20 Questions With: Mandy Kellogg Rye

Mandy Kellogg Rye is the 37 year old founder and creative director of Waiting On Martha, the blog and e-commerce store dedicated to creating a beautiful everyday. The Atlanta based creative is an alumni of Bradley University (B.A. Political Science & Speech Communications) who was on the fast track to becoming an attorney before fate took over and altered the course of her life forever. After packing up her life and moving from Chicago to Atlanta with her husband Anthony and darling pup, Addison, she found herself without a way to connect with her friends and family back home. So she started a blog. And it took off. It’s not hard to see why. Mandy is one of the most talented women we know (and we should know, as Mandy was a client of ACPR for almost five years!) and her take on everyday living, from recipes and entertaining to home decorating and personal style, resonated deeply with her readers. But her readers wanted more. So Mandy opened the Waiting On Martha e-commerce store, which quickly gained a reputation for the “it” place to find unique home and gift items online. And just this year, after several successful years of business, Mandy made her dream of opening a brick & mortar store a reality after opening Waiting On Martha Home in The Vinings Jubilee. Mandy is the definition of #girlboss, a fearless entrepreneur who’s driven, tenacious, strong, and inclusive. We love her for her style, her sense of humor, her love for animals, and her realness, amongst a million other reasons. From sharing the best piece of career advice she’s received and the character trait that is vital to success in her field to how she stays grounded, we’ve tasked Mandy with 20 of our favorite questions.

1. What was your first job out of college?
After college I went to law school and worked part time as an administrative assistant at a commercial real estate firm.

2. When you were in college, what did you think you’d be doing today?
I thought I’d be a lawyer.

3. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end. I really believe comparison is the absolute worst, most toxic thing you can do for yourself and your business.

4. Can you recall the moment you felt like you hit a groove in your career?
There have been many moments, but what my groove actually looks like is constantly evolving and growing as my business and the people in my business grow and evolve. Currently I feel like I’m on the edge of a great groove; lots of change is in the wind.

5. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
Physically write out my to do list. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as physically checking off a box.

6. What’s one thing you do daily to stay organized?
If I’m being honest organization is something I’m working on. However, recently I implemented a project management system called Asana which has been a game changer; especially since all of my team works remotely.

7. How do you sign off emails?
Truly, MKR

8. What’s the one character trait that’s vital for success in what you do?
Hard work. You can be beyond connected, savvy, and smart, but if you don’t have a great work ethic behind all that you do you won’t last as an entrepreneur.

9. Can you share a career goal for 2017?
Open my flagship brick and mortar and work on a long term WOM plan. I’ve checked off the brick and mortar, but am still working on the long term planning part.

10. What’s your favorite magazine?
House Beautiful and Bake From Scratch

11. Do you have a can’t-live-without beauty product?
One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme

12. What’s your go-to cocktail?
I don’t really cocktail, as I’m much more of a wine person. But I do love a good Aperol Spritz.

13. Do you have a wardrobe staple?
Men’s button down shirts, cashmere sweaters, and smoking slippers.

14. Do you have a spirit animal?
Strangely, no.

15. Do you collect anything?
Matchboxes, shells, crystals, and hotel key cards.

16. How do you stay healthy?
I try to eat clean most of the time focusing on organic, local, and seasonal foods. I’m also a big juice fan. On Sundays I detox my body with detox tea and activated charcoal pills. When it comes to staying active I love tennis, pilates, and I have a Peloton bike at home that allows me to stay accountable with my fitness. There’s no excuse not to hop on the bike for at least 20 minutes. Most importantly, I make time for my morning ritual of meditation, thoughtful prayer, gratitude, and intention setting.

17. What’s the best hashtag of all time?
#itsfiveoclocksomewhere

18. What’s your decorating style?
Traditional with plenty of pops of color and pattern. 

19. What do you eat for breakfast most days?
Coffee!

20. How do you stay grounded?
My family, but my age also helps. In this business it’s nice to genuinely know that much of it isn’t as perfect as it seems. I think if I had started in my 20s rather than my 30s I would have gotten way too caught up in the comparison game.

What We’re Reading – Week of September 11, 2017

These Expressions Make You Sound Like You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About on Fast Company

Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate on Harvard Business Review

Desk Stretches to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Tension on POPSUGAR

What to Add to Your Smoothie for Flawless Skin on The Everygirl

7 Professional Email Dos and Don’ts You Should Know by Now on Brit + Co

How to Break Into the PR Industry Straight Out of School

Graduating from college is daunting enough, but the added stress of trying to land your dream job in PR can leave you feeling overwhelmed. But don’t lose hope. You can break into the PR industry and keep your sanity during the job search! How do I know? I just did it (I just graduated from The University of Texas at Austin and am ACPR’s new Public Relations Assistant). Here’s how I did it.

