Hard Work Begets Talent

Andrea Coville, CEO,  Brodeur Partners
Andrea Coville, CEO,
Brodeur Partners

Hard work + practice = talent. That’s the most important lesson of my career, maybe my life. A beloved journalism professor taught me that. “Andy,” he said, “there will always be people you think might be more talented than you.

Whether it’s true or false is irrelevant. Just work hard and keep practicing. That’s half of talent, and it will take you as far as you want to go.” That was the late Don Murray, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

The biggest risk we’ve taken was buying back Brodeur Partners. We invested in what we believed in. It was a huge professional and personal commitment, but we were convinced that the work we do and the people who do it were good bets. I’m so glad we took that risk. Another, different type of risk was writing a book. It’s titled “Relevance.” I wrote it with Paul Brown. It turned out to be a lot of fun. The book is about linking behavioral change to communications to create “Relevance.” It’s based on 20 years of research and work with clients. In particular, it looks at how digital channels help and hurt relevance and the role that social media plays in the brand experience.

My parents taught me quitting is not an option. My mom is an educator and my dad was a forester. They were all about giving back to the community. Although I’ve had great jobs and some not-so-great jobs, I’ve never quit a job.

For example, I once worked as a staff writer for a technical publication managed by a really tough editor. I learned a lot about the importance of culture, stuck it out and eventually it led to a great job at a software company.

Don’t make stuff up. Just be curious, intuitive and a good communicator. Don’t pretend to know more than you do or be someone you’re not. You are plenty good enough.

I try to push myself. I just completed a triathlon. I was worried about doing the biking portion because I have never been a great cyclist, but I was surprised at how much I loved it. I must be crazy because I just signed up for another one.

CONTACT: Andrea Coville, acoville@brodeur.com

This article originally appeared in the May 11, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.