions.

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

I have three school age children, which is one of the reasons I decided to become an independent practitioner when we moved to South Carolina. I love my schedule these days! I get the kids ready for school, put them on the bus at 7:20, exercise, and am ready for my work day! I work a full day but still have the flexibility of being around when the kids are home from school, which is great. I often put in work hours in the evening too.

o Anything else you would like to add?

Kudos to Kim and Liza for this blog, and their efforts in bringing together PR practitioners throughout the state! I especially admire how Liza and Kim are interested in reaching out/mentoring the younger generation of PR professionals in the region. There are a lot of professionals with great experience in this area, so we need to do all we can to share our knowledge with those entering the field!

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Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Bianca Crawford, Red Carpet Communications

I really want to first and foremost apologize to Bianca.  She completed the PR Diva questionairre seemingly eons ago and I told her a date that I would post her information and send her a link.  But this was right around when Liza and I went on a blogging vacation and it just got lost in the shuffle.

Liza and I completed a great Greenville media tour (right before she went on bedrest!) and we also spoke on a panel at the first Clemson PRSSA meeting (more to come in the future on that) and there are lots of exciting things going on with us that we would like to share.  Sorry for being absent and we hope we can get on track for the fall (well, me at least, since I’m not on bedrest!).

o        Please provide title and a brief description of what you do: Bianca Crawford, President Red Carpet Communications.  I run a full service Public Relations, Marketing, Event Management and Consulting Company.

 

o        How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry?  I have always loved the public relations industry.  When I was a little girl I wanted to be a publicist, then when I entered USC I was a Broadcasting major until I found out how much money they start out making and quickly changed majors to Public Relations.  I love everything thing from writing press releases, pitching stories to writers, media placement and event planning. 

 

o        What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you? The infusion of integrating marketing into every marketing plan. I remember when most companies had static websites, no one used email as a primary means for communications and there was no facebook or myspace.

 

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 I am the IP chair for the Midlands.  PRSA has allowed me to connect with other independent practitioners.  I have gained so much knowledge from the training sessions and round table discussions.

 

I am also serve on numerous boards around the city: Columbia Development Corporation which oversees the development in the Vista area within the City of Columbia. Benedict Allen CDC which focuses on economic development in the communities surrounding Benedict College and provides training for small and minority businesses and the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

 

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? Network, Network, Network!!  You must let as many people as possible know what you do and its imperative that you know what line of work other people are in so you can use them as resources and send them business. 

 

o        What is the best thing about your job? The Flexibility! On Monday’s I pay bills, do paperwork and write proposals.  I meet with clients, attend meetings and network. Fridays are for me.  I usually get my hair and nails done and shop for myself and handle my personal business.

 

o        What is the thing you like least about your job? Nothing, I have focused on building a company that I love and enjoy.

 

o        Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)? I have just been named the 2008 Young Professional of the Year by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

 

o        How do you balance your professional career with your personal life? By taking Friday’s off and never working on Sunday’s.

 

o        Anything else you would like to add? I love this industry!!  

Palmetto PR Diva Dish, Kara Dullea, president, Details Destination Management, Inc.

This week’s PR Diva Dish features Kara Dullea, president of Details Destination Management, Inc.  She recently introduced a national event management and public relations company right in Greenville’s own backyard!  I’m excited to hear updates as she lands great accounts and cool projects (see below for her hit in The New York Times, as well as details on her newest client).  And happy Friday!

 o        Please provide title and a brief description of what you do: Kara Dullea, President, Details Destination Management, Inc. We specialize in the planning and coordination of destination meetings and corporate events throughout the United States, and also provide public relations services.

 

o        How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry? My love of public relations began with a fascination with journalism. Public relations gave me the ability to write, work with journalists, and do event planning, which was another natural love. Over the years, the event planning part of my job sort of took over and eventually led me to opening a destination management company.

 

o        What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you? Without a doubt, the astronomical increase in the number of communication outlets is something that provides so many new avenues of opportunity for public relations professionals. I find blogs and social networking sites as fascinating as they are challenging to keep up with.

 

o        Are you involved in any professional associations?  If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved? Meeting Planners International and the Association of Destination Management Executives are the two that are most relevant to my business and bring the most value because of the global access to resources they provide. PRSA has also proven valuable to me in the past when I was solely focused on PR, but it’s proving valuable with my new business in respect to professional networking.

 

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? 1) When you’re ready to intern and/or graduate, look for a job at one of the large, global firms in a major metro market; 2) Quality is far better than quantity; 3) Make the AP Stylebook your professional bible.

 

o        What is the best thing about your job? As owner, I am free to pursue any activity I wish.

 

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

 

o        Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)? Yes! Details recently secured a major feature in The New York Times for its client Derbyshire, an Old English-themed residential community being developed in Tryon, N.C. We also picked up a new account last week: Staged 4 You, an extremely popular home staging business in upstate South Carolina.

