Last month, SHIFT had the honor of recognizing one of our own Vice Presidents, Amanda Munroe, as a Top Women in PR by PR News. This is the third consecutive Top Women in PR win for SHIFT (we have a ton of women who rock), as Managing Partner, Amy Lyons, was honored in 2016, and Senior Vice President of Consumer Brands, Annie Perkins, was selected in 2017.
Amanda’s win comes as she celebrates 15 years (!) with the agency. Simply put, her contributions to SHIFT and women in PR are immeasurable. Fearlessly charging into male-dominated high-tech industries, Amanda took a seat at the boy’s table for herself early on. She is responsible for building the agency into a tech leader, propelling the B2B practice and positioning herself as atrue powerhouse with a “get it done” approach. The award celebrates her successful work in the cybersecurity, cloud computing and data analytics space – as well as her excellent record of client retention and portfolio growth
What does Amanda have to say about her successful journey? Although selfless, modest and never a fan of public recognition (try getting her in a photo), we sat down and tossed her three questions as she reflects on the past 15 years.
What is the one key thing you’ve learned as a leader over the past 15 years?
People want to be inspired. Whether it’s knowing how they contribute to their company’s overall mission and vision or digging deep to learn how their client is changing people’s lives, my team is motivated to know they’re contributing in ways beyond their own professional development. I’ve learned that I need to share the link between individual and team goals with SHIFT’s overall direction as an integrated agency. On the client front, I need to work alongside the team to discover the client stories about boosting the economy, expanding skills for better jobs, saving the Average Joe time and money or improving society challenges like the gender pay gap, access to transportation or the opioid crisis. The good news is that it appears all audiences like to be inspired too, including clients’ customers and prospects, and the reporters we are pitching. As a result, we’ve seen our own motivation turn into great success for clients.
The world of media relations is drastically evolving and the lines between paid and earned are becoming more blurred. How do you counsel clients on the transforming landscape?
One of the many challenges clients face is that paid and earned are often siloed within their own organization. They may both be managed by the marketing team, but different people are responsible for the strategy and execution (e.g. an inbound marketing manager and a communications manager). So, while those lines are blurred, they’re still very separate to an organization. As a result, the communications manager may come to their SHIFT team with an ask that is frankly better tackled through paid or, at the very least, a combination of both. We counsel our clients to think with an integrated approach, with a focus on the goal. Once we know what the goal is (say, drive more assisted conversations, more app downloads, more brand awareness, etc.), we provide them with an integrated program that addresses both paid and earned, keeping in mind the value that each channel brings over the other.
As a working mom, any advice to juggling a career in PR and raising a family?
Whether it’s at home or at work, I’ve had to accept that perfection isn’t possible, and my role is to make an impact on big items versus focusing on all the little details. At work, this has helped me prioritize. I honestly feel more productive now as a parent than I was before. My time is limited – I can’t micromanage every team task or stay late to finish a project. That means that every minute counts when I’m completing a task: I need to make smart, fast decisions, trust my experience and knowledge, and focus on the task at hand. This has also pushed me to continue to rely on my team and trust in the people that I’ve assembled. They are smart, driven, dedicated and creative, often in ways that I am not. Here my role is to mentor and coach, and then get out of their way. They may tackle a project differently than I would or see an idea in a different light, but that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. Giving them the freedom to do their job means they grow professionally as well.
I use this same approach at home. I focus on making a big impact versus trying to tackle a never-ending list of things that have to get done. I trust in my husband’s ability to equally parent and handle the task of raising children in his own way.