You have arrived, Episode 5 of our Origin Story series, each week we will give you a glimpse into the super heroes of the Canadian public relations industry who have gotten into the business, learned the craft and the ones behind some amazing brands and campaigns.
In our fifth episode we talk with Andrea Anders, Senior Vice President At Pomp & Circumstance [TCO].
Think back to your teenage days, what did you think you’d be doing today?
- I thought I would be a lawyer though hoped to be a model.
Three career moments that got you here?
- I don’t think I can pick just three! You learn so much from the good, the bad and especially the ugly.
Three jobs that helped define the person you are today?
- I think every job I’ve ever had has helped define my character from baby sitter to hostess. You learn a lot about human nature and client service from all of it.
When did you know you wanted to work in this industry?
- As soon as I learned what public relations was and met people who worked in different facets of the industry.
Tell me about your first campaign:
- It wasn’t my first campaign but I learned a lot about a decade ago when I first starting working with Procter & Gamble. They have a smart team, specific processes and very high standards. It was sink or swim and I learned a lot very quickly. It was intimidating and overwhelming at times but worth it especially looking back on business building brand successes.
How are you a better leader today vs when you first came in?
- I am much more empathetic and patient than I once was. I’m also now able to quickly identify working styles and adjust my management style accordingly. Finally, I’ve now learned the right amount of distance to keep. As someone who is very friendly, enthusiastic and usually the life of the party, it took me many years to learn and apply the right balance.
What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
- To be honest, not much but I think if I had to pick one thing, I would have been less trusting early on. When I started my career, I had a little bit too much faith in the good in people. I am still trusting and like to give the benefit of the doubt but now much more cautious and in many cases my trust now has to be earned.
What’s your management style?
- I’m very direct but approachable and collaborative. I speak to people at all levels the way I want to be spoken to and really don’t key message. I’ve observed that my style is not the norm and it can rattle people.
What problem do you solve?
- Oh my goodness, it depends on the day. All kinds!
What is your super power?
- After this long, I am very good at anticipating client needs. I can almost always feel when a client is about to ask a question and answer it before they do.
Who is your nemesis?
- I definitely don’t have a nemesis but don’t do well with people who are out for number one above all else. We are all ambitious but the people I admire most for their success support their peers and competitors. I’ll always believe this is the best approach and be weary of opportunistic traits when I spot them.
What have you learned this year so far that will be game changing in the next year?
- I definitely have my eye on automation and how it continues to change and evolve all the industries we work in.
Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a major obstacle that stood in the way of you accomplishing a goal or commitment. How did you approach the situation?
- There have been so many. My approach is always the same – release, reflect, react. Let go of any emotions that could impair your thinking and actions, think about the most strategic way forward and put your plan into place with the right people. Not every obstacle is the same but I believe a rational approach always has high return.
Do you have a theme song?
- Theme song, no…but I will admit I find Rupaul’s Cover Girl suspiciously energizing.
What is the most challenging part of your role? What is your favorite part of what you do?
- I like inspiring my team to do great work and giving clients ideas that measurably benefit their businesses. In terms of challenges, I think navigating the changing media landscape and economic ups and downs.
What is your finish line?
- I don’t think it’s that different than what I’m doing now but being increasingly invested in the business. I would also like to launch a charity. I’m finessing its exact focus.
If you woke up on a dessert island tomorrow, what are the first 3 things you would do?
- Swim in the salt water then find food and shelter
What’s your favourite non-professional activity?
- Enjoying fabulous dinners and wine.