 

o        How do you balance your professional career with your personal life? It may sound corny, but by paying attention to all the details I don’t waste time, which allows me to build a decent amount of “me” time into each week.

 

o        Anything else you would like to add? Details Destination Management, Inc. is building a website. If you would like to learn more information about Details now or receive a notice when our website goes live, please email me at kara@detailsdm.com. 

PR Diva Dish – Lyn Mettler, owner of Mettler PR and president of Step Ahead Web Strategies

All I can say is, “Wow!” Lyn Mettler is busy!

As a mother of two, owner of Mettler Public Relations and president of Step Ahead Web Strategies, she also has her own blog, a presence on Twitter and hosts a monthly podcast! 

Congratulations, Lyn, on all your success so far, and keep us posted on new developments with all your activities, especially any success stories you have with clients and Step Ahead Web Strategies. It’s always interesting to learn about how clients embrace social media and the results they’ve experienced because of it.

 

o Please provide title and a brief description of what you do: Owner, Mettler Public Relations; President, Step Ahead Web Strategies – I run a traditional public relations firm specializing in media relations, as well as a company that helps clients leverage the latest social media and Web 2.0 technologies as PR and marketing tools.

o How did you become interested in the public relations/advertising industry? I started out my career working in television news and quickly discovered it was not for me. The natural next step, which I could never have imagined in college, was to flip to “the other side”. I found I truly enjoyed reaching out to journalists; I just did not want to be one.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you? I am fascinated with the evolution of the Web and how it has become a crucial medium in any public relations campaign. I think we are witnessing one of the most dramatic changes in social dynamics in history and I’m excited to help my clients navigate these new waters.

o Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
I am a member of the Public Relations Society of America and have found the independent practitioners group, as well as their publications and Web tools, to be very helpful as I grow my businesses.

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? Start using and learning about social media now in all its forms. This is going to be required knowledge for public relations jobs in the future and the better positioned you are in this area, the better chance that you will land a desirable job.

o What is the best thing about your job? My clients. They are all so interesting in different ways. I don’t limit myself to one industry, so one day I may be running a contest for the new ice cream flavor of Charleston for Circa 1886 restaurant and the next I may be out at a park working with journalists on a nonprofit to improve local parks. It never gets boring.

o What is the thing you like least about your job? I hate it when I’ve got a good story that gets preempted by breaking news. That’s always disappointing, of course to the client, but to me as well, and it’s frustrating because it’s out of our control. There’s nothing better than landing a spot in a big media outlet.

o Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)? My Step Ahead Web Strategies company is inviting people to submit a video of themselves describing their favorite Web 2.0 (blog, podcast, myspace, twitter, etc.) tool as something fun for the summer. Visit our site at www.stepaheadwebstrategies.com/favorite-web-2.0.shtml for all the details and to see others’ videos.

o How do you balance your professional career with your personal life? I have two young children and so I have chosen to work from home to be with them as much as I can. It’s a juggle working around naps and mother’s morning out, but it’s extremely rewarding and I feel very grateful to be able to run two businesses and be with my kids, too.

o Anything else you would like to add? Feel free to check out my blog at www.newworldpr.blogspot.com where I discuss the impact of social media on PR and how to use these technologies as PR tools, and my Brand Bandits podcast at www.brandbandits.blogspot.com, where my colleague and graphic designer Ginny Carson and I monthly chat about branding topics from both a verbal and visual perspective.

Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, assistant professor, Dept. of Comm. Studies, Clemson University

I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, assistant professor, Department of Communications Studies, Clemson University, speak at an SCPRSA Upstate meeting several months ago. Before then, I had heard rumblings of blogging, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets designed to share information with others and create conversations with target audiences in ways that had never been available to us before.

But it took Dr. Vorvoreanu’s passion and knowledge for these relatively new tools (new to me at least – I am not an early adopter in most realms!) to actually inspire and motivate me to try them for myself.

She has a new book coming out on Website Public Relations (see below for more details) and also is a big advocate for Clemson’s PRSSA chapter. And we’re thrilled she has taken the time to tell us more about her experiences in getting where she is today. (Editor’s note: Dr. V., please keep us posted on details for Clemson’s PRSSA chapter. We’re happy to help in any way we can.)


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

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Clemson University. I teach public relations and communication courses, and do research in the area of public relations and new technology.

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

I think what attracted me to public relations is the power of communication and persuasion. I remember hearing about this new major at the University of Bucharest (Romania) and becoming instantly excited about it. I also like the combination of business and creativity in public relations.

