NutsPR Spotlight: Laura Petrolino

Happy April!

Can you believe the first quarter of the year is gone? I hope you’re going strong on your business and personal goals.

That said, welcome to another edition of NutsPR Spotlight!

This month’s guest is someone I get to work with every day and whom I’m proud to call my friend.

Ladies and gents, please welcome: Laura Petrolino!

Also known as Ninja or #PetroPower 🙂

Laura and I met where else than on Spin Sucks, years before I joined the team.

I’ve always admired her dedication for body building and her resilience to keep going.

But what I like most about Laura are her diplomacy skills. She can tell you in a gazillion polite ways she doesn’t agree with you and what it needs to be done. And, of course you end up agreeing with her. 🙂

Today’s politicians could learn a thing or two from her.

Laura was very kind to share with us a bit of her. Thank you, Laura!

Without further ado:

When did you know PR was what you wanted to do?

In college I wanted to be a political correspondent.

Sophemore year I desperately wanted a summer internship at CNN, but sadly I didn’t get it.

Oddly enough, a few days after I found out I had been turned down, I was reached out to by Sen. Bill Frist’s office, to see if I’d be interested in an internship at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (which he was chairman of at the time). I excitedly accepted, and it changed the path of my entire career.

After my internship, I wanted nothing more than to go to back to DC.

So I made it happen and went back to work full time at the committee January of my Junior year. I finished my Vanderbilt degree taking grad school courses at night.

I worked in politics for many years, specifically in fundraising, events, and campaign management.

In my opinion there is no better place to learn about strategic communication. From there PR and communications work was just a natural transition.

How does teaching help you learn? How do you like to learn?

You don’t actually know something if you can’t teach it.

Teaching forces you to understand things at a much more intimate and detailed level than you did before. It forces you to question assumptions and look at things in a different way.

A big portion of my job revolves around teaching now, and I’m a better professional as a result.

What piece of advice do you have for anyone heading into the reality of PR?

Study a lot of non-PR related things.

The biggest asset you can bring to your PR career is a broad knowledge and interest in a variety of different things. Be constantly curious and involved in the world, open minded and critical thinking.

These traits will take you far in your career, especially if you work at an agency that deals with clients in a wide range of industries.

You need to jump in and immerse yourself in each industry quickly and comprehensively, and you can’t do that if your interests and knowledge base are narrow.

What would you like to change in the PR industry and think it can be accomplished this year?

This year!! That’s hard. Change takes time, but I think if we can move the dial just a bit in the way PR pros see themselves, we’ll make a good first step.

Until PR pros see themselves as equal players on the executive team they’ll be content to slide by and present only soft metrics accounting for their work.

No one would let a chief operating officer present soft data about their “possible” affect on business, they want hard data that tracks against business goals.

The same needs to be expected from a chief marketing officer, or any PR professional.

Our work must be evaluated the same way any executive officer or main organizational department—with measurable goals and PR metrics that directly affect the business’s bottom line.

What’s next for Laura Petrolino?

Well, considering it’s winter in Maine….more shoveling. And then world domination.

Want to know more about Laura? Connect with her on Spin Sucks, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and pretty much everywhere.