Network 
It’s never too early (or too late) to start networking. While there are more classic approaches like happy hours, talking to guest speakers after class or joining PR organizations, these methods can be intimidating. Networking can be as simple as emailing or sending a message on LinkedIn to someone who inspires you. However you choose to network, make sure that you are making real connections by asking them questions about themselves and the industry.

Research
You will love yourself later if you do your research as far ahead of time as possible. Start a list of companies you love and add to it over time. Before you contact any companies, explore their website for job openings and unique aspects you like. When you do reach out, mention any relevant job openings and your favorite aspect of the company. It can be anything from a cool event they did, a client you admire, or a goofy photo of the team on Instagram. Allyson’s note: This is exactly why I interviewed Caitlin. She mentioned one of our clients when she applied. And she had a pretty resume, but that’s a given.  

Be professional
Professionalism goes a long way, especially when you are trying to find a job. Having an online and hard copy of your portfolio can get you brownie points and set you apart from other candidates. It can include school projects, work from past internships and writing samples. For the actual interview,  show up early and carry your resume and portfolio in a professional portfolio case.

So get out there, be confident and kick ass!

Cheers,
Cait

Caitlin Topham is the ACPR Public Relations Assistant. A recent transplant from Austin, you can likely find her planning her next jaunt to London, binge-watching whatever Real Housewives season is on, enjoying live music, or indulging in her macaron and champagne obsession. 

What We’re Reading – Week of September 4, 2017

These Are The Only Circumstances When You Should Leave A Job Out Of Your Resume on Fast Company

Infographic: 5 Ways Brands Can Turn Instagram Audiences Into Content Heroes on PR News

Working Hard Versus Working Smart, And Why You Need to Know The Difference on Bustle

How To Become the CEO of Your Own Health on Ms. Career Girl

You’ve Been Making Your Bed All Wrong! Here’s What You Should Be Doing on POPSUGAR

What We’re Reading – Week of August 28, 2017

What KFC’s Goofy VR Escape Room Taught Me About the Power of Storytelling in Communication on Entrepreneur

Hyphens, PB&J and More: A Back-to-School AP Style Guide on PR Daily

The 7 Most Common Mistakes Women Make When Looking for a New Job on Marie Claire @ Work

7 Things to Know If You’re Scared of Getting Fired on Man Repeller

The Perfect Party Guest: Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere on Rue

How to Stay Organized When You Work in PR

While working in public relations can seem glamorous, the reality is that between deadlines, daily tasks, and emails from clients and editors that pop-up at all moments of the day, it can seem like a mountain of details to stay on top of. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly reinventing my organization routine as I encounter hiccups in my current methods and as I grow more into my position here at ACPR! If you have an overflowing inbox, sticky notes littering your desk or are just working on improving your organization, see below from some tips I’ve learned on my own journey to #organizationstation.

Write everything down. 
I am guilty of thinking I’m on top of everything, only to be asked about project that totally slipped my mind. First off, own your mistake, but examine how exactly the project worked its way through your grasp. You’re a competent, hardworking PR girl. You wouldn’t just let a project slip off! I write everything down (and I mean, everything). While it’s useful to keep track of feedback and my daily tasks, it was more of a brain dump in a notebook with no useful way to track long-term projects. So while this is still my best way to note feedback, I adopted a planner for everything else. Which leads me to my next point.

Invest in a quality planner. 
Outlining your day by hour and then your to-do list makes a world of a difference. It just so happens that we represent Day Designer, the quintessential organization tool that has a cult-like following (which I am definitely a part of). Having used their planners in college, I thought my lifestyle would demand a different organizational method once I was out of school. With sections to outline your schedule, to-dos, gratitude, and more, I have again reached for this planner that will let me outline my day, week, and month (my favorite cover is Jungle Out There). Whatever it is you need in a planner, find something that lets you write down everything you need to accomplish in a way that makes sense to you. Once your head is cleared of your to-dos and in your trusty planner, you can then focus on crushing your list for the day!

Own your inbox. 
Frankly, I’m not sure how Allyson does it (considering she gets hundreds of emails per day), because staying on top of my email is trickier than I had ever imagined. I had never paid attention to the features that different mailboxes offer when I was in school, but today I am obsessed with the flag feature. It’s an easy way to color code emails so you can know where projects stand, if they warrant a response from you or if you’re awaiting a response from someone else. Whatever features your mailbox might have, don’t discount the tools available to help you comb through everything. Another rule of thumb to use is to look through your emails both at the end and beginning of your day. You’d be surprised what you might have missed when you’re looking at your inbox with fresh eyes!