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

The culture shift brought about by social media. Social media, through dynamics that redistribute power, is prompting PR practitioners to think differently. I finally see ideas that we’ve talked about in academia for a long time (honest, mutually beneficial relationships; authentic conversations; “nakedness”) become the standard in social media public relations. Blogging by PR practitioners is helping self-regulate the industry and moving it towards higher professional and ethical standards. The transparency and brutal honesty of social media, while scary, are the best things that have happened to the public relations industry so far. See my blog post New PR Hope for more ideas on this topic.

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, NCA (National Communication Association), and ICA (International Communication Association). But honestly, I learn more from online communities than from institutionalized ones. I read blogs (see my blog roll on http://www.prconnections.net for recommendations) and I’m active on twitter.

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?

Take charge of your own education. You need to be curious and entrepreneurial. The world is your classroom, to quote Paull Young (blog: http://youngie.prblogs.org/ twitter: http://twitter.com/paullyoung). Anything and everything and way more than your teachers can ever teach you is online. Your teacher is a guide, but not your only resource. You need to take charge and pursue your education on your own, while in college and after you graduate.

o What is the best thing about your job?

§ Lively, engaged conversations with students about ideas.
§ Seeing a twinkle in students’ eyes when they understand something new or think about something they haven’t thought about before.
§ The chance to touch their mind and souls, and hopefully to empower them to be better, happier people.
§ Recently, helping PR practitioners understand social media. It’s great to see that we academics can be a resource for PR practice. It’s the way it should be.

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

Grading assignments. I hate that education is based on fear.

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

Yes! I have a book on Website Public Relations coming out in a few days: http://www.cambriapress.com/cambriapress.cfm?template=4&bid=214

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

I play it by ear. I’m lucky that as a professor, my schedule is very flexible. I try to give my full attention to one thing/task or person at a time. If you listen and you’re tuned it, the priorities are usually very clear.

o Anything else you would like to add?
I hope your readers will help us get the Clemson PRSSA chapter rolling! Look out for information about meetings and events and if at all possible, make some time for students.

Palmetto PR profile – Harry Hoover, partner and chief marketing officer for My Creative Team

There is non-stop buzz in the industry that the success of traditional brick-and-mortar agencies may be slowing down and leaving room for virtual agencies to rise and be successful in today’s marketplace. One reason may be that with a full-time staff, it’s harder to create teams of individuals that have experience applicable to a particular project, client or activity.

This – of course – leaves the door wide open for virtual agencies to assemble unique teams of professionals to fit a client’s individual needs. Also, they are typically more cost effective than using a traditional agency, because overhead costs are not factored into the final invoice.

And, until I met with Harry Hoover, partner and chief marketing officer for My Creative Team, a few weeks ago, I had never really spoken with someone who was actually running a successful virtual agency.

My Creative Team is a Huntersville, NC-based network of independent professionals. They offer services that include website development and promotion, email marketing programs, pay-per-click advertising, advertising, media planning and buying, PR – the list goes on an on.

He has figured out the perfect formula for his successful virtual agency, and it’s exciting to profile him this Friday.

I hope he’ll keep us and our audience posted on the Social Media Club in Charlotte he’s launching. (Read below to learn more.) And be sure to check out My Creative Team’s blog, as it was recently selected by PR Week in a competition to be selected as one of the top PR blogs in the country!

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

Harry Hoover, partner in My Creative Team. I’m chief marketing officer and handle new business development.

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

Like so many PR people, I started in journalism. I was too conservative and there was no Fox News at that time. Plus, I had a family and we needed to eat! So, I swerved into government public affairs and then moved into corporate PR and later agency PR.

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

The growth of technology. When I began running an ad agency PR department in 1991 there were three PR professionals and an administrative assistant. Today, I get as much done as we all did thanks to technology.

o Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
I’m no longer active in PRSA or IABC as I once was. You can only go to so many panels on media relations before you start reciting them aloud. I am, however, starting a chapter of the Social Media Club in Charlotte. We plan to hold our initial organizational meeting in late August or early September. This will keep me hooked into the new developments in social media and surround me with young people who are highly adept with the latest technologies.

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?

Learn to write well.

o What is the best thing about your job?

My clients. They are fun, smart, articulate, and committed to doing good work.

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

I started my own agency so that there wouldn’t be anything I didn’t like. Mission accomplished.

o Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your company or one of your clients)?
Yes. Our blog, Thinking (my-creativeteam.com/blog), was just selected by PR Week as one of 32 PR blogs to be included in a competition to select the top PR blog in the country. Voting starts sometime around July 15th so get out there and make us #1.

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

I try to work set hours and I schedule my personal time. My wife and I take ballroom dance lessons weekly, and I go to a weekly wine tasting. These activities are totally outside of my day-to-day work experience and they help me to make a clean separation between work and life. Also, my business partner and I work four day weeks. He takes Friday off and I take off Monday. You can’t be creative, nor can you run your business effectively if you don’t take time off to recharge.

o Anything else you would like to add?

