20 Questions With: Holly Perkins

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Holly Perkins is the 45 year old founder of Holly Perkins Fitness, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, author of Lift to Get Lean, leader of Women’s Strength Nation, and Promax and New Balance ambassador (phew…are you keeping up?). The Los Angeles based fitness professional is an alumni of Pennsylvania State University (B.S. Exercise Physiology) who was lucky enough to land her dream job at a preventative medicine center with a focus on fitness in New York City straight out of college. Fast forward several years and honing in on what actually worked, both for herself and for countless clients (a strategic strength, cardio, and nutrition plan backed by science), and she found herself about 2,500 miles away in California, living her best life as a celebrity fitness trainer and as the founder of her own fitness empire. As a trusted influencer in the women’s fitness space, Holly’s unique “brand,” which is heavily rooted in science, immediately caught the eye of editors at media outlets like Women’s Health, SELF and Redbook, executives at brands like Promax, New Balance and Westin Resorts and Hotels, and fans across the nation. And for good reason! Her track record of changing bodies and lives spans 20+ years. Her approach to fitness is refreshing (yes, you can eat carbs!), achievable (yes, you can have abs!), and best of all, sustainable for a lifetime. Holly is a natural born hustler (#alldayerrday), crazy intuitive, down to Earth, and a wealth of knowledge in more arenas than we can even begin to count. Plus she’s about one of the most real people we’ve ever met (can we get an amen to that?!). From sharing the moment she felt like she hit a groove in her career and the character trait vital to success in her line of work to her favorite hashtag (it’s a good one!), we’ve charged Holly with 20 of our favorite questions.

1. What was your first job out of college?
My first job out of college was my DREAM job! I was coming out with a science-based degree in fitness. At the time, there weren’t many real jobs that required my skill set. Thankfully, La Palestra Centre for Preventative Medicine had just opened in New York City and they needed someone with my exact qualifications. It is a truly unique fitness-focused center that unites medical screenings into a system that proves fitness can radically change your health and longevity.

2. When you were in college, what did you think you’d be doing today?
In college my mentor said that if I wanted a career in fitness, I should be prepared to be broke. He also said that if I planned to work with people, I should probably get a psychology degree instead of exercise physiology! I had absolutely no idea how I was going to navigate the world, or what kind of “job” I would find. All I knew is that I was obsessed with health and fitness, and that it would be my life in some form or another.

3. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of career advice I received was to under promise and over deliver. While Joseph Campbell didn’t hand down his “career advice” directly to me, I have always been particularly inspired by “following my bliss.” I know, without a doubt, that the reason I have an incredible career today is because I always trudged on because I was deeply passionate about health and fitness. I followed my bliss and it paid off.

4. Can you recall the moment you felt like you hit a groove in your career?
I received a call one day from a colleague at Exercise TV. At the time, they had a partnership with New Balance and were producing exercise videos. I had worked with Exercise TV for a while and knew them well. My friend called to say that New Balance had just selected me as their one-and-only Fitness Ambassador. I said: “Oh great; what do they want me to do for them for free?” because I had grown so used to being asked to do things for free. Turns out, the gig was legit and I would actually be compensated with real money! I said to myself: “Ahhhh, finally….I’ve finally arrived…”

5. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
Each day begins with a cup of very strong Japanese green tea and a meditation/prayer practice. I find that my days are near bliss when I start them this way.

6. What’s one thing you do daily to stay organized?
I keep my office, house and desk super organized. An orderly environment tends to instill peace and calm inside of me. Feeling organized on the outside seems to translate into organized work. I also keep many hand-written lists.

7. How do you sign off emails?
“In strength,”

8. What’s the one character trait that’s vital for success in what you do?
I believe that optimism and positivity is really important in health and fitness. It’s so easy for people to feel defeated in regards to their health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness level. I’ve always believed that being a cheerleader inspires people. I’m truly enthusiastic about what I do; and I believe that makes for a great trait in working with people.

9. Can you share a career goal for 2017?
My next big career goal is to finish my second book and have it be a NYT Bestseller. Lofty goals…I know.

