How I Got Here: Mekky Media’s Michelle Mekky prioritizes mental health to stay inspired

Michelle Mekky shares why PR is more than good writing.

Mekky Media’s Michelle Mekky

Michelle Mekky’s career journey spans experience in broadcast journalism, public relations, entrepreneurship, and motivational speaking. As the founder and president of Mekky Media Relations, Inc., she has garnered widespread acclaim for her agency’s growth and innovative campaigns, serving clients across various industries from startups to established leaders both in Chicago and nationwide. 

Mekky was named the 2021 Ragan and PR Daily Communicator of the Year, a 2020 PR News Top Women in PR Honoree, and a 2019 Crain’s Chicago Business Notable Entrepreneur, just to name a few of her accolades. 

Beyond her professional achievements, the founder is a firm believer in the power of kindness and support towards others.She also champions the idea of cultivating meaningful connections and nurturing relationships, drawing from her own experience where her network played a key role in the expansion of her agency.

My first comms (or HR or marketing or whatever profession) was:

After I graduated with my master’s degree from Northwestern University, I couldn’t break into television right away so I decided to take a public relations job. The first job I had the opportunity of having was Director of Public Relations at the Israel Tourist Office. My experience was full of exciting opportunities, I got to lead press trips and received my first taste of what the PR world had to offer. After this position, I quickly got a job at WFLD-TV, the local FOX affiliate here in Chicago after my professor gave my name to their management. After that, I stayed in television for over 12 years before returning to PR! 

The thing I’m most excited about for the future of my profession is:

The most exciting is the prevalence of AI in PR and the possibilities of how it can be used to be even more effective in our campaigns. It is incredibly powerful and we are only scratching the surface of how we are currently utilizing it. I am excited to see how we can better serve our clients and further integrate it with our current processes.  

A tool or a piece of software I cannot live without is:

My phone! It is attached to me like a glove. I have a terrible habit of checking it first thing in the morning and all the way up until I go to bed. It is like my lifeline! I am working on practicing detachment, as in detaching myself for short periods of time but it has proven quite difficult. The other is SLACK! Best invention ever. So amazing for staying connected in real-time with my team and encouraging remote collaboration. 

The most underrated skill in my profession is:

I would say having strong interpersonal communication skills is crucial. PR is way more than good writing – you have to know how to sell – whether that’s your story, yourself or your services. It is all connected. We have to earn the trust of the journalists and clients we work with. We look for passionate people who are strong communicators in PR. My ability to walk in a room and make an impact has carried me far in my career. I think that’s imperative to succeed these days in our industry. 

One way I stay creative and motivated is:

I joined a Masters Business Group this year to get inspired by other CEOs and their success stories. I also love sharing our individual business challenges and coming up with creative ways to solve them and grow. Our facilitators are incredible coaches who give me great inspiration every time we meet. 

I also need to take breaks and protect my mental health to stay creative and inspired. Exercise, healthy eating and meditation go a long way to restore and help me balance the intense stressors entrepreneurship brings. 

Someone who has helped me be successful in my career is:

There have been many mentors and advisors in my life over the years. I always say I am very coachable no matter how much experience I have. But someone who has made an impactful difference in my life is my mentor Chaya Friedman. When I was so unsure about starting a business and really struggled to believe in myself, she pushed me to do it, even pulling out her checkbook and presenting me with a $10,000 check saying: “This is a loan, no repayment terms on the loan but go start your business. I know you will succeed.” This was a turning point in my decision and truly made me feel that if someone has that much faith in me then I have no choice but to give it a shot. It taught me to believe in myself when the doubt creeps in and that I can truly do anything.

Isis Simpson-Mersha is a conference producer/ reporter for Ragan. Follow her on LinkedIn.


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