A former journalist and public relations firm executive, Jennifer is also an expert media relations and marketing communications professional focused on the development and promotion of thought leadership. With experience in senior public relations firm management, Jennifer brings more than 20 years’ experience serving the professional services, technology and arts sectors, including clients such as Ernst & Young, Stewart Title and KeyBank. When Jennifer isn’t working she is trekking through national parks and writing songs. To learn more about Jennifer check out her Q&A.
Q&A with Jennifer Harris
How long have you been working in public relations?
I’ve worked in communications of one kind or another for more than 30 years—about 10 in magazine writing and editing and the remainder in marketing communications, copywriting and public relations.
How would you describe working for a large public relations firm compared to one like Akrete?
I worked in an in-house shop in a global technology company and found it interesting to see how big business works. However, in the boutique agency environment, you really get to connect with clients in multiple industries. Also, everything you do—or don’t do—makes an impact. In a large shop, you can feel like a cog in the machine.
What is a song to describe your work ethic?
Madonna’s “Get Up Again.” Over and over.
Julia Child— She seemed to be such a fun person, and I could finally find out how to make perfectly browned mushrooms.
What is your favorite part of working in public relations?
It’s really satisfying when you pitch a story with substance and a smart angle—and it gets the media’s attention. Also, I love constantly learning about different aspects of our clients’ businesses and exploring new topics. It’s made me very popular at cocktail parties, because I can talk shop with almost anyone.
What do you when you are facing a creative block?
Depending on the time of day, either sleep on it or work out.
One piece of advice you would offer to someone trying to enter the public relations industry?
Don’t work with negative people if you can possibly avoid it. It really isn’t worth the psychological toll.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies? Etc…
I am a Business Volunteer for the Arts, providing pro bono management and marketing consulting. I’m really into ambitious home cooking. I play guitar and love to write quirky and sometimes beautiful songs. And, I love backpacking, canoeing and sea kayaking in stunning wild places.
What is your favorite book?
I don’t do favorite books, music, movies or colors.
What are three interesting facts about you?
I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, I have written a song about sea horses, and I have written an article about precast concrete parking garage design. Seriously.
Quote you live by and why?
Not a quote, but an aphorism: You catch more flies with sugar. People will go the extra mile for you if you treat them with respect.