10. What’s your favorite magazine?
Oh gosh! That’s so hard! I love all of the women’s fitness magazines!!! If I HAD to choose one it would be Women’s Health. They are truly committed to reporting fact-based stories and speaking the truth always.

11. Do you have a can’t-live-without beauty product?
I cannot live without eye cream. I have super dry, crêpe-y eyes and see a huge difference when I’m religious with my eye cream!

12. What’s your go-to cocktail?
I love a good gimlet. But I’ll always be partial to IPA’s.

13. Do you have a wardrobe staple?
New Balance sneakers. For sure.

14. Do you have a spirit animal?
Beyoncé is my spirit animal.

15. Do you collect anything?
I collect people. I truly love people and find myself with friends who are all so different. I love how unique each person is, and find the nuances of personality so fun.

16. How do you stay healthy?
I stay healthy with eating well and yoga. I stay fit with strength training and strategic cardio!

17. What’s the best hashtag of all time?
#SmokeShow!!!!! I guess some people haven’t seen this one, but I love it! To me it represents the smokin’ hot babe inside of each of us. Even if I don’t look like a #SmokeShow, I like the feeing of being one.

18. What’s your decorating style?
I have conflicting styles and sometimes they work together. I’m drawn to Indian and Balinese décor, and anything from Z Gallerie. Total conflict. My bedroom is a bit Z Gallerie and my living room is mostly Eastern cultures.

19. What do you eat for breakfast most days?
Gahhhhhhh, my Protein Perfect Breakfast Cake!!!! I just perfected a banana chocolate chip version that is my favorite!!!! It’s the perfect balance of protein, healthy carbs, and fat. Gluten free, sugar free and deeeeelish.

20. If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Shades of orange! Anything that feels like fire. Love.

My History With Self-Care and How I Make It A Priority Now

Self-care. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about it, read about it, or talk about it with a girlfriend (likely attached to yet another conversation on work/life balance). It’s a buzzword of sorts. But unlike the buzzwords you hear in your weekly sales meeting, I believe this one carries some significant weight for everyone, especially when it comes to the working world.

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I come from a family of workaholics, so it’s no surprise that the “glamour” of being one was passed down to me. Even when I was just started out, I prided myself on clocking in early and working well into the night. I lived and breathed by my Blackberry (that blinking light!). I had an innate sense of pride when turning down social invitations, offering up, “I’m so busy with work.” But then I burned out.

I suddenly wasn’t feeling like myself. I no longer enjoyed the work I loved so much. I couldn’t sleep. My endless creativity vanished, and I struggled with basic tasks like composing an email. I constantly struggled to remember things (and where I put things). I couldn’t seem to find the right words to complete my inarticulate sentences. I was irritable. All I wanted to eat were foods that typically fell into my “on occasion” list. I found myself sick more than normal. My skin was dry and my hair was frizzy (ok, a whole different level of frizz than my normal). Did I mention that I was irritable as all get out?

I was stuck. I knew that the demands of my job weren’t going away anytime soon. I wanted to change, and to feel better, but didn’t know where to start.

You’re probably expecting to hear that I discovered the powers of self-care at the tender young age of 22. But unfortunately this particular chapter in my story didn’t end that way. I ended up pushing through, pulling myself up by the bootstraps and priding myself on my strength and resilience. I stayed on that vicious hamster wheel of a cycle. Burnout, keep going, burnout, keep going…

Fast forward 12 years, and I no longer can power through a burnout. Blame it on age, stress management, running a business while trying to live a rich life, three dogs, or my super sad adrenal glands, whom I’ve put through the wringer for too long. Self-care is now an important, daily part of my life. From all out escapes to the day spa (yes, please) to carving out 10 minutes to meditate, I now rely on a handful of surefire tactics to help keep me feeling my best (and healthy), looking my best (and healthy), and performing my best (and healthy!).

-Meditating
-Exercising
-Applying a facial mask
-Napping or sleeping in on the weekends
-Dry brushing
-Taking a bath
-Getting a massage or facial
-Saying ‘no’
-Painting my nails
-Taking a day off from work

If you’re new to self-care, I hope my practices help inspire you. And if you’re a veteran to the self-care game, I’d love to hear what you do! Comment with your favorite ways to care for your mind, body and soul.

