HUBgrown: Q&A with Devin Bramhall

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Creator of The Master Slam and Executive Director of TEDxSomerville, self-proclaimed startup junkie Devin Bramhall recently sat down with HB to discuss her experience in Boston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, share advice for folks interested in startups and offer tips for creating kick-ass content.

Devin BramhallHB Agency: How did you get involved in the startup world?

Devin Bramhall: I always say that I got into startups by accident: The first startup I joined [Springpad] in 2009 was from a random Craigslist posting. But I don’t think it was really an accident. My life has never been “normal.” I was home-schooled for most of my life, so I sort of hacked my own life (and education) from the start, including going to college in Hawaii for a semester when I was 16. So even though my turn to startups was somewhat accidental I think it came from the very active role I’ve taken in my own life from the start. I didn’t go to school, where your path is laid out for you – I made my own path from a very early age, and that transferred into my career. To be honest, I’m quite critical of startups. In many ways it’s harder to move your career in a startup because of the lack of a traditional structure and opportunity to advance, but I think that’s partially why they’re perfect for me. You have to make the life you want.

HB: On top of your day job, you run The Master Slam. What was your inspiration behind the event series? How did you start it?

DB: I launched The Master Slam when I was at Springpad to solve a problem: No one in Boston really knew who we were or what we did. Instead of going to a ton of events, I thought why not bring the people to us? But when I started to think about event formats I got a little bored and a little depressed because they all felt the same. Why would anyone come to an event I hosted that was the exact same as all the others?

So I brainstormed. I do live storytelling on stage—like The Moth—where storytellers share a first-person story and I love it so much. When I thought about event formats, storytelling was good but wasn’t a perfect fit. Then I thought about debates and competition, and I thought hold on, what if we put them together?

When I got goosebumps, I knew I was on to something. But I still needed someone to help me launch this thing – someone well-known to get bodies in the room.

That’s where HB’s Mark O’Toole came in.

I sent Mark an email describing the idea and asked him to be the featured speaker. I was nervous because I didn’t know him yet, and I wasn’t sure what he’d think. He was so nice about it! He said he thought it sounded cool and was totally in. Early win! Looking back, I realize that it’s the little things along the way – the “yesses” so to speak, that let you know you’re on the right track. The no’s? They’re an opportunity to rethink what you’re doing and come up with a better plan.

Long story short, we did it! About 80 people came to the first one and the rest is history. I keep doing it because it’s fun for people. They like it. It’s different and it’s a great networking opportunity.

HB: You’re Co-executive Director of Boston Content, a local community for marketers. Can you tell us more about it?

DB: I connected with Jay Acunzo and Arestia Rosenberg—the founders of Boston Content—at a couple events and they invited me to be on the committee. A year later, I became Co-Executive Director. I love the Boston Content community so much because its sole purpose is to give back in a very specific way: to help marketers grow and develop their skills and careers. We’re doing a ton with the new blog and multiple events; it’s really taken off in the past year.

HB: Do you have any advice for people who want to join a startup?

DB: My first piece of advice is to think twice. Not because they’re not great but because it’s a challenge—a good challenge. If you want to join a startup do your research, especially on the leadership team. That’s important in any company but especially with startups because they’re so involved with the day-to-day. You can only learn so much in an interview and always remember, as much as they’re interviewing you, you need to interview them, too.

HB: What do you love most about Boston’s startup scene?

DB: I’ve been really lucky. I’ve experienced a tremendous amount of support from the community and from the people I’ve worked with at startups. Perhaps it’s because the community here is smaller, but I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the help and mentoring I’ve received. I’m not sure if that’s unique to Boston but that’s what stands out to me the most, I’m incredibly grateful for it.

HB: How should startups utilize content?

DB: Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content. Don’t make a blog because you think you need to have one. Companies need to start by setting their goals then figure out the right content based on those goals. Identify your target—your humans—figure out their challenges, and then identify how you can solve those challenges for them. From there, find out what they’re consuming and where, and figure out how you can reach them through those channels and get them to take action.

It’s not content first. It’s goals and humans first. Figure out how to help them out! Once you do the answer is pretty straightforward.


