Location: Assembly Hall by Tom Douglas
Usual coffee order: Drip, dark roast, one raw sugar, splash of cream
Communications hero: C.J. Cregg from The West Wing (NBC)
Sunlight is pouring through the wall of windows in front of us. Assembly Hall has calmed down after the lunch rush and Heather Fernandez and I have snagged prime seating by a stoic moose head. Over iced coffee and laughter, Heather tells me about her journey with public relations.
How did you come across The Fearey Group?
I had known Aaron for years and he had become a sort of mentor to me, helping to groom and point me in the right direction for my career growth. He told me several years ago that one day we’d be working together, and low and behold, six years later, we did. I started at The Fearey Group as a Senior Account Executive and six months later I was promoted to Account Supervisor. I have worked in-house, at a big agency, as a freelancer and now at a boutique PR firm. The culture of The Fearey Group, the legacy that Pat has built and the future that Aaron is paving, is exactly what I have been looking for in my career. Plus, we have dance parties.
What about the PR industry did you initially find attractive?
I have a passion for telling stories and connecting people. I love playing matchmaker when it comes to helping people find networks, avenues in which to tell their stories, partnerships to advance their missions… anything like that. So when you can make a job out of it, it’s a bonus. I get to hear about fascinating discoveries and learn about news before anyone else does. I get to listen to an inventor or an entrepreneur talk about their passion and be the one who helps them tell the world about it. It’s a dream! PR people can be an extension of their team and help make those dreams reality, and I think that’s really special.
Do you have any tips for people who are trying to effectively utilize social media?
It’s a really noisy world out there. There is a lot of clutter, a lot of voices, and social media often gets pinned with being a conduit to that noise. I hate to say have a strategy but align your social media with who you want to be, what you want your voice to be, who you want to talk to and who you want to engage. There are many tools, apps and dashboards that I think make it easier to organize your thoughts and connect with the right people. If you put social media to work for you it can be effective.
What do you want people to know about PR?
What’s really important about our industry is that it touches so many more avenues and aspects of an organization than people realize. There are opportunities for PR when it comes to social media, communications, corporate communications, executive messaging and training all the way down to business development, branding and corporate voice. Some of our ideas could be considered off the wall or crazy, but we are encouraged to bring that fearless thinking forward. Sometimes those “crazy” ideas end up being some of the most successful initiatives.