A Look Inside Five Careers In Public Relations

A look inside five careers in public relations

Public relations is a career that spans many industries and can be applied (and be very beneficial) to almost any business. Depending on your clients industry and your geographical location, careers in public relations can vary greatly.

We talked to five public relations professionals based in different cities around the U.S. They are all in various stages of their careers, and they work with all types of clients.

Stephanie Pettinati; San Francisco, CA; Senior Manager, Communications at One Kings Lane

Office dress code?

Office casual with a twist. You’ll usually find me in skinny jeans and flats (our concrete floors echo so I try not to wear heels often). I like basic tops and blazers, or will dress up a simple Everlane T-shirt with a pretty scarf or statement piece of jewelry.

Briefly describe your job responsibilities:

I manage business and consumer media opportunities with our exec team in our San Francisco headquarters, help develop and execute our communications strategy around new company initiatives, manage speaking and events, and I also support our company’s local community activities in the city of San Francisco.

Office culture at One Kings Lane?

The culture at One Kings Lane is collaborative, nimble, and fun. Our three offices in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles all work together to bring our shopping experience to life every day. It’s certainly fast-paced, but so inspiring to work with such talented people who are all passionate about design and delighting our customers.

Lynne Dowell; Houston, Texas; Memorial Hermann Health System

Tell us about your PR role with the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas:

Telling other people’s stories is something I’ve been passionate about ever since I graduated from college and took a job as a reporter. There is nothing quite like empathizing with an individual who has undergone an amazing journey or challenging adventure. My role in PR at Memorial Hermann has provided me with the opportunity to share medical miracles and shine a spotlight on the doctors that make those miracles possible.

What is your favorite part of a career in PR?

The people. I get to meet some of the most amazing individuals and no two days are alike. Sometimes the hours can be long, but when I get to meet a patient who on paper shouldn’t be alive, but he’s learning to walk on his own again, I remember I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

Arielle Patrick; New York, NY; Corporate Practice at Weber Shandwick; Director of Publicity (pro-bono) at The American Reader

How did you decide to work in PR pro-bono in addition to full-time job?

As a publicist, it is important to exercise your brain in other areas outside of your career specialty. In my case, I focus on the financial services industry, but am also a nerd who graduated from Princeton with a degree in Classics. How better to channel my inner academic than to be on-staff at a literary magazine?! It is also important to build confidence in your skill set by getting as much practice as possible. What I learn in the field, I apply to my full-time job, and vice-versa.

What is your top tip for young women starting out in public relations?

In order to succeed in PR, you have to realize that being “personable” is the least of what it takes. You have to think on both a micro and macro level when creating solutions for your clients.

Patricia Maristch; Philadelphia, PA; Founder of Piqued Public Relations

Tell us about starting your own public relations firm:

Piqued PR officially launched in March of 2013 while we previously worked with clients on a freelance basis for the year prior. We focus on lifestyle brands, everything from fashion and beauty to interiors. We also occasionally handle PR for politicians.

Did you work in PR before then?

I started my career in PR working as a press secretary and social media manager for a politician. From there I moved onto working with national brands for a creative agency in their PR department all while freelancing to build my personal client base.

Why PR?

I initially pursued PR in college as a way to fulfill my desire to work with fashion and lifestyle related brands while using my talent for writing and communicating.

Hadley Wilkins; San Francisco, CA; US Technology Practice Director, Hill + Knowlton Strategies

Briefly describe your job responsibilities:

Think Dr. Phil meets Sherlock Holmes inside a data center being live tweeted. It’s my job to make sure our technology clients are happy and our teams are motivated.  I am responsible for driving strategy and continued growth for our U.S. technology client portfolio, as well as collaborating closely on client service with H+K’s other practices, disciplines and offices.  I’ve led client engagements with companies like Salesforce, VMware, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Qualcomm, and Visa.

Describe your office culture in a few words:

The best idea wins. Call me biased, but technology communications is without question the most exciting place to work and build your career. At a macro level, the boundaries between people and technology have blurred. Mobile devices, wearable computing, Google glasses, biotech advances, harnessing the power of social networks — it’s all changing so quickly, and it’s fundamentally redefining what we expect of ourselves as human beings.  We’re not only telling the story of technology, we’re telling the story of what it means to be human, and what human limitations we’re going to challenge next.

Office dress code?

Business casual. Special hats optional.


By: Kathryn Worsham

Kathryn is the Creative Projects Editor at Levo League, where this article first appeared.

Levo League

Levo League is the first online destination designed to provide Gen Y women with advice, mentorship and career opportunities. Follow us on Twitter at @levoleague.