Today’s Notable Young Professional is public relations pro Ryley Murray, whose experience at Edelman allows her to share some great advice for other young professionals about making it in the industry…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m an earned media specialist and an account manager at Edelman PR. I get to come up with new and exciting ways to tell the stories of our clients so that media will want to write about them and consumers will want to hear about them.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I actually started out in PR working at the World Wildlife Fund. While I was there I worked with some amazing people and told some incredible stories to media and realized that the story telling and interaction with media was my favourite part of the job. From there I came to Edelman to really grow those skills and get more of a broader experience working with different types of clients and media. Going from pitching polar bears to peanut butter was a challenge at first but it’s helped me to think creatively and I’ve had some truly amazing career opportunities here at Edelman.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of doing what I do at Edelman is getting to do it with some of the most brilliant marketing minds in the country. I’m always amazed by the calibre of talent I’m surrounded with every day. When work is this exciting and fun, it doesn’t feel like work at all.
The most challenging part is managing client expectations. In PR, you have very little control of how your results turn out compared to the results from other channels of the marketing mix. You can be as prepared as possible, have done everything right, but if there’s a massive disaster the day of your media event, no one is going to show up because there simply aren’t enough news cameras in this city to cover everything that goes on in one day… and there goes your whole plan for coverage. Can you tell this has happened to me before?
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I tend to get irritable when I don’t have enough time to myself. Sometimes all I need to get through a long work week is a yoga class, a night in with a good book or a fun night out with my boyfriend but either way, I know how important it is to ensure you take that time to yourself because in the end, if you’re happy in life, you’ll be a much better person to work with.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I definitely plan on working in PR for the rest of my career – it’s something I’m truly passionate about.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
When managing a team and your program isn’t going as planned (aka, it’s going terribly wrong) it’s very challenging to remember to stay positive but it’s something I’ve learned as a manager that you absolutely have to do. If you’re constantly giving off negative vibes, how is your team going to stay motivated? That said, everyone needs to vent and I’ve been lucky to overcome this challenge by developing great friendships at work and taking time to go to the people I trust with the sole purpose of venting for a few minutes and then getting back to work in a more productive and positive place.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
To me, success in your career looks like being happy to come to work and being proud of the results you create. Money doesn’t equal happiness but it certainly is nice to have some so while I wouldn’t equate the two, I do think its important that you feel valued at your workplace and that often means being compensated fairly for what you do.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The most memorable milestone for me was a project we worked on last June during NXNE called the MiO Squirtcar. In response to a client brief to make news of their title sponsorship of the festival, the team at Edelman came up with this crazy idea to turn a working Queen St. streetcar into an actual venue for the festival. We worked with NXNE and Much to curate some amazing bands that played on the streetcar for all four nights of the music festival. It took a massive team hundreds of hours to pull this thing together. We overcame countless obstacles, conducted media relations until 6am every night, and dealt with issues I never thought I would deal with in my career (How do you order pizza to a moving streetcar? How do you stop artists from falling over when playing on a moving streetcar?) but it was by far the most awe-inspiring program I’ve ever been a part of. We generated media coverage a PR person can only dream of and our clients were thrilled!
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Understand the value of relationships, and make sure you nurture them at every stage of your career.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Brunch will always be my favourite meal to eat out and I’m obsessed with Rose and Sons right now. I just moved to that neighbourhood and this is my new go-to Sunday morning indulgence. Their menu is so unique and I’ve never had anything I didn’t like. Plus, the service is awesome.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
Spending time with my always supportive boyfriend, my amazing group of friends and my wonderful family tops the list for sure. I also love to do yoga, sing, practice my guitar skills (they’re pretty awful right now but I’m working on it!) and unwind in front of some so-bad-its-good reality TV.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I have always loved New York. I remember the first time I ever travelled there – I was 20 and took the China Town bus from a friend’s place in Washington D.C. right into the heart of NYC and even though we were surrounded by craziness, I stepped off that dirty old bus into the city and instantly felt at home. That feeling comes back to me every time I visit the city. I’d like to end up there eventually.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Oh! I love this question – definitely Flawless by Beyonce; the original, not the Nicki Minaj version.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I sing in a rock cover band called #PandaBand and I absolutely love it so I’d like to think that if I wasn’t working in PR, I could be the next Beyonce.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I was actually part of the team that founded an amazing charity called, Scribble Me Silly Art for Kids (SMS). SMS is a charity that brings arts to the lives of children, particularly those living in domestic abuse shelters. This was conceptualized, founded and eventually brought to life by one of my best friends, Isabel Rodriguez and is an incredible charity that does work across several shelters and community centres in Toronto.
What to you is notable?
A brilliant piece of art that moves you; this could be a song, a painting, a brand’s ad or PR campaign (I fully believe that what we as PR people do, when done right, is art) or anything in that realm.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone all the way!