The Bottom Line on The Top Women in PR? Kick-Ass

They make others look good and know never to apologize when they get the promotion or land the big new account. They are mentors and have unabashedly sought out sponsors. They know how to read a balance sheet and understand that work/life balance is an imperfect science. At least one purchased the book: “How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings”. They are this year’s Top Women in PR, presented by PR News to the women who understand that it’s not about just getting a seat at the table – it’s often about building the table, designing the chairs and securing their spot at it.

The Top Women in PR Awards Luncheon, held in NYC on Jan. 25, brought together hundreds of female PR leaders and the men and women in communications who support them. I’ve been a part of this event since its inception about a half-decade ago and it is one of the most inspiring days of my year. We hear “how I got here” stories and understand intrinsically that each of these leaders took totally different paths to success, stumbled along the way and came out on top.

But there is still much work to be done, not only for female rising stars, but for all communicators who need sponsors/mentors/managers to make time for them so that those in this field can be the safeguards of brand reputation and the sane voice in a sometimes noisy and chaotic marketplace. Also take some time to read my colleague Seth Arenstein's piece on the role of women in communications and efforts to close the leadership gap.

I’ve assembled some kernels of wisdom from this year’s honorees, who were asked to share best advice they’ve received (or wish they had received). Please take some time to read the profiles of this year’s Top Women on the PR News site.

Words of wisdom from PR News’ Top Women in PR:

  • You’ll go far in business if you don’t care who gets the credit.

  • Find a sponsor to say nice things about you when you’re not in the room.

  • Find the personal balance between being a dreamer and a doer.

  • Fail fast and cheap.

  • Don’t apologize – you deserve to be in the room.

  • Make others around you look good.

  • Take time to dig into your values and then be true to them.

  • Check your emotion at the door.

  • Know your worth and be worth it.

  • Be a perpetual listener.

  • Understand business principles to be a better PR leader.

  • Part of storytelling is deterrence – don’t let others tell your story.

  • Think about what you’d be like as your customer.

  • Don’t be “the advertising girl” which sounds expensive – be The Reputation Girl.

  • Seek out and surround yourself with those with different skill sets and opinions – it will illuminate your own and set you apart.

  • Build your squad both at work and at home – you’ll need them.

  • People don’t care what you know if they don’t know that you care.

  • Love what you do, even on days that you don’t.

  • Don’t complain and don’t ever over-explain.

  • Great leaders open doors and always have your back.

  • If people say you are “too something” be it too bossy, too ambitious, too hard-working – embrace it.

  • Use only one exclamation point and emoji per email – if you have to use them at all.

I hope you’ll practice what they’ve preached!

- Diane Schwartz (using just one exclamation point.)