Media, Darling: Shel Zolkewich

Shel
Zolkewich wears two hats: the fancy fedora of a marketing consultant and the
battered ball cap of a freelance writer. She helps her marketing clients with
all the usual tools of the trade: strategies, Websites, campaigns and media
relations. On the writing side, it’s about the outdoors, travel and food. She’s
an avid angler and hunter and wishes she had a third arm to hold the
ever-present camera. Her heart lies in the North where there are small
airplanes, muddy roads and feisty Northern Pike.
Twitter: @shelzolkewich

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
horizon?
I
remember flipping through that “What Do You Want to Be” binder in high school and
getting excited about the prospect of being an undertaker. I’m not kidding!
I’ve always been a little obsessed with medicine and anatomy. But the course
was really long and I’m kind of lazy, so I settled on the Creative
Communications course at Red River College in Winnipeg instead. And just so you
know, I failed journalism.


Where would you like to be five years from now?
I
like the path I am on right now. The marketing stuff is filled with new
technology and interesting projects. I’m a writer at heart, so being able to
keep my hand in the game is important. I’ve been doing some teaching lately and
loving it. Basically, more of the same in the next five years, with a little
more adventure travel, I hope.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Work
hard, listen to the old folks, work hard, embrace every little bit of new
technology, work hard.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? (i.e.: what do
you read/listen/watch?)
Admittedly,
I’m a Twitter junkie. I’m an early riser and it’s like having coffee with
thousands of my dearest friends. They let me know what’s going on in the world.
I visit the Winnipeg Free Press site daily and The Globe & Mail site a
couple of times a week.


Best interview you’ve ever had?
Very
early in my career, I interviewed a gentleman who had lost his daughter to a
drunk driver. At the end of our chat, he asked me how old I was. Then he
reached out, took my hands in his and said “She would have been exactly your
age.” That moment taught me a couple of things: always listen, know that you
can make a connection to another human being at any minute and be thankful for
what you have in this life right now.


Worst?
I
wouldn’t want to single out anyone in particular, but I get very annoyed with
interviewees give off that ‘are we almost done, I’m really bored, you are small
potatoes and I don’t really care’ vibe. If you’ve agreed to the interview, give
it your best, no matter who is interviewing you. One day they could become
Anderson Cooper.


Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Make
hay while the sun shines.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Make
hay while the sun shines.
There’s
always someone way worse off than you.
Give
and you shall receive.


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
As
that old song goes, give the people what they want. If I ask for images that
are about one MB, please don’t send me 32 K snaps from the website. I try to
work as efficiently as possible, because as a freelance writer, it’s simply not
lucrative to be a pokey Joe. If I have to ask for the same information a couple
of times, my bottom line is shot. PS: Samples work.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I’m
not weaseling out on this one because I’m being honest when I say the PR folks
that I deal with are ALL top-drawer pros; I really can’t single anyone out.
They’ve saved my tail more than once when I’ve up against a deadline, sending
me last-minute images and info. The travel PR people have taken chances on me
as a freelance writer, hoping I’ll eventually find an outlet and earn my keep
for that fabulous Caribbean trip. It’s about being partners. I love you guys!


I hate?
 
Waiting. Impatience is my Achilles heel. That’s why I hunt; it teaches
me patience.


I love?
 
Twitter


Reading?
 
The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven. I’m a sucker for anything about
Canadian history, exploration or adventure.


Best place on earth?
 
Lake St. George in central Manitoba


Dinner guest?
 

Elvis Aaron Presley


Heros?
 
My mom and dad.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
The Weather
Network. I’m a Manitoban and we’re a little nutty about the weather.


Pool or ocean?
 
Ocean. But a northern Manitoba lake is even better.

Voicemail or email? 
Email, oh please, email.

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