Staying organized isn’t easy, but it pays off tenfold in regards to owning your job, not feeling overwhelmed, and building a rapport with your team that you have major follow-through on all your projects. Don’t be afraid to try new methods or evolve your current ones to best stay on top of it all!

#NailedIt,
Kelly

Kelly Tafoya is the ACPR Public Relations Coordinator. A Fort Collins native, she has a penchant for shoes, obsession with swans and a serious case of wanderlust.

Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr

PR Lessons I Learned Learned During My Internship

My internship with ACPR is coming to an end (sad face), and I thought I would share some of the most important knowledge I have acquired during my four months here. I’m going to dedicate this farewell post to giving the low-down on a few things about PR you might not initially think of, but that are actually huge concepts in the industry. Check out a few of the big takeaways I have learned (thanks, Allyson and Kelly!) about PR during my internship.

Build relationships.
When Allyson interviewed me for this internship, she asked me to define what I thought PR was. I instantly mentioned how I thought it was all about building relationships, because it was something I had heard so often in class. I may have known that was a good answer, but I don’t think I truly knew what that concept meant at the time. Throughout my internship I learned that building relationships really is everything when it comes to PR. Building relationships means having strong, positive relationships when it comes to clients, journalists, and even your peers. This can mean anything from providing advice to a client, or congratulating a journalist when you see they’ve gotten a promotion, complimenting them on a story they just wrote, or sending them a handwritten thank you note when they do end up writing about your clients. I now think building relationships is not just solely about being friendly with the main intention of getting press hits or publications, it’s the idea that creating a genuine, everlasting impression on someone will ultimately lead to great things, and secure more success for the future.

Pay attention to details.
Paying attention to detail can be so easy to look over, but it’s huge in PR. We are in the business of making things look perfect, aren’t we? So it’s pretty ironic when mistakes like typos, grammatical errors, or small, careless mistakes happen. It’s these little mistakes that can ruin your hard work on a project and tarnish your credibility. Don’t let that happen! Always take the extra time to make sure your finished project is perfect before you ever publish content or send something your bosses way. If this is something you struggle with, try reading your work out loud to yourself to catch grammatical errors, or even have a coworker browse through your product to point out any flaws you may have overlooked.

Focus on “The Big Picture.”
I heard this term very frequently during my internship! There’s all kinds of different little pieces that contribute to the cohesive whole of a successful project in PR. Think the cliche, ‘it takes a village.’ A lot of times as the intern, your job is to make sure the little parts, or the beginning stages, are perfect for review or expansion to ultimately lead to an end success point. It may seem like this part isn’t the most important, but it’s crucial that you think strategically and make your contribution flawless, so the rest of the project will make sense and your coworkers won’t have to go back and do your job for you. It’s when you start perfecting these little contributions that you’ll see a big pay off and ultimately impress your peers and prove yourself.

Mic drop,
Colette

Colette Wray is the ACPR Summer 2017 Public Relations Intern. An Amarillo, Texas native, she’ll be entering her senior year of college at Colorado State University this fall where she studies Journalism & Media Communications with a focus on Public Relations, and minors in English. Colette loves dogs, the color pink, and carbs.

Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr

20 Questions With: Krista Parry and Lindsay Stephenson

Krista Parry and Lindsay Stephenson are the 38 and 40 year old (respectively) sisters and founders of SisterUp, the organization that empowers women to start and run their own business, making money doing what they love. Krista, based in Salt Lake City, and Lindsay, based in Los Angeles, are both alumni of Utah State University (B.A. Communications) who know a thing or two about making big things happen in their careers. Krista was tapped by Park City Mountain Resort at just 23 to run their marketing program, which she did for 15 years, climbing the corporate ladder all the way to Senior VP of Media and Partnerships in a male-dominated industry. Lindsay has led many lives in the media and communications worlds, including working in public relations in New York City, owning her own boutique PR agency, spending time overseas, and producing three Hollywood films. (Are you keeping up?) After experiencing their own epiphanies and diving headfirst into what would make them happiest when it came to their work, they left their comfortable careers behind to set forth on an entrepreneurship adventure together. And we are so glad they did. Earlier this year they launched SisterUp as a way to combine their successes in business to empower, enrich, and support women. SisterUp offers online programs, one-on-one coaching, and workshops to help women find that business or side hustle idea, then guide them through the steps in order to find success (through finances, marketing, customer service, legal, and so much more). Krista and Lindsay are thoughtful entrepreneurs, crazy intuitive, and strategic as hell #MomBosses (Krista has two boys and Lindsay has three girls) that consider themselves champions for all women in the workforce. They put the ‘hustle’ in hustle (get it?!). From sharing their first jobs out of college and the moments they felt like they hit a groove in their careers to how they stay healthy, we’ve charged Krista and Lindsay with 20 of our favorite questions.

