Welcome back to our series This Is How I Get It DONE, where we take moment to interview members of the PR In Canada community to find out more about them and share with you more about the person behind the desk, from how they got their start to where their current role (and everything in between). For our sixth episode we talked to Lisa Kwong.
Current Gig: I’m currently VP at Pomp & Circumstance PR, but that’s just a title. What does hold some weight in my mind, is that I was hire #1 at our agency when we first launched back in December 2015. I’ve been lucky enough to watch P&C grow from a shop of three (me and our co-founders Amanda Alvaro & Lindsay Mattick) to a full-blown team of 16, so I feel like my role is unofficially “team captain” or maybe mother goose. Our team is like family to me.
One word to describe: My work style: competitive. I’m in it to win it, and I’ll always strive for excellence. No exceptions.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today: The start of my PR career goes back 10 years. I graduated university with no clue what to do with my degree, so I jumped head first into a post-grad PR program. I only understood at a high level what PR actually was, but it sounded interesting, so why not! This program led to my internship at Holt Renfrew, which then landed me my first real job at Tara Parker Tait PR – Vancouver’s top fashion & lifestyle boutique agency. The agency has since closed, but I still credit Tara for shaping me into the PR person I am today. We were a small agency, going up against the big guys and working with global fashion & luxury brands. This experience taught me to be absolutely uncompromising with the details – everything mattered from the colour of a napkin to the texture of an invite. Nothing could be left to chance. An approach still very much with me today.
What is a typical work day like for you? No two days are ever truly the same but if I generalize my week, I’ll usually roll into the office at 9am, get a coffee/breakfast, and start going through emails. Then, the meetings start. If I’m lucky, I’ll get around to my actual to-do list by late afternoon.
What made you choose the profession of public relations? What was a moment in your career that really helped define [who/ how you work] today?
I chose a career in public relations because I’ve always been fascinated by big brands and how they market themselves. The fashion shows, the glitzy ad campaigns, the glossy stories in a magazine. So of course, the allure of breaking things down and understanding how global campaigns come together, and more importantly, being part of this bigger machine has always been something I’ve been drawn to. My early career experiences helped to reinforce all of this. Not only is PR dynamic, but it’s one of those careers where you truly have the opportunity to think big and make it happen. You can be more than yourself. There’s nothing more thrilling than that.
9-5 is LONG gone, what is one shortcut or life hack that works for you? Go with the flow because it’s true that the old definition of 9-5 is long gone. It’s more about work-life integration than it is about work-life balance these days, and I think the more that you try to fight this, the harder it’s going to be. I have so many friends who are in the industry, whether they’re part of the media, influencer or PR landscape, so you can’t just draw the line between work and play any more. Instead, use it to your advantage. Make it your strength.