One Year as a Maven

To preface, I like to consider myself a jack of all trades. Ok – not all, but some. This sentiment is particularly relevant to my career as I have an undying and troublesome passion for learning, trying, failing and succeeding at new things, and new positions. In the past five years alone, I’ve worn several different career hats: from business development and procurement coordinator with the City’s most beloved sports team, to English language teacher in the French countryside, to social media manager and publicist, to sponsorship sales for an indie brand, and so on. For the past year, though, I’ve been sporting my favorite “hat” of all, account executive at Maven.

Join me below as I reflect on one year as a Maven, exploring the life of an account executive and how my definition of success has evolved in twelve months.

Preparation is key.

Having worked in business development and public relations at larger organizations prior to joining Maven in November of 2022, I had a general idea of what it meant to be prepared. What I did not fully grasp until becoming a member of this team, though, was its importance. At a small agency, every single person on an account plays a vital role in its success. I’ve developed a new understanding of what it means to be detail-oriented and discovered that preparation is key to successful meetings, high-quality media materials and well-performing social campaigns.

What does preparation look like to me? See below for some examples.

  • Taking the time to review previous client announcements, advisories or social campaigns before diving head-first into a new project or task.
  • Conducting detailed research on audience tendencies or high-performing hashtags when developing a social media plan.
  • Double checking a reporter is still writing about the same beat before pitching them.
  • Taking notes during a meeting, reviewing those notes and using them as a guide, or even a checklist, in between client calls.

While this list is far from being exhaustive, it provides an idea of what it takes to be prepared and show up as your best self, and teammate, as an account executive.

For a clearer view of the big picture, take a step back.

Working in PR can be chaotic at any level, at any time, with any client. This past year has taught me that when you’re in the midst of chaos, and things feel completely uncontrollable, and you’re not going to hit a deadline because you have 10 other deadlines that all happen to be at the same time – take a step back, breathe and reassess. This can look like reorganizing your daily agenda, tackling tasks or emails one-by-one rather than all at once, or simply connecting with a colleague for some guidance.

As a junior-level employee, I learned that you’re not supposed to have all the solutions, but you do have access to resources and people who can help you find them. One of the best parts of being a Maven is having the opportunity to connect with other Mavens (who have definitely been in your shoes before). Being adaptable, nimble and solutions-oriented is essential to not only succeeding in this role, but also growing as a professional in PR and communications.

Success does not hinge on one singular moment in time.

Before reading on, take a moment to reflect on what success means to you in your career.

As PR professionals, we’re often guided by client wins: an interview with a top-tier reporter, a byline in a targeted trade publication, or reaching a social media milestone. Pretty cut and dry, right? While these wins are valuable and fulfilling in and of themselves, this past year has taught me that it’s not only the win that creates that feeling of success, but also the thought, time, collaboration and work that has gone into securing it.

I’ve learned that success does not hinge on one singular moment in time, but rather an amalgamation of small wins that have allowed for that success. Without each brainstorm, review session, spokesperson interview, or media training, these wins would not be possible. Though it may take longer than anticipated for an opportunity to come to fruition, it’s important to remind yourself every once in a while, that this is all part of the process.

When reflecting on my first year with Maven, one word comes to mind: opportunity, and I attribute my success as a PR practitioner to having the opportunity to learn and grow through my colleagues and clients at Maven.

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