Name: Kelly Howard
Position/Company: Los Angeles Director, Post+Beam
Describe your job in one sentence: Oversee consumer fashion, beauty and lifestyle in the LA office of Post+Beam, playing a key role in new business development, and execution of media, social media and event programs for a diverse client roster.
Where did you go to college? Iowa State University. Go state!
What was your major? I majored in Journalism/Mass Communications with an emphasis in PR and a minor in English.
First internship? What were your responsibilities? What did you learn? Interning is such a great opportunity to really get your foot in the door. My first internship was with Alan Taylor Public Relations in New York. I was put on the Diageo Liquors account team, pitching a variety of accounts including Smirnoff, Guinness and Jose Cuervo to various outlets. One of the great things I learned was the art of pitching – not only through email, but also cold calling, and even faxing!
First job in PR? I was the PR Manager for the Iowa State Daily, the campus newspaper at Iowa State. I had the opportunity to be involved in the development of some truly grassroots campaigns, from a charity drive called Stuff the Bus, literally “stuffing” a bus with food donations, to the “Shread, Wear and Tear” program, where students were encouraged to create wearable items out of newspaper. Those initiatives still exist today.
Did you move to another city to pursue your career in PR? Yes, I moved to LA for a job in fashion PR almost five years ago.
Favorite part of your job? Every day is truly unique. Having the opportunity to work with different clients, create PR strategies that work for their businesses and see how our work ultimately contributes to their bottom line is something I thrive on. Also, the opportunity to work with an amazing team!
Least favorite part of your job? My least favorite part is also my biggest lesson learned – managing client expectations. You always want to give your clients exactly what they want, but not everyone is a fit for the Today Show or the front page of The New York Times. Making sure clients understand that building a brand takes time and PR doesn’t happen overnight can often be a huge challenge.
Favorite brands (brands you think are launching great PR campaigns)? A number of our brands at Post+Beam are doing some amazing things right now.
We Are Handsome,a swimwear brand out of Australia, has had the ability to tap into a different and unique marketplace each season, expanding their reach to the travel sector, as well as securing exciting brand partnerships with Soludos, Frends Headphones and Vittoria Coffee. This not only creates exciting buzz for the brand, but creates an extra layer of access for our PR team to spread the word about the label.
Suboo, also a swimwear/resort label from Australia, has had exponential growth in the last couple of years. Being apart of that has been really exciting.
Biggest accomplishment so far in your career? During my very first year as a publicist, I was able to get one of my first clients on the cover of Vanity Fair – still one of the coolest things I’ve done to date. Aside from that, seeing the growth and success of the Post+Beam office since joining has definitely been an exciting adventure to be a part of.
Biggest lesson learned to date in your career? Don’t oversell and always be sure to manage client expectations. If you can’t be clear from the start, you set everyone up for failure.
Who were/are your mentors? There’s so many great people I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by over the years:
- My mother. Fiercely independent and always working for she wants, my mother has always encouraged and supported me as I reached for my goals.
- Nicole Morrison. One of our senior team members in the LA office. She and I have known each other for nearly five years and have had the opportunity to work together in a number of facets. I’m constantly amazed by her talents, work ethic and drive to be great.
Best work advice? Work smart, not hard. Set goals. Network. Be resilient. And always have a work/life balance.
As a publicist, you can’t live without your…iPhone. Cliché, I know, but it’s true.
In order to succeed in PR, you…have to be resilient, have a thick skin…and be willing to put in the work. They don’t say PR is the second most stressful job for nothing. We may post only the fun and glamorous things on Instagram, but it all comes as the result of a lot of really hard work.
If you weren’t a publicist, you’d be…that’s hard to say, maybe a spin teacher? Totally opposite side of the spectrum, but it’s my release each week, and I LOVE it.
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