▶ I have had many mentors in business and I’ve tried to take something from each one. It was my parents, however, who were most influential in shaping my business style. Watching them early on gave me what I call “lessons by living.” My father taught me about partnering, collaboration and transparency before these terms were in vogue. He also helped me understand that selling must be just as good a deal for the other person as it is for you, thus my constant reference to win-win. My mother, Gloria Kaplow, is a talented artist who combines creativity and common sense. She taught me to approach life in “living color” with enthusiasm and passion.
She also helped me to approach each problem as I might a blank canvas: to see it as a chance to create something new, to use abstract thinking, to go beyond the obvious solution.
▶ The pivotal moment in my career came in 1991. It was unplanned. I had been working for the same PR firm for many years in New York. Much as I loved my job at the agency, I had two young daughters and longed for more flexibility.
Had today’s technology been available then, I might have stayed. Instead, I became an accidental entrepreneur [and Kaplow was born]. That moment taught me an important lesson about being flexible and staying open to opportunities. It also helped shape my ideas about creating a more nimble work environment.
I believe women should not be afraid to pursue their goals and that businesses have to work harder to create environments that cultivate long-term career development.
▶ The principle that has guided me over my career is a belief in developing meaningful relationships that should be sustained and nurtured. People are not a commodity. To me, people always have been the glue that holds our industry together; from clients to journalists to thought leaders inside and outside of our industry.
In today’s digital world, where we can have literally thousands of connections, those deep, meaningful relationships are as important as ever.
Liz Kaplow, firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared in the February 16, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.