Heather Moon, Director of Public Relations at The Dove Agency, encourages other communicators to express how they feel, whether that’s openly sharing a career milestone or telling a hiring manager what they are looking for in a new role. Heather discusses with co-hosts, Gabrielle Torres and Katy Colón from D S Simon Media, about the power of making connections with people, regardless of their industry.
>> Check out more NextUP episodes here!
GABRIELLE: Hi, my name is Gabrielle Torres. I’m the Executive Marketing Manager at D S Simon Media.
KATY: And I’m Katy Colón. I’m the Client Service and Marketing Associate here at D S Simon Media. We’re here with Heather Moon. Heather, we’re so happy to have you and to be here chatting with you.
HEATHER: Yeah. Thank you, guys, so much for having me, this is going to be so fun.
GABRIELLE: To start our conversation off, I just wanted to ask, understanding that your background is not the most conventional, what drew you into PR after receiving your degree in studio art and photography?
HEATHER: Yeah. So, I attended the University of South Carolina and got my Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in studio art and photography, and I worked in photography for many years post-college, and I just kind of stumbled my way into PR. I’ve always been a storyteller, whether that be through dance and movement or with a camera lens, and I really loved that PR is all about storytelling, you know? You get to talk about your clients and their new products, and, you know, what they’re doing, and if they’re giving back, and that’s really just kind of what drew me into PR in the beginning.
KATY: That’s amazing, and I can totally relate to that coming from a background of musical theater and now I’m here in PR. I wanted to know how can communicators effectively market themselves? What do you think?
HEATHER: Yeah, I think it’s so important for us to be our own cheerleaders. So, any time you have a press hit or even just a small win, talk to your colleagues about it. Talk to the person who sits to the left and the right and say, “Hey, like I got this really awesome hit. I’m proud of it.” It’s okay to toot our horns a little bit. Go on LinkedIn and post your press wins or if you completed a campaign that you’re really proud of, talk about it, you know? We have to advocate for ourselves because all day long we’re advocating for our clients, but we need to, you know, always keep in the back of our minds that, you know, it’s important for us to get something out of our work too.
GABRIELLE: No, definitely. I already see the importance of speaking to my colleagues here, Katy being one of them. It’s definitely important. And so, when you are entering the interview process and you’re trying to see if whether a job is the right fit, how can you tell, especially if these are things that you’re already looking at? How can you tell if this is a right fit, and how do you know when it’s probably time to move on?
HEATHER: Yeah, so I’ll answer the first part of that question first. I think it’s so important to always listen to your intuition, it will never lead you astray. You’ll know immediately if you are a right fit for a job. So, talk to the interviewer and let them know like, do you want to advance your career or do these qualities that you have, are they going to be a good fit? So, ask questions when you’re interviewing, but listen to that little voice in the back of your mind that’s giving you kind of some flags or maybe saying like, “go ahead, let’s do this.” And then, you know, as far as the second part of your question about, you know, knowing when it’s time to move on, to talk to your boss and say, hey, maybe you don’t have a workload that you’re happy with and go to that person and say, “Hey, I either need more work” or “I have so much work that I don’t even have time to sleep.” Your boss is there for you to use as a tool to not only advance your career, but be there as a support system, and nine and a half times out of ten, they’ll be there for that, and to support you, and give you advice. It’s so important to feel fulfilled when you’re working 40 plus hours a week. You have to get something out of your job, too, and you want to be happy. There’s going to be good days and there’s going to be bad days that’s just life, but the good should always outweigh the bad.
KATY: In your role as a leader, what is your advice for entry-level employees as they begin their careers?
HEATHER: Yeah, this is a perfect segue way. It’s so important to allow yourself to take breaks and take time off, you know? We live in a culture where it’s go, go, go, go, go, go, and work hard, hard, hard, hard, and you should work hard, but you need to play hard. Take time off, you’re given PTO for a reason, so you need to utilize that PTO. It’s okay to take a mental health day if you’re just feeling totally stressed out. So, that would be my first piece of advice is to allow yourself breaks and take time off, but I think it’s also really important just to get out there and network. Meet everyone, and it doesn’t matter if that person works in the comms field or not. You never know when this person could become a client, or a mentor, or even better, a friend for life. Getting out there and having a like-minded person to kind of lean on, bounce ideas off of, or maybe just to even vent to is super important.
GABRIELLE: Thank you for sharing that. You’ve been giving us a lot of nice advice, especially for people who are trying to enter in the field. And so, my next question would be, what skills have you learned that you continue to carry throughout your career or has helped you in some of the ways in what you’re giving us advice on?
HEATHER: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, the basics are obviously you have to be able to communicate and that’s orally and written, right? Always remember that the person that you’re speaking to is a person, you know, they might be this client for a Fortune 500 company, and you may be intimidated, but at the end of the day, they have a heartbeat and a pulse, just like you and I do. And they like that connection. So, just, you know, remembering to, you know, keep that in the back of your mind and then also the ability to prioritize your time is crucial. You know, we only have 24 hours in a day except for Beyoncé, she seems to have more, but, you know, really just prioritizing, make lists, figuring out what works best for you, and what will allow you to prioritize is really key. There are all kinds of tools from, you know, software that we can use all the way down to old school pen and paper lists like I do. So, figuring out what works best for you is very important.
KATY: Wow, that is some great advice, Heather, and thank you so much for spending time with us.
GABRIELLE: Thank you, Heather.
HEATHER: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, guys, so much for having me, this was great.