This Is How I Get It DONE
Welcome Season 5 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 fourth episode of Season 5 we talked to Shelley McArthur, President, Founder & President of SMC Communications [TCO].
Founder & President of SMC Communications — aka ‘Chief’, ‘General McArthur’, ‘Mom’ according to my team.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
From an early age, I had my sights set on a career in PR. Following my post-secondary education in PR and communications, I landed my dream job working as part of Rick Hansen’s communications team at his namesake non-profit Foundation where I worked my way up the ladder in a variety of roles from communications, marketing and design. During that time, I developed an interest in wine and enrolled in classes with the International Sommelier Guild where I earned my level I and II certification. From there, I was keen to pair my passion for food and wine with my profession (one of the great benefits of a career in PR!) and landed my next dream role as Communications Director for the high-profile hospitality group, Toptable, where I had the pleasure of working on some memorable projects such as FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen with Chef Gordon Ramsay; Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential sequel Medium Raw; and the finale segment on NBC’s Today Show during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games to name a few.
What made you decide to launch your own agency?
After eleven fulfilling years working client-side, the arrival of my son, and encouragement from freelance colleagues, I decided to launch my own agency in an attempt to re-gain some work/life balance — ha!
One word to describe your work style AND what you do:
Hustle. We work extremely hard for our clients to achieve measurable results every single day.
What is a typical workday like for you?
My days are simultaneously structured and unstructured in that there are common themes, though it’s impossible to predict how each day will unfold. I typically wake up around 6:30am and check my emails, messages and news of the day from bed to ensure that there’s nothing that requires immediate attention. I have two young kids (8 and 2), so my mornings are then spent getting them ready for the day, before scrambling to do the same for myself. After a brief walk to work and a cup of tea, my day typically unfolds with a combination of client check-ins, new business discovery meetings, and one-on-ones with my team to review progress, opportunities and potential roadblocks. By mid-afternoon, I am hopefully able to tackle my actual to-do list and it’s a race to the finish before I rush home by 6pm for dinner with my family. Once the kids are in bed, I tie up any loose ends and catch up on social media, often with a glass of wine in hand. Pre-Covid, you’d also find me hosting a media dinner or a client event one or two evenings a week.
How do you balance family-work?
In PR, you are rarely afforded the luxury of truly turning ‘off’. I do my best to be fully present for my family which is admittedly easier said than done at times. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive husband who tackles a lot of the heavy lifting at home so we can enjoy more quality time together as well as a talented and hardworking team I trust to represent our agency to its highest potential.
9-5 is LONG gone, what is one shortcut or life hack that works for you?
I do my best to schedule meetings only from Tuesday through Thursday. That allows me to set my goals on Mondays and get a head start on the week, while Fridays are used to wrap up loose ends and begin the weekend without important tasks still looming.