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Day in the Life

A Day in the Life: PR Agency Owner

For our Day in the Life series, we look at the daily work habits, schedules and routines from people in a variety of roles and careers around the world.

Robyn Sefiani, CEO & Reputation Counsel at Sefiani Communications Group

Robyn Sefiani is the founder, CEO and Reputation Counsel at Sefiani Communications Group, a strategic communications firm based in Sydney.

My day begins and ends with exercise as I’ve always believed a healthy body and healthy mind go together. On days I’m in the office, I have a brisk half hour walk each end of my ferry commute across Sydney Harbour and that’s my creative and strategic thinking time. 

When you run your own business you never really stop thinking about what you can do better or differently for your clients and your people. But it’s a privilege, not a chore!

Then it’s a busy day filled with meetings or calls with clients and colleagues and conversations with global affiliates or prospective clients who are looking to engage Sefiani as their communications advisor or agency. 

I also work closely with our leadership team on agency operations, business development and ideas for professional development of our people. It’s important to me that we are providing a working environment where our people can flourish.

An important aspect of my work is providing issues and crisis management counsel to clients, when they or their companies are facing high profile challenges. This can fall at any time of the day, evening or weekend. Two of my senior colleagues are also reputation management specialists and we share the load on this work which is highly valued by clients.

Michelle Palmer, Co-Founder & Director at Modern Currency

Michelle Palmer is the Co-Founder & Director at Modern Currency, an integrated and creative communications agency with offices based in Melbourne, Singapore, Hong Kong and LA.

My day is so varied, every single day.

Kick off with a new client meeting where we strategise the best marketing communications tactics to take which suit the business best, then I will spend an hour setting up some digital conversions ads for a client on social media channels.

I’ll approve invoices, I’ll answer calls with clients and team members, review our profit and loss and check our budgeting, pay some bills, chat with my business partner (and friend) about our future company marketing or just laugh about something random.

Take a call from a client who I love who makes me laugh about something they’ve experienced that day, tidy up the kitchen (Grrr! Does every workplace have kitchen gripes?!) drink coffee (mmm coffee!), speak to my husband about what we will eat for dinner, read and reply to emails, write and proof some contracts.

That is my day!

Hannah O’Donnell, Founder & Managing Director of Straight Up PR

Hannah O’Donnell is the Founder & Managing Director of Straight Up PR, a full-service communications agency servicing the health, fitness and lifestyle industries in Australia and New Zealand.

Every day is different. My office days are Mon, Tues, Thurs. I have my kids – Frankie who is 3 and Beau who is 1 on Weds and Fri. Although on the days with my kids I still work – just remotely.

In saying this, next year (in 2020) I will be moving to four days in the office as my son will be old enough to pick up another day in care – so Fridays will be my day with the kids.

I kick off my working days with brekky with the tribe and a green juice (and a side of emails over the phone to check if anything urgent needs to be actioned) then a Pilates or yoga class. I’m then ready to dive into meetings with the team, clients or prospective clients and contacts.

I have computer time and action emails, work on business forecasting, proposals, billings, team capacity and our own PR and marketing strategies. I love to work from cafes and be outdoors in nature – this is where some of my best ideas are formulated.

Then at 4pm it’s time to get home for kindy pickup or to meet the kids as their beautiful grandparents drop them back.

Felicia Coco, Co-Founder & Director at LaunchLink

Felicia Coco is the Co-Founder & Director at LaunchLink, a PR firm, with offices in Melbourne, San Francisco and New York, helping startups and tech companies build their brand. 

One thing I love about my job is that no two days are ever the same. Because of COVID-19, I’m currently home in Melbourne, so I usually start my workday around 7am so I can quickly check the news, and touch base with our clients and team members in the US. 

From around 9am I check in with the Australian team and plan the day. We often have news announcements going out first thing, or commentary requests from journalists for breaking news, so mornings can be a little chaotic- but definitely exciting.

After getting a good caffeine fix, I’m usually on calls with clients or journalists building out media strategies and stories for the press for the rest of the day.

Prior to COVID-19, you could often find me chatting over coffees with journalists, hopping between client meetings, meeting prospective clients, hosting brand events or teaching media workshops.