Who wants some feedback?

shutterstock_227485012I began my career in advertising right out of school as a [very] green account executive. Like most recent grads, I started my career thinking that I knew way more than I actually did. While I had a graduate degree’s worth of book smarts, it turns out I had few of the real-life skills needed to be truly successful at my craft. Through the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of very talented people, but working with junior staff always reminds me of where I started and those skills that I’ve honed over time. I often think about my first creative concept review…

The creative team had just presented a range of concepts in preparation for a client meeting that was a week away. Each of the senior account members provided their feedback and thoughts on the work. Meanwhile, I was sitting at the back of the room quietly, thinking I was only an audience to “the process” until my boss asked me, “Jonathon, what do you think?” I was caught off-guard and I responded in a mumbled way much as a child does when they try to explain why they’re secretly rummaging through the pantry before dinner.

I didn’t understand how my perspective would be valuable to the team and I certainly didn’t think that I could add anything to what the senior staff had already discussed. Further, I never expected the creative team to even consider my opinion. Fortunately, my trepidation was met with reassurance and encouragement from everyone in the room and I managed to stumble through a few half-coherent thoughts.

While I feel that agencies should foster an environment of constant feedback where everyone’s input is valued, on that day I realized that giving feedback is a learned skill. It is important for senior team members to help coach junior staff (and often clients) through the process to ensure appropriate and actionable feedback is given. Encourage participation, questions and challenges through supportive coaching.

As team members become more comfortable giving feedback and understand its value, the entire team is able to grow and achieve better results. As a learned skill, it is important for feedback givers to remember that comments and thoughts should be structured. To give the best feedback, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Know the objective of the feedback session – knowing the desired outcome of the meeting helps guide the type of feedback you should give. If you’re not told the objective at the beginning, then…

  2. Ask questions – knowing why a specific approach was taken will frame your feedback. If you don’t understand something, ask!

  3. Speak your mind – you are the only person with your unique perspective, so share it. Others should be empowered to challenge your position, but don’t hold back your opinion.

  4. Be honest but supportive – sugarcoating responses doesn’t help challenge people to be their best. That said, it doesn’t help anyone if you’re honesty is brutal (unless you just happen to be a jerk).

  5. Get beyond saying “I don’t like that” – be specific in your feedback, get to the “why” behind your opinion so the next round of changes are informed rather than arbitrary simply because “Jonathon just doesn’t like blue.”

Innovative and creative solutions to projects are the result of teams challenging each other, asking smart questions and giving useful feedback. I know that while there is always room to improve the variety of skills we call upon daily, I feel confident when giving feedback, and know that it is both needed and valued. This doesn’t change the fact that I might not like blue, but at least I can tell you why.

Why Every Company Needs a Chief Puppy Officer

In 2014 HB implemented a dog-friendly office culture and we love it. We even hired our very own Chief Puppy Officer, Obi-Wan Kenobi. As we celebrate his first birthday on July 6, we wanted to reflect on the positive impact he’s made on our team. We think every office should have a Chief Puppy Officer, here’s why.


The Value of Incentives

Potty training. Parents with children who have gone through this process, are going through it or will be going through it: you have my sympathy. When you really think about it, the idea of using a toilet is a foreign concept to a toddler. What’s the real value for them if they’ve been getting their tush wiped for the past three years? Why change a good thing?

Parents have many tactics at their disposal to add value for their children, but most default to incentivization. Kids get stickers, treats, toys and all manner of incentives to use the potty.

Simply put, incentives are a motivation to behave in a certain way. From an early age, we’re exposed to this basic economic (and behavioral) principle. Perhaps this is why most American companies are in love with incentives; consumers are primed for this tactic, even if they are fully aware of the reason behind the incentive.  And yet, there are a surprising number of marketers who don’t use incentives to their full advantage.

Some claim that their audience wouldn’t be swayed by incentives, but even sophisticated audiences can be convinced. There is a reason why pharmaceutical sales reps can no longer give incentives to doctors—including simple things like pens and pizza lunches—they worked! (See Wazana.) Individuals have many motivations to do what they do, the trick is figuring out how to unlock that.

Stephen Levitt writes in Freakonomics, “The typical economist believes the world has not yet invented a problem that he cannot fix if given a free hand to design the proper incentive scheme,” although the solution “may not be pretty.” In marketing this holds true as well, but we try to avoid the “ugly” solutions lest they be taken as bribes.

Incentives don’t always mean giving something away, either. In late 2011 Patagonia partnered with eBay to start the Common Threads Program, which encouraged people not to buy new Patagonia clothes, rather to buy only what they need through eBay. In exchange, Patagonia agreed to only build products that last. By May 2014, nearly 70,000 people had signed the Common Threads pledge. During this time, Patagonia consistently increased its profits. By aligning its values to those of its customers and potential customers, Patagonia incentivized a broader scope of people to buy from them based on those shared values.

