Ever since I decided to pursue PR as a college sophomore, I have known that it is a misunderstood field. My family struggled to grasp what I would do for work, and most people I knew could not even define public relations. My major was also the source of many light hearted jabs from college friends; unlike some of my peers, no one ever saw me studying for exams late into the night. Instead I was having a blast writing articles and documents, developing media plans and working on other projects that were more creative and detail oriented than technical. In my friends’ minds, studying PR was nothing compared to a science or finance degree. Little did any of us know, my degree would land me a position that would ultimately send me head first into the world of cybersecurity and technology.
I think a lack of understanding about the role of PR and the value it brings to companies across all industries can in part be attributed to media portrayals of the profession – in my opinion, PR careers on television and in movies don’t quite do us justice. Others think of PR as damage control when there is a scandal, and unfortunately sometimes we do work on smoothing those over. My job certainly has elements of excitement and flair; but at its core, our goal is to help our clients communicate their message at the right time, in the right place, to the right audience. Entire books have been written just to define PR, but at the end of the day, we do anything and everything that helps build beneficial relationships for our clients.
When I started at LaunchTech, my position required me to roll up my sleeves and start using the public relations skills I learned in school – that part was familiar enough. The unfamiliar part was learning about the products and services our clients offer, and their role in the technology industry. Nothing in my background had prepared me for the world of cybersecurity, and I needed to gain a solid understanding in order to help strategically promote my clients in ways that match their organizational goals. I’d like to think I’ve been a quick study! In the past year, I have been fortunate enough to grow into a career in the PR and cybersecurity industries in tandem – and coincidentally have become much more aware and paranoid about the possibility of getting hacked than I would have imagined.
I love what I do. My work is challenging and exciting, and I continue to learn and develop my skill set with every project I do and client I support. In our field there is a saying: “There are two types of companies. Those that have been hacked, and those about to be.” As long as breaches continue to happen, the companies getting hacked will rely on the support of their PR team, and the companies trying to prevent hacks will do the same. So in the end, I would say I hit the career jackpot!