Angela Cowley, Managing Director at Eight Communications

Angela Cowley is the Managing Director at Eight Communications, a boutique PR consultancy specialising in hotels, lifestyle, property and tourism.

Pre-Covid, my day started off with dropping my 6 year old at school and my two younger children at daycare. My 6 year old has consistently risen at 5am (or earlier!) from birth so it is generally a very early start for our household! 

After the madness of drop offs, it’s then a stop at Clodeli for my morning caffeine fix, then to my home office where I get straight into the emails, read the news of the day, check media clips for clients and speak with journalists and clients. 

I try and get most of the little jobs done in the first 3 hours of the day and then use the afternoon to get into strategy and writing. One of my hotel clients is based in Singapore and they come online around midday, so there’s often a lot of corporate comms and PR planning done in the afternoon with them. 

Before I know it, it’s 5pm and its time to collect the kids. Often I’ll have catch ups with media or industry colleagues in the afternoons/evenings, so having support at home is a huge help. I’m counting down to when these social events can be put back in the calendar.

Samantha Dybac, Founder & Managing Director at The PR Hub

Samantha Dybac is the Founder & Managing Director at The PR Hub, a public relations and strategic communications agency for entrepreneurs, business leaders and disruptive brands.

Pre-COVID I would have said everyday is so different with a mix of off site meetings, attending client photo shoots or TV interviews, podcast recordings, in the office, post work events and/or interstate visiting clients.

During COVID my day looks more like this:

Wake up about 545am and check my emails and have a quick skim of the major Australian news sites to see what’s happening and if anything might be relevant to our clients.

35-40min gym session (I bought gym equipment at the start of covid and am still training at home).

Drink a huge mug of hot water and lemon and then get myself and my 4 year old daughter, Mischa, dressed and out the door – first stop daycare drop off, then coffee, then the office.

Most days I’m in the office until about 630pm which includes client strategy meetings, internal meetings, new business calls, business planning, and plenty of pitching and follow ups! Lunch is about 1pm and I have a bad habit of eating in front of my computer.

If I’m walking or travelling anywhere I am either on calls or listening to a podcast to make sure I maximise my time.

Evenings are mostly spent at home with my family, making ‘to do’ lists and trawling LinkedIn (I’m a little obsessed!) I also love fitting in a television show a few nights a week to immerse myself in something completely fictional and fun.

Meg Harris, Director of Meg Harris Public Relations

Meg Harris is the founder and director of MHPR, a public relations and events consultancy based in Sydney that works with ethical and sustainable brands.

Balancing a multiple clients and motherhood means no two days are ever the same. The start of the day is always with my 15 month old twins, Bodhi and Willow. 

They attend daycare two days per week and the other three weekdays we have a nanny come to the house to care for them in the morning while I work. On daycare days I drop them off then come straight home to get stuck into my work. 

These are my most productive days and I am head down getting as much ticked off my list as I can. I think it’s important for productivity to take a lunch break away from your desk and so I always do a 20 minute meditation. On the days they’re not at daycare I spend the afternoon with the kids, usually going for a walk to the park or shops.

Life with twin toddlers is pretty hectic so my husband Beau and I have alternate evenings “off” to fit in some exercise while the other takes care of them. On these nights I’ll either do a workout in our home gym or my yoga practice. 

Dinner is always as a family around the table, then it’s the bath and bed routine for the twins. Beau and I watch some Netflix together or if work is busy I jump back on my laptop. I always read a book before bed to unwind and help me drop off to sleep.

Sophie Blue, Founder & Director of Blue Planet PR

Sophie Blue is the founder & director of Blue Planet PR, a boutique PR agency launched in 2010 based in Balmain, Sydney.

My younger daughter has just started high school, which means both kids are now out of the door at 7.30am (hooray!). This allows me to take our pup Miffy for a decent walk by the Harbour, grab a coffee, check social media and emails, generally clear my head before the working day starts.

I’m usually in my office by around 8.30, 9am. As my team works remotely, I’ll check in with everyone to make sure they’re across the most immediate priorities for the day. 

Once key action items are delegated, the day will be a mix of meetings, writing strategy documents, client contact, research, prospecting for new clients, checking of social media, plus scanning the news agenda to see where there may be opportunities for BPPR clients.

