Since the beginning, Offleash has aimed to foster a healthy, supportive culture that is as valuable to our team as they are to the business. When sourcing talent, we look for people with shared purpose and values, while also bringing something new to the mix. 2022 has been a huge hiring year; seven new colleagues have joined our team and each one is unique.
They are teachers, athletes, musicians, and artists, all inextricably connected through one vital passion: public relations. I asked each of our new colleagues about PR, their passions, and more. Here’s what they had to say:
Nick Michael, Media Strategist
Q: You are a student of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and compete in tournaments. Are there any similarities between competitive martial arts and your role as a media strategist? Are there any principles from Jiu Jitsu that you take to work with you?
A: There are several lessons to be learned when someone is trying to choke you unconscious, break your arm in half, or blow out every ligament in your knee—many of which I carry with me when I open my laptop and get to work
One common theme is stress—specifically how you react to it. When you’re warming up to compete in a BJJ tournament, your mind plays tricks on you. You get scared. You worry about losing, getting injured, embarrassing yourself. The best (and only) thing you can do is block these thoughts out, as they cloud your mind and can hurt your performance.
In media work, you may be anxious about getting results for a particularly demanding client, or nervous over a new business meeting. Carrying on with a clear, focused mindset, without allowing the chaos in your head to affect your judgment, is necessary to winning.
Confidence is paramount in both worlds. Every fight I’ve won was facilitated by the belief that I could win, and vice versa. You can lose before the match even starts – you defeat yourself. There is a strong parallel here to developing proactive media strategies. If you aren’t passionate about your ideas, with belief that they can work, the likelihood of them yielding the desired results will always be low.
Amelia Frampton, Account Executive
Q: Amelia, you are an artist and love to paint acrylic portraits. Do you find that your work in PR has any parallels to the artwork you create?
A: As a visual person, whether it be designing a painting or developing PR strategy, I see the world in a series of images. Like art, the real magic of technology comes from its evolution and how that constant change becomes part of the beauty of the final picture. At Offleash, we paint pictures through storytelling, allowing us to illustrate the wild world of technology.
Shane Smith, Media Strategist
Q: I hear that you are a DJ regularly performing in San Francisco. Do you think there are any connections between tech PR and DJing?
A: Definitely. Part of being a DJ these days is having a good social media presence, and you essentially have to “pitch” yourself to local clubs in order to secure a slot to play a gig. In PR, the executives I represent are the DJs and the reporters/publications I am pitching are the local club promoters/venues.
Kevin Boyle, Media Strategist
Q: You have a Masters in Sports Management from UCSF. Why did you decide to pursue a career in PR? Do you feel like your experience studying Sports Management has made you uniquely prepared for your role as a Media Strategist?
A: Before going to graduate school for Sport Management, I had started my career in PR and agency life in New York City. I did internships with Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer before the search for a full-time job needed to happen. I happened to join a PR firm that focused heavily on the tech industry, which began my career in the field. While I’m not “using my degree” in the industry I work in, many lessons I learned throughout my program are relevant to my role as a media strategist. It provided me with a well-rounded understanding of the business landscape, even outside of the sports industry.
Lauren Ruiz, Assistant Account Executive
Q: Growing up, your favorite book was The Rainbow Fish, which is known for its messages about generosity and sharing. Why does this book resonate with you, and are there any lessons from The Rainbow Fish that you’d like to bring to Offleash?
A: The Rainbow Fish is one of my favorite books because the message that sharing creates happiness among us really resonates with me. I’m an only child, so the idea of sharing was one I struggled to understand as a kid. It wasn’t until I was older that I first experienced the joys of sharing. From sharing ideas, stories, beliefs, feelings, etc. with friends, I got to experience a sense of unity and belonging that I think was difficult for me to feel growing up. There’s a certain beauty in The Rainbow Fish’s message that I would love to bring to Offleash. The practice of bringing something to the table that others can enjoy and reflect on is something that I believe leads to innovative and empowered thinking.
Amy McDowell, Account Manager
Q: You were named a PR News 2017 Rising PR Star! Tell us about this award and how you came to be a recipient. If you could nominate yourself for any award, what would it be and why?
A: Rising PR Stars is an award program hosted by PR News that recognizes young professionals in the communications field. I was nominated in the early stages of my tech PR career and was blown away when I found out I’d won. I traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept the award at the National Press Hall alongside other young professionals in the space. It was a valuable experience and gave me confidence at such an early stage in my career.
As far as which award I’d nominate myself for… does winning The Great British Bake Off count as an award? The competition is my latest obsession and has inspired me to hone in on my baking skills, big time! In all seriousness, while I’ve never been someone who sets goals based on a specific recognition, it’s really meaningful to be acknowledged by an industry you’re passionate about and always striving for excellence in.
Stephanie Schlegel, Account Director
Q: Before you started doing PR, you taught English in Prague. How do you feel like your experience as a teacher prepared you for your role at Offleash? Are there any lessons you learned overseas that you take to work with you?
A: I’m naturally a quiet person – I enrolled in a more challenging academic program in college just to avoid a public speaking class – so teaching pushed me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I primarily taught adults in a corporate setting so getting up in front of the class forced me to build confidence in speaking as well as learn more about corporate environments. More importantly, it was my first time taking a big risk in life and I was able to not just live but thrive in discomfort. To this day, it’s one of the main reasons I love new business. It’s not something that comes naturally and I love that challenge of growing and working to be better every time.