By Madeline Hauser
In a world where holding companies seem to be the norm, independent agencies still hold a large share of the PR and advertising market.
Our PR/ad class had the chance to hear about the path to creating an independent company from Kimberly Eberl, CEO and Founder of Motion PR; Nick Kalm, Founder and President of Reputation Partners, and George San Jose, President and Chief Creative Officer of The San Jose Group. The three shared their stories of starting in big name companies and what drove them each to make the move to their own companies.
In the Q&A portion of the presentation, Eberl, Kalm, and San Jose gave the group valuable advice and tips on how to move forward in the business. One of the most interesting parts was Nick Kalm’s “Top Ten Reasons Working At A Small-to-Medium Sized PR Firm Is Better Than Working At A Large PR Firm.” His reasons were:
10) You’re more likely to regularly interact with and learn from your senior colleagues.
9) You’ll almost certainly work on more than one client.
8) You’re less likely to see people promoted just because they’ve been at the firm for a long time.
7) While you will certainly respond to RFPs, they won’t define the vast majority of your new business activities.
6) You will only occasionally have to deal with client procurement folks.
5) You won’t find yourself only meeting your colleagues on your way into a new business pitch — or find yourselves fighting with them over your share of the budget coming out of it.
4) You won’t miss out an earning a bonus because the Kuala Lumpur office failed to make its numbers.
3) You won’t have to spend time and effort convincing New York that you need to hire a Senior Account Executive.
2) You probably won’t get scolded because one of your Assistant Account Executives was “only” 98% billable.
And the #1 reason working in a small-to-medium sized PR firm is better is: When you’re on vacation, out sick, having a baby or attending a funeral, there’s a much better chance the office will leave you alone.
All three speakers gave incredible insight into the world after graduation. The passion in their work was completely undeniable. When asked what their final words/thoughts were, all three chimed in with important real-world advice. George San Jose told the group that, being “trustworthy, a problem-solver, and passionate,” are the most important attributes one can bring to the working environment. Kimberly Eberl told the group not to, “judge a book by it’s cover,” because in independent agencies, “so much can happen from a client and personal standpoint.” Finally, Nick Kalm advised the group to, “listen to yourself, drive yourself, take risks and figure out what is best for you. You are the CEO of you.”
Hearing from these incredible figures in PR and advertising was such an honor. Being able to hear perspectives from all ends of the business is key to being able to identify where one wants to fit in once they are completely immersed into the working world.
A huge thank you to Kimberly, Nick, and George from DePaul University! Hope to see you all very soon!