Oh my goodness. I am beyond thrilled to introduce you to someone our team has been waiting for going on several months now: Mercy Chikowore. Mercy is our new (and first!) PR Manager and I have been counting the days until I could make this announcement.
If you follow me on social, you know that I have been fervently seeking the right addition to our team to lead the charge within public relations. Since founding our agency, I’ve filled this role and we’ve now grown to a point where it’s no longer possible for me to serve as the go-to PR mentor while I build the business, contributing strategy to our clients, and scale. This is a new stage of growth for us and a testament to our success — I’m thrilled!
It took several months and a lot of networking to find just the right person for this role. I really did not anticipate the search taking as long as it did, but apparently the more expertise you need, the longer it can take to find just the right fit. Go figure.
Just when I thought I might have to settle for a lead PR strategist position instead, the power of networking came to the rescue! For this, I have to give a very special thank you shoutout to Shonali Burke as she was so gracious to not only send Mercy my way but also send me a note to ensure we interviewed her. (BIG HUGS to you in May at Counselors Academy Shonali!)
This is a vital role within our agency and Mercy’s expertise within media outreach, client relationships, team leadership, and PR and social media strategy make her the perfect fit. With her extensive media relationships and expertise in building thought leadership and mentoring teams, Mercy is already off to a great start within our team. She’s also really fun to work with.
Please take a moment to welcome Mercy in the comments below or on Twitter and learn more about her in this Q+A …
Welcome Q+A with Mercy Chikowore
Kate: You just joined the team this week! Tell me, why Belle and what has been the best part so far?
Mercy: A dear friend and mentor of mine sent me the Belle call for a PR Manager and after reading the description, it sounded like me! While it’s only my first week on the job, I already feel a part of the team and know that I’m going to have a great time working with them and our awesome clients.
K: What’s your favorite thing about being in PR?
M: My favorite thing about being in PR is learning about someone’s story and background (because I’m nosey) and being able to relay their story in an effortless and compelling way. Nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of seeing your client’s story published and ready to be digested by the masses.
K: Name your three favorite food brands / foods …
1. Sushi. Okay, it’s not a brand of food but everyone who knows me, knows that I can eat it all day everyday. My go-to roll is Salmon Avocado and the possibilities are endless after that.
2. Eggs. This too is not a food brand but I’m obsessed with brunch, and with brunch comes eggs. Give me some eggs fried, scrambled or if we’re being fancy– benedict, and you have a friend in me.
3. Nando’s. I grew up on Nando’s in Zimbabwe and I was super excited to see them add their first U.S.-based restaurants in DC, Maryland and Virginia. I’m hoping they expand to Ohio and other states soon because it is seriously the best chicken ever.
K: What’s your go-to workout?
M: I love and hate High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) so I try to work out with Shaun T and his Insanity videos at least 3 times a week. His workouts are absolutely insane but I love how encouraging he is, even when I’m on the floor trying to catch my breath.
K: What’s something new you learned this week either on the job or personally?
M: This week I learned that when you have positive news to share, people will come out of the woodwork to congratulate you. My social media has been buzzing since I let the world know I joined the Belle team. It’s been fun telling everyone about the company and our clients!
K: What’s your favorite PR or marketing blog?
M: I enjoy reading Shonali Burke’s blog Waxing Unlyrical— she always has a fun but detailed and thoughtful way of sharing great information for communicators. I’m also a fan of Sakita Holley’s blog Hashtags + Stilettos, where I love reading about my fellow PR gals and learning new social and tech tips and tricks. When I’m not reading those I’m checking out Ragan for the latest PR news and listicles.
K: What’s your proudest career or personal achievement to date?
M: My proudest personal achievement is being from the other side of the world and still being able to fit in in any environment. I’ve come a long way from being the little kid who cried all the time after moving from New York City back to Zimbabwe, and then from there to Switzerland. My experiences have given me an open mind and diverse outlook on life and I’ve been able to create a home away from home wherever I go. It’s also really a reflection of the people I have around me, my family and friends are pretty awesome.
K: What’s one of your 2015 goals that you’re committed to accomplish?
M: One of my 2015 goals was to get a new job- check! Another one of my goals is to be more present. I’m slowly but surely separating myself from my phone when I’m out with friends and colleagues– unless there’s a need for selfies of course!
Thanks again for celebrating with us for our second annual #BelleBirthdayBash this week!