Women’s History Month is over, but we want to keep recognizing great women who are doing an amazing job in the PR industry. Our first featured woman for our Women in PR interview series is Talia Davis.
Talia (Beckett) Davis is the president and founder of The Organization of American Women in PR and The Organization of Canadian Women in PR.
She is the owner of Pink Pearl PR and Fempreneur.com, an agency that specializes in baby and kids’ products. She also works with financial services brands through her consulting business, Talia Davis PR. Talia holds a master’s in international relations from the University of London, England, and a bachelor’s in communications from Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C. Canada. She is the author of “Becoming Memorable: The Female Entrepreneur’s Guide to Public Relations” and recently launched her own jewelry collection.
Why did you decide to start a career in public relations?
I truly believe that I was meant for this career path. I’m the person that is hosting parties and events for my friends and family. I enjoy learning about new products, keeping up with new trends and supporting other female entrepreneurs. Watching others succeed is the best part of my job.
When I get the chance to work with a new brand that is so excited about what they are putting out into the world, I truly want to support them and help them grow. A career in public relations was something that complemented my interests and my abilities as a communicator. I believe that you need to be willing to move outside of your comfort zone, if you want to be successful in public relations. I’m always trying something new and innovative, and I’m not afraid to take on a new challenge.
How was your experience studying abroad?
I studied abroad twice: once in Helsinki, Finland, when I was completing my marketing diploma, and then again in London, England, when I was completing my master’s degree in international relations. I encourage anyone considering a study abroad program to go for it, especially if you want to pursue a career working with global brands. It opened new opportunities for me, and I was able to learn how to communicate with different cultures. Surprisingly, I found it easier to concentrate on my studies away from my regular day-to-day activities back home! In my spare time, I would take weekend trips around Europe, and I worked part time to pay for it all.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career was launching Women in PR across North America. Through the organization, I’ve connected with like-minded women in my field, I’ve grown my personal brand as a PR expert, and I’ve been privileged enough to be considered a mentor to many aspiring PR practitioners. I was interviewed about Women in PR at Nasdaq in New York City Times Square, which was my first live video interview.
How do you keep a personal life and work balance?
It’s a challenge, but it was something I had to learn to do once I became a new mom. I have a 2-year-old son, and I try to spend as much time as possible with him. I was three months’ pregnant when I launched Women in PR!
To maximize my productivity, I always make my to-do list at the start of my week so that I have a plan of what I want to accomplish. I set standard working hours, and I work on projects in batches. For example, I will dedicate an entire day to writing press releases and then another day to phone calls and another day to in-person meetings. I don’t answer emails or phone calls between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., as this is my family time after work and daycare. Once my son goes to bed, I’m back at my desk answering emails and planning my projects. I also schedule personal time for myself on my calendar, and I invite my friends to attend networking events so I can mix business with pleasure.
What message do you have for girls who want to pursue a public relations major?
Work on your personal brand and your writing skills! Build your portfolio and always maintain a professional image. Working in public relations is a very visible career, and your reputation is everything. Network with others in your field and learn from each other. Become known for something specific to help you stand out.
What do you think has been your biggest challenge as a woman in the PR industry and how did you overcome it?
I’ve worked in-house for large organizations and as an agency owner. One of the biggest challenges in our industry is the gender pay gap, and this is something that I’ve personally experienced. It’s one of the reasons why I started Women in PR.
I’ve been doing a lot of research about why this is still happening to women in my field, and I believe it has to do with confidence levels of women in the workplace. For me personally, once I launched Women in PR and I surrounded myself with other women that wanted to see me succeed, my confidence increased and so did my salary.
It’s so important to know your worth, build your confidence and go after what you want in your PR career. We have a few programs that we designed to help our members overcome these obstacles, such as the Women in PR Leadership challenge.
What is your advice for PR professionals who would like to start their own agency?
Brand it before you build it. Do not start an agency under your personal name if you want to build it to sell. Find your niche and focus on building a boutique agency with a very specific target audience.
You want to be known for something very specific so that potential clients can find you. For example, my PR agency, Pink Pearl PR, is focused on baby and kids’ products. I also work with women’s fashion and lifestyle brands, but it’s not my primary focus. This allows me to build my media relationships with a specific target audience and serve my PR clients to the best of my abilities. I talk a lot about starting your own business the right way from the beginning on Fempreneur.com! You can register for Fempreneur School, which is a complimentary 60-minute masterclass.
We recently launched an online magazine for Women in PR, which also offers a ton of tips for those wanting to build a PR agency.
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Written by Gloris Trujillo, Co-VP of Diversity and Inclusion