Test Drive My Job: NC Sports PR Enthusiast Monica Wood
Monica Wood, 38
Charlotte, North Carolina
President/Owner of Monica Wood PR
5 years in Business this year
Mopwater: Describe your path to PR. What made you want to get into the field?
MW: Where do I begin? When I started college, University Maryland Eastern Shore, my major was Fashion Merchandising. My dream was to be a fashion designer. But, mid-way through my freshman year, I switched my major to English. To this day, I don’t recall why. When I transferred to Morgan State University my junior year, my major became Speech. By that point the plan was to graduate and pursue my masters in Speech Pathology. I wanted to be a speech therapist for professional athletes. Well, when I arrived at Morgan, I learned that the majority of my classes were not transferable. So, what should have been 2 more years of school, ended up being 3. So, I began to do internships to start making money early.
The [internship] I enjoyed the most happened to be in media (Urban Profile Magazine/Editor Keith Clinkscales, founding publisher of VIBE magazine and Len Burnett who is now group publisher of UPTOWN). Working with them in PR changed everything. When I graduated from Morgan; I took an internship in Chicago at an advertising agency, in their corporate communications department. To be honest, I had a horrible experience…I believe I never received proper nurturing and was set up to fail. But, I did fall in love with Chicago.
After that,my career progressed through marketing, media and finally public relations. And, PR is where I have remained for over 10 years.
Mopwater: What aspects of the industry are you most excited about?
MW: The demand of PR is what excites me. The fact that PR is present in just about any industry you can name. No matter if it’s politics, entertainment, not-for-profit, sports, finance, retail, whatever it is, Public Relations is or should be a part of the industry fabric. There is no avoiding it, and today more than ever, it is proving to be a major asset.
Mopwater: Describe your office and workplace. How many co-workers do you have? Where, how, and how often do you collaborate with them?
MW: I currently work from my home office, but….have laptop, will travel. Sometimes that travel is just to the nearest Starbucks for different scenery. I do travel out of town a lot because the majority of my clients are everywhere but in Charlotte. I don’t have co-workers; I have freelancers, roughly 4-5, but always looking for more. I collaborate with freelancers heavily during certain times of the year, mainly between April—September…which is traditionally my busiest time.
Mopwater: Describe a typical workday including your work hours. What do you do all day?
MW: What does typical mean? There is no typical day outside of getting up around 7am and doing my devotionals, and going to bed between midnight and 2am. What happens in between…you never know. Mondays are mainly dedicated to a particular client, although, all clients get some time from me as well. The remainder of the week, which includes Saturday and Sunday, are filled with travel, media pitching, conference calls, meetings, research, and business development.
Mopwater: What are your favorite and least favorite PR tasks? Do you love to pitch? Do you dread writing releases?
MW: I do not like to pitch, but I do. I do dread writing releases, but I do. My favorite PR task is strategizing. I enjoy taking a product, message or brand and developing a PR strategy to help make it successful. I also enjoy assisting in saving the brand when it’s been hit…I LOVE crisis management.
Mopwater: What kind of clients does your company serve and what services do you provide?
MW: In the beginning we served any client that was paying. However, over the past two years, I have narrowed it down to mainly sports, faith-based, not-for-profit and others. We provide the full Public Relations package. Of course, each client receives a package of services based around their specific needs, goals and budget.
Mopwater: Give an example of a “dream client” or two. What would you want to do for this client?
MW: The NFL, NBA, NCAA are my “dream clients”, not just a player or two, the entire organizations. However, personally, I would like to take a client like Adam Jones, formerly “Pacman” and revamp his off-the-field image. In revamping his image, I don’t just mean for sake of public perception, but truly help create a sincere change in how he thinks about himself, his actions, his life and his future.
Mopwater: What is it like to work for yourself?
MW: Working for myself is such a blessing. To be able to literally provide for myself, for now my 5th year, is truly a testimony to how great God is. I love it. I love the independence of it. I love the responsibility of it. I love the flexible lifestyle that comes with it. Does it get lonely, YES it does. But, nothing in life is perfect, and all that I love about it, cancels out the occasional loneliness that it brings.
Mopwater: What is your favorite thing about working at MWPR?
MW: My favorite thing about working at MWPR is that it’s my company. I will take the good, the bad and ugly of it any day of the week.
Mopwater: What do you wish was different about working at MWPR?
MW: What I wish was different about working at MWPR is not being able to bring in more permanent assistance on board. But, that day is just around the corner.
Mopwater: Do you think you’ll be in this position in 5 years? If not, where do you see yourself?
MW: In 5 years I know that I will be a business owner. However, God is taking me, my interests and passions in new directions. I am excited by that and look forward to seeing where it lands me in 5 years.