New York. Los Angeles. Miami. Atlanta. Those are the places that immediately come to mind when most people consider pursuing a career in lifestyle or entertainment PR. Our nation’s capital, well known for its’ government and political affairs scene probably wouldn’t make many lists. But that could change soon if Ashley Mason-Greene has anything to do with it.
Ashley, a senior PR manager at BrandLinkDC, has been with the luxury firm since graduating from Howard University in 2009. She has developed public relations campaigns for many of the firm’s clients and currently manages the hospitality and entertainment group for the company, which includes the W Hotel and its’ POV rooftop bar, Marvin restaurant, Satellite Room, Brixton and others.
Here, Ashley talks about how to leverage a “small, but thriving” market, how she initially decided to get into PR and shares her tips for decompressing after a stressful day.
Hashtags + Stilettos: Can you describe what a day in the office is like for you?
Ashley Mason-Greene (AMG): I definitely like to be regimented so while each day isn’t the same, for the most part, I know what to expect from my Mondays to my Fridays. Some days are filled with meetings and very little in-office time, while others involve a lot of pitching and writing. Fridays are usually for catching up on what I didn’t get to Monday-Thursday and many times, I leave the office and head to an event that BrandLinkDC is producing.
Hashtags + Stilettos: When did you know you wanted to pursue public relations as a career?
AMG: I think I made that decision the summer before I began my first semester at Howard University. It wasn’t so much a “career decision” but more so based on feeling like the curriculum at HU for PR best fit my skills and interests.
Hashtags + Stilettos: When most people think of doing Lifestyle or Entertainment PR they automatically think about New York or LA. What is the market like in DC?
AMG: DC is certainly a smaller pond, but I would argue that it’s equally as saturated. What’s great is this sector of PR is still a fairly new thing here; it just took a while for people to realize the need for it. The government is probably the largest job provider but all of those people need things to do in their off time—new restaurants to try, plays to catch, places to shop at—so DC is a perfect market.
Hashtags + Stilettos: What benefits do you believe the DC PR market has that the major markets may not have?
AMG: The DC market is fresher. I think there’s a greater opportunity to take this career and really make it your own—without having to adhere so much to an already existing industry culture.
Hashtags + Stilettos: That’s an interesting way to look at it. Do you ever think about moving to another city?
AMG: I always read those articles in Forbes and publications like that that list the top up and coming cities and think about getting a piece of the pie before everyone else does.
Hashtags + Stilettos: A career in PR can be stressful at times. Where do you go or turn for inspiration? To relieve stress?
AMG: I love reading books that are going to help me to learn something about myself or how to better deal with stressful situations. The last book I completed was Oprah’s What I Know for Sure and I’m currently reading The Power of a Praying Woman. I also LOVE to de-stress at SoulCycle, Pilates class, while (dabbling in) cooking or over a good meal with friends. There’s also a really awesome park behind my apartment that’s the perfect spot to take a blanket and book when it’s warm outside.
Hashtags + Stilettos: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your job?
AMG: I’d say agency life period. It requires balancing a lot of different and already existing company cultures and being organized enough to keep up with everyone’s needs. Clients don’t really consider (or care!) that you have other clients.
Hashtags + Stilettos: Most fulfilling aspect?
AMG: The balance has been an awesome skill to learn and to apply to all aspects of my life. I also enjoy helping a good brand become great. A good idea is one thing but the work of a publicist is invaluable in making everyone else think it’s a good idea.
Hashtags + Stilettos: What advice would you give to aspiring publicists?
AMG: Read everything. Read about the industry, read about your interests, read about what doesn’t interest you, read about what’s going on in the world, read history, read things that you think will better help you understand yourself…
Hashtags + Stilettos: What is the best piece of business or life advice that you’ve ever received?
AMG: You don’t have to be fearless, just have the courage to do it anyway despite your fear.
Hashtags + Stilettos: What are some of your biggest industry pet peeves?
AMG: I dislike when clients withhold information because you’re not in house—as if they feel you’re not a part of the team. And I dislike having to always explain the difference between what I and other PR professionals do and what a promoter does.
Hashtags + Stilettos: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
AMG: I think I know DC really well, so I’d like to take on the challenge of working in other markets in the near future. I do think DC is a great base, but there’s a big world out there and so many amazing things going on in DC that the rest of the world should know about.