1. What was your first job out of college?
Krista: I actually was still in college when I was asked to travel as the spokesperson for the 2002 Winter Olympics. I will always remember the day, September 12, 2001, when I went up to talk to the Dean of my department, to tell him that I was withdrawing from my senior year. It was an incredible opportunity and one that set the tone for my career.

Lindsay: I graduated from college in Utah and because my boyfriend at the time was finishing his Master’s Degree I wanted to stay in the area to be close to him. My dad suggested I call the Salt Lake Olympics (as they were a few years away) and talk with their PR department. I called and they connected me with the PR firm that was handling the Olympics. I met with the CEO of the firm the next week hoping to secure a job in Salt Lake City. After my 4-hour interview he offered me the job…in New York City. Ever since I was a little girl in Montana I dreamed of working in a big city so I took the job. Needless to say my relationship with my boyfriend didn’t last long.

2. When you were in college, what did you think you’d be doing today?
Krista: For the first three years of college I was studying to get my exercise science degree to be a corporate wellness executive, however a visit to my sister in NYC for spring break my junior year changed that. I was on Total Request Live (TRL) with Carson Daly (yes, when MTV played music videos…) three days in a row and it was then that I knew I needed to go into PR. I always wanted to be an executive and I’ve always wanted to own my own business. It’s amazing how life works out!

Lindsay: I always knew I loved to work. I imagined I would be some executive at a large company, wearing high fashion, high heels and drinking coffee. That is what the movies told me I would be doing. Ha.

3. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Krista: In the ski industry, there are very few females who are in upper management, let alone females who are young. I learned very early on that you have to ‘Fake it until you make it.’ I was very fortunate to have mentors that believed in me and my abilities, even when I doubted myself. Surround yourself with supportive people!

Lindsay: I have been blessed with many mentors in my career. I started at a PR firm in New York City and I was one of two females out of 25 employees. I could have chosen to see myself differently or less of because of this but it wasn’t even a thought. I quickly learned that you are in control of your own path. Work hard, respect yourself and others, be kind and show up. Even if you don’t feel like you “fit in,” act like you do until you feel it. I was surrounded by wonderful leaders that encouraged and believed in me. So I believed in myself. It is okay to borrow someone else’s confidence in you until you can create your own.

4. Can you recall the moment you felt like you hit a groove in your career?
Krista: I spent 15 years as a corporate executive and for some reason I never really felt like I hit a groove…mostly, because I don’t think I was staying true to my core values. I really felt like I hit a groove when I started SisterUp with my sister. Helping female entrepreneurs is what I was born to do. However, I am so grateful for the 15 years of knowledge and skills that helped me get to where I am today!

Lindsay: I’ll let you know when that happens 😉 Honestly my career has taken so many different turns in the past 20 years. From public relations to radio sales rep to Hollywood producer to business coach. For me every time I feel my groove something shows up to challenge me even more. I love learning and growing. I am not sure I’ve hit a groove, but a few years ago I finally started valuing my knowledge and experience, and feel confident that I know what I am doing. The Imposter Syndrome still pops up, but definitely not as much.

5. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
Krista: I work out every morning at 5:30 a.m. I then have what I call my two ‘Power Hours,’ where my brain is on full speed and my creative juices are flowing. My office might be my backyard or my kitchen table.

Lindsay: I work from home and we recently moved so my office is my dining room table. I have three daughters, so after my husband and I walk the kids to school we pop by our local coffee shop grab coffee and then I head home to begin work. I always sit down and make my “to-do” list for the day before checking emails. It gives me a plan of what I need to accomplish that day.

6. What’s one thing you do daily to stay organized?
Krista: I LOVE sticky notes! My mentor and friend, Lyn Christian, has an incredible tool Today and Not Today that I use to focus on what needs to be accomplished.

Lindsay: I LOVE making lists. Like maybe a little obsessed. I have notebooks full of them. I make my list and then draw a box next to each item so I can check it off when I have finished it. If I do something that is not on my list I go back and write it and add the box just so I can check it off. I get this from my dad. He was an endless list maker.

