Ever wonder how the leaders in today’s PR world end up where they are? From fishermen to past journalists, the worldwide Hoffman team brings together a very diverse set of backgrounds. We’ve created our new Q&A series to provide insights about our leadership — plus a few helpful real-world tidbits for the eager young professional.
Here’s what Pacific Northwest Vice President Kymra Knuth had to say about her background in communications and career path to Hoffman:
What sparked your interest in public relations?
My mom worked in the PR department of a company, so I would hear stories from her — mostly around crisis communications. I thought it was fascinating how they worked with all the different stakeholders in hopes of diluting the issue.
How did you decide on a career in communications?
I decided in high school that I wanted to pursue journalism and PR because I enjoyed (and excelled in) English and literature classes. However, science and math classes posed a big challenge. I accepted and embraced the fact that I was a “right-brainer,” and never looked back.
What is one of your favorite memories working in PR?
I’ve been lucky to have some amazing coworkers and clients. For instance, I’ve had the privilege of working with one client in particular at multiple companies. In our first engagement, he was at a technology company, running their global communications program. As most companies experience, there were good times and there were bad times. This was a time of challenge where the financial performance wasn’t cutting it, so the pressure was on. We were launching a new product that could really turn the company around, so the stakes were high.
We knew we needed top-tier coverage in order to make the campaign a success. I had been working with Ed Baig from USA Today for weeks trying to convince him that he needed to review this product. Long story short — he wrote a positive review that set the tone for all the coverage. Our client, as well as our internal team, were proud of the work we had all done, and unlike most clients, this one praised us for the accomplishment.
But he didn’t stop there. He sent the biggest bouquet of flowers I had ever seen. On the card it said: “This is why we are in this business.”
What’s one lesson that you wish you would have learned earlier?
There really are so many, but if I had to focus on one it would be that the devil really is in the details. Multitasking is an understatement in the PR world, so it’s imperative to be organized and not let anything fall through the cracks. Missing details can result in a lack of trust from your client, as well as the media.
What advice would you give to a young professional trying to break into the industry?
I would encourage anyone interested in pursuing a career in PR to do multiple internships. First-hand experience is very different than classroom and textbook learning. It not only helps confirm your career decision, it makes you ready to hit the job market.
I may be biased having grown up at PR firms, but I recommend interning at an agency because you’ll get more exposure to various areas of PR than you might get in an internal position.