This week for my Interview Series, we have Kristine Simpson, Account Coordinator at Thornley Fallis Communications, talking about her career path, her current role, producing for Inside PR, time management and her goals.
1. Before we get started, I just wanted to say congratulations on your engagement – I thought it was a great idea that you posted the 2-sided story on your blog.
Why thank you! Since the engagement post, a friend of mine who runs a business called Wedding Republic asked me to be a guest blogger – or in other words a “bride blogger”. I have a weekly column on her company’s blog where I talk about tips and experiences of planning a wedding. You can check it out here.
2. You’re currently the Account Coordinator at Thornley Fallis Communications, what was your career path like leading up to that?
I was lucky enough to have an excellent mentor who helped me narrow down what I wanted to do with my future. I remember him asking me questions like: when do you want to have kids, when do you want to get married, where do you want to travel, do you want to even travel. All questions that I had never thought of asking myself.
He knew I was the type of person who can’t sit still and loves to multitask, so he suggested working at an agency. He set me up at an event where I met Joseph Thornley, the CEO of Thornley Fallis & 76design. After learning about the company through Joe and meeting with the VP, LeeEllen Carroll, it basically just happened. I came in for my first day of work on January 10th, 2011 and have never left.
3. What’s your role as Account Coordinator like?
There is no short job description for my role. I generally assist with client work, including, but not limited to, writing, editing, researching, media relations (i.e. pitching and researching), social media monitoring, event planning, and more. I also help with new business, in other words, assist with completing proposals and attending new business pitches.
My favourite part of my job is being the producer of Inside PR, a podcast hosted my Joseph Thornley, Martin Waxman and Gini Dietrich. The three of them get together once a week to record a discussion about public relations, social media, communications and how they all meet and intersect. I am also formatter extraordinaire - I am a pro at formatting word documents to follow our company’s look and feel.
4. Speaking of Inside PR, I only recently discovered that you’re the producer for it. How did that come about?
The previous wonderful producer, Yasmine Kashefi, had started grooming me early on in my career at TF, teaching me how to use the tools and the process of producing a podcast. When she moved on and left the company, I was appointed the official producer of Inside PR. At first, it was like trying to swim in the middle of an ocean during a storm, but I slowly learned the ropes and was able to build and boat and sail off in to the sunset.
Since I have started this role, a while new world has been opened right before my very eyes. It is amazing what you can do with a podcast. I am now a advocate for using podcasts in public relations and communications to communicate with your audience. Be it a weekly podcast discussion social media, to a monthly podcast where a CEO shares news of his company with his employees. It is an easy, short and effective way of communicating with your audience.
5. It must be an eye-opener working with PR professionals like Gini Dietrich, Joseph Thornley and Martin Waxman?
You can say that again! My mentor gave me the best advice when I was in school: “make sure to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.” I am very lucky to have the opportunity to listen to the conversations the three of them have, especially as a young professional. I learn something new every time I produce the podcast. They open my eyes to the issues affecting PR, social media and communications. They use fancy words that I use for my PR Word of the Week, my weekly blog post where I define PR and communication words. They just make me smarter!
6. Working at Thornley Fallis Communications, producing Inside PR, managing your own blog – how do you manage your time to fit everything in, plus have a social life?
Good question… I don’t have an answer! HAHA I have been asked this question a thousand times before. There are people out there that juggle even more than I do, with kids, events, volunteering, etc. I do things I am passionate about. When you are passionate about something, the task is easy, when the task is easy, it just seems to fit in your life like a puzzle piece. Yes, there are days where I sit there and think: how am I going to do ALL of this? But, most of the time, I am excited to finish one task so I can get on the the other, then another, and another. I also am engaged to a very supporting man who supports me in all I do – that makes it even easier!
7. It seems to me at this moment that there are so many opportunities available in the PR industry. I’m curious as to where you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I can’t even see myself in a week from now. I am a young professional. My method of living right now is to live one day at a time. Enjoy the various experiences and opportunities laid out in front of me. My goal right now is to learn from others and gather as much knowledge as I can. I will then use that knowledge to construct a future for myself.
8. And lastly, what’s been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
That is a tough question… The most memorable moment in my career is very recent. Last week, I was lucky enough to go to our Toronto office for a company meeting between a select few of us to discuss our company’s social media process and expertise, and discuss where we want to take the company through social media.
During the meeting we went around the table to say talk about each of our expertise, find the experts in certain tools/platforms. I had never thought of myself as an expert of anything, especially not this early in my career, but when we went around the table, Joseph Thornley had referred to me as the “one to go to” if we had questions about podcasting. That is when it hit me. I am a podcaster, I know the tools, I have already started advocating for the use of podcasts, and I am even in the process of starting my very own podcast. For the first time in my very young career, I had finally found my niche. It was an exciting feeling!