Scripps PRSSA was very excited to welcome two guest speakers, Kerry Tuttle and Theresa Ianni, Monday through a virtual Zoom call!
Kerry Tuttle – Edelman
Kerry Tuttle is an account supervisor on Edelman’s corporate technology team in Chicago. She has worked with high-growth B2B technology organizations, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies, with a focus on media relations and strategy. At Edelman, Kerry has led the media team for the largest global cybersecurity provider’s threat intelligence unit, overseen media strategy for a Fortune 500 company’s digital manufacturing business, helped to launch a multinational energy giant’s connected home business, and led U.S. media outreach for a global IT consulting firm’s research practice. Kerry has built strong relationships at publications that include Axios, CyberScoop, MIT Tech Review, POLITICO and Reuters, among others. Before joining Edelman, Kerry was a senior media relations specialist at Walker Sands Communications where she led media outreach and executive visibility for technology companies in the financial services and cybersecurity industries. She holds a bachelor’s in journalism and public relations from Ohio University.
Theresa Ianni – ServiceNow (as of today)
Theresa Ianni is an Account Supervisor on Edelman’s Integrated Business Marketing team with a background in B2B technology, startups, social media, thought leadership and media relations. Theresa has six years of tech PR experience and has led media relations programs for a variety of enterprise and B2B tech companies, including ServiceNow, Zuora and Adobe. Through her work, she has driven storytelling around AI and technology’s impact on the workplace, the future of work and the gig economy. Prior to joining Edelman, Theresa worked at Walker Sands, a premiere boutique PR agency in Chicago, IL that specializes in B2B technology. There, she worked on marketing/ad tech clients such as Sprout Social, Networked Insights and Yes Lifecycle Marketing. Theresa has driven top-tier media coverage in publications such as Business Insider, Adweek, Fast Company, Digiday, Barron’s and VentureBeat. A Cleveland native, Theresa received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Both experienced in earned media/ media relations, with many types of clients at different agencies. First, they spoke about what makes a good PR professional:
- Loves to read, write and tell stories: drafting pitches, writing bylines, crafting messages
- Does well in a fast-paced environment: managing different accounts, clients and news cycles
- Follows the news: building relationships with reporters and crafting media lists
- Isn’t afraid to think outside the box
- Is a team player who loves organization
- Wants a career that’s fun, challenging and always changing: new clients, subjects, traveling opportunities, new opportunities
Then, they discussed working at an agency:
- Kerry has been at three agencies: First at Launch Squad in San Francisco, then she had a post-grad internship at Walker Sands, then went to Edelman.
- Across agencies, there are a few common things:
- You are always doing something new, so be able to jump from one project to the next. Typically, you’re moving with the speed of the news.
- Multiple clients is standard.
- You are the strategist, even at a young age. This gives you the ability to learn strategy at a young age and build upon strategic visions earlier in your career.
- Continually pushed to “punch above your weight” and able to determine your own growth within the organization.
- An agency is great for learning about new things very quickly, and having access to a variety of people and opportunities you wouldn’t have if otherwise.
- What are my options at an agency?
- Size (large, mid-sized, boutique)
- Specialty (i.e. crisis coms, financial coms, influencer marketing)
Theresa says an agency is a great place to start because you’re able to dip your toes in many different areas. And again, being able to build strategy at a young age is super helpful! On the other hand, if you want to work in a specific industry or hone in on specific areas, working in-house might be a better option for you.
What can I do now?:
- Every job they have gotten has been through a connection.
- Get to know people who work in various industries at various companies doing various roles to get a sense of what you want to do.
- Helps you understand what you would be doing in a role similar to that. What is their day-to-day like? How did you decide in-house or agency? These are all important questions you should ask when networking.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals who have a job similar to one that you want – any OU grad is willing to help you get into contact with someone. Take that first step and you wont regret it .
Read the news! Understand the state of the world, and the media landscape
- What is interesting? What makes for a cool story?
- Choose a variety of sources – consume content you like on a regular basis
- Helps give you an understanding of what people finds interesting/relevant, and being able to pick up on these trends as a PR specialist is important.
Every good story has 3-5 of these. These seven elements will help you approach PR in general
Get smart on the PR/media/communications/marketing trends
- Keep yourself smart on how the media and PR work, as well as trends within the community.
- Columbia Journalism Review
- Nieman Lab
- PR Week
And what about once I’ve got the job/internship?
Be humble. It’s OK and necessary to do grunt work and become aware of the different practices to learn strategy. Set an expectation with yourself where you’re doing the reporting, doing the media listing, then becoming very smart and fast, giving you the ability to move up the path. It allows you to have a strategic mindset now and throughout your career.