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.

How to Practice Self-Care at Work

Friends and family would describe me as a Type-A workaholic, a pretty common trait amongst my peers in the PR industry! For years I considered self-care as working without considering how and why I should take better care of myself at work. Sounds simple, but how you treat yourself at work will contribute to your productivity, positivity and love for your job. As a reformed workaholic that used to consider putting eighty hour weeks in as a job well done, see below for the tips I learned on how to better practice self-care and keep crushing it at your current gig!

Give yourself permission to take breaks.
Having been in the workforce for less than five years, you might feel like you have something to prove. Putting in long hours and working relentlessly is only hurting you! Giving yourself permission to go take a breath of fresh air and getting up to stretch will boost your productivity and allow you to refocus yourself to rock the rest of your to-do list.

Be fully present both at work and at home.
This is the hardest one for me as I’m chained to my inbox (#guilty), but being able to shut off and be present with your life outside of your job is crucial. Think of it as separating your life into work and play – and you need to be fully present in both. When you’re off the clock enjoy a good book or lunch with a friend undisturbed. From 9 to 5 set an expectation that your friends and family can reach you for emergencies but you’re fully engaged at your workplace. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to enjoy your time both at work and at home when you focus on being fully present wherever you are.

Lay out your week.
Half of having an awesome day at work is being fully prepared to #GSD and what better way to do that than to section off your tasks by what day you’d like to accomplish them? It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re looking at a lengthy page-long list, but breaking it down into Monday through Friday will allow you to create a more manageable workflow. Bonus: laying out your week makes it easier to sign-off at 5pm when you’ve accomplished what you needed to (and more!) that day, knowing you’ve sectioned off times later in the week for future tasks.

Taking care of yourself at work benefits your job and your team along with yourself. Make time for yourself and see how much more you can accomplish!

#KeepCrushingIt,
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 @keltaf

A Day In The Life Of An ACPR Intern

I’ve reached my halfway mark here with ACPR (time goes by SO fast) and that means it’s time to reflect. I had wanted to apply for this internship for a long time, and I sprang at my chance when my schedule finally opened up for the summer. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, besides the glamour, girlboss vibes and getting to work with someone as successful as Allyson, but I’ve been nothing but pleasantly surprised with what this role has provided me. Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about the day-to-day adventure that is being an ACPR intern!

I learn. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have probably learned more about PR at my two months with ACPR than I have in the past three years of college. The value of working with real (amazing!) clients and incredible PR professionals is huge. Every day I get questions answered from people who really know what they’re talking about or I tackle a new project where I get to see PR in a different perspective than I have before.

I work hard. Everyday I have a packed task list where I tackle everything from press hit sweeps to influencer research to looking through magazines for feature story opportunities. I have had internships in the past where I wasn’t a very vital part of the team, and I just did little things like running errands and watching others do their job and maybe getting a small independent task from time to time. At ACPR I am actually getting to play a part in the work that contributes to the bigger picture and I get to do a lot of hands on learning, which I think is the best way to learn.

I ask questions. This one’s important, especially with my role as an intern! Yes, I am here to be a part of the team, but I am also here for the purpose of learning, as I am still in school and am very new at this. Lucky for me I have some great teachers! They’ve taught me that it is always better to ask if something is unclear, than to end up making a silly mistake that could have been avoided.

I follow deadlines. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned at ACPR so far is that deadlines are huge in the PR industry. I must set time limits for every task I have throughout the day and try my absolute best to stay under the allotted time. I’ve found if I am running late on one task, then the rest of my tasks for the day are running behind, having a direct effect on when the rest of the team can complete their own tasks. I like to call my fifteen hours a week that I am here my ‘power hours,’ because having a team, and clients that depend on my work getting done means timeliness is crucial.

Cheers to interns!
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

We’re Hiring: Fall Intern

ACPR is hiring! We’re seeking a super savvy hustler to join our Fort Collins, Colorado team as a Fall Intern.

All applicants must be currently enrolled in a four-year college program at the senior level with previous internship and work experience, a self-starter, savvy communicator, go-getter, and interested in working in the communications field after graduation.