By truly understanding our audience, and who we want our audience to be, we gain understanding of what really motivates their actions. Armed with this knowledge we can then provide real incentives that deliver value to both the consumer and the company making the offer.

Now, if only I can figure out my son’s motivation for potty training success…


Now it’s my turn to incentivize you, and, since this is the internet, a video incentive seems most apt. If this post generates five non-employee comments on the HB website within a week of being posted, I will share a video of myself getting pelted by water balloons thrown by HB staffers. The video link will be posted to our newsletter, so be sure to sign up! Incentivized?

You Made a Mistake. Now What?

You’ve probably heard this before: many of the world’s most famous icons and role models faced challenges and made mistakes before ultimately reaching success.

Take former NBC Tonight Show host, Conan O’Brien, who, in one of my favorite commencement speeches, shared:

 “Whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

We often forget that failure is in fact part of our paths to success.

Arianna Huffington is Co-founder of one of the most well-known global publications, The Huffington Post. In a Fast Company piece, Huffington states, “I strongly believe that we are not put on this Earth just to accumulate victories and trophies and avoid failures; but rather to be whittled and sandpapered down until what’s left is who we truly are.” For her second book, she met with 36 different publishers who all said “no,” before she finally got a “yes.”

How many of us would have persisted after the first “no”? The third? The tenth? Not many.

It has been a little over a year since I started at HB. Similar to everyone who joins the workforce after graduation, I am in a constant whirlwind. Luckily, I am also learning so many new things every day.

Recently, someone asked me, “What’s been your biggest learning experience since you graduated?” For me, my biggest and most hard-hitting lessons have been making—and learning from—my mistakes.

We all make mistakes, it’s the human thing to do. So here are some steps to help you turn those missteps into part of your pathway to success.

Allow yourself to fail—then do something about it.

There is so much to learn from the humility that failure allows us to experience. It’s what you do after you make mistakes that demonstrates your true potential. Allowing yourself to fail creates a challenge and ultimately a better understanding of the situation. It better positions you to succeed in the future.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Learn to ask for help when you need it. The harsh reality is that agency life is not gently handed to you, it’s thrown at you and you just learn to roll with the punches. Don’t be afraid to ask necessary questions to complete a task – either big or small. Your co-workers will understand you’re learning and will want to help as much as possible. They’ve been in your shoes before, too.

Surround yourself with smart individuals.

We often hear, you are the company you keep, and I believe the same thing goes for the work environment. Every day, I have the opportunity to work with some of the smartest PR and creative pros. I’ve grown so much this past year just from absorbing the lessons from the talent around me. They have challenged me, they have proven me wrong and it has made me excel in a number of ways.

One of my favorite stories of failure that lead to success was when our PR team was responsible for pitching an upcoming announcement for one of our clients. I had spent the entire day reaching out to 50 + reporters from different publications via email and phone and by the end of the day, I had received no feedback – the day felt unsuccessful, and to me, a failure.

It wasn’t until my colleague came up to me and shared, “If you dial 10-digits, you can reach anyone in the country – it’s up to you to figure out which 10.” Only then did I realize, they weren’t about to give up on me and they knew I could turn it around.

I spent the next few hours grinding away at my desk – researching every relevant reporter’s beat and getting to know what their interests really were – personalizing my pitches – and introducing myself to new people, which ultimately put myself in front the appropriate reporter, landing a feature piece on my client.

Have an opinion and voice it.

Having an opinion is one thing, but being able to voice it properly is another. Speak up. Spark new ideas. Don’t doubt yourself. Help others understand your point of view. Don’t be afraid to challenge the norm—it’s where some of the best ideas are born. Embrace your opinions and have a say. It may not always pan out the way you envisioned it, but it is always better to voice your opinions with conviction and the willingness to make a mistake than to remain quiet.

But don’t forget the importance of listening.

Listening is just part of the HB Way, especially because we always work in teams. It’s important to listen to our peers, provide them the respect to voice their own opinions and work together to collaborate, create ideas and solve problems.

Build relationships.

Whether it’s with co-workers, clients or the media, building those bridges and forming relationships is absolutely vital to surviving in the professional world. Put yourself out there, start a conversation that may be “awkward” at first—you never know who you may end up meeting, and where that relationship may take you.

