of backgrounds, experience and education. We look at both sides of this question by asking some with PR education backgrounds (Amalia and Meg) and some with PR experience (Natalie, Debra and Abby) for their advice.
Natalie – Publicist
Natalie – Publicist
Ditto the worst – I’ve had some people be downright mean to me, but it often turns out they were having a lousy day. TIFF tends to drain you of your will to live, so when Philip Seymour Hoffman made me feel like a moron, it wasn’t really his fault.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Shut up and pay attention.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
An oldie but a goodie – the do unto others one. Works every time. And I like to think it keeps my karma insurance balance in the black. The thing is it only takes one bitchy comment or rude remark to stain the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. Why risk it?
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t carpet bomb. If we say “no,” there’s a good reason. And please don’t call the person I work next to in order to pitch the same thing. That’s so lame.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The film publicists in Toronto are all very good and we’re very lucky in this town to have such a cadre of clever people. They’re pros. They work hard, they know the market and tend to play fair while working with a very competitive media. They return calls and emails right away and they do their best to deliver. They occasionally need reminding that I’m working for the readers, not the studios, but I get that’s because of the external pressures they face.
Kittens and dry martinis, straight up with olives.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout . A terrific book of short stories. I also am thumbing through a book on western movie shoot locations in the American southwest – especially Monument Valley because we were just there. Standing on John Ford Point was a real life highlight.
Best place on earth?
Muri Beach, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, or anyplace my partner Hans happens to be.
Family and friends who make me laugh, which is all of them.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I spend a bit too much time with those Angry Birds.
Pool or ocean?
Voicemail or email?
After the typical baby-sitting gigs when I was 12 and 13 years old, my aunt got me THE BEST first real job – being a fragrance sales associate for L’Oréal! I had this job from ages 16 to 18, and worked anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week at the counter at The Bay in the lovely Yorkdale Mall. I represented and sold Ralph Lauren, Armani, Lanvin and Cacharel perfumes and colognes.
Another part of that job I loved was getting to know the other sales associates in the beauty department – everyone was so friendly, girly and beautiful. It really was its own little community. I had so much fun there.
Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski is our fearless leader, founder and president of rock-it promotions, inc. and Tastemakers. She has appeared as a PR expert on MuchMore Music, eTalk, ET Canada and Global News, and has been interviewed by The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Toronto Life and many more.
Goldblatt-Sadowski attended Concordia University and graduated with a degree in Creative Writing. She is a published poet, a former performance artist and a produced playwright. She has no formal education in public relations. She founded rock-it promotions at the start of the new millennium in January 2000.
She’s known for her friendly and outgoing approach to publicity, stellar networking skills and having the ear of most media members in the city. She’ll rarely turn down an invite to a good party and has been known to throw a few fun shindigs herself.
In addition to being a great head honcho and PR maven, she is a wonderful mom to two-year-old Mila Raven, and happily married to film and television director Matt Austin-Sadowski.
I’ve always wondered how much guidance junior staff receive during their first few months of employment/internships.
Shane McKenna (@Shane_McKenna) is currently a Public Relations student at Durham College. We’ve asked a junior and senior staff member to help answer his question, to give two different perspectives.
1. Consult the CP Style and CP Caps and Spelling books. If you truly can’t locate a rule within these resources, flag it for your editor – that way, they know you made the effort to find the answer, and they’ll see that you know when to check reference guides.
2. Make a list of information to include. Writing a press release? Make sure you include the 5 Ws! It’s surprising how often crucial information is left out or forgotten.
3. If your senior staffer doesn’t go over their changes with you, ask them to sit down with you and explain. Send a friendly email to book a mutually convenient time for the two of you to discuss the changes that were made.
4. Take notes to ensure you are not making the same error every time you submit something for editing. After two or three corrections, it’s expected that you will remember the rule going forward.
5. The most important piece of advice is to take constructive criticism seriously, but not personally. Let’s face it – working in the communications industry, there is a lot of writing. Rather than dread or avoid it, embrace it. You senior staffers will notice when you put extra effort into improving your skills, which will only work to your benefit.
While the marketing world was fun, she felt something was missing. After pursuing a meeting at rock-it (ed note: it took many emails and superb follow up!), she took a leap of faith and accepted an offer for an intensive four-month internship to learn PR. In turn, Abby was offered a full time job with rock-it and has been smiling ever since (ed note: and so have we).