Kim passed her APR!!

She was waiting to receive her official notification from PRSA, but now that she has, I want to be one of the first to tell you that Kim Simko Banks has passed her APR exam!! I know many of you have been following her journey through the APR process on our blog.

She studied really hard for the exam, and all of her hard work paid off. Congratulations, Kim!! I’m so proud of you!!!

I’m sure Kim will post something soon to give more insight about her exam experience, in case others are looking to possibly follow in her lead. Stay tuned for more details!

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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!!  

How to succeed in business..and still have a life – IPA PRSA teleseminar – Nov. 19

Just a heads up on an upcoming IPA (Independent Practitioners Alliance) teleseminar hosted by PRSA

Titled “How to succeed in business and still have a life,” the teleseminar will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

If there is any interest among practitioners in the Greenville area to attend in a central location and split the fees (Independent Practitioners Alliance Member $85, Member $190 / Nonmember $290), please let me know and I can coordinate. I’ve included the description below.
_______
Too many professionals work hard and yet spin their wheels. Many are only a few minor adjustments away from real success. Learn proven strategies and step-by-step approaches that can make the difference between just getting by and succeeding.

You’ll learn how to:

Set ambitious goals and achieve them.
Develop a concise, focused plan that literally guides your actions, and provides accountability for you and your team members.
Use values to provide guidance to your staff – even when you’re not at the office.
Get the right people on your team…and keep them there.
Delegate effectively.

You will hear from:

Bill Collier, with St. Louis-based Collier Business Advisors, LLC (www.CollierBiz.com) has real life experience starting, growing, buying and selling successful companies, using his own money. He knows what it’s like to have to “make payroll.”

Bill is a business coach, consultant, professional speaker, author and entrepreneur. His book “How to Succeed As a Small Business Owner…and Still Have a Life” reached the #1 Book on Amazon.com in the “Work/Life Balance” category in 2007.

Palmetto PR Diva Dish – Nicole Cendrowski, owner of Big Gnome

Liza and I would like to welcome Nicole Zokan Cendrowski to Greenville!  She and her husband moved from Charleston and – while they are still getting settled – she was nice enough to meet us yesterday for coffee to tell us her story.  We had a blast and look forward to seeing her around town more often!  Here’s the scoop:

Nicole Zokan Cendrowski

 

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

 

I’m the owner of Big Gnome, a full-service public relations and marketing communications firm. 

 

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

 

I loved writing and majored in English, but I didn’t want to work in academia or become a journalist. I landed a writing and account management job with a public relations and marketing firm. They pretty much took a chance on an unknown kid.

 

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

 

Social media on the Web and determining if and when to use it. It can be a PR nightmare. If there are major problems within an organization, they’ll be exposed even more quickly. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it demands accountability and change.

 

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

 

I attend PRSA and AMA meetings. I’ve learned how invaluable networking is with other people in the industry, made several life-long friends, and built strong working relationships. Young Professionals happy hours are fun, too.

 

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?

 

Create your own internship, volunteer opportunity, or job. Volunteer with an organization that you love or a cause that you believe in. Offer your skills to their PR committee, marketing department, or development/fundraising office. Pitch stories and do freelance writing for local/regional publications, or whomever you want. It’s amazing what can happen when you take that step on your own.

 

o        What is the best thing about your job?

 

Being my own boss. Once you’re used to taking a break to go for a bike ride, run, nap whenever you want (or need to), the idea of ever returning to a traditionally structured job is unattractive.

 

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

 

Being my own boss (haha). Actually, what I like least is dealing with people that are dishonest and/or seem to thrive on drama or crisis. Running my own business, I can make the decision to walk away, take action, and do whatever is needed to eliminate/minimize exhaustive relationships.

 

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

 

Big Gnome is going green – Greenville, S.C., that is! My husband and I recently moved from Charleston to the Upstate. I won’t be a stranger to the Lowcountry though. I’m stoked about possibly working on some craft beer-related events down there later this year. I’m a bit crazy about beer. If anyone wants to meet up at Barley’s in Greenville sometime, call me.

 

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

 

Prayer and exercise. I’m a driven and committed person, so I naturally throw myself into client work. I have to cut myself off. The work will always be there. Step away, take a deep breath, and have fun. Also, having a husband who can help me slow down is such a gift.

 

o        Anything else you would like to add?

 

Many thanks to Jacque Riley with Riley Communications for nominating me for this week’s profile.

 

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.

 

 

PRSA IPA virtual conference – Big Business Solutions for Small Agencies (Wednesday, July 30)

I’m really excited to announce that PRSA’s Independent Practitioners Alliance has developed a half-day “virtual” conference for Wednesday, July 30, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. that will feature an exciting lineup of sessions.

Created to offer real solutions to everyday issues facing solo practitioners, counselors and agency leaders, the conference promises that participants will learn:

• Tips for self-marketing success
• Proven methods to grow your business
• Secrets to managing virtual teams

Due to the cost – ($289 for non-PRSA members, $229 for PRSA members and $169 for IPA section members) – it seems like a good idea for IPs from around the state to gather in a central location to share both the registration fee, while benefiting from the camaraderie of learning together.

Kelly Davis, APR, (SCPRSA Midlands region) is exploring locations for individuals interested in meeting in Columbia.  Additionally, folks here in Greenville are kicking around the idea of meeting in the Upstate area to narrow down the per-person cost.

If there is anyone interested in participating in the virtual conference and would like to meet with others in either Greenville or Columbia, please let me know so I can facilitate this information to the appropriate people. Thanks and please let me know if you have any questions. Kim

 

More Flack Fall Out

I’m back from a week’s vacation at the beach, and feel better than ever. Thanks to Kim for holding down the fort while I was gone! I hope you all had a great week, too.

Of course, the world continued to turn in my absence. I’m catching up on all of my e-mails, and came across this one from the PRSA, sent yesterday:

PRSA today submitted a letter in response to a commentary on CBS Sunday Morning by legal analyst Andrew Cohen in which he challenged the integrity of the public relations profession.

If you wish to post your own response on the CBS Website, you may do so by clicking here.
Thank you,
PRSA

And before this, you may remember a couple of weeks ago I blogged about Gina Trapani’s Lifehacker PR blacklist, in which she ‘outted’ what she thought were negligent PR people.

But rather than join the chorus of how all PR people need to do better, and how we all need to work to elevate the stature of our profession, I’m going to learn from the words of my friend, Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu, professor at Clemson University. You can read her theory on her blog at PRConnections.net. I really agree with her thoughts on this subject, although I didn’t realize it until I had a chance to sit down and talk with her about it.

There will always be people out there who don’t understand what we do, and just like in any profession, there will always be some bad apples in the bunch who try to spoil the reputation for everyone.

Rather than join them in the self-flagellation chorus, I’m going to rise above Andrew Cohen’s remarks and chalk them up to someone who’s been exposed to some less-than-reputable PR folks. And that’s too bad. It just means the rest of us need to continue to follow the rules, make ethical decisions for ourselves and for our clients, and show Andrew and the rest of the naysayers through our proven results that PR is a worthwhile profession.

What do you think? Has my time in the sun made me all too ‘Zen’ about the whole thing? Do Andrew’s comments make you fightin’ mad?? Let’s hear it.