March 4, 2019

Once I discovered I probably wasn’t going to replace Alan Trammell as the next great Detroit Tigers shortstop, I really thought I was going to be a sports journalist. I was always an average student and also a bit of a gym rat, applying myself just enough on the education side to be able to play sports, which is what I was truly passionate about growing up and throughout high school.

When I got to college, a switch flipped inside my head. It was probably the realization that I wasn’t as great at baseball (or sports in general) as I thought I was, and that I'd better get serious about something that could provide a solid foundation for my future.

But it wasn’t until I decided on journalism as a major and started working on the Long Beach State school paper that I really found my way. I found I enjoyed covering sports – and managing a team of writers as the paper’s sports editor – almost as much as I enjoyed playing. Suddenly, school took on new meaning and I became a very good journalism student. 

Once again, however, my future became a bit fuzzy when I decided to minor in marketing. I was enjoying those classes just as much as my journalism classes, and thanks to some hands-on freelance sports writing assignments for the local city newspaper, I was discovering that a career in business just might provide a more lucrative opportunity than a career in journalism ever could.

The funny thing is I barely knew what PR was at the time or that it could provide the best of both worlds – journalism and marketing. After college, I did what a lot of ambitious but inexperienced kids probably do and took the first paying job I could find as a salesperson in the equipment leasing industry. As you can probably imagine, I really disliked it and found myself applying myself just enough to get by, yet again.

But that experience had some upside. The company allowed me to create marketing materials on the side, and they were blown away by my copy. I probably surprised myself a bit as well. I was also making 200 cold calls a day to print shops and factories in the Southern U.S. – you can imagine how that experience can lead to being pretty proficient at pitching reporters. I also found myself pretty good at closing deals over the phone, but even better doing it in writing. I was miserable but I was finding myself professionally. Maybe I was onto something.

About a year later I’d really had enough of the sales game. I applied for an intern position at a boutique PR agency that was just getting off the ground but had a roster of phenomenal clients like Gordon Biersch Brewery and Teen People magazine. I was hooked the first day on the job and knew I had found my real calling. The ability to sell ideas and shape stories by applying a steady mix of journalism and marketing was the pinnacle for me. Sure, I was rough around the edges as a PR newb, but if there were two things I knew I could do, they were writing and marketing.

Somehow 20+ years have gone by and looking back, I don’t think I could have made a better career choice. Over the course of time, I discovered that I appreciated the structure and fast pace of technology PR, and I wake up every morning excited and energized about making a difference for Finn Partners clients in Silicon Valley and beyond. I was lucky to find a great agency that values people, ideas and partnership, and I feel like I’ve been able to grow up with an incredible agency that makes such a profound impact for both its clients and employees each and every day.

It might have been a bit of a wayward path getting to this point in my life, but after all, life is about the journey as much as the destination. Looking back at the combination of experiences that brought me to Finn Partners, I wouldn’t trade any of it. Things truly do seem to happen for a reason. Today, I’m passionate about my job, passionate about my clients, and love being able to make a difference in the world. Playing shortstop for the Detroit Tigers aside, what more can you really ask for?

 

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