At the end of the day, learn to accept your mistakes, but don’t forget to think about ways to improve the next time you’re in a similar scenario. You’ll gain that clarity and true originality that Conan O’Brien shares with us.

Do you need parking for coworking?

The Greentown Labs space often looks more packed than even this!

The Greentown Labs space often looks more packed than even this!

One of the great things about working at HB is the chance to set down a laptop in a place like Greentown Labs. The team loves the time we spend there, not just because of the Bevi machine, but because of the energy within its walls. It’s just great to work among so many smart and energetic people and have conversations with them about the future of the world.

Todd Van Hoosear and I spent a bit of time working in the MassChallenge offices a few years ago and it was much the same thing.

And that’s how Bill Jacobson, CEO of Workbar, defined “coworking” during a panel hosted by the Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce and moderated by yours truly. He pointed out that the main difference between a coworking space and a place with just some co-workers is that coworking is built around the idea that people want to build a community. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs, said much the same thing when she talked about the curation of the Greentown Labs community and how they work to avoid competitive companies. Apparently this cooperation is at play when, in the labs, someone swears loudly and another person working nearby asks “how can I help?”

Over at Mullen Lowe‘s Wunderbar, Vishal Chandawarkar, who manages the space, noted that the energy and collaboration between the right people makes it all work. The entrepreneurs developing technology get the right feedback from the UX and digital teams within Mullen, something they couldn’t get if they were paired with, say, media buyers. Still, there are pitfalls, like making sure that everyone signs NDAs and lives by the rules.

The conversation that continues online, however, came from Duane Mayo of the International Entrepreneurship Center, who physically hosted the event. He noted that “ample parking” was key to making coworking viable. Some of the discussion on the Village14 blog, which occurred after the talk and involved both those who attended and those who didn’t, centers around transit as key, not jut parking.

Of course, you can just listen below and judge for yourself. Feedback welcome!

BostInno State of Innovation

HB Agency’s Mark O’Toole Named IPREX’s New Chair of Marketing, Member of Executive Committee


On the heels of IPREX’s new global president appointment, the international PR partner network elects new members to its global board and committee




Newton, MA – June 19, 2015: HB Agency’s Managing Director of PR & Content Marketing Mark O’Toole has been selected as the chair of marketing for IPREX, the global network of communication agencies.

O’Toole has more than 20 years of experience solving communications challenges for national and international organizations. He also serves as chairman for the iconic Freedom Trail Foundation and a member of OpenHUB, a professional group that welcomes, informs and connects Boston-area businesses.

In addition to O’Toole’s appointment and the recent election of Michael Schröder as IPREX global president, Nick Vehr, president of Vehr Communications based in Cincinnati has been elected Americas president and joins the IPREX global board. Prior to Vehr, Renzi Stone of Saxum served as president.

Vehr’s strategic communications consultancy joined IPREX in 2008. For the last two years, Vehr has served as chair of the Partner Relations Committee, overseeing among other things the development of the network’s new intranet.

In addition to O’Toole’s and Vehr’s appointments, Carolyn Grisko (Grisko, Chicago) becomes secretary/treasurer-elect and Helga Tomaschtik (Lang & Tomaschtik, Vienna) takes over as chair of partner relations.

For more information about IPREX, please visit

Read HB’s newest blog series, Sip and Share, which features interviews with IPREX partners.



IPREX is a $250 million network of communication agencies, with 1,800 staff and 120 offices worldwide working across the spectrum of industry sectors and practice disciplines.

About HB Agency

Founded in 1999 as a business-to-business integrated marketing agency, HB’s public relations and creative services have earned national recognition through Bell Ringer Awards from the Publicity Club of New England, Telly Awards, Communitas Awards, Content Marketing Institute and a Summit Marketing Effectiveness SIA Award. To learn more about HB’s branding, marketing and public relations expertise, please visit, or call 781-893-0053.

How to Train Your Rock Star in 11 Easy Steps

2015-06-11 21.03.34Congratulations to Julia Bucchianeri!  She recently won the Striker Award, which honors the top young PR person in New England. This is no small feat, as the award attracts a lot of attention. Just being good at your job isn’t enough to win.

I’ve been honored to work with and help train two people who have won the Striker Award in the past three years. Alex Parks, who worked with us at Fresh Ground, was the winner in 2013.

Working with rock stars, however, isn’t as simple as it looks. Yes they elevate your work and push everyone around them, but they also chafe at restrictions and always demand new challenges. Managing them means having a willingness to teach, a desire to learn, a bit of humility and a lot of flexibility.

