The Strategic Elements team sat down with resident rower and former journalist Maura Kennedy, Senior Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications. The former ABC journalist and Forbes contributor brings 14 years of communications, public relations, media, and marketing experience to the team. You can read our conversation below.
How has your previous work as a reporter helped you with your work now in public relations and communications?
As a former journalist, I am constantly putting on my reporting cap and asking myself how I would report the story, what questions I would ask, and why. With almost a decade of TV news experience, I work to anticipate what consequences (good or bad) could potentially come from a story or media statement, the possibilities for a follow-up story, and the opportunities to capitalize on or minimize the media mention. I work to better help our clients by preparing them for possible questions from the media, every and any angle, and likely outcomes. Moreover, my experience in reporting helps to provide great insight into media relations. One of my favorite parts of working on a team with fellow news junkies and public affairs experts is sharing my journalism knowledge to help develop dimensional strategies across our client accounts.
How did you get into rowing? What was it like to compete in Boston?
My Dad has a passion for the sport and my older brother rowed at Yale, which turned me on to crew. After two knee surgeries within four years due to basketball and soccer injuries, I was told I would not have a knee if I kept running on it and would eventually need a total knee replacement. It was the motivation I needed to throw myself into rowing, and I’m grateful I did. Rowing is an incredibly challenging sport, between the weather, early morning rows, and wear and tear on the body. It calls for strength, determination, and teamwork, which keeps me getting up at 4:30 AM. I do it for the rower in front of me and the rower behind me… if I don’t show up and put in the work, others have to suffer. It’s a great lesson and daily reminder.
Where was your favorite place when backpacking across Eastern Europe?
Turkey—it is so beautiful, the food is amazing, and the people are so generous. Many people think Turkey of as a scary place, but it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever explored. It was the path less taken, and I was better for it.
As a news journalist, what was your favorite part about the interviewing process?
My favorite part of the interview process is hearing the person’s stories and being able to relive the memories as they share them. I always feel so honored when someone feels comfortable being vulnerable and sharing their story with me. I also feel so lucky that they allow me to retell and share that story with others.
What was it like to be on the Conan O’Brien Show?
I didn’t realize I appeared in a video montage from the show until someone sent me the clip! It’s a great video to break the ice when needed in certain situations. I will never forget that one line… “Is it time for dogs to have a social network of their own?”
What piece of advice do you have for a young professional entering the workforce?
Work hard and take the lessons you learn every day to make better, more informed decisions the next time around. And don’t lose your curiosity streak and passion for learning.
If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
I don’t think I would do anything differently. I believe people need to fail and make mistakes to learn how not to fail and succeed the next time around.
What was the best dish you have ever had?
Pizza. I love pizza. Always pizza.