PR Leaders Agree: It’s OK to Be a Bad-Ass

16300328_10154954124066972_9011479203085168823_oComing just days after the Women’s March, PR News’ Top Women in PR awards luncheon in NYC was an ebullient event that brought the PR industry together to celebrate female leadership and the individuals who’ve moved the communications needle in the past 12 months.  If the on-stage commentary from the honorees is any indication, however, there is still much work to be done on the issues of diversity, work-life balance, workplace equity and career advancement.

As I sat at a table at the Grand Hyatt in NY with many of this year’s winners and listened to the women on the stage, there was a palpable energy in the room unlike years past. Though we celebrated one gender’s achievements, no one could argue that the men in the room and the ones back in the office and at home, and the teams that these women are a part of, are critical to the success of the Top Women and to the results they’ve achieved for their brands. In between my bites of grilled salmon and broccoli rabe, I took some notes to share with you. Following are useful nuggets of inspiration and wisdom from the Top Women in PR (see list here) -- and not one of these has to do with getting more followers on Twitter or more likes on Facebook (refreshing!). I’m fairly certain you’ll find a few here that resonate with you:

  • Play the long game and don’t look for shortcuts
  • Sometimes you should just shut your mouth and listen
  • Learn how to distinguish between success and significance
  • Trust should be a strategic priority
  • Always step forward and take on new things
  • Practice your trade with grace and empathy
  • Earn, don’t demand, the seat at the table and help others get there too
  • Be the calm in the chaos
  • Be the person who everyone wants to work with and ultimately you will be the person people will want to work for
  • Always bounce back
  • Use your downtime wisely
  • Find a sponsor (mentor)
  • Make other people feel empowered
  • Don’t forget to be awesome
  • When making decisions, ask yourself: Will it matter in a day, a month, a year…?
  • Be present
  • Ask for help
  • Don’t shy away from vulnerability – the intersection between courage and truth
  • Being a bad-ass is a good thing

We asked the honorees to answer the familiar but telling question: What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? I’ll close this blog with an answer that is extremely relatable to those who’ve reached a certain age: “Keep using that same bio photo from when you were 20.”

Congrats to the Top Women in PR and for all of you who are keeping PR fresh and exciting.

- Diane Schwartz