It’s ironic that some communications professionals can be bad at taking their own advice.
In a recent survey, many communications leaders were given a C+ when it comes to using two-way communication in their own teams. So when Christina Stejskal, vice president of global communications for Fender, says “communication is key,” we don’t have to take her word for it.
This communications pro has a heavily regimented routine. She drinks celery juice and meditates to start the day. She works out a lot and makes sure her workspace is immaculate.
As a communicator with an iconic rock ’n’ roll brand, Stejskal has a great story to tell. Luckily, she is an avid storyteller.
We recently caught up with her for our “Day in the Life of a PR pro” series, and here’s what she says about her work and the future of the industry:
1. What time do you wake up?
I’m usually up between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. I like to take my time in the morning to not feel rushed before heading to work. Having a clear mind and following my routine best sets me up mentally for success. That ritual usually includes:
- Quickly glancing at emails to ensure there’s nothing urgent and replying to my global colleagues given all of the various times zones
- Drinking a glass (16 oz.) of celery juice
- Doing a quick 10-minute meditation session on Headspace
- I work out a lot and love lifting weights, so this helps prevent stiff joints.
- Eating a yummy breakfast
- How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?
None, actually. I am not a coffee drinker and have never been good with too much caffeine. My go-tos are green tea, my morning matcha and a lot of water throughout the day. I carry a massive Nalgene bottle at work and drink three to four liters a day, on average.
- Who is the most important person at work you talk to during your day?
Being in a communications role and leading that function, my team and I touch all facets of the business. That being said, I interact with every function across our marketing, product, executive, finance and HR teams—you name it—across the board.
However, it’s pretty obvious, but my team and agency are the people I talk to most frequently. We are a solid unit and very in sync.
- What’s one tool that you couldn’t live without?
I am definitely a fan of organization and being efficient.
I love color-coding my to-do list; it keeps my priorities straight and clear.My cell phone is my hub. As a PR professional we are always on the go, so having quick access to email, Slack, LinkedIn, social media and other tools like Muckrack is key. Also, on a personal level, I track my workouts, finances and things of that nature through apps.
- What’s the last thing you do before finishing your workday?
Actually, there are two things I do:
- I make sure my desk is neat and tidy. For me a clean space is a clear mind. When my desk is cluttered, it makes me feel unnecessarily overwhelmed.
- I also write down my top four “must get done” items off my bigger to-do list for the next day on a Post-it.
- What keeps you up at night?
If I get in a late-night workout session past my usual time, my adrenaline is pumping and I can’t fall asleep as easily. Also, I don’t watch too much TV, but sometimes I get hooked on a show and will binge-watch. I can’t stop. I make a diligent effort to not take work stress home with me. I’m not always successful, but sleep and being prepped for the next day are important.
- What trend or change is the next big thing in communications and/or your industry?
The emphasis on authentic storytelling is not going away anytime soon. Impersonal, lackluster, dry pitches don’t cut it. We make a genuine effort in brand narratives to harness empathy and tap into needs and emotions of our audience of consumers.
- Anything else you want to share?
It’s cliché to say, being in a communications role, but communication is key. I always respond to every email, whether it’s a yes or a pass, etc. I am all about closing the loop, providing next steps and updates; this way, there is no room for confusion.
Remember to be human. Say good morning to your team [and] colleagues, and ask them about their weekends. Show interest in their personal lives and ambitions. We see each other so much during the workweek, sometimes more than our significant others or close friends, and it’s important to show you care.
Lead by example, and practice what you preach.