Before the COVID-19 crisis, when we asked about the most important person a given PR pro talked to during the day, the answer was often a trusted co-worker or maybe cherished clients. These days, the answer is often someone who is a little closer to home.
For Michelle Martinez Reyes, chief relations officer for Kelley Kronenberg, the crucial people in her day are her son and partner, two people she has been able to spend more time with since the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent work-from-home orders.
It’s the silver lining she is taking from what has been a difficult year for many. We caught up with her for our “Day in the Life” series, and here is what she had to say about less commuting and traveling, the future of the industry, and more.
1. How much coffee do you drink during a day?
Reyes: One cup, if at all.
2. Who is the most important person you talk to every day?
Reyes: There really is not just one, I think it’s a 50/50 split between my son, Madden, and my fiancée, Art. They are both the closest people to me and my closest friends.
3. How much of your day is spent on Zoom calls?
Reyes: This varies day-to-day but can be between 2-4 hours per day.
4. What’s a tool you couldn’t live without right now?
Reyes: I cannot live without my Outlook calendar. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening!
5. What’s been the biggest change you’ve faced since the pandemic started?
Reyes: The greatest challenge during the pandemic has been to balance family and work. Having to compartmentalize time to be physically present, and to manage both simultaneously from home without additional assistance is not an easy task.
6. Are you still working from home? If so, what’s been your favorite part of WFH?
Reyes: Yes, I have been working from home in 2020. My favorite part of being home is having no commute or travel. I have commuted and traveled extensively throughout my career and am now enjoying my home and my family more fully. I like that I can be more present, engaged and involved in the day-to-day rather than feeling ongoing guilt for being absent. There are silver linings to most stories.
7. What’s your No.1 message to clients, co-workers or employees for the rest of 2020?
Reyes: My primary message to clients, co-workers and employees for the remainder of 2020 and beyond is to focus on today. There needs to be a balance between current, short-term and long-term focuses. In the era of COVID-19, nothing has become more relevant than the current moment. Above all, PR is king as a driver for sales, revenue and ultimately profitability.
8. What makes you hopeful about the future of PR? Any big predictions for 2021?
Reyes: PR is a constant. The platforms and delivery methods for PR may change over time and circumstances, but the core premise of it stays the same—sell. 2021 will bring in the dominance of digital platforms, enhanced points of accessibility such as Alexa, alongside advances in artificial intelligence.