Hobby Your Way to CEO

By Helen Sullivan, APR, Fellow PRSA


Are you working too hard to have time for a hobby? Rethink that. If you want to move up the corporate ladder, get a hobby. That’s the takeaway from a fascinating article in the October 2018 Harvard Business Review (HBR).

According to HBR, many CEOs of top companies in the United States have one thing in common: they make time for hobbies they are passionate about, and those hobbies enhance, rather than detract from, their ability to succeed.

According to the article, David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, moonlights as a DJ. Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, plays squash. Whether they’re cycling, studying Taekwondo, being a drummer in a band, playing basketball, building a collection, flying airplanes or fishing, these CEOs don’t just play, they excel. Many attribute their hobbies to their success—teaching them lessons in humility and authentic leadership, providing a true escape, helping them learn never to quit and finding ways to be their best.

My favorite quote was from Andy Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, who said, “I train a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and you know, when someone’s trying to take your head off, you pretty much can only think about that.”

Down time is much needed time to refresh your body and soul. Don’t feel guilty on that golf course, race course or online art course–you need that, and maybe your career needs it, too.

Originally posted on the IPMI Blog of the International Parking & Mobility Institute

Kick-Start Your Career Advancement in 30 Days

Career management and selling your own brand are some of the hardest things we do as PR professionals. But at the seminar, “Kick Start Your Career Advancement in 30 Days,” attendees developed a set of action items to take their professional development into their own hands. Sponsored by Microsoft and presented by the PRSA-NCC New Professionals Committee, the event took place during PRSA’s Young Professionals Week.

Kick-Start Your Career Advancement in 30 Days

Kick-Start Your Career Advancement in 30 Days

According to guest speaker, Pascale Haspil, VP, Director of Professional Services at Lee, Hecht, Harrison, career success is defined like a mathematical equation. All the components–your reputation, your performance, your network–all contribute to you career advancement. If one is lacking, it will impact the end result. Knowing this, it becomes much easier to focus on the aspects of your professional development that need attention.

While many in the public relations industry will know immediately how to earn recognition for a client or a product, many struggle to represent themselves.  Ms. Haspil outlines a strategy for success in the 5 Ps.

The 5 P’s of of Career Management & Advancement

  • Person: Know Your Strengths; Ask How Am I Unique?
  • Performance: Broaden Performance Perspective; Ask What Are My Capabilities?
  • Place: Know Your Environment; Ask How Is The World of Work Changing?
  • Possibilities: Set SMART Goals; AskWhat Are My Aspirations?
  • Plan: Develop an Action/Learning Plan; Ask How Can I Accelerate My Progress?

Your Personal Brand: A Paper and Digital Footprint

Building on that concept, Ms. Haspil encouraged attendees to use their networks as a CEO would use their Board of Directors, as trusted advisors with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. A solid network can support you AND it can also give you the honest feedback that is necessary for advancement; a CEO doesn’t make decisions without guidance and feedback (nor should they!) and neither should you as an individual.

When connecting with prospective employers, the importance of an effective resume and a strong social media presence resumes to prove their worth by answering “So What?”. Every point on the resume should offer a prospective employer a chance to see a connection between an applicant’s experiences and the need they have to be filled. Use your resume to engage the prospective employer, and make sure your social accounts can back up your points on the resume. LinkedIn is a fabulous tool to amplify your network through recommendations and connections and can demonstrate your accomplishments in further detail.

Utilizing these tactics is pertinent for anyone in the PR industry whether a job seeker, or just to give yourself a refresh. Take five minutes a day to review these strategies and then another five to develop, analyze, and reset goals for your most important client, yourself.

Amaia Stecker is a PR professional in Washington DC focusing on social and digital media.