One Woman’s Journey through Tech and Back Again
Hello and welcome to Kim360PR.
Since this is my very first blog for my very own small business, I thought it best to provide you with a little history of me before I dive into the nuances of public relations (PR) and social media strategies in future blogs.
There and back again
Through the years I have held a number of positions that, when put together, led me to discover and hone a variety of skill sets. The journey has been interesting to say the least.
It began in 1989. I was a single mom when I went to work as a marketing assistant for OCLC, a major online library software company that catered to public and university libraries. I worked for the west coast marketing director and ultimately this job would serve as an introduction to the world of marketing and would provide me with an understanding of how marketing and sales work hand-in-hand.
More importantly, it would act as the catalyst that would change my life.
Discovering desktop PCs and the Internet
After three years working in the marketing department, I was promoted to office manager. Shortly before I took the position, our dumb terminals (hardwired via a local area network, then connected to our corporate headquarters) were replaced with fancy new “desktop” computers.
I remember these cool machines sat at our desks and came with monitors that displayed color! They also came installed with new software that would take us out of the green screen world of mainframe dumb boxes, into a world called Windows.
The following year, division managers from across the country were flown to corporate headquarters to attend a training class on a little thing called the “Internet.” It was the beginning of the technology that would change the world, ultimately putting an end to mundane tasks like sending re-usable brown inter-office envelopes via UPS from corporate to the various offices and back again. And it was the end of “sneaker-net” whereby you would share information on a floppy disk with your colleagues by walking the disks back and forth from one person to the next. Ya, that was a real thing…
From office manager to PC technician
The introduction class to the Internet did one thing for me; it solidified my curiosity about technology. I wanted to know what was inside the box on my desk. How did it do what it did?
To find out, I signed up for a PC technician class and my love of all things “computer” was born. I loved building and setting up the equipment, learning about DOS and how to replace hard drives and motherboards. As fate would have it, I would eventually go to work for the men who taught my class and my career as a PC technician was born.
I spent nearly seven years, on and off, working for the now-defunct, three-man shop called Primary Computer Services, selling and installing computers and connecting them to the Internet in K-12 schools throughout Southern California.
Strangely enough, school boards had decided that the Internet should be installed in school libraries. It seemed only rational since, besides school offices, the library was the only place on campus that had access to a network and usually included multiple workstations so students could browse the local database to find the books they wanted.
It was a fortuitous pairing, considering my last position working with librarians. The sense of synchronicity between the two jobs was hard to overlook.
Advertising, photography and graphic design
After nearly 10 years in tech and libraries, I found I wanted to change. I didn’t like sales and I wanted something more exciting, less stressful. Quotas were not my thing, so when a job opened up in advertising for a major card casino in a not-so-great part of Los Angeles, how could I resist?
While this next phase of my career required a ridiculous commute (two hours to drive 35 miles, one way in Los Angeles traffic) it also opened up the opportunity to learn an entire new set of software skills including Photoshop, InDesign and my first gig as a manager over a small team. It also allowed me to incorporate into my work another passion – photography.
After five years of the insane commute and the crazy culture of a casino, however, I realized how much of my now three children’s lives I was missing. So, I gave it up for something closer to home.
So how does a PC technician and advertising director wind up as a PR professional you ask?
I can wax philosophical here and say that life provides you with opportunities; it’s up to you to choose to go after those opportunities, or simply stay in your comfort zone.
As you can probably tell, I’m not much of a “status quo” kind of girl.
After advertising, and a brief stint as a movie producer, don’t ask, I went to work for a friend who owned a local PR firm, five minutes from my home. Oddly enough, VMA Communications’ client base included K-12 school districts.
And there I was, full circle, working once again with school administrators and board members, but instead of selling them computers, I was helping them communicate with their constituents and stakeholders.
This new world, one of communications, included a lot of writing, from newsletters to press releases to proclamations. I was also put in charge of photographing school events and promoting student and school accomplishments to the community, leading eventually to the promotion of a video that went viral on YouTube and got the attention of President Obama. You could say after this success, I was hooked.
Bringing it all together in a new place
Three years later, I made the move to Scotts Valley, California. After a short time, I discovered right down the street from my house, a full-service media relations and PR agency that focused on high-tech enterprises and startups and I made Nadel Phelan my home for the next six years, working my way up from PR associate to PR director.
It was a wild ride and provided me with experiences I will never forget, not to mention the opportunity to learn about the new technologies that had been cooking while I was away.
It was exciting and totally fulfilling.
So now I have landed in Eugene and I am enjoying running my own gig with a mission to help small businesses and startups understand and implement PR and social media strategies and insight.
Let’s get started on implementing PR and social media strategies for your small business or startup. Call today to setup a free one-hour consultation.