  1. Set Clear Expectations — When employees join HB we walk through an onboarding process that clearly lays out how we do things and what their role will be in helping all of us achieve success. Even though we’re relatively flat, everyone on the team needs to understand where they fit in and what it will take to get them to the next level.
  2. Fit the job to the person — Yes, we have positions to fill and roles to play, but as managers we need to build in enough flexibility to let people grow in ways that make sense for them. For Julia this means letting her take on additional projects like taking a lead role in new business or even creating the Chief Puppy Officer role.
  3. Don’t do, teach — Rock stars need to learn new things constantly or they stagnate. When deadlines loom and clients call, it’s easy just to do the job yourself. You know the job will get done and the client will be happy. Unfortunately you just lost an opportunity to teach. Teaching opportunities present themselves every day, so use them.
  4. Provide honest feedback — Rock stars can see through your bullshit. They know when you’re being nice and when you’re doing “sandwich” praise. That kind of thing works great when you’re coaching 10-year-old soccer players, but rock stars want to know where they stand. If they screw up, tell them. Hold them accountable. If their writing needs editing, do it but don’t try to soften it too much. That doesn’t mean you’re obnoxious and mean about it, but be direct and clear. They’ll rise to the expectations you set.
  5. Tell them “No” — Rock stars want to do it all. Every time a manager hands out tasks, the rockstar will have their hand up to take on more work. As managers we think “Oh, if they’re volunteering they must have the time to do it,” but that’s not always the case. They’re just so eager to take on work that they’ll overload themselves. It’s up to us to monitor them and tell them that they can’t have a task if their workload seems too heavy.
  6. Show them your humanity — We’re all flawed. We all have weaknesses. Rock stars can see yours, so if you’re trying to pretend to be perfect you’re just going to lose their respect. Admit when you don’t know something, use them to help you learn and grow. They need to know that it’s OK to fail.
  7. Let them fail — This is, perhaps, the most difficult thing to do, but also the most important. They need to fail. Just as their managers aren’t perfect, they aren’t perfect either. If they’re not failing, they’re not pushing themselves hard enough.
  8. Praise in public, criticize in private — I learned this while working at Schwartz many years ago. The best managers used it all the time, the worst reversed it. This isn’t just about the big things, it’s about the little things. Praise them for doing a great job at a meeting or getting a hit. As managers we want to praise a team as a whole for the work it does, and that’s important. But it’s also important to call out the individual contributions as well. If you have criticisms, do that in private, preferably in person, never in a large meeting and rarely by email.
  9. Let them grow, let them go — This is the most emotionally difficult part, but sometimes the rock stars need to move on to new challenges. We always want them to stay with us, but if they’re rock stars they need to find the next mountain, and as a small business often those mountains lie elsewhere. Don’t hold them back, don’t make them feel bad about their decision, praise them, help them, and celebrate their departure.
  10. Be a mentor for life — When an employee leaves your role shifts slightly from boss and mentor to mentor and friend. You no longer control their salary and their fate, but they still need you, and you need them more than ever. I still meet with Alex regularly, we talk on the phone and I learn quite a bit from his continued experience. I just hope he can continue to learn from me.
  11. Always be recruiting — Of course, the other side of this is to always be on the lookout for new people, especially those who can go up and above. That’s why an internship program is so important to a company’s growth. It’s not about having free labor, but about challenging young minds and testing if they’re ready for the workforce. If you’re lucky, you may even find another rock star.

Remember, rock stars don’t always win awards, sometimes they stay in the background, but they still need all the same praise, training and attention.


Sip & Share: Vehr Communications

sip_share_logo_finalIt’s not everyday that you get to talk to and share a drink with friends and leaders in the communications industry. But each year, the IPREX annual Global Leadership Conference becomes just that opportunity. At this year’s event in London, I met Darcy Little, senior account executive at Vehr Communications. When Nick Vehr, president of the Cincinnati-based agency, was elected IPREX Americas President in May, I knew it was the perfect time to reconnect with Darcy to talk about Vehr, her experience and her thoughts on where the industry is headed.

HB Agency: You worked at a few other places before landing at Vehr. What do you believe sets Vehr apart from other communications agencies? What’s life at Vehr like? 

vehr website r8DL: Before arriving at Vehr, I worked at a couple of other great agencies full of really smart folks. Cincinnati has a lot of bright minds living and working in it! What sets Vehr apart, I think, is that each of us brings our own set of experiences, backgrounds and interests to the table, which, along with our shared commitment to honest and dedicated client service, provides great value to our clients.