Allyson roundBe well,
Allyson

Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr

Our Favorite Interview Questions

In my role at ACPR, I’m responsible for interviewing applicants for our internship program. And after meeting with many students over the years, I’ve learned a lot, about people, the process, and even, myself!

The interview process is critical as it give the interviewer a better understanding of the interviewee, a sort of glimpse beyond the resume. Sure, an applicant can appear perfect on paper, but after meeting them, you may learn that they’re not the perfect fit (and vice-versa). Interviewing gives the interviewee the opportunity to speak to the past skills they’ve developed that would benefit the company if they were hired. It also gives the interviewee the chance to speak to their attitude, work ethic and overall personality (which often times carry more weight than actual skills!). But it’s not just about the quantity of questions the interviewer asks. In my opinion it’s about the quality of the questions! And when interviewing prospective interns, I have a few go-tos. These are questions that help me gain an understanding of their background and skills, what fuels them both professionally and personally, what they’re passionate about, and how they see themselves fitting in and contributing to ACPR. If you’re in the market for a new job, or even interested in applying for our internship program, I’m giving you some insider’s information on what you’ll be asked!

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Why do you want to work at ACPR?
Doing your research before a job interview is key to coming off as diligent and interested. It’s your job to know what sets the company apart from others. Be prepared to tell the interviewer why that makes you want to work there! This question also lets the interviewer know that you’re not desperately applying to every job you come across. It says you’re strategically applying to jobs you think you would enjoy and be a good fit for.

Explain a time when you received negative feedback and how you handled it.
All of us fail, mess up and fall short at some point or another. Your interviewer wants to see that you’re able to be honest about a time when you received negative feedback. They also want to know you’re going to handle future negative feedback with grace. To me, this means acknowledging that your work wasn’t up to par, thanking the person for their feedback and telling them what you’re going to do differently in order to improve next time. And then of course, there’s the most important part: improve for next time!

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
Your interviewer can see it crystal clearly. You’ve included all of your most important accolades on your resume. But a resume doesn’t represent who you are and your past experiences in their entirety. What’s something interesting and wow-worthy that would give them a glimpse into your life past your resume? Maybe you’ve hiked half of the fourteeners in Colorado, maybe you won a contest or award in high school you’re proud of, or maybe you’ve overcome some sort of challenge to get where you are today. Whatever it is, if you’re proud of it, it’s worth sharing!

Casey roundHappy interviewing!
Casey

Photo courtesy of Cassie Rosch, Photographer

We’re Hiring: Senior Public Relations Coordinator

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 1.03.26 PMACPR is hiring! We’re seeking a savvy professional to join our Fort Collins, Colorado team as a Senior Public Relations Coordinator.

This position will report directly to the Founder & Principal, and will act as her right hand and trusted go-to. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or another relevant area with a minimum of 1-2 years of post-graduate public relations experience, either at an agency or in-house. Ideal candidates will have a solid understanding of public relations (with an emphasis in media relations), a handful of media contacts (and a commitment to growing their editor relationships), proven track record of assisting in press hits, and a basic understanding of how to market beauty, home and lifestyle brands.

This is a full time, salaried position that includes benefits including: paid time off, paid company holidays, holiday bonus, 50% health, dental and vision insurance, mobile phone stipend, fitness stipend, annual enrichment trip and conference, regular team building activities, and employee meals.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Administrative:
• Support Founder & Principal with day-to-day requests
• Achieve monthly objectives set by Founder & Principal
• Update and maintain all company lists: media tracking, press coverage, monthly pitches, monthly focuses, etc.
• Contribute to the ACPR blog
• Other writing projects as assigned
• Assist Founder & Principal with monthly status reports
• Assist in managing company interns
• Suggest and participate in activities to grow company exposure
• Identify new business opportunities

Client Relations:
• Develop strong relationships with clients
• Act as backup to Founder & Principal as point-of-contact for clients
• Attend in-person meetings with clients when appropriate

