07 January 2013

Stephanie, former PR Professional

Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.

Stephanie with her family.

Today's interview is with my friend, Stephanie.

Where do you live?
I'm a Bay Area native, but currently live in the Sacramento region. My heart is Hawaiian, and my soul belongs in Europe.

What are your hobbies or special interests?
I love to travel, eat, cook, bake, write, read, dance, mother, blog... I bore easily, so I'm always interested in new things.

What did you do before staying home with your kids?  
I was a broadcast journalist graduate, who fell into working in public relations in the Bay Area for clients in the semiconductor, foundry, EDA, and consumer electronics markets. You know how they often say "Intel inside"? Well, my clients made the stuff that goes inside of Intel. 

What is your current profession?
Currently, I write for my blog, Frankly My Dear (http://www.queenscarlett.com), and Today's Mama (http://bayarea.todaysmama.com/author/stephaniehuangporter/). I'm also the social media manager for Sacramento Bloggers (http://www.sacramentobloggers.com).

What made you choose that line of work?
Well, with a broadcast degree I had received some offers in small markets, for a pittance in pay, no benefits, no holidays, and living in tiny places like Twin Falls, ID, or Klammath Falls, OR. All I wanted to do was start working and making money. PR was the place to be when I graduated. The market was booming and we were all in high demand. 

Today I'm a stay-at-home mom - which I love. I also blog, which I enjoy, but I have yet to figure out how to turn it into a paying job.

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?
Most people in the Bay Area know all about electronics. When I moved from the Bay Area to the Sacramento area, most people looked at me like I was speaking gibberish. It was difficult moving from a place that lived, and breathed tech, to an area nearly untouched by it.

What question do you wish they would ask?  
Honestly, I don't care to answer many questions about it. I like to leave my work, at work. PR is often a thankless job. Everything you do is behind the scenes. A sign of a good PR job is one that looks as if it was done all by the client themselves. No matter how great a campaign, or how great an IPO, or press release you helped create, none of it was lasting. In the world of high-tech PR it's "what have you done for me lately." Our jobs often focused on the fickle nature of every uptick of the stock, or downtick. 

My favorite parts of the job included people. I enjoyed interacting with the press, and working on events, and tradeshows. The fact that so much depended on our relationships with media and investors, made that part of my job something I valued most.

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?

Here's the deal. I wasn't one of those girls who grew up wanting to be a mom first. I grew up dreaming of business suits, and conquering boardrooms. Granted, Murphy Brown wasn't a real newscaster, but I wanted to be her. She was so funny, polished, and brilliant. 

I am very grateful for the path I have taken. I believe in every woman earning a strong foundation of education. I believe that we all need to have the chance to explore the world via career, or travel, or relationships with people who have broader perspectives. 

So having a career like PR helped me fill that need to be a part of a world much bigger than myself. I believe, that my focus on having a career first, helped me appreciate my current role as mother more than I can even fathom. I don't sit at home pining for what could have been, I've done it. I don't wish my life was different, because I've had my opportunities, and enjoyed them. I am happy, and fulfilled to be at home, with my daughters, teaching them to be strong women, and finding ways to constantly utilize my skills.

Short answer, yes, I would do it over again, if it led me back to where I am now. PR afforded me the ability to be flexible, meet people, travel, and when I had kids, it allowed me to work from home for a time. It used the writing skills, and communication skills I honed in college, and those are still skills that I utilize today.

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