Tag Archives: women in leadership

What your PR boss will never tell you 

Sitting at a desk, writing releases, drafting  social content for your boring client, or writing that dreaded white paper on a topic you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, while clocking your time in 15-minute increments fighting to stay awake… is NOT PR.

It’s a function of PR, for sure. But the concept of acquiring just enough information to kinda, sorta, maybe, get the company’s culture a bit (by furiously reading as much original content from the company’s website as possible so to not waste your billable time ‘researching’) – is seriously draining.

I realize that we all have to do something we don’t want to do from time-to-time, and don’t get me wrong, I’ve played the game just as much as the next person… But what IF we all could work for/with people and causes we actually cared about?

I know what you’re thinking: Sure Amanda, that sounds like a dream – one I have no time, or ability to achieve because:

1. I have bills to pay.

2. I have a family/spouse/myself to support.

3. Could never leave my safe, constant, office job because that’s just the reality of this profession.

Sure, those reasons are excuses to make money – but they aren’t excuses to stay in a job you hate. Those pressures you put on yourself are exactly that: pressure YOU put on YOURSELF.

In case you missed it, I recently quit my job to follow my passions. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what the hell that meant or what I was going to do, but knew the internal struggle I felt everyday living someone else’s dream wasn’t the life I wanted for myself. I respect myself too much to let my life pass by without being present in the direction it takes.Screenshot 2015-12-14 22.08.41Recently I’ve found myself in a place where I work 10 times harder than before, and every day is equal parts terrifying amazing and inspiring. Once I slow down and tell myself to breathe, I have to pinch myself to check and see if I’m living a dream or real life.

For the past few months I’ve traveled as much, if not more, than I have in my previous 26 years. Every day is unknown to me. One day I’m on the ferry heading to Victoria, then the next I’m in Prince George planning a trip to China! I’ve flung myself whole heartedly into working with a team of people who care so much about what they do, and enjoy it so intensely, that the days run into the night and you stay up until 3am simply because you know how important the work you’re doing is. Not just for the client and your company, but because you enjoy what you’re doing for yourself.

So what will your boss never tell you?

They hired you because they thought (or at least really, really hoped) that you would care about their company as much as they do. They hope you’ll work your ass off to make sure you cannot fail. They all only want one thing in an employee: one who gives a shit. Cares about the clients, the company, what they do and doesn’t let an obstacle get in their way. They want to hire inspired and hardworking employees who find answers not excuses.

The world of PR has absolutely nothing to do with putting your head down and ‘getting the job done’ – it has everything to do with how passionate you are about what you do, the clients you work for or work you do, and how hard you’ll work to figure it out.

Don’t settle for the comfy desk job that you loathe. Take chances and do only the work that lights up up, and you believe in with every ounce of your heart, body and soul. It’ll show and it will prove to be far more successful in the long run than suffering through that internal struggle of feeling obligated to do something you hate.

What IS PR, might you ask? 

That’s coming in part 2. Stay tuned.

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Young leaders in training

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be a part of a program facilitated by the Minerva Foundation called Learning to Lead. The weekend workshop saw 50 grade 11 girls from around BC ascend on UBC to surround themselves with other future leaders and learn the fundamentals of what makes a great leader.

They came in quiet, unsure and shy. A soft buzz was in the air but you could tell they weren’t sure what to expect. I’m sure some were nervous, self-conscious and overwhelmed – all at once. Hell, I was too. I had no idea what I got myself into.. was I supposed to participate? Be mentors for these girls? Did I even know enough about leadership skills to be able to do justice by these girls?

I had no idea – but as a (self-described) leader in training myself, when I was asked to volunteer my time for the weekend I graciously accepted. 

The weekend started with meeting the other women who would be Den Mothers as well. It was very clear that we all had different backgrounds and varying experiences, but we all shared a common passion for leadership and passing on our wisdom to these girls. The program facilitators kicked off the weekend with some great ice breakers… and probably my favourite activity of the whole weekend: story telling.

I’ve always been a proponent of story telling. I know it might sound a bit biased given my current profession.. but before I really got into my job as a communicator I understood the value of asking about, and listening to, other people’s stories. First of all, everyone has a story and people love talking about themselves. It’s flattering, engaging and uplifting to talk about experiences that have made you who you are. But most importantly, telling your story makes you vulenerable. You’re opening up and sharing intimate details about the experiences you’ve endured that have made you, you. Initial assumptions about who you think someone is based on their appearance and possibly first impression are almost never the same after you’ve heard about their past and what makes them tick. Storytelling provides the subtle reminder that we’re all people who are craving to feel connected and be heard.

Sharing our stories is a powerful experience that is irrefutably the most important for building meaningful connections and relationships. Immediately after that experience, the girls became open, confident and comfortable around each other – setting them up well for the lessons and expereinces to come.

  

Over the next two days the girls went through workshops and experiences (such as a group drumming circle and a dance-off!) that saw them get clear on their values, create new friendships and truly dig into what they are passionate about. We talked about not having to be perfect at everything and the dirty little secret about life: you don’t have to be well rounded. The best leaders lead from their core values and are leaders because they are true to who they are and are able to get behind their beliefs 100%. 

As much as I thought I’d be there to over see and help out when needed, I quickly realized I was learning as much as they were. The workshop was as relevant to us women as it was to the girls – many of who were hearing some of these concepts and lessons for the first time.

At the end of the weekend, I came away with two over encompassing learnings:

  1. I’m on the right track. As much as the weekend was for the girls – I learned a lot about myself and had a lot of realizations about where I am and where I want to go. It was rejuvenating.
  2. It’s vital for us to talk to young girls about these things around this age. Today’s girls have so much pressure on them to be everything and make the best choices – but all the noise surrounding them becomes paralyzing. If they’re fortunate enough to grow up in a family who is able to teach them they are enough and they can have whatever they dream – that would be amazing. That however, is not the reality. Many girls are never given the opportunity to work on self discovery and feel that they have a voice. 

It’s our responsibility to educate and teach our young women they are enough and what they think and who are are – is important. 

Let’s get some more women at the executive table.

  

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