7. How do you sign off emails?
Krista: XOXOX. I am a total hugger! I hug everyone I meet. In my corporate career I was often the only female in the room. Imagine a room full of men who get a hug from me after each meeting…

Lindsay: Depending on who it is too but I usually add Many Thanks, Much Love or Thanks. Maybe I should come up with something more fancy like “Catch you on the flip side.”

8. What’s the one character trait that’s vital for success in what you do?
Krista: Courage. It takes courage to move towards what you want to do. And courage doesn’t exist without fear. You really have to get out of your comfort zone to make big things happen. I think for a lot of people, especially women, having courage and being brave is what allows us to follow our hearts and be aligned with our core values.

Lindsay: Perseverance. As an entrepreneur you can feel like you are queen of the world and are killing it in your business one day and then the next question if you are even doing it right. I’ve learned to just continue moving forward, taking action (even if it’s a small action) every day towards your goal. Action creates confidence. Inaction creates the opposite.

9. Can you share a career goal for 2017?
Krista: My sister and I are launching our first online course for SisterUp to help women find their strength and then turn that into a business or side business. My passion is to empower women around the world and provide them with the tools to follow their dreams. This is one step towards that.

Lindsay: My sister and I are launching our first online course for our company SisterUp. It’s an online course that helps women find their strength and turn it into a business or side business. We found in ourselves and friends that over the years you can forget what you are good at or love to do, so we created a course to give you the tools to re-connect with those traits.

10. What’s your favorite magazine?
Krista: I love reading magazines so it’s hard to choose just one. From domino to Allure to Runner’s World. I love them all.

Lindsay: I use to get so many magazines but just recently my husband and I started to simplify and have been very intentional of what comes in and out of our house. I was just stockpiling magazines that I wasn’t even reading. So now I just focus on books. I’m reading You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero. Loving it.

11. Do you have a can’t-live- without beauty product?
Krista: I seriously love the DETOX Mask from CRUDE Personal Care. It brightens my skin and makes me look young and fresh!

Lindsay: My eyebrow powder. Due to strong traits and an autoimmune disease I have thinning eyebrows. The one I am loving right now is The Brow Gal by Tonya Crooks.

12. What’s your go-to cocktail?
Krista: I’m not much of a cocktail girl, but I do love LaCroix. Does that count? Any flavor will do!

Lindsay: I’ve been on a journey the past year of healing my body through what I eat and drink, so I’ve mostly taken out drinking. Every once in a while I will have a Pinot Grigio but my favorite go-to has been Sprindrift Sparkling Water in Raspberry Lime.

13. Do you have a wardrobe staple?
Krista: Black jeans or pants paired with a colorful top. I was at a meeting the other day and I was wearing gray jeans and a denim top and someone mentioned they loved “Dressed-Down Krista.” I had to laugh.

Lindsay: Anything black or gray.

14. Do you have a spirit animal?
Krista: A Grizzly Bear. Appearing strong and confident even when I’m scared as hell!

Lindsay: Birds. They always seem to show up in my life when I am looking for direction. Most recently a Barn Owl took up residence in the tree across the street from our home…in Los Angeles! I loved hearing it at night. It made me feel like I wasn’t in the middle of a bustling city.

15. Do you collect anything?
Krista: I’m not a big collector of things but I am a collector of experiences.

Lindsay: Trying to live more simply, it has to bee something I really need or love. My husband and I really love discovering Native American prints and artwork.

16. How do you stay healthy?
Krista: I exercise every morning, drink LOTS of water and I try and eat clean 80 percent of the time. Connecting with my family and friends keeps my mind healthy.

Lindsay: Eating clean, drinking water, exercising, yoga, 8 hours of sleep, reading a good book, spending time with friends, laughing with my kids and dating my husband. When all of those things are in check I feel amazing. More often than not one or a doze of these things is off kilter but I’m always striving to fill my soul with these things.

17. What’s the best hashtag of all time?
Krista: #SisterUp It’s an action.

Lindsay: #isthisnormal

18. What’s your decorating style?
Krista: Modern meets colorful!

Lindsay: Mid-century modern with a mix of flair.

19. What do you eat for breakfast most days?
Krista: I drink a shake with ½ banana, 6 ice cubes, 12 oz water, and chocolate protein powder every single morning.

Lindsay: Eggs, veggies, and lately I’ve been adding in gluten free toast with a little butter.

20. Who would play you in a made-for-TV movie?
Krista: Rachel McAdams. She’s the girl next door and everybody’s friend.

Lindsay: When I was in college I had the Monica Geller haircut and everyone told me I looked like her. So I would say Courtney Cox, circa 1998.