You might have seen her grabbing something to eat at, oh say – every restaurant in Boston! You must be thinking she’s a really hungry girl or just loves food (which is totally true), but that’s because she’s our hospitality PR senior account executive! Jessica plans and executes public relations campaigns for 451 Marketing’s growing list of hospitality clients including Puritan & Co., Restaurant dante, Catalyst, Blue Inc, L’Espalier, and Sel de la Terre.
What is your favorite thing about working in PR?
My favorite thing about working in PR is that each day is different than the one before it and the one after it. Some people find comfort in having a very routine schedule, and I am not one of those people. I like the unknown in my day to day and the excitement that comes with responding to news, trends and pop up opportunities that are immediate.
Prior to 451, you were the in-house PR professional for two local restaurants. How does that work compared to what you’re doing at 451?
In the restaurant world you always have to be on your toes whether you are in house or in an agency. Working in house afforded me the ability to learn the internal workings of a restaurant from the different perspectives in the Front of the House, Back of the House, Management and Marketing. This experience is one of the things that is useful to me in an agency setting as we work with our robust portfolio of clients to create meaningful and effective PR programs and promotions.
Obviously working in house with one brand is very different from working with multiple clients and their various brands. However, in my case, working in an agency fosters a different type of creativity and allows the ability to work with a larger team and network of professionals.
How did your coursework and experience at Bentley College prepare you for this career?
Bentley College provided unparalleled breadth and depth of their business program. While I majored in marketing, I also gained invaluable knowledge in all aspects of business. Bentley gives students the tools to be the best professional business person you can be in any field. One cliché marketing 101 rule that we learned early on is the 80/20 rule – that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. I always keep this in mind when considering effective marketing tactics for my clients to build and capitalize on that 20%.
You have a lot of experience in the hospitality industry – what draws you to this specialty?
I’m drawn to the hospitality industry because I have a very large family and we were constantly entertaining. I loved growing up with so many people constantly around. Being Maltese, food was always a big part of the entertaining process. I was also always very adventurous eater, I had my first oyster when I was only 3 years old. When I was in high school, I worked on a farm and I think that gave me a deeper appreciation for food and the connection that we have to it. At that time I also kept a journal that chronicled about 15 different versions of Lobster Ravioli (random!) that I had tried at various restaurants while visiting one of my Aunts in Boston. It has been and continues to be a great time in the city to watch the culinary scene in Boston evolve, and I feel lucky to work with such talented Chefs.
What advice would you give those hoping to break into PR?
I would advise those hoping to break into PR to be eager. Soak in absolutely everything you can, every little detail, even if you don’t think it is important at the time. Don’t be afraid to work hard because it will all eventually pay off and prepare you for the next steps in your career. Be a team player, it sounds cliché, but it’s true.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career so far?
The most valuable lesson I have learned in my career is to always give your all and to treat everything like it is your own. Employers and clients hire you for a reason and probably in hopes that you will be a part of building their brand. When you have the devotion and respect for your work, as if it is for your own company, you will build a great reputation for your employer and also yourself.
What do you think 451 does differently than other agencies its size?
It goes without saying that 451’s collaboration between PR, Social Media, and Search Marketing makes it incomparable to other agencies its size. The other important thing is the culture here. When you’re in college and applying to jobs you start to hear buzzwords like corporate culture. However, it’s not until you are actually out there in the work place that you learn how important this is. Our founders, Tom, Nick and AJ, are forward thinking individuals that have created a great work environment with a very smart and talented team.
Have questions for Jessica? Ask in the comment section below.