Media Relations:
• Develop strong relationships with media
• Assist in the creation of PR Plans
• Identify, pitch and follow up with media
• Create and distribute high impact and creative media email blasts
• Secure press hits: long lead, short lead, broadcast, awards, etc.
• Write press materials (fact sheets, bios, press releases, media alerts, pitch letters, etc.)
• Schedule media visits and appointments
• Fulfillment of client product mailings
• Identify other client exposure opportunities: sponsored posts, gifting, trade shows, events, etc.
• Attend in-person meetings with media when appropriate

Basic job requirements:
• Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or a related area
• 1-2 years of post-graduate public relations experience, either at an agency or in-house setting
• Have existing media contacts, and a commitment to building a fat rolodex of contacts
• Demonstrate knowledge of how to land press hits, and maybe even have a few existing hits to share
• Be an excellent communicator—verbal, written and beyond—with a strong understanding of both the AP and creative writing styles
• Be a strategic thinker with endless amounts of creativity
• Be a self starter and multi-tasking master that’s highly organized, have the initiative to start and maintain projects, and be willing to go above and beyond the job description
• Be a pop culture junkie and know what’s hot in the press and to consumers
• Be passionate about the beauty, home and lifestyle categories
• Proficient in Microsoft Office programs, Cision, InDesign and WordPress

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All qualified candidates should send their resumes and a short description explaining why they want to work for ACPR to: allyson@allysonconklinpr.com. This position is open to local candidates only. No phone calls, please.

Photo courtesy of @helloACPR

Emma’s 4 Tips For Starting a New Job

Starting a new job can be scary for anyone. There are so many things that can go wrong that first week! When starting something new, the trick is to take those feelings of fear and uncertainty and use them as fuel (Bobby Boucher aka: Adam Sandler in ‘The Waterboy,’ would call this “tackling fuel”). This driving force can lead to a wealth of untapped potential. My four simple tips will help you tackle your first week.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 11.00.33 AMMake a great first impression.
We’ve all heard the saying, “first impressions are everything.” Well, in the case of starting a new job, the first impression can make or break your first week experience. One of the best ways to ensure a favorable impression on your new boss and fellow employees is to have a positive attitude. Your passion and enthusiasm for your new position can infect those around you and make the entire environment more productive. Show your new comrades you are a safe bet when looking for collaboration and teamwork. Who doesn’t want to work with someone who brings enthusiasm to the table?

Ask questions and ask for help.
Usually, the first week is meant for orientation. This is the first (and sometimes the only) time someone will work hands-on with you. Show them you are paying attention by asking questions about procedures, company policies, filing protocols, etc. Communication is the key to any relationship, especially a work relationship. Start your position right by opening strong communication lines with your supervisors and colleagues right off the bat.

Take initiative. 
In the beginning, tasks will be assigned few and far between to allow for adjustment. It is during this period where your time management and organizational skills can shine through. Be proactive with your assignments and get them done in a timely manor, and with some gusto. A little competition in the workplace can be constructive to productivity. Show your co-workers you can take the initiative necessary for success. Don’t wait for assignments to come to you, be a go-getter.

Set goals.
Jobs are a time for new growth. They allow the opportunity to develop as professionals and as an individual. By setting goals, you will be able to track your progress and gain the appropriate skills and experiences necessary for furthering your career. What you would like to gain from this job? What impression do you want to leave on your boss and team? What skills do you hope to gain? What professional characteristics would you like to develop? Goal setting is the perfect way to ensure a successful week that will translate into a successful career within the position.

Go out and show your boss how much of a #boss you can be.

Emma roundGood luck!
Emma

Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr

20 Questions With: AJ Cosgrove

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AJ Cosgrove is the 50 year old Director of Sales & Marketing at Barbara Cosgrove. The Kansas City based executive is an alumni of Ohio University (B.S. Communications) who started her dynamic career in media (think film, music video and commercials) in Los Angeles. After a decade in the business, she was presented with the unique opportunity of running sales and marketing for Barbara Cosgrove, a fine lighting and home accessories manufacturer, and one that just so happened to be her husband’s family’s business! Naturally, she said yes. And since then she’s been responsible for the sales, marketing, public relations, market strategy and positioning, strategic partnerships, and general brand management of the business (yes, she’s a busy woman!). AJ is well-connected, witty, a hard-working #MomBoss, and best of all, a total treat to know (and someone you definitely want in your corner). From sharing what she thought she’d be doing today when she was in college to how she stays healthy, we’ve charged AJ with 20 of our favorite questions. 