This position is paid ($10 per hour) or for credit. Interns are required to work 10-15 hours per week from August 21st to December 15th.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Administrative:
• Support ACPR team with day-to-day requests
• Compile and submit daily press hit sweeps
• Review and submit Google Alerts to ACPR team
• Updating internal company documents
• Manage the ACPR blog: What We’re Reading, regular posts, etc.
• Manage magazine subscriptions

Media Relations:
-Fulfill client product mailings
-Identify feature story opportunities

Social Media:
-Manage ACPR Facebook page
-Strategically write and schedule social media content calendars on a monthly basis
-Upload client press hits to Facebook

Basic job requirements:
-Be enrolled in a four-year college program at the senior level
-Have a passion for beauty, home and lifestyle brands
-Have excellent communication skills—verbal and written and a strong understanding of both AP and creative writing styles
-Be a self starter, highly organized, have the initiative to start and maintain projects, be able to multi-task and work well with a small team
-Be a pop culture junkie! Know what’s hot in the press and to consumers
-Experience with Cision, Hootsuite, InDesign and WordPress a plus

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All qualified candidates should send their resumes, fall schedules and 2-3 sentences explaining
why they want to work at ACPR to: hello@allysonconklinpr.com.

Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr

How to Maximize Your Annual Review

Like them or not (let’s be honest: not), reviews are a necessary part of any job, both for the employee and the employer. In a perfect world, you would know how you’re performing at any given time. But with huge teams, multiple layers of management, a lack of company transparency, and busy schedules, it’s not always the reality. Here lies the beauty of formalized reviews (yes, the words beauty and reviews are in the very same sentence). So whether your company reviews you on the industry standard of once a year or maybe more frequently, trust me when I say that you need to see this opportunity as much more than just an awkward conversation where your achievements are celebrated and your shortcomings are called out. Your review is a prime opportunity to really find out where you stand, how you’re progressing in your role, and what you can do to grow at the company. You gotta make the best use of it! If you’re preparing for a review in the near future, I have some insight for you on how to maximize that conversation, both for you and your employer.

Thoughtfully prepare
If this isn’t your first go-round at the company, lucky you, as you have a leg up. Ask your employer for your last review and take some time to go over it. Evaluate where you stood then and where you stand now. Put yourself in your employer’s shoes. How would you rate yourself? Highlight your biggest accomplishments over the last year. Identify some areas that could stand improvement. Be ready to talk about your future at the company and where you hope to be in the next year, two years, five years, etc. Take some notes and bring them with you. Above all, be honest with yourself. And if it’s your first review at the company, don’t panic. Ask yourself the same questions to prepare.

Leave your emotions at home
I get it. Reviews get a bad rap. But they don’t have to be that way. This isn’t a place to get emotional, and you shouldn’t be upset or offended at any point during your review. Remind yourself, then remind yourself again if you feel your emotions creeping up, that everything is coming from a good place. Your employer truly wants to see you learn, grow and thrive, and this is their way of helping you do so.

Take notes
Bring your notebook and a pen to your review. It’ll swoop in as a backup when you’re asked the given “how would you rate yourself?” (here’s where that thoughtful preparation comes in). And you’ll want to ensure you’re taking notes throughout. That feedback will come in handy, I promise you! If you’re given a specific action plan for improvement, be diligent about your notes. They’ll serve as a roadmap for you over the next year as you grow, and they’ll be a good reference point when you’re prepping for your next review.

Ask questions
Just like an interview, a review is a conversation. Don’t let it be one-sided. Stay engaged. Ask questions. Make suggestions for how you can do better. Offer insights for your action plan. Don’t be afraid to dream big when you talk about your future at the company. Be an active participant in your review, even during the tough parts. This not only proves your investment and dedication to your own career, but to the company as well.

Now go put on your game face, and nail your review!

Do or die,
Allyson

Allyson Conklin is ACPR’s Founder & Principal. Born in California (but considers Fort Collins her true home), she’s a dogmom, natural skincare obsessee, blue and white ceramics collector, and strength training devotee. 

Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr