The Buzz by Mike Schaffer - PR, Social Media, Pop Culture and Sports

PR, happo

February 18, 2010

#HAPPO Pitches – Part 2

Tags: , happodc, jobs, ,

Happy HAPPO Day!  Here are some more terrific pitches that have come my way!

1) Elizabeth Glomb


You should hire me because I am a creative, hardworking, dedicated, and willing to take risks.  I always try to go the extra step in order to get the job done.  I am passionate about being good at my job, and hope that someone can be passionate and willing to take a risk on hiring me.  Enjoy the video… it was extremely fun to make, and hopefully you will see exactly how creative I can be.

2) Andrew Elwell

Andrew Elwell (@elwell620/
I am about to graduate magna cum laude from The George Washington
University with a degree in political communication.  Currently, I am
the Features Editor of the GW Cherry Tree, as well as an intern at a
global public affairs firm in Washington, DC.  I have a variety of
communications experience at non-profits, as well as media experience
in local media and at GW.   I’m a dedicated worker looking for an
opportunity to demonstrate my strengths.

3) Eli Baratz

About me:  Interest in entry-level and intern positions with PR firm in public affairs; 2007 Graduate of Indiana University, BA in Telecommunications and BA in International Relations; Contact: and

HAPPO Pitch: Applying John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success to Public Affairs Campaigns

Successful public affairs campaigns are a comprehensive endeavor involving grassroots mobilization, traditional and new media and high-level partnerships revolving around a central message intended to “win hearts and minds” of a target group which results in a desired behavior and action.  A winning public affairs campaign is run like a political campaign, strategy is developed at the top and tactics are carried out by every member of the team from the top to the bottom.  Thus, the ultimate success or failure of the campaign rests in how each individual performs their tasks in the context of the team.  Reflecting on experiences as a Field Organizer for a successful Presidential campaign[i] I believe the two most important individual traits required for people running an effective public affairs campaign are industriousness and enthusiasm.

Working as a Field Organizer in Indianapolis during the 2008 Presidential campaign I was struck by the similarities between the team dynamics of the campaign and team dynamics of successful sports teams.[ii] In fact, when I began to think about what I learned from the experience I immediately thought of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.  John Wooden, the most successful basketball coach ever[iii], developed his Pyramid of Success consisting of fifteen philosophical building blocks for success in basketball and at life.  The blocks are labeled with traits like poise and confidence with each block containing a short blurb related to that specific trait forming a pyramid that Mr. Wooden deems necessary for success in a team setting.[iv] The two cornerstones, the foundation, are industriousness and enthusiasm and Mr. Wooden writes, “To be strong, you have to have a strong foundation.[v]”  Since the strength of the foundation determines how strong the rest of an organization is, industriousness and enthusiasm must be high for an enterprise to be successful.

Industriousness is defined by Mr. Wooden as hard work.  “There is no substitute for hard work.   Worthwhile things come from hard work and careful planning.”  As an FO, hard work and careful planning were necessities.  Working seven days a week and anywhere between 12 and 24 hours a day, ensuring fifty volunteers showed up to canvass neighborhoods, signing up hundreds of new voters each week, planning an hour by hour schedule for election day; hard was required to complete every task.  Sweat equity was in abundance and without it the campaign would not have been successful at the grassroots level motivating new and undecided voters to take action.  The industriousness of each individual made the overall team effort a success.

Enthusiasm is the second building block in the foundation of Mr. Wooden’s pyramid.  He writes, “Your heart must be in your work.  Stimulate others.”  I believe this trait’s importance is often overlooked, but it is vital to success in a public affairs campaign.  I was working in a state, Indiana, which had not voted for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.  It was vital to believe that we could accomplish something rare and exude that confidence so that our volunteers and constituents believed they could make a difference if they got involved.  It worked.  A record number of people volunteered and more importantly, a record number of people got out of their homes and cast a vote.

So what does this mean for prospective employers interested in hiring me?  It means you will find a candidate who values hard work and a sense of mission that is vital in public affairs campaigns.  Along with strategic communications skills and a background in international relations, you will find a candidate that has experience with campaigns, constituent outreach and an ability to execute in a fast-paced team environment.  I would be a valuable addition to any PR firm’s public affairs team that is assisting organizations build enhanced reputations in Washington and achieve various public policy and business goals.

[i] I worked as a Field Organizer (FO) for Senator Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign helping to win Indiana’s electoral votes in 2008.  Although I worked for a Democratic candidate, I do not want personal politics to exclude me from future opportunities.

[ii] I am mostly referring to my own experiences playing high school tennis and baseball.  As examples of teams that operated at a high level (on-field ability and team chemistry) I look in the direction of my tennis teams.  One can scoff at the notion of learning valuable lessons from high school sports, but I do believe that they contain a certain level of intrinsic value that’s applicable to one’s future life.  Also, not to brag, but my high school has won 18 state tennis championships (most in the state) including one when I was a sophomore.  I also played #1 singles and was captain my final two years on the team.

[iii] John Wooden coached UCLA’s basketball team to 10 National Championships in a 12 year span.  He’s also a born and bred Hoosier, like me, so that has to count for something.

[iv] The Pyramid is a little corny and cliché, but I think someone who wins 88 straight games deserves to be taken seriously on some level.

[v] This applies to public affairs campaigns as well.  The foundation of a public affairs campaign can be interpreted as the intended message.  Without the right message, grassroots support and media outreach will ultimately lead to a failing campaign.

4) Larry Jones

They call me the “PR man.”

It’s a moniker, I believe, that can mostly be attributed to my vanity license plate bearing the same title, and to a lesser degree, the general public’s narrow understanding of the profession I claim. He’s in PR or he’s the PR man.

I prefer to call myself a PR Operative – a seasoned professional, not unlike actor Harvey Keitel’s Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe character from the movie “Pulp Fiction.” I’m the guy that those in leadership call in to get things done or make problems go away.

Outside of a brief five year stint successfully running a service industry operation, public relations has been the only profession I’ve known or cared to know. It’s what I’m good at. And for more than a decade I’ve been stockpiling my PR cache with a wealth of comprehensive and diverse experiences that I draw from daily.

When it comes to my public relations background, it can be described as being hybrid in nature: both in-house communications and PR agency. The combination has proved beneficial, as I’ve acquired a skill set that includes, but is not limited to: media relations, special events/trade show coordination, communication planning and strategizing, employee relations, crisis communications, social/new media outreach and public affairs. There is no situation that I can’t be thrown into and not come out on the other side without some semblance of accomplishment.

Whether it’s answering the call of the media when a major transit provider crashed into a major airport facility not once but twice (I did that); overseeing a major product launch on the industry’s biggest stage (did that too); launching/promoting a statewide non-profit initiative (currently doing that); or coordinating/drafting six speeches for a high profile higher education funding campaign celebration (crossed that off the list) – I’ve been called upon for my talents.

Through the years I’ve acquired a successful track record at media relations in general, with particular emphasis on building relationships with the media, monitoring news trends or current events and identifying news holes or developing media pitches. I come up with the ways to get media coverage when no way exists. When the media tells me buy an ad, I say, “let me tell you a story.” How else could I have gotten a prominent pest eradication service on a highly visible morning TV cooking segment (they cooked bug treats); coerced several media outlets to ride along with a national telecommunications company looking to surprise/celebrate its two millionth customer (ala publisher’s clearing house); or convince a TV anchor to ride one of the most challenging bus routes just to highlight operator training and manufacture support for a tough profession when the media was typically unmerciful.

As far as where I am today, an innate intellectual curiosity and constant desire to grow professionally has provided the fuel for my drive as well as served as a catalyst for my climb through the PR ranks. While I’ve worked in several top tier markets, I remain flexible in terms of my next career location. I’m currently seeking manager and director level opportunities, but I’m open to a senior specialist position if it is the right fit.

It has always been my opinion that some practitioners are reluctantly nudged into working in PR, while others pick up the craft following stints in other careers. But only a select few are born into the profession. I was born to do public relations. Why else would my personalized email address be ?

Larry Jones

PR Operative / Organizational Storyteller / Relationship Builder

Learn more about me by visiting my LinkedIn profile: http://

5) Robin Carr

Robin Carr (; ; )

The best is yet to come.  I am a PR pro with legacies at mega-brands Gap, Inc., Nike, EA Sports, Ubisoft, the San Francisco Giants and Kaiser Permanente. I have extensive communications experience in branding, consumer marketing, events, sports and entertainment, video game industry, fashion, global, corporate and cause-marketing public relations.   I have managed large and small departments/teams and love to collaborate with passionate people who absolutely believe in what we are all working towards.

BTW, I’m a foodie who loves travel, good wine, sports, Broadway shows, comedy, fun and interesting people.  I’m also a total media junkie who knows that news is 24/7 — and I find that both exhilarating and challenging.  I am primarily looking for a consumer PR/brand strategy/communications position in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Honolulu or Europe.

At least contact me so I can tell you my stories about launching PRODUCT(RED) and the time I went to Africa with Bono.

Popularity: unranked [?]

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