Teresa DeJohn is the PR manager for Ganeden Inc., an international probiotic ingredient supplier. Previously, she worked on a variety of national and international consumer and B2B accounts at multiple PR and advertising agencies. Teresa has over six years of experience in the communication industry, focusing on public relations with a special interest in national and international media relations.
We asked her four important questions. Her answers are below:
How did your career as a communications executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
After college, I landed a job at one of the top PR/advertising agency in Cleveland. I came in eager to get started and wanted to hit the ground running. Unbeknownst to me, the agency was preparing to shut its doors permanently and lost many employees, including most of my superiors.
Although the lack of direction and management created a sink-or-swim environment, it was actually a blessing and one of the biggest factors in my career taking off. I took on projects and leadership positions that would not have been given to someone so green in normal circumstances, which in turn gave me experience far beyond my level of expertise. It taught me early on to problem solve on my own, take on large workloads and work through stress without relying heavily on guidance from others. It ultimately helped me advance further and more quickly than I would had I been in a traditional situation. I took that learning experience and the work ethic I developed with me throughout the rest of my career.
How do you keep yourself passionate and driven regardless of how busy you are day to day?
I’ve always loved the communication world and I think having a natural passion for it is crucial in finding success — you absolutely have to love what you do. But in my opinion, there are three things you can do, especially on a tough or extremely busy day, to stay passionate and driven:
- Remember the bigger picture. We can easily get caught up in day-to-day tasks or getting through that next project and forget to take a step back and look at why we do what we do. By developing goals (both big and small, long-term and short-term) and taking the time to reflect on them, it helps put daily activities into perspective and reminds you of what you’re working towards—along with providing satisfaction along the way.
- Rejoice in the wins, even the little ones, and take time to celebrate them. Whether it’s a call back from an editor you’ve been trying to reach, a big media placement or a customer thanking you for your help, take a moment to appreciate each win—no matter how big or small. That positivity will help drive you to accomplish more and refresh your energy and passion.
- Find a mentor or peer to connect with. As communications experts, we’ve all been through the ups and downs of the industry, and having someone to share those experiences with helps put it all in perspective. They can bring you up when you’re down, give you advice on a difficult task and celebrate your successes because they relate to all of it.
What do you see as the future of the communications industry?
The communications industry is continuously changing, but the overall direction is moving towards more personalized, engaged, one-on-one communication…a quality over quantity mentality. Previously, approaches often focused on reaching as many people as possible with messaging. But with an overload of information being thrown at consumers and new technology allowing more specific targeting, the focus has shifted to a personalized approach that encourages interaction with each individual, ultimately forming a much stronger and more valuable relationship.
What is your best communications strategy tip for businesses?
I think the best strategy I can recommend is not to get too siloed and narrow-minded in your communications approach. It’s easy to get set in your ways and continue doing what has proven to work, or what’s comfortable. However, the communications industry is always evolving, so be open to new ideas — even if they’re outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, whether it’s a new approach to outreach or engaging with an audience that may not be your first priority. Sometimes success and opportunities come through roundabout and unexpected ways. I’m lucky to work at a company like Ganeden that encourages innovation and allows me to explore new and unique approaches.