Like many people featured here, I met Samantha McCain on the Interwebz.
She is a Spin Sucks PR up-and-comer and, through that and the Book of Face, we’ve become friends.
She works at an agency in Mississippi, where she is the lone PR pro, working her way into the minds and hearts of her clients.
There are two things I adore about her:
- On the professional side, she knows the right way to do PR and isn’t afraid to fight the fight every, single day. She also isn’t afraid to ask for advice and use it for good. Though she is often met with resistance, she continues paving a different path. I love that.
- On the personal side, she’s kind of a mess. I don’t say that to be mean. I say that because it’s super endearing. She has a fantastic relationship with her parents and often writes about how her dad has to rescue her from her vacuum or her mom has to rescue her from the dryer. It makes me laugh every time.
She also has a very naughty dog named Stella who clearly needs to be kept away from Jack Bauer (who is back into the freezer; now in the middle of the night) or who knows what kind of trouble they’d get in to.
She is definitely one to watch and that’s why I’ve invited her to sit on the Spin Sucks Inquisition hot seat.
What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?
Oh man… not learning to say no, earlier.
I am the QUEEN of putting too many items on several plates, and then try to keep them all spinning.
It was a recipe for disaster, and it caught up with me quickly.
After I transitioned from the Red Cross to health care, I took a break from ALL THE THINGS.
I focused on my new job, learned new skills, and spent a good year figuring out where I wanted to give and donate time. It was the biggest and best mistake I could have made, so early on.
I mean… I still struggle with it, but every now and then I say “NO” out loud just to make sure I can.
What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?
I’m terrible at being an adult. My work life is organized to a T, but domesticated Sam does not exist.
My parents came to visit a few weekends ago, and my dad spent a good 30 minutes washing the filter in my vacuum because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why it wasn’t working properly.
Who knew the filter needed to be cleaned?
I also do not iron and practically live out of my dryer. I can cook, but the energy required to do the actual dishes after always escapes me.
Don’t get me wrong, I do it… I’m just not good at it.
I’m sure these are qualities every man wants in a woman, but they just do not exist.
Woe is me.
(Note fron Gini: Guess I ruined this one in the intro. Ooops! But I will say, Sam, you’ll find a man who is okay with these things. Talk to Mr. D.)
If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?
Such a good question! I don’t think I would.
Deep down, I’m an old soul. I remember sitting with my grandparents and great-grandparents and being enamored with their stories; and I hope to be able to do that one day.
While they were a part of the greatest generation, I feel like my generation is on the cusp of doing something amazing with this country (let’s hope), and I want to be able to share those stories, too.
What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?
Ugh – the notion that public relations is purely party-planning and bow-tying… with a media story thrown in for good measure.
If I had a nickel for every student who walked through my classroom and said they wanted to be a publicist or celebrity event organizer.
Yes, sometimes we plan events. That doesn’t mean it’s all we do, or even 1/16 of what we do.
I had a professor once define public relations as relating to the public. We all laughed, but it’s true.
Everything we do is rooted in building relationships. It is the baseline of event planning, media relations, crisis communications, digital strategies, and more.
I think people either forget that, or don’t realize it at all.
What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?
Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek.
I geeked out this past fall when I met Simon at the INBOUND Conference in Boston. His books and speeches involve the utilization of basic human principles… like being nice.
WHAT A CONCEPT.
I went through a tough “What am I doing with my life” moment and the foundation of what he talks about was not lost on me.
I continue to pull his book out when I need inspiration or to take a mental break.
Why Does Spin Suck?
Because at the end of the day, spin isn’t what we do.
To me, it’s the equivalent of someone telling a lawyer that they lie for a living, or a doctor who they only run tests to make money.
We are strategic communicators.
Everything we do has a planned purpose or a strategic reaction, and there is SO MUCH that goes behind that.
I could stand on that soapbox, but I will not… I would like your readers to come back.
Where You Can Find Samantha McCain
You can also find her working on—and upgrading—The Focus Group blog.