We are back for Season 2 of our series This Is How I Get It DONE, where we take a moment to interview members of the PR In Canada & Profectio community members to find out more about the person behind the desk, how they got their start, their current role (and everything in between). For our tenth episode of Season 2 we talked to Andrea Anders, Vice President at Faulhaber Communications.
Equal parts strategist, firefighter & kitten herder
One word to describe
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a lawyer or Prime Minister and I’ll be honest, also a model, but I learned about the PR industry when I went to look at universities with my mom. The industry automatically appealed to me. I did an undergraduate degree in Communications and post-grad certificate in Corporate Communications. From there, I entered the agency world and have had the opportunity to work with large and medium-sized agencies with clients ranging from the Russian Federation to Procter & Gamble. I immediately loved coming up with ideas rooted in truly knowing what motivates target consumers to listen and act and seeing the business impact of good ideas and smart plans. We all talk about results, metrics and impressions but the only real metric in our industry should be how has our work impacted a desired change in consumer behaviour. How is that change moving our clients businesses ahead.
Just over three years ago I realized I needed to pursue my entrepreneurial aspirations and focus on premium lifestyle brands I could relate to. Then I met Christine and Lexi and we really vibed. Our personalities, lives and working styles are very different but we complement each other and the diverse perspectives offer tremendous value to our clients.
What is a typical work day like for you
No day is ever the same. Ever. It usually includes a mix of strategy development, client calls or meetings and coaching/mentoring the team. I find the variety energizing.
What made you choose the profession of public relations?
When I learned about the industry it sounded like everything I liked to do and was good at. Solving business problems, project management, telling stories, planning events and talking to people. I firmly believe I picked the right industry.
What was a moment in your career that really helped define how you work today?
Many years ago I had a boss who was almost alarmingly direct. He would give me positive and constructive feedback that shocked me at times but was very valuable. The candour and lack of key messaged management style built my trust and respect quickly and helped me become the leader I wanted to be. I find the same direct approach gets the best work from my team and commands a different type of respect from a leadership perspective.
How do you balance family-work?
By nature, I’m an always on kind of person. One of my best friends says a squirrel. That means I don’t really turn off or enjoy turning off. I try to make the most of every day and do things like read a business book in the car on the way to a family brunch. I’m not sure most people would say I’m balanced but I find ways to do the things that are important to me at 100 per cent. As of late, I’ve also trimmed the unnecessary. People, events, all of it. If it’s not important to me or adding valuable insights to my life, I won’t do it.
9-5 is LONG gone, what is one shortcut or life hack that works for you?
Anyone who has worked with me will say I’m wildly or even shockingly efficient. I think it comes down to two basic things. An excellent productivity expert, Ann Gomez, taught me about the do it now principle early on in my career. The idea is that tasks you can accomplish quickly just get done and not added to your list. I follow this principle daily. In addition, I maximize every single day from a time perspective. For example, on the way to a meeting uptown, I might something at Holt Renfrew and make sure I book my dinner meeting next to my afternoon meeting so I can make both, be prepared and on time. Being very deliberate in scheduling is helpful in this always on industry. Some days I have up to five networking meetings and if I wasn’t strategic in how I planned them it wouldn’t be possible to fit everything in.