The very first time I got to hang out with Sherrilynne Starkie—after stalking her for years on Twitter—was when Thornley Fallis invited me to Ottawa to speak and she and her team took me to dinner.
We sat outside, on the bank of the river, and chatted like old friends.
And since then, she has truly become an “old” friend (in time, not age!).
She is one of the communicators that, though not a digital native, has made the transition brilliantly. In fact, when she moved back to Canada a few years ago, she used Twitter to launch her job search.
This was back when NO ONE was doing stuff like that and it was pretty incredible to watch.
It’s shameful she’s not yet been on the Spin Sucks Inquisition hot seat. We shall remedy that today.
What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?
I stayed five years in my first agency job.
I was a writer and was dependable and productive and unfortunately that hampered my early career progression.
I was able to hone my craft as a writer and editor and, as a writer, I was given the opportunity to learn a lot about clients’ businesses. This foundation helped me once I made the decision to change agencies and got the opportunity to consult.
But still, five years is a long time to feel frustrated and resentful…I should have left after three years.
What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?
For the last 10 years I’ve chronicled my life in social media so I have few secrets.
But, if you’re ever in stormy seas, you want me aboard.
I’m an American Sailing Association qualified skipper! I have ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising certification.
I don’t get to sail that often anymore, but I do love it!
If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?
I’ve pretty much already achieved everything I ever wanted in life.
Happy marriage, raised two great kids, traveled widely, successful career.
So no, I wouldn’t make that trade. I want to be here as long as I can so that I can be part of my grandchildren’s lives and watch them grow up.
What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?
Female PR professionals still make less than men.
A lot less.
According to PRWeek, male PR pros make about $125,000 and females make about $84,000 on average.
What the hell?!
This is 2015 and women have dominated this profession for the past 25 years or so.
Why do we stand for this?
I ask agency executives everywhere to please put a spotlight on this practice and work to correct it.
Let’s base pay on performance only.
Fair is fair.
What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?
Terry’s a best-selling novelist and has won a ton of literary awards. His past novels have been made into TV shows and musicals.
It’s laugh out loud funny, and I spent an enjoyable summer weekend reading it in the hammock in my backyard.
Why Does Spin Suck?
I hate the term and concept of spin.
It implies dishonesty and frankly it’s disrespectful, not only to PR professionals, but to the people in our audiences.
The PR pros I’ve known and worked with over the years are smart, hard-working individuals who are passionate about organizational communication.
They are not the lying, manipulative douches nor the vacuous, drunken blondes that Hollywood continues to portray ad nauseum.
I mean, I can take a joke and all, but wouldn’t it be refreshing to see our profession depicted a little more accurately once in awhile?
Where You Can Find Sherrilynne Starkie
She also is the president of IABC Ottawa and is using Periscope to address the chapter every day. I could not be more proud!
You also can find her on: