Today we’d like to introduce you to Lianne Hedditch.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lianne. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It has been over twelve years since I started at Heron Agency as an intern. I worked my way up from Publicist to Senior Publicist to Vice President to where I am today, Executive Vice President. Before Heron, I served as an intern with Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization (also formerly known as the Network of Strength). My grandmother was a breast cancer survivor, so I selected the organization as a way to volunteer for a cause that was close to my heart. That experience had me beginning to learn the ropes in event planning, a field for which I had always had a great interest. There, the public relations director gave me the opportunity to write some press releases and introduce me to PR. I was hooked. My very next step was to explore internships within the public relations field, and I came across Heron Agency. I interviewed with Noreen Heron, was hired on, and the rest is history… and hard work.
Has it been a smooth road?
A career in public relations is anything but a smooth road. Each year, PR is ranked one of the most stressful careers by media outlets including CNBC, Forbes, and CBS News, due to the tight deadlines, relentless competition, crisis situations, egos, and more than creating quite a bit of day to day craziness. I once had a live shot where a national breaking news story superseded a segment that I had scheduled for the annual Highland Games in Itasca. I had to try and reach 50 dancers and athletes at 3 am to tell them the segment was canceled and not to come downtown. Now, that’s stress! Having a supportive work environment, where we understand each other and celebrate everyone’s successes is critical to having a long tenure in the field. I am very blessed that at Heron, we interact like a family.
My advice for women who are starting their journey in public relations is simple – make sure that you are passionate about the industry because the career is not all glitz and glam. It takes a lot of grit and dedication and an earnest desire to do whatever it takes to get the elements needed for a client’s campaign to be successful. We are rainmakers for our clients, and it is critical that that responsibility is taken seriously. That understanding can be very sobering for publicists just entering their career who think that PR is taking RSVPs and showing up to do check in at a gala party.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Heron Agency story. Tell us more about the business.
My day to day responsibilities varies from soliciting new business to creating a strategy for campaigns to managing teams and pitching the media, as well as presenting to new potential clients. I love to put together campaigns that make the client say, “You got us everything that we expected, but then you blew us away by getting us so much more than we imagined.” Thankfully, that is frequently what we hear from our clients. We have won awards over the years at Heron for our innovative and robust campaigns. We specialize in the entertainment and hospitality industries and are truly known for our total-accountability, bandwidth (we put multiple people on each account) and results-driven campaigns. I am so proud of the fact that a hallmark of our agency is the fact that we take our responsibility to drive bottom line revenue for our clients very seriously. We keep people working and the economy moving, and that is so important.
I think what sets us apart is that in the ever-changing field of communications, our agency has always been at the forefront of trends and innovative. We follow the news and jump on trends and breaking stories where we may be able to obtain additional press for our clients. Although hired for PR, we additionally set up promotions, sponsorships, contests and long-term alliances that drive sales. We do a lot of business matchmaking that also develops new channels of sales possibilities. The bottom line in what makes us different is that our clients tell us that they expected us to get them some press, but they never expected all the new business it would engender. We have great relationships with social media influencers as well that help us to amplify the volume on our campaigns. We recoil when we hear the term “consultants” because we like to feel a part of the client’s full-time team. Growing their sales numbers is just as satisfying for them as it is for us!
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
The most important piece of advice I can give is to pursue your passion by focusing on the goal and don’t let unnecessary drama or competition get the best of you. Our agency has grown on the tenet that women who support other women succeed the most. We have no space for girl drama her but by lifting each other up and working as a team everyone wins. Keep your nose to the grindstone and focus on what matters!
- Address: 1528 W. Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614
- Website: www.heronagency.com
- Phone: 773-969-5200
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