Name: Charissa Lauren (featured above on left)
Position/Company: I’m a Publicist, Entrepreneur and Co-CEO of Pretty Living PR and Pretty Living Magazine, designed to connect, promote and publicize fashion, beauty and lifestyle companies. I’m also an active journalist, writer and editor.
Describe your job in one sentence: Creative, multi-faceted, fast-paced.
Where did you go to college? Point Park University
What was your major? Legal Studies and Political Science
First internship? What were your responsibilities? What did you learn? Though I’ve always worked in fashion, entertainment and held previous positions in event planning and writing on the side, my educational background is in law. Before creating my dream position in PR, I stuck with my education and first interned as a Paralegal in Trusts & Estates at a law firm in Pittsburgh. My responsibilities were drafting and editing wills, trusts and contracts, legal research and legal administrative work. I learned a ton! I am always grateful for my legal background because it truly assets my role as a PR professional and business owner every day. There are so many situations when negotiation is needed and I am also responsible for our firm’s legal documents. Through working in law, I’ve also become very detail-oriented and task focused and I’ve established a great understanding of client accounts and business development just from a few of the firms that I’ve worked at.
First job in PR? I discovered my direction in PR after becoming known in the industry as the girl to go to if you need to know someone. I was handling PR independently with companies when I was inspired with the idea of a firm to help business owners reach their goals in 2012. That’s when Pretty Living PR was born. Pittsburgh had nothing like this at the time, yet we had a booming industry on our hands and more and more entrepreneurs were venturing with new companies. Yet, we lacked direction in the next steps of publicity and brand awareness. We’re now working with companies in Pittsburgh, throughout the US and overseas.
Did you move to another city to pursue your career in PR? No, I decided Pittsburgh needed a PR firm dedicated to fashion, beauty, lifestyle and event companies and it was proven to be true. We did need this. I’ve never had any anticipation on living and working in New York or LA. I work with clients throughout the country regardless and I see true potential in companies not based in our prime US cities. It’s very important to me that all entrepreneurs and all brands, no matter their location, have the opportunity to advance their company with publicity and PR.
Favorite part of your job? I love the people I meet and work with. I’m constantly surrounded by amazingly driven individuals, risk-takers and dream-builders. Everyone I know is unique and I feel like my network is so well-rounded that it’s a privilege. I’m sincere about getting to know each person I work with whether featuring a company or entrepreneur or working directly with our clients. I’m passionate for those willing to take the leap and follow their dreams and am always honored to be working with entrepreneurs.
Least favorite part of your job? When I was first starting out, I become known very quickly and my lifestyle was extremely fast and demanding. I withheld a lot of responsibilities at a very young age. I eventually grew to rebel public attention of any means. I have trouble with events, photo shoots, speaking arrangements now and to think this used to be my everyday life! But I think it’s merely a ‘break’ and I know my role and position will always come with public attention so I’ll grow to adapt to the pressure again and keep peace in the chaos.
Favorite brands (brands you think are launching great PR campaigns)? Naturally, I love small businesses and am passionate about start-ups! There are so many amazing brands out there and I particularly favor the labels intertwining social good. I love EDUN, Helpsy, Fashion Gives Back and the Giving Keys. Cause Marketing is so important, it’s an interactive way to use your brand’s recognition towards an amazing cause.
Biggest accomplishment so far in your career? Probably starting the company, so far! I’ve always envisioned owning a company but I never thought it was really possible and I never knew how to go about it until one day I just decided that I’m just going to do it. And, though the entrepreneurial venture was exceedingly overwhelming, and still is from time to time, I know it will be worth it because I know what we’ve built has true value.
Biggest lesson learned to date in your career? In my profession, I’ve really learned the importance of breathing once in a while. I was very career-driven in my late teens and early twenties, if not my entire life. Everything I’ve ever done has been to benefit my resume and my passions. I worked several jobs at a time, worked for hours on end, doubled my schooling, maintained charity contributions and hardly slept. I insisted I could do everything and be everything to everyone until it really took a toll on me. I now know how vital it is to balance your tasks and not to overwhelm yourself because no matter how many goals you have, you have an entire life and you shouldn’t try to do it all at once. You can’t please everyone and come out alive.
Who were/are your mentors? My first and foremost mentor is the woman I want to become and I aim to be every day, if I can live up to her I will be complete. I’ve also been so fortunate to know so many truly amazing people. My Pap has always been a huge inspiration for my life for his adventurous actions, my mom for her absolute strength and the many entrepreneurs and women I work with on a daily basis.
Best work advice? My Pap’s last words to me were, “There’s a big world out there, find it and focus.” He always sought the most from life, he had an eager-to-learn way about him and he’s always embedded the same in me.
As a publicist, you can’t live without your… Above all of the applications and electronics I need and use every day, I would not be able live without my passion and my heart. You cannot succeed as a publicist unless you truly care about others. Their dreams matter to me.
In order to succeed in PR, you… Must be persistent, diligent, a quick learner, a people person, detail-oriented and exceedingly good at multi-tasking while staying focused.
If you weren’t a publicist, you’d be… a full-time journalist.
How can my readers follow you?
@CharissaLauren on Twitter, www.prettylivingpr.com