As a Fresno native who grew up and went to school in Fresno through high school, moving to LA for college was a big, scary leap. Surrounded by the Hollywood lifestyle while attending USC, I dreamed about being a journalist for the stars and being “in” on the latest news and trends.
Thanks to referrals from my sorority (Pi Beta Phi - BOOM BOOM!) I had some incredible experiences working in editorial, first at Cosmopolitan magazine where I supported the West Coast Bureau Editor in booking celebrity features and covers. I was a “Cosmo Girl”, living the cliche lifestyle in LA teamed up with my bestie Julia. We had an unforgettable time working alongside Tracy Shaffer, who we both consider a mentor. We learned from the best in the biz, working with A-List celebrities on everything from cover shoots to events.
My work at Cosmo led me to my next position at People Magazine, where I was a reporter and really got to experience that traditional editorial lifestyle. I was sent to events and reported on everything from movie premieres to “club watch” (yes, that’s exactly what you think it is - documenting the party-going life of our favorite celebs). The opportunity to interview celebrities and up-and-comers was amazing, and I was able to work alongside some very talented editors and reporters. However, I got to the point where I didn’t really care what these people were wearing, who they were dating, who styled their hair, and what diet they were on. I think what they do is great, and People is a stand-up publication (the best weekly mag IMO!), but I didn’t see myself there long term. It was one of those moments, though, where I got a little sad thinking, “I thought this was what I wanted to do with my career: Be a reporter, Editor, maybe even an Editor-In-Chief one day.”
My dreams were a bit shattered, actually. It was at that moment that I pivoted, and once again my mentor and friend Tracy referred me to my role at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where I worked with a publicity team that handled the publicity for Columbia Pictures films. We worked on films like The Social Network, Spider-Man, and every Adam Sandler or Will Smith film that you can think of. If you saw Adam Sandler on The Today Show, or Jennifer Aniston on the cover of a magazine, that was us. That timing was not a coincidence, it was strategic. It was during this time that I fell in love with publicity.
This idea that you could intentionally promote initiatives and create this brand awareness through relationships and thoughtful planning was fascinating to me. It was different than traditional advertising, too. In publicity, you pitch a story to these media outlets about why they should feature your client (or project) and when that would make sense (i.e. surrounding the opening of a film). And with the right story and visuals, you can make magic happen.
I was blessed to work on some Academy Award-winning films at Sony under a SVP, Academy member and mentor of mine, Ileen Reich. Her grit taught me the power of picking up the phone and calling someone (what a concept, right?!), and she showed me the importance of being detail-oriented. I loved working with her and the publicists on our team to tell the story of our films through media.
Now I won’t bore you with my whole resume, but I will say I’m getting to my point...
Essentially I moved back to Fresno unexpectedly (after the loss of my brother), and quickly found there was a shortage of positions available in Fresno that were strictly in publicity. Not media buying, not traditional marketing, not advertising -- PR was what I was looking for. I wanted to use the skills that I learned in LA to work with media to tell our clients’ stories. I wanted to craft a full publicity campaign surrounding the opening of a business, or the launch of a product or service. While I loved (and learned a lot from) the jobs that I had since moving home in 2011, I still felt like I was missing that publicity outlet. I felt like Fresno needed more support in that realm. Hence, the birth of RPM PR.
I started doing publicity work for clients on a freelance basis on my own, and have since grown the company to nine team members (and counting). We’re able to partner with businesses to understand their goals and create thoughtful, timely publicity and social media campaigns to drive their brand awareness and grow their business. That’s PR. That’s public relations. It’s what I LOVE to do.