For many PR pros, self-care has been the biggest lesson learned from the past year of crisis and disruption.
It’s become the big message for Megan Shroy, founder and president with Approach Marketing, as she looks to the future and a post-COVID recovery. Above it all, she is “terribly optimistic” about the future of the industry.
Here’s what she shared with us in our latest in the “Day in the Life” series:
1. What’s the first thing you do every day when you wake up?
Shroy: Like every good PR person, I dive into the news and then determine how I want to tackle my day. Sometimes, I determine that I can shift video meetings into a walking phone call. Or, I find an opening to intentionally pick up the phone and call a client or prospect that I haven’t been able to see in person during the pandemic.
2. Who is the most important person you talk to every day?
Shroy: My husband, Brent! He has always been my rock and one of my biggest supporters. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been able to work side-by-side from a shared loft space in our home. I love that we get to see each other in our element, and his presence also feeds that craving for in-person connection. My three kids and my mom are also a huge part of my day. Approach Marketing is a family-first agency, and they are my “why.”
3. When do you plan to go back into the office? Do you want to go back?
Shroy: The Approach Marketing team is fortunate in that we’ve been a remote organization since day one. Because we did not have to adjust our work model or processes, we have maintained business as usual.
We’ve leaned on this expertise to coach clients and fellow agencies on how to make the transition as smooth as possible. I’ve also advocated to make remote work the norm because I believe this has allowed us to attract high caliber talent.
Office space aside, I am eager to be able to meet face-to-face with clients and connections again. I thrive on this personal connection and hope to be able to resume this “business as usual” this year.
4. What’s a new tool you have discovered that you just can’t live without?
Shroy: My earbuds. I love to be out and about connecting with people. Sometimes, it feels like the walls of my office are closing in on me. I’m known to take conference calls on a walk or simply pace in my driveway. The movement helps me concentrate on the call vs. the chaos on my desk or inbox.
5. What was your favorite work memory from the past year?
Shroy: In the depths of March 2020, our 10th anniversary year, the scenario looked far different than what I had planned for and envisioned for the agency heading into that time.
I didn’t have all the answers for our team, but I was blown away by the ways they proactively stepped up to offer their help and ideas. This led us into a “serve not sell” period where we put everything that we could aside and offered free counsel, tools and services to small businesses and restaurants that were facing even tougher times. Despite the uncertainty I will never forget how our team buckled in, became stronger and had the backs of each other and the community.
6. What has been the biggest “lesson learned” from 2020?
Shroy: Take the risk and challenge the way something is traditionally done if there’s room to strengthen the process. While it sounds cliché, Approach and our team wouldn’t be here if that weren’t the case.
Ten years ago, the idea of working in a 100% virtual setting felt shocking to some who questioned the sustainability of this remote concept. Not only did it allow us to attract a strong group of talent, we were unintentionally built for a year like we had in 2020 and the future of work.
7. What’s your No.1 message to clients, co-workers or employees for 2021?
Shroy: Take care of yourselves.
I initially started to dive in even deeper to make up for things I couldn’t control about the pandemic. The weekdays and weekends became a blur. This has been, undoubtedly, the most difficult season of my career. As a business owner, I’ve never been stretched further, and I know that everyone from our clients to my team feel the same.
We need to remember to take time away from the stress and negativity and reserve time for the things and people that fill our cup. It’s not only OK—it’s essential for our productivity and creativity to take meaningful breaks.
8. What makes you hopeful about the future of PR?
Shroy: I am terribly optimistic about the future of PR. Because of COVID, we are actually seeing new tools and technologies emerge that are changing our practice—and that’s exciting. We’re building closer connections with media who are home just like us. We’re finding ways to connect brands and their audiences in efficient ways, such as Zoomcasts, or webinars. For 2021, I hope that we can safely bring back more hands-on and experiential platforms for brands, such as smaller events or in-person speaking engagements.