Trading Bosses


Anthony Cogswell, intern from The Fearey Group, and Kelly Potts, intern from HMA Public Relations, will be doing a four-week intern series on our blogs! Throughout this series they will be comparing and contrasting internships as well as different topics/conversations that are new to them in the PR world!

This week, the interns wanted to get great PR advice, from each other’s bosses! Kelly interviewed Aaron Blank, president of The Fearey Group, while Anthony interviewed Abbie S. Fink, vice president/general manager of HMA!

AC: I genuinely enjoyed my conversation with Abbie. Getting to know another public relations professional always comes with great advice and tons of lessons to keep in mind. I especially enjoyed her definition of public relations. ”We tell clients’ stories to the people that need to hear them.” Describing what we do as “telling stories” is a straightforward and extremely accurate way of putting it. We communicate each client’s story through strategically tailored messages to their key audiences.

We also talked about the PRGN relationship. Abbie knows that there is a lot of value in the Network and “one of the greatest benefits is this is a group of individuals from all over the world that are running firms and dealing with similar daily challenges such as new business development, new technology, hiring new people, and client retention. It’s great to know that with a quick phone call or e-mail, I can get support and advice on any question I might have.”  I personally think that the Public Relations Global Network is a fantastic platform to exchange best practices, learn more experience practitioners, as well as to lend and receive support.

Another thing that Abbie said that stood out to me was in regards to qualities she looks for when hiring. “I have an expectation that they understand what public relations is and have had some level of familiarity with it throughout their college career. However, I look for a lot of things that you can’t teach somebody in school: being smart and intuitive, asking good questions, and being professional. I can teach you all about public relations, but I can’t teach you that the president of the United States was in Phoenix recently and we shouldn’t be pitching stories while he’s here. You have to be smart enough to understand that there’s a world around us and it influences how we work.”

Abbie gave me a lot to think about through a simple phone call. I’m excited for the opportunity to continue developing relationships and building a network within this industry.

KP: While Anthony was interviewing Abbie, I talked with Aaron! First thing I noticed when talking with Aaron was how busy he is. So busy, that we had to talk while he was on his way to another meeting! But he still took the time to talk to me and have an honest, thought-provoking conversation.

There have been times that I have had a lot of work to do, and wanted nothing to interrupt my thoughts, but even though he was busy, he took the time to talk to me. That said a lot about him and his work ethic right away. When I asked him what was his definition of PR, he said he goes by the PRSA standard ““Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.  It’s about building relationships with the publics that help our clients” I agree with that 100 percent.

Aaron and I also talked about where PR is heading, and he said that he believes it’s going in a direction of experimental PR. Giving people and the media experiences to understand the stories – not just the facts. Again, I found that to be a great piece of advice. If you can give the media the facts, great, but give them an experience that they can’t forget, that is what makes you and your client stand out.

Aaron had so much advice for me that it’s impossible to include it all in a blog- it could be more of a book! Two things he said to me that will stand out forever is to make your family come first, before anything. As he said, at the end of the day, they will be there for you and a career may not.

The last piece of advice he offered, was to make relationships with everyone (which, to most people isn’t brand new info), but to offer each person something that you can do for them. Make that networking relationship mutually beneficial. I truly enjoyed my conversation with Aaron, and am looking forward to keeping in contact with him.

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