“We challenge each other – to make ourselves better and our clients better.”

HB Agency: Vehr was founded in 2007 by Nick Vehr. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the agency and how it’s grown and evolved?

DL: Vehr Communications’ first office space consisted of a desk in the corner of a room at Nick’s house. It then moved to an office space in downtown Cincinnati to accommodate new team members. As the agency continued to grow, Nick moved the agency to another, bigger space in the same building. We completed an expansion a few months ago and are actually in the process of expanding again – to the entire floor.

The agency’s early days occurred during the recession. A scary time to start a business. But with low overhead, starting small and a laser-focus on hard work, the agency thrived.

Ultimately, Nick has a knack for finding good, smart talent. This has been key to our growth and success.

HB Agency: The Vehr website states, “We think about what’s coming next.” What do you think is coming next?

More ways for companies to generate content. Opportunities are becoming more and more limited for others (i.e. media) to tell their stories for them. There will be many new and creative ways for companies and organizations to tell their stories themselves.

HB Agency: Vehr does a lot of work to promote the city of Cincinnati, not to mention many of its businesses. Was this a concerted effort by the Vehr team? Would you say this sets you apart from other agencies in Cincinnati?

DL: Many agencies in Cincinnati support our city’s businesses, including its iconic brands. Vehr has a lot of roots in Cincinnati, and we want to see it thrive (and it has been!). We love working with Cincinnati-based businesses, but we service other companies around our region and organizations with a national footprint, too.

HB Agency: There have been many recent discussions on the importance of company culture. What’s your take on the relationship between producing good work and an effective company culture?

DL: An effective, healthy and (dare I say?) fun company culture is critical! People like to work with people they like. Fostering a company culture that allows employees to get to know their coworkers and have some fun puts their minds at ease. How can you do effective work with a cloud of drama hanging over your head, or if you’re absolutely bored to tears? Happiness produces good work.

We definitely have fun at Vehr. I’ve been known to hula hoop on occasion (I have two hula hoops at my desk), we have an (award-winning) Vehr softball team and we’re not immune to practical jokes. Not that I would know anything about that.

HB Agency: Can you talk to us about your most valuable communications learning moment?

DL: There have been many! It’s hard to name just one.. and I think, many times, learning and professional growth occur over time—without us even realizing it.

If I had to pick one moment, though, I’d say one of my most valuable learning experiences was at the IPREX Global Leadership Conference in February of this year. It was then that my mind truly opened to the potential of breaking down “silos” and the value of agencies and professionals to be more holistic in their offerings.

“It’s not enough to be a ‘PR pro.’ We need to learn to be creative directors and media planners (in varying degrees) to add more value to our clients and agencies.”

HB: You’re the treasurer of the Cincinnati chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. How does your regular involvement with this organization help or inform your client work at Vehr?

DL: PRSA has been invaluable to my professional growth. Like most professional organizations, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. You can’t put a price on the networking opportunities, and I’ve learned so much from our chapter’s programming events.

Specifically, by serving as treasurer, I’ve learned a lot about budgeting and the “money” behind an organization. I was never one to love math, but serving in this role has challenged me to dive deeply into financials and interpret them. This has helped give me perspective when budgeting for client work and has given me a general understanding of the “math” involved in running an organization or business.

HB Agency: In one of your recent blog posts, you shed light on a Wall Street Journal retrospective about the way newspapers covered Lincoln’s assassination 150 years ago. Clearly a lot has changed, but some elements have persisted. What’s one thing you’ve seen change since you started working in PR? In another 150 years, do you think there will be consistent elements in the way we communicate?

DL: When I began working in PR in 2007, I considered deleting my Facebook account. I wasn’t in college anymore so I wouldn’t need it, right? WRONG. Social media, of course, has changed everything: from the way companies communicate to their audiences, to the way reporters break news. Social media only became more and more relevant to public relations during my eight years working in the business. And it’s not going anywhere—perhaps it’ll take different forms, but it’s here for the long haul. Companies have a greater mandate than ever to be transparent. And the prospect of making a mistake is scarier.

Social media and smartphones have forced us to communicate fast. This won’t change in 150 years, except to say that we’ll probably be communicating faster. The need for immediacy will only get greater and greater.