Alison Brod isn’t working directly within the finance industry. Yet, when you consider her credentials – running her own PR firm, managing campaigns for myriad major brands – it becomes clear she has advice that’s valuable to professionals in any industry. She was kind enough to sit down with OneWire CEO Skinny von Stade recently, to tell us her story, and to offer our readers advice that can help them to succeed in both their job search and in professional settings.
1. Announce your presence whenever possible
“[A friend] took me to a black tie benefit,” Brod tells us, detailing her start in New York City. “At this benefit, I saw this woman … I got up the courage, went up to her, and said, ‘I’ll do anything, I really want to work for you.’ At 8:30 the next morning, she called and she said ‘OK, I don’t know how you got to this event, but you start Monday.’ … and that was working for a big fashion PR firm in the mid ’90s.”
Brod’s story illustrates an important mantra to remember: The most determined individual – the type of person willing to expound on their abilities in the middle of a party they weren’t invited to – will almost always find success.
2. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on an unproven occupation
“I don’t think, back when I was growing up, that people even knew what public relations was,” Brod noted during her interview. “Now, we get enormous amounts of people who study it in college.”
Brod took a risk by entering into an unproven field, but it paid off. Now she runs her own PR firm – illustrating how entering into a young field can allow someone to become a leader in it once it has picked up steam. This is something that individuals should keep in mind when applying for positions in growing industries, such as technology jobs or investor relations jobs.
3. Make the most out of opportunities
“I met a man in an elevator, and I was eavesdropping,” Brod tells us, while detailing the start of her own eponymous firm. “He was talking to someone else in the elevator about a fragrance launch. I looked over, and I said, ‘I am in PR, here are some of the brands that I [work on.]’ We exchanged cards, and later he called. Normally I would have brought him to the agency that I was working with … after two hours of us meeting, he said ‘If you want to start your own business, I’ll be your first client.'”
This anecdote offers an extremely valuable piece of wisdom to any individuals, whether they’re applying for jobs, or already working their dream position: When a great opportunity presents itself – even indirectly – you have to make the most of it. Even if that means taking a big risk, like striking out on your own, instead of continuing to maintain your status quo.
4. “Read everything that you possibly can.”
Alison’s last bit of advice to professionals in all sector – there’s no way to replace the benefits offered by research and information. She noted that very few individuals do extensive research as part of their job, but that it should be considered a baseline requirement.
“Be prepared,” she stated, when we asked what advice she might have for younger professionals. “Being prepared – it’s so easy to get ahead, because so many other people don’t really read. Walk into every meeting [having done] research – all it takes is a Google search nowadays.”