1. What was your first job out of college?
I was a sales associate at a high-end shoe boutique on Michigan Avenue called Charles Jourdan. They were the original designer pumps for ladies. This was unknowingly my entree into luxury sales. My shoe collection was killer!

2. When you were in college, what did you think you’d be doing today?
I thought I would be a news anchor or working as a news producer. I was a child of the 80’s, so Diane Sawyer and Holly Hunter in Broadcast News were the “it” careers.

3. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
“It’s who you know.” I say that to be cheeky because I used to live in LA…but Barbara Cosgrove is my mother-in-law. On a serious note, I love, “play to your strengths.” It is very productive advice, and I use it often.

4. Can you recall the moment you felt like you hit a groove in your career?
I just hit it! With age comes a great sense of confidence.

5. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
Check my e-mails.

6. What’s one thing you do daily to stay organized?
Consult my old-school paper day planner, then check my e-mails.

7. How do you sign off emails?
Short n’ sweet, with a heartfelt, “Best, AJ”

8. What’s the one character trait that’s vital for success in what you do?
I believe it is vital to be authentic. If you are true to yourself and love what you do, it resonates. Great product is also a silver bullet for success.

9. Can you share a career goal for 2017?
My goal is always to expand and elevate the brand. Each year I start by identifying new retailers, designers, editors, or places where there may be growth opportunities and then I work toward those relationships. The people in the home decor industry are lovely (and super fun), so it has been a rewarding journey and I have made many amazing friends along the way.

10. What’s your favorite magazine?
I love all of the shelter publications and browse them for work, but when I want to escape it’s W magazine. I love the oversized format, the photography and the edgy editorial. My mother always had a subscription to W when I was growing-up, so it is near and dear to my heart.

11. Do you have a can’t-live-without beauty product?
Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream.

12. What’s your go-to cocktail?
Red wine. I’ve found myself recently gravitating towards blends and Pinot Noirs from the Russian River Valley.

13. Do you have a wardrobe staple?
Jeans. I live in denim.

14. Do you have a spirit animal?
Dogs. I love their happy-go-lucky, loyal spirit.

15. Do you collect anything?
I collect 70’s Dansk pieces. I love their mid-century vibe. I started with some really cool cutting boards and serving pieces from a local antiques mall and my obsession grew from there. I was recently gifted some pieces, wonderful enamel bowls and a set of big white salt and pepper shakers, by a dear family friend, which makes them that much more special.

16. How do you stay healthy?
A positive mental attitude is essential. Plus plenty of sleep, daily vitamins, a little kickboxing when I can.

17. What’s the best hashtag of all time?
My new favorite is #ladyboss. My other favorite is #barbaracosgrovelamps.

18. What’s your decorating style?
I call it “beg, borrow & steal.” My home is filled with things that I have collected over the years, and everything has a story about how I acquired it. Much of the art in our home is Barbara’s work from grad school that she allowed us to take out of her basement when we moved to Kansas City. I, of course, have many gently used lamps from the warehouse (I serve as the Barbara Cosgrove lamp archivist). I have traded friends in the industry lamps for furniture, rugs and more art (a diptych of Anne Austin Pearce’s work is a prized possession). I inherited beautiful carved tassel chairs from an estate sale when Barbara built her lake house. I love every piece—or it does not come home! That is my rule.

19. What do you eat for breakfast most days?
Coffee if I am lucky.

20. Favorite Pandora or Spotify station to listen while working?
I am all about my iTunes library. It has a diverse mix of The Beatles, The Who, Marvin Gaye, Amy Winehouse, and Joni Mitchell. All I have to do is hit shuffle. I absolutely love The National and am currently grooving to the new Solange Knowles.