When most people think of public relations, they think of large firms, such as Fleishmann Hillard and Edelman, but as we have discovered through this mini series, pr professionals can work in pretty much every industry. I had the opportunity this summer to intern at a small pr firm in Kansas City (my first experience with agency work) and it was a great experience. In fact, my boss, Alex Greenwood, inspired me to write this blog series. So I thought I could thank him one last time by featuring him in this post and provide you with a look into the world of small agency public relations.
Me: Alex, you’ve worked in a variety of industries during your career, including broadcast media. What inspired you to change it up and create your own public relations firm?
Alex: Well Brooklyn, the fact is I don’t play well with others, meaning I just really enjoy being my own boss. After acting as director and vice president for numerous chief executives in several different fields, I developed an understanding of what most companies are looking for when hiring pr professionals and I simply wanted to offer that experience to a variety of clients. I’m also a very entrepreneurial person, so owning my own firm was a step I always saw myself taking.
Me: What do you enjoy most about agency pr?
Alex: I think the best part about working in an agency is that in the span of one day, I have the ability to work on a variety of clients in a variety of fields. I could start my day working on a food account and end it with a meeting for a construction account. And being a smaller firm makes it even better because I have the opportunity to hire younger professionals. They usually have a fresh, new perspective on public relations and help keep me feeling young and from taking myself to seriously.
Me: So, as every pr student already knows, internships are an essential element of their résumé. How does interning at a smaller firm like yours better prepare candidates for their future careers?
Alex: I would describe it as the difference between choosing off a prix fixe menu and a smorgasbord. When you intern for a large agency, you’ll only be able to work on a limited amount of accounts, whereas at a small firm, you”ll work on several, if not all clients and have a hand in all types of projects. I also believe that small agencies allow for more collaboration. My staff and I work side by side on accounts, making content creation and brainstorming sessions more effective.
Me: That’s an extremely good point. I think you’d agree with me when I say that writing is a major part of every pr professional’s job. What inspired you to take your writing a step further and author the John Pilate mystery novel series?
Alex: My grandfather was an author and when I was younger, I’d always write stories and bring them to him for his feedback. During my younger years, he told me to devote more time to my writing, but I thought I had more important things to do. The last thing my grandfather said to me was “Make sure to get back to your writing,” so that’s what I did.
Me: Inspiration at it’s finest. Lastly, since you celebrated your very first Canada Day this year and have learned everything you need to know about Canada from your awesome summer intern (that would be me!), what is the capital city of Canada?
Alex: Umm, Ottawa. And please write down that I got that on the first try!