Cherie Kerr of ExecuProv: “Peace and wellness worldwide”

I think “balance.” I eat well, try to get sufficient rest and sleep, and meditate a lot. I also take time out to listen music, read and watch movies. The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But […]

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I think “balance.” I eat well, try to get sufficient rest and sleep, and meditate a lot. I also take time out to listen music, read and watch movies.

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cherie Kerr.

In addition to her public relations consulting (KerrPR) firm, Cherie Kerr also heads ExecuProv, a presentation and communications skills company that offers a variety of classes for Fortune 100 and 500 companies. With a vast background in comedy, Kerr also is an improv comedy director and filmmaker who has won a number of awards for her work.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Daughter of musician parents. My older sister was a great musical talent. While I had a keen sense of musicality — timing, rhythm and all — I could not settle down enough to learn to play anything. But, I was great at organizing the kids in the neighborhood; recruiting them to put on plays and talent shows. I think I started producing when I was five. I also loved to make up stories. Later I began writing them down. I loved performing in the shows I produced. I started performing in front of my parents (who found me hilarious) when I was three-years-old. They recount the time they substituted someone in for one of their evening gigs because I was doing a very long standup comedy routine (even doing spot-on impressions of the neighbors) and they didn’t want to miss a thing. They stayed anchored to the sofa while I stood before them. Since I was not musical, but funny (and dramatic) my parents sought out an acting coach for me. I performed in plays and studied drama/comedy until I was 12. My coach was amazing. She taught me improv before anyone else even knew what it was, Including Nichols and May. In high school, I was often the class clown — one with poor grades. It wasn’t until 11th grade that I became an A+ student. I fell in love with my Literature class and it changed the trajectory of my life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You made it, you eat it” was what my mother said as my sister and I tried baking a coffee cake one day. It turned out so badly we tried to hide it in the crook of a tree branch. My mother found it and she was pissed. When I was young my parents struggled to put food on the table and it seemed we were always on a tight budget for everything — even food. In my mother’s eyes, we had wasted ingredients we could have used elsewhere in the kitchen. That quote was her admonishment. My sister, Heather, and I use it a lot and we continue to laugh very hard when we do. “You made it, you eat it” is analogous to “You made your bed, now lie in it!” I apply my mom’s saying often when I’ve been made to live with a foolish mistake.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Yes, the Broadway musical hit, “Rent.” I saw it two weeks after it went from off-Broadway to the big boards on Broadway. This piece of art is all about relationships. I cried for three days after seeing it and re-evaluated every relationship in my life. I understood, at a deeper level, the inner conflicts I had, as well as others in my life.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I had been in the field of PR with my own agency since 1978. I also started my ExecuProv presentation and communication skills company in 1983. I also started the Orange County Crazies, a sketch, improv and standup comedy school and performance company in 1990. I went through a lot of dramatic changes — mostly as they relate to the advent of technology, but that was nothing compared to the overwhelming changes in March of 2020. Never did I ever think I would have to shift everything in the way of doing business. The Crazies school and theater are closed, and I’m doing all my PR work from home and my ExecuProv training online.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

Though our company, ExecuProv does all its presentation and communication skills classes live in our theater, we took our programs online, and even created a new one “Zoom This!” With lots of background in performing and directing comedy, I realized that people would need a course where they could learn some solid techniques for being on air. As a result, we are now teaching people many broadcasting techniques and other lessons that will make them more effective when meeting and presenting online. It’s been a big hit! So, pivot, we did and we’re enjoying every single class.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

Like others, it was forced on us due to Covid-19. We are still planning on teaching classes live and in-person soon, we hope, but it was one of those “uh-oh” instead of “aha.” ExecuProv had to survive. We’re now in a whole new space — a tech one.

How are things going with this new initiative?

We are getting referrals every day. We’re very grateful.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Though there have been many people along the way, my mother was my rock — my cheerleader. She told me to “go for it” when it came to anything I wanted to achieve. She always said “The worst anyone can ever say is ‘no. So just go try!” She was so positive and very much believed in my ability to achieve anything I set out to do.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

I have had to convert my modest home office into a studio. A flexible one that would allow me to use it for work and also use it for broadcasting. To handle the light issues, I had to blackout the windows to control the light as I began teaching my video conferencing class. (My house has a lot of light and few window coverings). I put up flattened cardboard moving boxes in all three windows to get the light just right. The second day in, one of the Home Depot boxes fell and landed in front of the computer. Suddenly, my students could only see a cardboard box. It took a quick reflex to catch it from falling further and for slapping it back up onto the window. It was all very “Laurel and Hardy.” My class thought it was hilarious. Improv performer that I am, I just kept riffing until everything was back in place. Those boxes are now taped to the windows, tightly.

So many of us are anxious following the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

I think “balance.” I eat well, try to get sufficient rest and sleep, and meditate a lot. I also take time out to listen music, read and watch movies.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Peace and wellness worldwide.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Yes, Larry David. I think he Is hilarious! I love his work.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can find me online at LinkedIn, Facebook, IMBd, (Cherie Kerr at email: [email protected]), and

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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