A strategic marketing and communications consultant, Nicole has spent close to a decade working with premier global and national brands to develop, deliver and amplify brand narratives that stand out in a crowded markets, provoke new ways of thinking and inspire action. She brings specialized experience working with companies like KeyBank, MetLife, BlackBerry, Xerox, Schneider Electric and Staples in public relations, strategic marketing and analyst relations across the financial services and technology sectors. She has helped her clients become sought after sources for prominent media outlets such as CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and more. Her writing has appeared in Forbes, Business Journals, Entrepreneur and numerous trade publications. Nicole joins Akrete after experience at multiple large agencies including Text100 and BlissPR. To learn more about Nicole check out her Q&A.
Q&A with Nicole Stenclik
How long have you been working in PR?
I have been working in PR and communications for about twelve years. I majored in public relations at Syracuse University’s SI Newhouse School of Public Communications and have been working in B2B PR and integrated communications ever since.
How would you describe working for a large PR Firm compared to one like Akrete?
Actually, the first firm I worked for out of college was only about 35 people, which is still on the smaller end of the spectrum. This experience definitely set the tone for the rest of my career; I love the culture of comradery and entrepreneurial spirit that is the lifeblood of a smaller firm, as well as the high level of personalized service we are able to provide to clients. While my next move was to a much larger, global agency with more than 500 employees worldwide, the offices I worked in were relatively small, never exceeding 20 people. Aside from cultural advantages, I think the biggest benefit of a small agency like Akrete for both employees and clients is that consultants are not stretched across 6-8 separate organizations. I’ve found that in a smaller environment you are able to focus and completely immerse yourself in the client’s business, so you come to know the organization just as well as they do. This extensive industry and business expertise results in high impact results for the client, and more engaged employees that are proud of their work and feel they are making a difference.
What is a song to describe your work ethic?
I think “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals is a great representation of how I approach my work. I take great pride in my work, and will go above and beyond to ensure we’re delivering exceptional value to the client. When you have a group of passionate, talented, dedicated people working together to reach a shared goal, extraordinary things can happen.
If you could drink with anyone from history who would it be?
This is a tough one! If I had to pick one, it would probably be Julia Childs. I love to cook (and eat!) so I would love to sit down with the woman who helped make cooking fun and accessible for the masses. I find our country’s relationship with food fascinating, particularly in the context of other cultures that view meals as an experience that should be enjoyed with loved ones, not something to rush through in the car or at your desk (while counting calories to boot!). I’m sure Julia would have a few things to say about the evolution of our relationship with food today! Separate from my cooking and food obsession, it would be interesting to hear about being a female entrepreneur living abroad in the post WWII era. And I think it’s safe to assume that there would be some pretty spectacular hors d’oeuvres to accompany our drinks!
What is your favorite part of working in PR?
I think there is something incredibly powerful about the ability to advocate for a company (and in the greater scheme of life, yourself) in an effective, meaningful way. Public relations and communications allows me to constantly hone this skill in a creative, dynamic and fast-paced environment. I find that I am constantly learning while being pushed intellectually, creatively and strategically, which keeps me highly engaged and motivated.
What do you when you are facing a creative block?
When I’m facing a creative block, I like to remove myself from my work environment, and ideally, do something active. If I’m able to step outside for a run around the block or spend 30 minutes doing yoga, I find I’m able to come back to the assignment refreshed and reinvigorated both physically and mentally, ready to attack the challenge with fresh eyes and perspective. For me, this is always more effective than spinning my wheels staring at the blank screen taunting me!
What is one piece of advice you would offer to someone trying to enter into the PR industry?
Most PR skills can be taught, but I think what is most important for success in this industry are some of the intangibles that are very difficult to teach. When hiring entry-level employees I look for folks that are self-starters, passionate, curious learners and people that take great pride in their work.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a mom to two active kiddos under four, so much of my spare time is spent fine-tuning my coloring and Play-Doh skills, playing hide and seek and reading Dr. Seuss. However, I love to cook, so tend to spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen tinkering with new recipes. I’m also a frequent hostess for holidays, birthday parties and get-togethers for my larger than life extended family (we average 30 on a light day!) Several years ago I started running (to work off all the eating) but ended up loving the overall experience; I find it both empowering and cathartic. In my quieter moments, I love to cozy up with a good book, preferably at the beach or on our boat at the lake.
What is your favorite book?
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.
What are three interesting facts about you?
I have lived abroad and run a half marathon, both of which taught me a lot about myself and what I’m capable of. In the past few years, I’ve become a fierce advocate for increased Pancreatic Cancer funding, research and general awareness.
What is a quote you live by and why?
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson really speaks to me both on a personal and professional level. Often times I am my own toughest critic and can be quite hard on myself. As a new, working mother, it is easy to feel that you aren’t giving enough of yourself at home and at work. I think this quote is a great reminder that humans are imperfect beings. In general, we are all doing the best we can with increased demands on our time, both personally and professionally, so we need to be kind to ourselves and to one another.