Alice Suh is the Head of Global PR at Deezer, a French-based online music streaming service, where she manages the company’s global campaigns.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Currently, I am the Global Head of PR at Deezer, a music streaming company. Funny enough I never considered pursuing PR when I was starting out in my career, but I’m so glad that I did.
I earned my B.A. in English Literature and my M.A. in Journalism and thought I’d end up as an international reporter, but life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.
Shortly after earning my Master’s, I left LA and moved to NYC, but I had a hard time finding a job in journalism, and so I expanded my search to PR and communications.
It wasn’t a hard transition for me as journalism and PR require similar skills. My first job in PR was working as a publicity assistant at a music label owned by Sony followed by a few years working at various start-ups including BuzzFeed.
I still had a big interest in working and living abroad, and so I transferred to London and then decided to move to Berlin when I joined Deezer.
It has been good to return to the music industry, where I got my first start. PR isn’t for everyone, but it turned out to be the perfect fit for me.
2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
My job is a bit stressful as there is always some new project to manage or a potential fire to put out, but despite the madness – I still really enjoy what I do.
Most mornings, I start with internal meetings with various teams including: local markets, comms, product, data and marketing. Since my role is global, I tend to work late due to the time difference, since we have offices around the world.
My work projects can vary from managing global campaigns to organizing speaking opportunities at festivals and conferences to media training and story ideation and execution.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
I probably don’t take advantage of this enough! Most of the time, I am working from the office, but there have been a few times that I have worked from home. I think it comes down to personal preference.
Although I love the comfort of working from home and saving time commuting back-and-forth from the office, it is often easier for me to have meetings face-to-face when I am in the office as opposed to a video chat.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
Yes, try to focus on one task at a time. When I know I’m up against a deadline, I give my full attention to that one project or task and set a personal timer for myself.
For example, devote x minutes or y hours to this task and have it completed so that you can attend to the next big thing on your list. Since I also deal with different time zones, I tend to break up what I need to do by location, since I know I will have the end of day to help teams based in other time zones like PST.
5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Work-life balance can be a struggle if you are in PR or comms, because you are basically always on call.
On the days that feels like work is dominating my personal life, I try to remind myself that my job is not my life and it doesn’t define me as a person. That simple clarity, makes it easier for me to relax and appreciate basic things like a really good meal, a book, time with my loved ones, even a strenuous work out that I dread and appreciate afterwards.
I also recommend traveling. It sounds cliche, but there’s so much of the world to see and once we get out of our own personal bubble, I think it’ll help with the personal growth that we need to balance our lives and prioritize what is important and not.
6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
Learning to say no when you have too much on your plate. When I was starting out in my career, I felt that I didn’t have the right to say that, even though there were times I was drowning in work.
When there is too much on your plate, it can affect the quality of your work as well as your personal health and well-being. Now, I am much more comfortable declining a task or project that’s thrown my way, if I know that I’ve hit full capacity and can’t take on more work.
7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
It’s not related to work, but I recently read The Good Immigrant UK and US editions featuring dozens of writers, journalists and artists who give their perspective on what it’s like to grow up as an immigrant or to be perceived as an immigrant (even if they’re not).
The first-person narratives are a good reminder on how we need to keep striving within our society to respect different cultures and people.
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Prioritize! I start with the tasks or projects that need my immediate attention and then I work my way down on my list of priorities. Also, drink plenty of water. It sounds boring, but keeping myself hydrated helps me focus and prevents me from getting a headache at the end of the day due to dehydration.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Make sure you enjoy what you do. Life is too short to be wasting your time in a job that you don’t see a real future in. When you find a job that you actually enjoy, you’ll find more joy and success balancing both your work and personal life.
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