Mopwater: Describe your path to PR: How did you wind up in this field?
SH: In retrospect, I would describe my path to PR as a natural progression, because growing up I always participated in activities and displayed certain characteristics that are usually attributed to PR people. But, I didn’t know how to articulate PR as an actual career path until I started seeing the field depicted in movies and on TV shows. Once I knew what PR was, I made the library my second home. I read every book I could get my hands on about PR, media relations, PR writing, etc. I wanted to know what I was getting into.
When I got to Howard University in Washington, DC, I was originally a pre-med major and a PR minor (my goal was to be an ob-gyn that gets quoted in all of the major magazines). But that was a short-lived notion because by my second semester I completely gave in to PR, which I think is my true calling. By that time I had already secured a summer PR internship at Jade Dressler Communications in NYC and switched my major to PR with a minor in entrepreneurship because I knew I wanted to own my own firm.
From Jade Dressler Communications, I would go on to work various roles at celebrity PR firms, a global PR powerhouse, a national non-profit organization, eventually landing in the corporate communications world at Prudential Financial. From there I would leave to launch my lifestyle brand relations firm House of Success.
Mopwater: Describe a pivotal moment in your career. Did you have a mentor or internship that really solidified your interest or helped you hone in on a specific focus area?
SH: The two most pivotal moments of my career so far was when I earned my first two media hits during my first PR internship in the NY Daily News and Black Enterprise magazine and the other pivotal moment was when I won my first client account after launching House of Success. That moment was confirmation that I’m on the right track.
I have several mentors, but they’ve only enhanced my love of the PR industry. I was lucky to know exactly what I wanted to do early.
Mopwater: Describe your workday including your office place and/or work setting and work hours. What do you do all day? What is a typical day like?
SH: There are no typical days in PR and that’s probably one of the things I love most about my work; each day is different. On most days, my alarm is set for 6am. I currently work from my home office, so my commute is very short. My day begins with me scanning the websites of all the major dailies, NY papers, industry trades and blogs. Next, I do some media monitoring for our clients, while simultaneously checking in on Twitter and sharing any interesting links I found that morning or the night before.