We recently chatted with Andrea Samacicia Mullan, the owner of Victory Public Relations, a health and beauty PR firm based in the New York City area, and the mother of two small boys. Andrea has been open about the challenges she’s faced as a working mom and we were glad to have the chance to discuss with her how she manages to balance the demands of work and life, as well as her thoughts on the PR industry today.
First off, what do you think is the key personality trait for a successful career in PR?
“Resilience. We face so much rejection, which can be truly disheartening. The ability to keep a cool head and know when to keep pushing a pitch and when to go back to the drawing board is essential.”
PR is constantly evolving… For readers looking to break into Public Relations, what’s important to know about the industry today?
“Yes, PR is constantly evolving. But I think that constant evolution is a good thing because with it comes tremendous opportunity for those who are happy to exercise their creativity muscles, take measured risks, and are not easily discouraged. For those considering pursuing a career in PR (and those looking to heat up their career!) I’d say that despite all of the above, the need for brandbuilders who are creative and able to work smoothly with clients will never disappear.”
Do you think social media is going to re-write PR?
“Social media has already re-written PR! Consider this – when I worked at my first PR agency, we were chastised by our superiors for having Facebook open on our desktops. That seems ludicrous today.”
Ok, so what does a day in your life look like?
“These days I’m up when the clock still has a 5 on it – thanks to my adorable 2-year-old Wesley. I spend a couple of hours with him and his older brother, getting us all ready for the day ahead. By 8 am I’m out the door. Three days a week (I try!!) I work out in the am, because if I don’t get at least three workouts in a week my energy, resilience, and creativity all take a hit.
“My primary responsibilities are new business development and account strategy. Most of my work day is spent in a mix of meetings with existing and prospective clients, internal strategy and pitch meetings, writing and editing PR plans, reviewing social media materials, developing new business, and keeping in touch with the media we work with.”
You make it look easy! Is it? And do you have any tips for how our readers can find their own work life balance?
“The juggle is real!
“There are two things I’ve found tremendously helpful. The first is that I examine the weeks instead of the days. I don’t get too crazy about getting everything perfect on a given day, but I make sure my weeks look good. Secondly, I have learned how to give myself a pretty killer pep talk. As a working mom, the one thing that will alway zap my energy is guilt and despite my best efforts, mom guilt often creeps in. When that happens, I remind myself of something I heard recently, which is just to say to myself that I just don’t do mom guilt. And it works!”
As a business owner and a working mom, we wanted to know what her thoughts are on maternity leave and how important it was for her family.
“Maternity leave is one of the things I’m most passionate about. It comes down to two things for me. First and foremost, women must physically recover from the experience of having a child. I was fully unprepared for that process when I had my first son. Secondly, I believe that in order to have a happy, productive career as a working parent you must first afford yourself the opportunity to transition into that role.
“My maternity leaves were invaluable to my family. Without the time to recover from birth, bond with my babies, and adapt to my new life as a working mom I would have surely set myself up for failure.”
We asked Andrea about the dreaded imposter syndrome, which so many of us deal with silently on a daily basis, and which Andrea has admitted to being struck with in the past.
“There’s so much talk about imposter syndrome and I’m not at all surprised that so many people relate to it. For me, the realisation that I could possess and project confidence while at the same time understanding that I’m not perfect was key. The confidence to acknowledge one’s shortcomings and succeed despite those weaknesses is a very special thing.
“I’ve observed that internalizing that confidence leads me to better results all around – our campaigns are stronger and also our ability to refocus when necessary is sharper.”
Finally, we asked Andrea to offer some advice to women who want to set up their own business in order to get some flexibility when it comes to family life.
“The best advice I can offer anyone who wants to start their own business is to write down your goals, look at them as often as possible, and hold yourself accountable for them.
“For those women who want to start a business in order to grant themselves the flexibility to make working motherhood work for them, I’d say to do so with eyes wide open and a few caveats. No matter who you are or what kind of business you’re opening, it’s going to take a tremendous amount of work. If you are passionate about your chosen field, willing to bear the risks associated with owning a business (most of which can be mitigated with good old fashioned hard work), the sky is truly the limit and I believe it’s an empowering choice for working mothers.”