Laura PetrolinoBy Gini Dietrich

Though Laura Petrolino needs no introduction, I asked her to sit on the Spin Sucks Inquisition hot seat today because, well, she hasn’t had a turn yet.

(Nope, I’m wrong. She HAS had a turn. Oh well. Here she is AGAIN.)

She told me she had answered the questions and, when I opened the draft to get it ready for publication this morning, this is what greeted me:

Insert funny intro about how ridiculously awesome I am.


This is what it is like to work with her, day in and day out! Someone come and save me!

What’s worse is our team totally eggs her on. There are some days that I just shake my head and think, “You all will regret having done this.”

That said…Laura is smart and she is funny and she’s lots of fun to be around, but my most favorite thing about her is she is ridiculously optimistic.

I mean, someone could slash her tires and she would say something such as, “Oh! Well, that’s okay! I needed new tires anyway and was just putting it off. Now I shall go buy them.”

It’s both irritating and inspiring.

I could actually go on and on about how ridiculously awesome she is, but I’ll let you get to her Inquisition.

Ladies and gents…Laura Petrolino.

What’s the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?

As a chronic optimist, my problem when thinking about mistakes is my mind automatically defaults to the ways those mistakes helped me grow, positioned me in the right place for something amazing, or otherwise worked out in my favor.

And this is 100 percent the case. Sometimes they were painful or costly—emotionally, physically, financially, and mentally—but they always led me to a great place.

That said, I think the most painful lessons I’ve had to learn have been as a result of following passion at the cost of logic.

You should be passionate about your career. It’s where you spend a lot of time and part of how you contribute to the world. But there have been many times I sacrificed myself for a passion—and that was a mistake.

In my old age I’ve learned you need to put your life preserver on first. You can’t contribute to your full ability, and really make a difference, if you let yourself sink for a cause.

(Editor’s Note: “Old age.”)

What’s One Thing About Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?

This is a hard questions because I really am pretty public about most things—and even write about them here. So if people don’t know something it’s only because they don’t stalk me enough (priorities people!?!).

So here is a list of random facts that are public knowledge, but some of you might have missed if you were focused on something other than ME (why that would be the case, I do not know….)

  • I love Neil Diamond and have been to three concerts. My favorite song is “I am, I said.”
  • On the topic of music, I’m also a huge fan of rap….I love everything from Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff to Ludacris (what can I say, the thug life chose me).
  • I was an officer in the Air Force for a brief period of time.
  • I also was in medical school (also for a brief period of time).
  • I was a competitive ice skater and gymnast growing up.
  • I hate cheese.
  • When I have long layovers in airports I often make up elaborate stories about myself and see who I can convince they are true (this is a fun game, you all should try it).

Hmmm…what else. I’m sure many of you know random facts about me, please feel free to share in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: I SAID ONE THING! ONE!)

If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?

The moments are what make up a life. I’d never trade 10 years of moments.

This is something I try to focus on daily. Embracing the moments.

Danny Brown had a fantastic post the other day on this (to which I wrote a small novel in the comments in response).

It is really easy to become so focused on an end point we forget the moments are what make life rich and enjoyable. Any time I’ve found myself unhappy in life, I’ve taken a step back and realized my sadness came from forgetting the moments in pursuit of a goal.

To lose 10 years of those moments would be to lose ten million stories, joys, sorrows, surprises, lessons, relationships….. in the process. I don’t think it’s possible to achieve everything I want and lose all of that. One is a distinct part of the other.

(Editor’s Note: And she’d have to give up 10 years of working with me and that would not be fun for anyone.)

What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?

  • Remember when you had to do long division and write out long mathematical equations?
  • Remember before GPS was on your phone and you actually had to take time to figure out where you were going?
  • Remember when you had a pen pal that you wrote to…like actual letters, that you mailed. And you’d spend hours thinking about just the right thing to write?
  • Remember when text wasn’t the most common form of communication and you got flutters in your stomach and rehearsed what you were going to say when you called back your crush?

(Some of you don’t remember any of these things and are wondering if I’m like 80 years old)

All of these things, while “inconvenient,” required thought, care, planning, strategy, and critical thinking skills. And that’s part of the reason they mattered.

I think things have become easy and in the process we often forget to make sure we continued to execute them in a way that still matters.

Too often as an industry we’ve subbed easy for quality, convenient for strategic, quick for long-term. That’s bad for us as communications professionals and the organizations we support.

(Editor’s Note: I have nothing to add to this.)

What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?

I’m going to cheat and put a few. First, I’m reading the Outlander series right now. I’m on book six and while some have been better than others I really love it overall. I’m a huge history and sci-fi geek and this is a wonderful mix of both worlds.

The other standout was Under the Dome, by Stephen King. I love King, but I love him even more living in Maine because it just makes the characters and places that much more real. Under the Dome was absolutely fantastic. I dreamed about the characters while I was reading it. I felt like I knew them and was concerned about their lives. That to me is when you know you have a winning novel.

(Editor’s Note: Oh gee…really? You’re not going to follow directions?)

Why Does Spin Suck?

I’m going to cheat (cheater, cheater). I wrote the below for my last inquisition and I feel I was much more eloquent than I often am, so I’m sticking with it.

Spin sucks because it destroys the all important “we.”

When you rely on spin to spread your message, you turn every communication into one of purely “buyer” and “seller.”

There is no we—only you, and them.

You destroy relationships and eliminate trust.

Spin might get you a one night stand with a customer, but if you want to have a long, happy, and prosperous  marriage you need to look elsewhere. 

(Wasn’t that a great line? I’m pretty impressed with myself.)

(Editor’s Note: Sigh…see what I mean?)

Where You Can Find Laura Petrolino

You can find her blogging here every Monday. But also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,  Instagram, YouTube, and Google+,

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich