Yesterday I met with a woman from an investment firm who runs communications for a portfolio that includes companies such as ASOS, Facebook, and Nasty Gal.
As the PR director, companies come to her for advice on media relations. The #1 question she receives from them though is, “Which PR firm should we hire?” Accordingly, she’s been putting in the time to connect with firms, and come up with some first-hand recommendations.
In other words, this was more or less a casual interview to see if my business would be the type of outfit she could feel confident recommending to the 100+ household names & upcoming startups her company holds a stake in. No biggie.
About an hour in, she asked if I felt vulnerable or insecure about my being so young and only having had three years of experience in the field. The answer any sane person in this “sales opportunity” would give is, “No. I’m extremely confident about my team and its capabilities! You can trust your companies in my hands!” followed by a pinky promise.
I truly love my job. I like to think I’m good at it. But at the end of the day, I know only being alive for 25 years has not afforded me the luxury of time to be the most experienced in my field. I haven’t worked with a company through to an IPO yet, or held court for a brand through a time of major crisis - there’s vulnerability there, especially when we’re up for consideration against leaders twice our age with teams twice our size. That’s a reality, and it’s not going to change any time soon (unless time magically stops for everyone except me much like any recent Rachel McAdams movie).
So yes, 100% I feel vulnerable. Some days more than others (those are the days where employees have to do a lot of explaining for me). It’s knowing that I don’t know everything that causes me to live by these 4 things:
- Hire people more experienced & smarter than I am
- Be clear upfront about anticipated results & capabilities
- Charge based upon the value I can confidently deliver
- Work tirelessly
Those are the same 4 things that end up defining the quality of my personal output and in turn, contribute to the character of our company. I’m not so experienced that I can rest easy on my laurels and seniority. The past three years have provided an amazing learning curve and a wide array of industry initiatives to get knee deep in & really own, but even still, I compensate for my lack of time in the trenches by crossing every t, saying yes at every sensible opportunity, and knowing when to assign tasks outside my reach to those better equipped. I know I have to work twice as hard, hire twice as sharply, and be twice as thorough to cement our place in this space. I am not “hungry” for work (there’s no shortage of demand for PR representation right now) but I am “hungry” to constantly prove to myself that I am not letting anyone down - that I am putting client money to its best possible use, and simultaneously providing the best listening ear and delegating hand for my team that I am able.
Vulnerability has led to me to iterating for new approaches, setting clear objectives & expectations upfront, incorporating the ideas and backgrounds of my team, and a myriad of other activities that have made this company stronger.
It’s the soft, malleable parts of my vulnerability that congealed the work foundation I’ve built upon. So am I vulnerable? Yes. Does that mean I’ll put in the time to weigh each option then work my ass off to deliver? Yes to that, too.
Mallory Blair! yourpalmal was one of the first tumblrs i followed - years ago when i was in nyc - nice to see you are still here! me too, although i have gone through several names:) I attest to your Veterana status, but I suppose your tumblr does the same thing, and with timestamps so TRUMP - hope all is well, love from lala land xoxo sean
It’s amazing to think I joined Tumblr in ‘08 or ‘09 and yes, I’m still here! I hang out far, far more often on twitter.com/yourpalmal but make cameos here and at the Small Girls PR blog, too. :)
Hope all is well in your new city.
Above: You can get your dream written on the Nasdaq building by tweeting #DreamBig to @NASDAQ
Below: You can get your YOLO 420 written on the American Eagle store by buying two pairs of socks.
The choice is yours.
The only thing I’ve changed since is my age every year, and my occupation once.
I would probably never have written that bio now if given a blank space to describe myself, and yet I feel like it is almost unbearably and suffocatingly me- as well asthe place from which I wanted to start scrapbooking life online in the first place
(and so, it stays).
We love pink, we love our moms. If you feel similarly, these monogrammed notebooks with pen combo from Poppin is sort of the perfect mother’s day gift.
Poppin kindly sent us desk supplies to grace our new offices so we’ve been using them willy nilly & can give testimony to how awesome they are. This selection, however, is made with moms in mind and available from the “#1 Mom” to the “World’s Best Mom” and come in adorable packaging.
