November 26, 2012
Like many people in the association management industry, Kellen Company employees have enthusiastically answered the question, “And what do you do?” only to receive a blank stare and a polite “Huh?!” Although association management employs tens of thousands of people, most of the world doesn’t know about the thriving industry. Many of us didn’t even know about it when we started our careers. In this ongoing series, we’ll share how our employees discovered this career path and why they’ve stuck around.
How do you explain your job at cocktail parties?
Explaining what I do at cocktail parties can be pretty tricky! In general, I’ve found that the majority of people don’t know either how associations or what a publicist does, so together, people are completely confused! I usually take on the association side first and discuss why industries form associations as well as the benefits to being a part of one. Next, I explain why a public relations or communication team can be an important part of running an association or any business. As you can imagine, many people say that they didn’t know a job like this existed.
What did your 12-year-old self think you were going to be when you grew up? Are you doing anything related to that dream job now?
My 12-year-old self thought that she was going to be a news anchor when she grew up. As a publicist, I’m still in the communications field, but instead of broadcasting the news, I now work to help associations and private companies disseminate their information to business and consumer media. Although my 12-year-old self probably didn’t know that this career existed, it has grown into my dream job!
How did you end up in the industry?
Following the dream of my 12-year-old self, I originally majored in Broadcasting in college. When I took my first on-air broadcasting class, I realized that broadcasting the news wasn’t for me (in all actuality, my voice is more suited for cartoon voiceovers rather than the presenting the news). In communications classes, I had learned about PR and it seemed to be a good fit for me. Many internships and hard work brought me into the field of agency PR and the rest is history.
What’s your favorite part about working in association management?
On the association side, I currently work in communications for the National Pasta Association, Juice Products Association, and American Down and Feather Council, I’ve also had the ability to work with several other industries from food to toys! My favorite part of association management is being able to learn different industries in and out. Working in communications and media relations, you have to fully understand an industry and their issues to represent them, so my position allows me to be learn so many new things in a variety of fields each day!
What do you think the association management industry will look like in ten years?
This is a tough question for me as I’ve only been working in association management for a few years! As the entire marketing and communications world moves toward a more social model, I believe communications in the association management industry will steer that direction. I think associations will need to build and grow tools to directly interact with their core audience be it through social media, media relations, or direct communication.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was at my first internship after college, I was told never go to a meeting without a pen and paper. Although this seems very simple, you never know when you might learn something, be assigned something, or just want to jot something down. Everyone knows it never hurts to be over prepared and it also never hurts to carry a pen and paper with you! Simple, I know but this may have been the best piece of advice I was given. Now if I don’t have a notebook with me in a meeting – I’d be lost!
About Stephanie Meyering
Stephanie is a senior account executive for Kellen Communications, a division of Kellen Company. Stephanie is a consumer and business to business publicist who works on a variety of Kellen Communications clients. She has experience in media relations, event marketing, implementation of strategic messaging, social media, and promotions. Currently, Stephanie works on communications team for Cumberland Packing Corp.’s SweetN Low brand, the National Pasta Association, the Juice Products Association, and the American Down and Feather Council.
In her time away from Kellen, Stephanie is a food lover. She loves to cook and entertain. She lives in an apartment in Queens with her puppy Kirra and a very small kitchen.