What is your story? Or in other words, what made you your awesome self you are today?
I am the Executive Vice President & Partner of 3E Public Relations – a public relations, social media and content marketing agency based in New Jersey, where I was born and raised. I grew up with a passion for creative writing that my parents encouraged by reading and critiquing my poems and short stories and submitting them for writing contests. In high school, I served on the editorial staff of our student newspaper and developed an interest in journalism. With my eyes on a career writing for a major newspaper or national magazine, I headed to Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT as a journalism major. During my sophomore year, I registered for a PR 101 course – a mandatory prerequisite for all communications majors. My professor had worked for numerous agencies throughout her career and had a passion for the field that was infectious. She motivated me to take more public relations courses and to test my interest through an internship with PEOPLE Magazine, which led me to change my major.
I graduated with a degree in public relations with a minor in marketing and was job hunting where almost every tri-state PR person goes after college – New York City. I had a few offers and interviews lined up when our family received devastating news. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer – a disease that took her own mother’s life when I was just a little girl. My mom is my best friend and we do everything together – so there was no way I was letting her go through any part of treatment without me by her side. I switched gears and found a job at a boutique agency in New Jersey that would better allow me to be there for my family. I think that decision molded the future of my career for the better. Being at a small agency right out of college, I was given the opportunity to work on accounts only a senior-level executive would have been able to touch at a larger agency. No day was like any other and I gained invaluable experience through trial and error and by watching my peers. After a few years, I decided it was time to move on and took an Account Executive position within the PR department of an integrated marketing communications agency called SGW Communications based in Montville, NJ. My responsibilities grew quickly within the agency which became an independent LLC called 3E Public Relations in 2012. Although we remain a close affiliate to SGW Communications, being a separate agency allows us to better highlight how public relations, social media, and content development can help businesses tell their story drive business results.
I was very fortunate to be at an agency with a family-first culture as I began mine. In October 2015, my husband Ron and I had our son James. I returned to work after my 3-month maternity leave and started the working mom juggle. In late 2016, I was honored to be approached by 3E Public Relations’ former CEO David Scelba and current President Patrick Brightman with the offer to become a partner in the agency. I greatly admired their leadership skills and the culture they developed at 3E Public Relations, so I was humbled they wanted me to be part of the agency’s future. I became the company’s first female partner on January 1, 2017 and Patrick and I have been working hand-in-hand the past two years to achieve our long-term business goals.
What message does 3EPR like to promote?
We like to promote that our approach to public relations is about more than generating buzz. We’re dedicated to driving business results by truly listening to our clients’ goals and developing unique strategies to achieve them by having an impact on their target audience. We become a true extension of our clients’ internal teams and offer a level of personalized service unparalleled in our industry.
In what capacity do you LEAD UP in your community?
I LEAD UP within my community by encouraging, mentoring and supporting other young professionals to grow in their careers. I feel blessed to be a partner within our agency in my mid 30’s because it allows me to more easily relate to the fears and apprehensions of men and women just graduating from college, starting a new job, or looking for a career change. I dedicate myself to working closely with our interns and younger staff members to cultivate their strengths, identify areas of interest, and share knowledge. I also place a high priority on instilling the right leadership skills in children – the future business leaders. I am on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges in New Jersey because I firmly believe the YMCA programs and values help children discover what they are capable of achieving and provide a support system to reach their fullest potential. Lastly, I try to set an example about the importance of volunteer work. 3E Public Relations annually participates in events and fundraisers for multiple organizations that are close to our heart, including Susan G. Komen, March of Dimes, Eva’s Village and CancerCare.
In business and/or in life, share a struggle you overcame that other women can relate to?
The biggest struggle I’ve had to overcome as a female business leader is accepting that there is no such thing as a work and life balance and figuring out how to blend my two worlds. Realistically, there are not days in the week where I can be 100% a business leader and others where I can be 100% a mom and wife. I check emails while packing my son’s lunch, book doctor’s appointments while rushing to my next business meeting, and proof press releases during bath time. Men have the same challenge, but I think women are harder on themselves about it. Guilt is a powerful emotion. Although there are still days that are more difficult than others, I’ve come to terms with the fact that as a working mom this is my normal. I start each day by setting my priorities and try to not let work trickle into my personal life during important family moments, and vice versa.
Did you have a Mentor, Coach or Sponsor along the way that was essential to your growth and success? If so, who was it and why?
I am extremely blessed to have my business partner as my mentor. When I joined 3E Public Relations, Patrick Brightman was one of the agency partners and my direct boss. During my first 8 years with the company, I learned invaluable lessons from him about client relations, decision making, employee management and business development. Now I am very lucky to be on this journey leading 3E Public Relations with him. Not only does he teach me skills he’s mastered over his 30 years in the public relations industry, but he also shows me what it takes to maintain a company culture that retains the best talent and fosters employee development.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do at 3ePR?
Helping a client achieve their short-term and long-term strategic goals through public relations, social media or content marketing is the most rewarding aspect of what we do at 3E Public Relations. The strategies we develop are responsible for getting a client’s message in front of its target audiences – and it’s incredible fulfilling to watch the stars align when it happens. There’s no greater feeling than seeing a brand you work with featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or sitting in the green room of the TODAY Show watching your client get interviewed.
If you could give one piece of advice for women who are entering the workforce or launching their own business what would that be?
Build a diverse network of business leaders both inside and outside your organization that can broaden your perspective and help foster your career.