If my husband is at home (he’s mostly WFH now) we’ll head out for lunch together. Once the working day is over, if I’m feeling particularly energetic I’ll take Miffy for a ball-throw, or attempt a KX Pilates class (I’ve just started this, and I’m obsessed. 

So far I’ve managed to avoid falling flat on my face, which is a major achievement), or tackle the housework / laundry / dishwasher / whatever crap has accumulated around the house.

The day usually ends on the couch, watching repeats of Friends on Netflix or the latest binge-worthy series (currently Goliath on Amazon Prime, starring Billy Bob Thornton – Rod and I are loving it).

Kate Parker, Co-Founder & Director at Atlas Public Relations

Kate Parker is the co-founder & director of Atlas Public Relations, a boutique travel & lifestyle PR agency she founded with Alexandra Cuthbert. 

As a new business, it’s such a cliché, but no two days are ever the same.

I live at the seaside and usually get up at around 7am so I can go for a swim before work. It’s getting a little chilly in Victoria, so I now wear a wetsuit and am committed to this ritual! There is really no better way to start the day.

After this, I grab a coffee, go home, respond to emails, then jump on a call with Alex and debrief about what’s happening in the business for the day, then we divide and conquer our work.

This can be anything from client Zoom meetings, pitching to media, going to lunch with journalists, working on client proposals, accounting, social media – all of it!

Alex is based in Hobart and I recently spent a week with her there, working on media strategies, client pitches and creative brainstorming, but also having fun and making time to visit MONA, take road trips into the Huon Valley and explore Tasmanian vineyards.  

Phoebe Netto, Founder & Managing Director at Pure Public Relations

Phoebe Netto is the Founder & Managing Director at Pure Public Relations, a boutique firm specialising in PR for small and medium-sized businesses, charities and not-for-profits.

My morning alarm is set for 3:50am, even on the weekend. It might seem early to some, but over time I’ve learned that my brain works best early in the morning, and I struggle to work efficiently later in the day.

The extra hours allow me to get a large volume of work done, have my best ideas, and get a head start on my day before client and media requests start coming in. You will never do big things when you are distracted by small things, so I get my most important tasks done first thing. But before anything else, it’s reading, prayer and gratitude and, of course, coffee.

The early start also gives me time to make a start on some housework, make my girls’ breakfasts and get ready. I drop my kids to school, and when I have the car all to myself, use the time to record voice memos for my team or dictate articles that can be transcribed.

The rest of my day involves planning, brainstorming, having conversations with my team and clients and pitching to the media.

On a typical day this week, my working time was spent like this:

Before 6am, I finalise a media strategy document, suggest a PR timeline for a potential new client and prepare an issues management statement for a client. At 6am, I’m media monitoring by reading the major news of the day, as well as less mainstream news that relates to my clients.

I’m looking for news and events that might impact on our planned media announcements, and opportunities to leverage timely stories with our client’s news or perspective. I also check for mentions of our clients in the media.

After dropping my daughters off to school and preschool, it’s time for emails. I check my emails often as we need to be very responsive to media, and much of what we do for our clients is timely. By 9:15am I’m editing and finalising articles such as opinion pieces and advice articles for clients.

At 9:45am, I check the news again and read articles that relate to our clients. It’s always helpful to know what type of articles journalists are interested in before we pitch our clients to them.

Next up I chat to my team and discuss updates, before taking a short break at 10:30am. After a 30 minute break I’m back at my laptop, media pitching, replying to important emails and doing client updates.

At 12:15pm I head to a local café with my laptop for lunch, and use the time to catch up on admin and brainstorm media opportunities for clients. The early afternoon is filled with writing letters, phone scripts, and talking points for a client who needs to communicate some tricky changes.

I’ve got a conference call with a client at 3.30pm, and I decide to take it outside to get a change of scenery.

After that, I spend some time responding to media enquiries, and at 5pm create several instructional videos using loom.com to brief our writers on new articles, Q&As and background documents to be written for clients.

The end of the work day usually varies depending on my kids’ activities. After my children are in bed, I reflect on the day and write tomorrow’s to-do list using todoist.com.

I aim to be in bed pretty early, so I can get enough sleep to be sharp the next day.

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.