Bringing Clients Together For Cause and Effect
This past Sunday, May 31, I brought two of my clients together to work on a project that would benefit thousands. Both clients, WITI (Women In Technology International) and GiveLove, are non-profits and have nothing in common. Of course they do in one basic way — they want to improve the lives of others and make our world a better place with their services. WITI focuses on empowering, inspiring, and supporting women in technology with services and an amazing support system while GiveLove, which is co-founded by actor and humanitarian Patricia Arquette, is changing the way eco-sanitation programs work and can work on a worldwide basis.
My reason for writing this post is to show others how public relations is not only about pitching a story to the press. I had a talk with a good friend of mine the other day with whom I worked with at HP for many years. I was down. I felt like I was not reaching anyone in the press and that I was failing. We talked about how PR has changed so much and how it is a career that can leave you feeling very isolated and not heard or seen. There literally is no one at the other end of the email, the phone, or the social media platform you choose to reach out on. I know the life of a press person has changed drastically too due to social media. They are working more hours with less staff. They get thousands of pitches a day and have to decide which news pieces are going to get the most eyeballs, sales for their trades, and customers. We no longer get to team up as often to work on a story together in order to reach the right audiences with the right message. Those days are gone.
As a consultant working alone, isolation is already a key issue. But my friend and I agreed that PR is still about connection and relationship and that our work is about being a conduit. When I heard my friend state this I lit up inside. I realized that I have a Purpose. Here I am branding myself as an entrepreneur who is creating a new category called Purpose Relations when I myself am searching for my Purpose, my calling that lights up my soul.
So, back to the conduit part. This weekend WITI held its 21st Annual Summit. Every year at this event the organization pulls together an amazing group of members, non members, speakers, sponsors, and partners to reiterate that women in technology are a vital part of the well-being of others and our planet. They have purpose and they need to know this, especially now that we hear daily how women are leaving tech in droves. So, as the conduit, I worked with Patricia Arquette and got her to agree to be the lead keynote speaker at the WITI event on the opening night. I explained that the WITI attendees need to be inspired by someone outside of the tech field and hear how there are others who are in male dominated fields and that yes, they also do not get paid equally. So Patricia Arquette was a no brainer to have as a keynote speaker was a perfect fit for the WITI audience.
Sure, having Arquette’s name added to the bill of speakers helped WITI get some more attendees and more press. But this was not the point of bringing the two organizations together. The goal was to empower the audience at the event, women in technology from around the world, women and men who feel that they are not seen and appreciated at their jobs, and the general public that needs to be more aware of the fact that women are getting paid 76 cents to the dollar that men are getting paid. We have an issue here that is affecting the way our country is innovating and how people feel about their lives and their jobs. Employee retention is at an all time low and according to the latest Gallup Poll where 88% of employees “hate” their jobs.
Bringing the two organizations together was a success. Arquette got a standing ovation after her speech and mingled at the cocktail reception after her talk. The women and men at the event felt a lift, some light, and some hope. WITI was able to again provide a safe and supportive haven for its members. And most importantly, attendees were beginning to build their tribes and leaders were coming out of the woodwork. Facing the issue of unequal pay and treatment for women in tech is going to mean that women need to empower and support one another. They need to remind one another that they have purpose and they have possibility.
Today, as I watch all of the news coverage from the event I feel good about the job I did and have. I once again realize that I am not only a press release writer. I am a story teller, a conduit, a connector, and someone who wants people to see that they have a purpose. So if it means wearing a PR hat to play these roles I will keep on moving forward to give back with my experience and my heart.
We are all born with a Purpose and I believe that Be Cause PR was established in my mind and heart because I knew that PR was about connecting people together for a purpose — for cause and effect. Welcome to the world of Purpose Relations.