3 cheers for moms! (and 1 notebook).
Every time I look at my desk I hear the tween rapper Lil Mama quietly singing “It’s poppin, It’s poppin, i aint frontin’” with some light instrumentals.
friends day at @friends_night (at ADHD)
This is my spring style. Kind of edgy meets rocker chic.
Small Girls in Rachel by Rachel Roy at South by South West [say that three times fast]
Festival dressing is difficult enough as it is, but when you’re spending the week working (over playing), when does one have the time to plan the perfect look to transition from behind the scenes to hosting guests at events? Enter Rachel by Rachel Roy, who outfitted us for the festival and saved the day.
Despite the fact that we chose completely different pieces, we somehow managed to coordinate our looks, down to the backpacks. Here are a couple of shots snapped at the Fast Company Grill by our fave, Nicky Digital.
I’ve worn a denim dress at least one of the days at SXSW every year for the past 5 years. It is my top secret festival wear weapon for the following reasons:1) It’s a dress so you don’t need to think about mixing & matching, you just throw it on your head, add a flower crown and run out the door to eat tacos and rage. 2) Denim is thin enough to breathe if its warm out and thick enough to protect you from the chilly evenings, allowing you to transition seamlessly day to night from panel to party.
I love maps and flowy things, so I was immediately drawn to the Cruisin Top by RRR— you know, to help me navigate SXSW13. I layered the top in a L over my favorite American Apparel skater dress. Belt it with a boy’s button down or keep it loose- it works both ways. The map & the backpack thing kind of channels an adult Dora the Explorer thing. We did it! Yay!
I’ve since worn this top at least once a week since the festival. Absolutely obsessed.
Once I went to a lovely festival and wore lovely clothes and everything was lovely.
“Something that we wouldn’t actually use ourselves is impossible for us to do,” said Ms. Blair. “If we’re going to promote a brand, it has to be something we feel passionate about.”
Excited to be in the Observer today & happy to be a company that works with brands we truly believe in.
The piece examines how the clients we work with fit into the Small Girls story, but also how we’re self-aware of the narrative & sometimes extend it to client projects, effectively making PR more personable or relatable (as opposed to being waved “via an invisible hand”).
Thanks to social media, we’re all living increasingly public lives, publicist or no publicist, and in that vein, we publicly adore the brands we choose to work alongside.
“Products of this millieu, the Small Girls have made the conscious decision not to hide their tools, but instead to festoon them with bows and paint them in pastel.”
Though they may have gotten the Lilipantian part wrong (we are pretty in love with their vision), the rest is neat.
Pick up the pink pages today & flip to A13 to read on about how we practice what we preach and run activations for Forbes 500 companies while painting the town pastel.
Feature-length story on us “doing us” in the NY Observer today.
Small Girls PR client GE does “Brilliant Brunch”
In the spirit of SXSWi providing a place for big brands and creative technologists to come together and drive innovation, we arranged GE’s “Brilliant Brunch” hosted by CMO Beth Comstock rounded out by six tech luminaries.
In the food for thought vein, we designed each course of the meal to correspond to a topic on innovation moderated by The Onion’s Baratunde Thurston. The starter meal corresponded to questions about early motivations while the post-meal espresso begged the fuel to keep innovating.
Above is just one of the snippets between Vimeo’s Jake Lodwick, Makerbot’s Bre Pettis, OK Go’s Damian Kulash, robot designer Carla Diana and Tumblr’s David Karp as they sat down for a brilliant brunch.
Shot in the Favreau “dinner for 5” vein, this clip catches the attendees talking about great art in the context of social networks, the new definition of media, and how we’re all making 1s and 0s that in turn make brilliant products.
One of my favorite projects to date.
pool blues #RRRSXSW (at WSJ pool party)
Getting mic’d backstage with @the_real_moot & @biancabosker at #startny
we made it! (at Austin, Tx)
I’m in your inbox on your Flavorpill newsletter today sharing my top public SXSW events to hit. Check ‘em here and see you in Austin!
Important notes from class
Found by my friend Kelly on one of her student’s desks.