When it comes to ambition and tenacity in the PR world, these ladies have got what it takes. Meet Kayla and Emily Joy, the founders behind uPRise PR. Learn more about their exciting new business venture below, along with helpful tips on how to make it in PR – even as an undergrad!
Q: How did the idea for uPRise come to be? We think it's so impressive that you're still in undergrad and have launched a successful project?
Kayla: The brand started as a dream of mine in the summer of 2013. I wanted to start a blog in order to connect with other PR professionals in the industry and stand out in future job interviews. I asked Emily Joy Johnson to be my partner and am so happy she enthusiastically accepted. Emily Joy and I both graduated from Andover High School, so I knew her personally and felt her skillset would complement mine really well. What started out as my dream quickly became our dream, and our brand was born. We feel so blessed to have received an overwhelmingly positive response to the blog after its launch on December 30, 2013.
Q: What is your work/life balance like? As we all know, PR can be demanding around the clock. What are your best tips for maintaining a schedule and a social life?
Kayla: With two virtual internships (one being That Working Girl), a part-time PR job at my university, full-time school, and growing uPRise PR, keeping a balance between my professional and personal life is crucial. Auto-scheduling options save me a lot of time during the workweek. It allows me to work when I am most productive and accomplish all of my responsibilities for each of my positions the day before so I am always ahead. Having a mobile phone can be a great asset in PR, but I also have to remind myself when to close my applications and unplug. It’s important to do so to make time for personal connections. It’s all a balancing act
Emily Joy: Both work life and social life are important. This upcoming semester will be extremely busy for me between working with my university’s public relations department and interning for my university’s communications & marketing department––as well as accomplishing my e-board duties for PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) and of course, uPRise PR. However, balancing professional and personal can most definitely be possible if effectively done right. For me, I prefer using a planner and writing a list of everything I need to accomplish that day––personal and professional. By knowing ahead of time, I am prepared to achieve my daily goals in a timely manner and still find time for my personal life.
Q: What was it like choosing a business partner for uPRise? What are each of your unique strengths and weaknesses?
Kayla: I am very happy I asked Emily Joy to be my partner. We balance each other out very well. I am more of the creative mind behind the brand, and she has the technical skills to help us shine. Before the launch, Emily Joy created our planning sheets, press releases, and professional documents. I, on the other hand, designed all of the uPRise PR graphics, print materials, and logo. I also fully developed the website layout and wireframe. We both write articles for uPRise PR for our readers and connect throughout the day with our followers on social media. We are both learning from each other along the way. It’s great to see our partnership bloom!
Q: Where do see yourselves in 5 years? Emily Joy: As business partners, both Kayla and I have huge dreams for uPRise PR and are working hard to achieve them. We aspire for our brand to not only keep growing into a positive resource for aspiring PR’s and PR pros but to ultimately flourish into a fully developed business with interns and other PR pros to join our brand. This is not something we’re just going to create one day and then forget the next. We are both very motivated and only have big, shining dreams for uPRise PR.
Think fast! What are both of your single most important tip for excelling in PR?
Kayla: Network with other professionals in the field of public relations and engage in productive, effective conversations with each practitioner. In PR, it is common that who you know can get you farther than what you know. That’s not to say that education is not important, but having influential contacts that are highly respected in the industry is priceless.
Emily Joy: Definitely network. You’ve probably heard it a million times but I couldn’t stress the importance enough. The more people you know in PR, the better. Public relations is all about who you know.