By: Hena Lee
Who actually likes being in the bullseye?
Stephanie Childs specializes in crisis and issues management and has been currently working for FleishmanHillard in Austin, TX for 6 years. She shared with us what she does, which is very relatable to public relations. Crisis and issues management is how one can quickly and clearly tell the facts to the public without speculations; they must clearly communicate what broke within the company and how they can fix it.
Series of events that led to where she is now clearly illustrates what it looks like to be constantly on one’s toes and adapting to the changing world field. After graduating with a major in International Relations, Childs worked in Washington, D.C. managing senators’ schedules. However, that quickly ended after she found her real passion in BSMG Worldwide. This job required her to build websites for clients, but also helper her land her next job by answering questions at the heat of the moment no one else could. Her next job was in the Food Industry within Trade Associations which required her to be on standby at all times. Because she loves being in the bullseye, the pressure and in the heat of the moment, companies paid her to talk to the public about crucial issues. She became a role and influencer by listening to her co-workers, being knowledgeable, and understanding her team.
Learning from all these experiences, she then gave us real situations she had to go through and walked us through how to resolve huge crisis within a company. First, one must ask, what’s the facility? Where’s the source coming from? One must know where this crisis arose from. Then, you had to get more answers. Always communicate with seats above you all the way to the CEO. One important advice she gave us was to never speculate because speculation causes confusion and distrust. Lastly, one must be prepared, and remember that doing the right thing matters. One never knows who can be of help in the future and the connections you build by doing the right thing.
Through all this information and from all her experiences, she clearly lists out lessons she has learned. You will fail and you will survive. Your actions may affect the company’s stock. Compassion makes a difference, try to maintain composure. Listen and learn by absorbing information and representing it well. Importantly, acknowledge your own limits.
In conclusion, she really informed our students of helpful advice on how to move from an intern to actually getting recognized and getting a job. One must pay attention to the details, then roll up your sleeves and do what needs to be done. They must discover a problem and try to find a solution. One must also learn how to continuously build lists, project authority, be confident, and build relationships- you never know who you’ll need.