Welcome to The Collective Goods, a blog series that digs into the hearts, minds, and workspaces behind Reformation. Today’s subject? Mallory Oudendag, our sharp, sweet and Martha Stewart-loving account lead and market associate for Calgary & Okanagan.
Name: Mallory Oudendag
Title: Account Lead and Market Associate – Calgary & Okanagan
Lives in: Calgary, AB
From: Calgary, AB
Years in PR: 6
1. Quick – word association. What words describe you?
Creative, thoughtful, loving, purposeful, passionate, dedicated, loyal, fun-loving, bold.
2. Tell us a bit about your career to date. How did you get into PR, and how did you get where you are today?
I really wanted to be a writer from a young age, and thought I’d pursue journalism when I got to university. When the time came to decide on my major, the media landscape was starting to majorly shift – it was when news outlets were just starting to cut their staff and everything was moving online. In the moment, I worried about my job prospects if I pursued more traditional media studies. I quickly learned more about the public relations side of communications and took the leap, hoping and praying I would find a way to infuse my love of creative storytelling into my work.
3. In another life, what would you be doing?
In another (dream) life, I’d hope to be either writing fiction or for one of my favourite mags like Vanity Fair.
4. What were you like in high school?
Awkward and confused, but trying to be cool. So exactly the same as I am now.
5. Where do you see the PR industry heading?
The fact that I still get asked “so what do you do?” reminds me how broad and indefinable “PR” can be, and I like that. The only thing I know for sure is it will continue to evolve, and undoubtedly continue to focus on digital media, which I love – I recently wrote a blog post about live streaming on Instagram for the Reformation blog. The rise of influencer and blogger relations over traditional media relations has probably been the largest shift I’ve seen in my few years in the industry.
6. What one piece of advice would you give to a business owner considering hiring a PR agency for the first time?
I’d advise them to think of it as an investment that’s going to save them time, grow their business, and most importantly allow them to focus on what they’re great at. I’d also tell them they’d probably be surprised by how much a “PR agency” can do for them, and how reassuring it feels to have a team of strong communicators on their side.
7. Describe your workspace. How does your environment affect your work?
I’m lucky to work from my home office in Calgary, except for when I get to be in our beautiful office in Yaletown with the rest of the team, of course. I’ve found my groove with working from home but it comes with its challenges – like not really getting dressed for days on end or realizing at 2PM that you haven’t spoken to anyone but yourself – this hilarious article from the New Yorker pretty much nails it. If you work from home it’s a must-read (thanks to Georgia for sharing this with me).
In order to be productive, it’s been essential for me to create a dedicated work space within my house, a room where I can close the door and escape at the end of the day, or feel comfortable working the odd late night. It’s a bit messy at the moment but generally it’s an organized space, with a big window, some greenery (my fig tree from Plant is my office mate) and a few warm reminders of my family & friends who keep me motivated to work hard!
8. Top social destinations in your city?
9. What does your day-to-day look like?
I’ve grown to love waking up bright and early when nothing is happening yet to get my best thoughts together. My 18-year-old self would slap my current self for saying something like that. Trust me, I still love a good sleep-in. I like to get a jumpstart on my day, particularly staying on top of monitoring multiple social media accounts for our clients. It’s important to spend a chunk of my day maintaining organization (with help from Pam and our incredible team) to strike things off a growing to-do list, which is different day to day. That list could include planning a photoshoot for a client, writing a strategic social media plan, pitching a segment idea to a local morning show, or sometimes planning the details of an event and the perfect guest list to go with it.
10. What’s it really like working in the PR industry?
It’s fast-paced and demanding. There are no guarantees but there are still high expectations, which can be really rewarding or really difficult, depending on how you look at it. It’s all about attitude.
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