Like journalists, PR people have sometimes been slow to embrace new methods and new technology. I’d like to call on my peers to change that. We have always been the communicators interested in dialogue. New technology gives us the chance to truly have one-to-one relationships with journalists, customers and our other publics. We need to own the conversation, but we can’t if we don’t understand the new enabling technologies.

Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Kelly Davis, APR, president of Davis Public Relations and Marketing

Liza and I have both had the pleasure of working with Kelly Davis, APR, president of Davis Public Relations and Marketing, on a variety of SCPRSA projects and activities. She is a great advocate for independent practitioners, and we’re glad she participated in the weekly profile with us! Read on to learn more and have a great weekend.

o Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:
o President of Davis Public Relations and Marketing, a full-service independent communications firm based in Columbia, South Carolina. We provide strategic public relations planning, branding, media relations, community relations and marketing programs to clients in a variety of industries with a special emphasis on health care and public policy.

o How did you become interested in the public relations industry?
o After majoring in English at Furman University, I took at job at a large corporation in Columbia, where I had a terrific mentor who encouraged me to pursue my master’s degree in journalism and a career in public relations. I knew that PR would be a great fit for my communications skills and my desire to connect companies with the communities they serve.

o What changes have you seen in the industry that is the most interesting to you?
o Independent practitioners now represent one of the fastest growing segments of the public relations industry. This fascinates me not only because I am independent, but also because of the success rates that I am seeing among independent practitioners. Success for each one of us means greater acceptance and greater understanding that small firms are just as competitive as large firms in pursuing big business and providing high quality, effective service to our clients.

o Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
o I have been a member of the Public Relations Society of America and its South Carolina Chapter since 1997. I have been on the SCPRSA board since 2000, including serving as Chapter President in 2002, and currently serve as the Chapter Ethics Officer and the Chair of PRSA’s Independent Practitioners Alliance, a professional interest section with more than 200 members across the country. As the world’s largest professional association for public relations practitioners, PRSA has been vitally important to my professional development, networking and understanding of industry trends. Plus, I have made a lot of terrific friends!

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?
o Take advantage of internships and part-time job opportunities. I encourage everyone to work or intern in the non-profit sector early in their career. Non-profits can be great places to learn and practice a lot of skills while being given actual responsibilities that make a difference in the organization.

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?
o I began studying for the APR exam shortly after completing my master’s degree. At the time, you had to have five years of experience to pursue accreditation, so it was the perfect time to take the exam since I was still in a “study mode” from graduate school and still had all of the theory and history at the top of my mind. The APR process has changed since I took it, but in serving as a Readiness Review panelist and helping others prepare for the exam over the past few years, I now believe that the process is geared more to helping people succeed than it was in the past.

Before starting my own company, I was fortunate to work for other PRSA members who understood the value of accreditation, so it did help me in securing a raise when I passed the exam and in landing a new position for which APR was a desired qualification. Now as an independent business owner, I often explain to potential clients that working with an accredited practitioner means that they not only have PR counsel who fully understands the history and theory of public relations, but they also have one who is committed to ethical practice.

o What is the best thing about your job?
o I love the variety of working with different clients and being able to use different skills to meet each client’s needs. It’s rarely the same thing every day. I also take a lot of pride in helping my clients make a real difference in the lives of the people they serve. Working in the same community where I was raised, I feel that the work I do gives me a great opportunity every day to give back and to do my part in making South Carolina a better place to live.

o What is the thing you like least about your job?
o I am most frustrated by the lack of understanding of the public relations profession, whether it is from people who equate public relations only with media relations or from those who accuse us of being “spin doctors.” The recent controversy involving a CBS News commentator who made disparaging comments about the public relations profession in general (and PRSA in particular) really illustrated the challenge we have on a daily basis to help people understand the full range of services that public relations encompasses as well as the duty we all have to advocate for our profession.

o Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your own practice or one of your clients)?
o On July 2, Davis Public Relations and Marketing celebrates our fourth anniversary. I am very proud and excited about all that we have accomplished since taking that leap of faith four years ago. Every day brings new opportunities for personal and professional growth. I particularly want to express my sincere appreciation to my friends and colleagues who have been so supportive of my company and to all of the clients who have entrusted their business to our team.

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

o Being self-employed, I probably work longer hours now than I did working for someone else, but I’ve also learned to embrace the flexibility that owning my own business gives me. I make it a priority to spend time with my family and friends – those personal relationships are precious to me. I started working with a personal trainer this year, and my new commitment to regular exercise has really made a difference mentally as well as physically. Anything you can do to stay energized and refreshed will only make you better when you return to the office.

o Anything else you would like to add?
o I’d like to thank Liza and Kim for creating this terrific resource and meeting place for us Palmetto PR Divas!