You might recognize the name Jessica Lawlor.
She has appeared on these very pages a time or two before (and welcomed by our readers with very open arms).
She also was named a PR up-and-comer during our 12 Days of Christmas series a couple of months ago.
I’ve had lots of fun interaction with her here and on Muck Rack, where she manages their content.
She is the first of the eight up-and-comers we highlighted to make her Spin Sucks Inquisition debut (more to come!).
What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?
What a tough question! While I’d like to say I don’t regret any of my mistakes because they were all great learning experiences, that’s sort of a cop out answer.
I will say this, I wish I had started sooner.
My public relations career started in 2010 and I quickly realized that a full-time job wasn’t going to be enough to keep me busy and personally/professionally satisfied.
I knew almost immediately that I wanted to create my own blog and work with freelance clients on strategy, blog management, and writing projects, but I was scared.
I didn’t trust my knowledge and wasn’t sure anyone would take me seriously, so therefore I didn’t take myself seriously and didn’t get started until almost a full two years later.
As soon as I did, I fell in love with my side-hustle and have been working full-time while also blogging and working with clients ever since.
What this mistake taught me is that the sooner you jump in and get started, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits.
What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?
I haven’t always been this…gutsy.
Nearly four years ago, 30 pounds heavier, unclear about my goals and uncomfortable in my own skin, I felt lost.
After months of feeling this way, I decided something had to change.
First off, I got healthy, which completely changed my entire outlook and attitude.
Running helped…and so did yoga, which has changed and enhanced my life in so many ways.
From there, I took charge and made the decision to leave my comfort zone, get out of my own way and begin taking risks to explore and reach my goals to live a happier, more fulfilling life.
That’s one of the things that led me to start the Get Gutsy blog in 2012.
If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?
Wow. I guess this is called the Spin Sucks Inquisition for a reason! Another really difficult question.
I’m going to go with NO. Achievements are great, but the reason I work so hard is to live a full and happy life with the people I love the most.
I hope to do that for as long as I possibly can.
What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?
One thing I’d love to cry foul on is the belief that you have to work at an agency to be a true PR professional.
When I graduated from college in 2010, I had no idea just how many career options there were out there for PR professionals. I absolutely loved my PR education, but I will admit that most of my classes talked pretty much exclusively about working at PR agencies.
I came out of school and started my career working in internal communications at a hospital.
I had NO idea that was a career option available to me that fell under the scope of PR.
Now, I work as the communications manager for a tourism office outside of Philadelphia—another job I would have loved to learn more about in school.
When I go back to college campuses to speak with future PR professionals (something I really love doing), I enjoy hearing from the students afterward that they had no idea there were SO many great and diverse options for working in this industry.
It’s fun to share my work with them and allow them to see the awesome possibilities ahead.
What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?
I don’t even own a pair of TOMs (yet) but I was so inspired by Blake’s story of literally starting this company from his tiny apartment and growing it into an amazing worldwide movement.
My favorite thing about the book was that Blake had little experience with starting a company…and he definitely had no idea the type of success TOMs would achieve.
He took things one day, one issue and one opportunity at a time, and if he didn’t know the answer, he figured it out.
I often find myself getting overwhelmed thinking about the future and feeling the need to have all of these grand plans, but I love the idea of just taking things step by step, like Blake did.
Why Does Spin Suck?
Spin just feels like such a dirty word!
When I think of the word spin, for some reason, I immediately picture a person circa the 1950s or 60s, feet propped up on their desk, chain smoking and telling deceitful lies on the phone to a journalist. (I have no idea where this image came from in my head. Perhaps a PR textbook?)
But in all seriousness, spin is the exact opposite of true public relations.
The term is so…offensive, especially for PR pros who truly care about the causes, products, people or places they represent.
The word completely diminishes what the industry truly stands for.
Where You Can Find Jessica Lawlor
So you know how Jess said earlier that she gets overwhelmed and tries to take things one day at a time? I’d venture to say most of us will watch this up-and-comer and think, “Wow! She’s done so much in so little time!”
Take for instance, the Second Annual Get Gutsy Essay Contest and Week she hosted on her blog.
More than 60 people wrote and published their own inspiring and courageous stories about what getting gutsy means to them.
She also is launching an email-based course called 30 Days of Gutsy and it is designed to help people step outside their comfort zones to reach their big, scary goals. The course begins on March 1 so scoot over there and sign up if you need some inspiration or an extra push.
photo credit: Stephanie L. McNeil