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

Chocolates, Roses and Face Time

February’s hearts and chocolates encourage people to spend time together, if for one day. Use this festive spirit as a reminder in your professional life as well: make time for your clients.

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine of news clips, pitching, writing and meetings. We forget to take a deep breath and brainstorm – especially in an agency atmosphere. The same applies to those of us who work for organizations in-house.

When you take a moment to have a conversation with your clients, or departments, that doesn’t involve the approval process, you might be surprised what you learn.

Discover new opportunities. Your clients or co-workers may be busy in their own daily routines and neglect to tell you about an exciting new thing or event. You might be able to use the new information you learn in your current communications, or find opportunities to promote other services.

Feeling snubbed. It’s easier for the employees of an organization to keep track of what’s coming out of the communications shop than it is for multiple clients to monitor everything its agency is working on – but both can feel neglected. A simple call or walk down the hallway can help make sure your clients and co-workers are being represented.

Building relationships. Getting face time may do nothing else but build on your relationship, which is accomplishing plenty. Checking in with your contacts will help them remember you’re there to help. Maybe the next time a new and exciting thing is coming down the road, you won’t have to “discover” it; you’re client or co-worker will think of you first.

What will you learn when you make a little time for your contacts?


Heather Stegner is the governmental communications manager for Ducks Unlimited, the world leader in wetlands conservation. She’s also spent 5+ years working in full-service communications agencies. Follow her on Twitter @PlumHeather.