Everybody you meet is a contact. Even the guy sitting next to you on an airplane from a state you’ve never been to is a contact.
As a part of my series about the things you need to know to excel in the modern PR industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Pantelides. For more than 10 years, Emily worked as an award-winning news anchor and reporter for TV stations across the nation. Emily opened her own public relations firm, Pantelides PR & Consulting, now one of the best-recognized public relations agencies in South Florida. Emily still hosts television shows on her local CBS affiliate.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I worked in TV news for more than 12 years. Throughout my news career, I worked with so many PR agents and publicists, but none truly understood my needs. As a reporter, I wanted somebody to give me amazing ideas, and instead, I would only get commercial pitches. When I got tired of working morning shift hours (hello! Waking up at 2 a.m. is NOT normal) I thought, “I can do that.” I can serve up news reporters and anchors exactly what they want on a silver platter…and do it better than everybody else. That’s when Pantelides PR & Consulting was born!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
I went in for a pitch meeting and I was really out of my element. It was all about sports (once, on TV I asked the unfortunate question, “What is a LeBron” if that gives you any indication of where my sports knowledge lies)! However, for this meeting, I had done all my homework and research and thought I was prepped. In the meeting, it was me and six other publicists who were all men, all who very clearly knew who LeBron was and seemingly every other player in history. It was daunting and intimidating. When it was my turn to speak, I was tempted to compete and show off my research that I spent all night memorizing. Instead, I just told the truth. In front of all these sportspeople, I said, “I don’t know a lot about sports, but what I do know is that I’m great at my job and I can get you in front of the media better than anybody else.” Guess what? This non-sports gal got the job!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was asked to moderate a local political debate. I said yes, but I should not have. Debates are for skilled experts only!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
We had SO many interesting projects that we were working on, and then the pandemic hit so we’ve had to fully switch gears. But, we’ve taken this hand that we’ve been dealt and made lemonade out of lemons. For one of our clients, we created a Feeding the Frontline campaign that helped them raised 15,000 dollars and generated hundreds of thousands of media hits. For another client, we created a campaign called The Emergency Comfort Fund and helped them raise almost 50,000 dollars and generating more than a million dollars worth of publicity. I am proud that during these tough times, we are taking our clients and actually helping them.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
The biggest thing I wish someone told me is that it will all be ok and somehow, it always works out in the end. You are drawn to this career path for a reason. Trust in yourself and trust that you got this. I wish somebody told me when I got started that failure is not the opposite of success. It’s actually a part of your success. Also, I recently heard somebody say, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. “That really resonated with me. Don’t stop working on something because it’s not 100% perfect…sometimes just the good can turn into the perfect!
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Everybody you meet is a contact. Even the guy sitting next to you on an airplane from a state you’ve never been to is a contact. I met a lady on a train and years later she came back into my life and ultimately helped guide me to a new client. We struck up a conversation and I was nice to her and that’s all it took for her to remember me. Don’t discount anybody. Be humble and be kind to every person you meet. It’s not just a good networking lesson, it’s a great life lesson.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
I work in my community, I invest in my community, and as a result, the community has invested back in me. Here’s an example: I chair many events in my community to give back. It’s a lot of hard work without any pay and without any expectation of getting anything in return. However, what’s happened as a result is that many of the people I met with and worked with on the committees or at the venues turn into leads (and in many cases great new friends). Also, I also don’t mean for this to sound cliche, but
I work harder than anybody else. I remember the day I spoke at a chamber breakfast in the morning, went to work, hired a new team member, had a new client meeting at lunch, and then went home to tuck my kids into bed and then ran out and chaired a black-tie event that night. Needless to say, the next day I slept in!
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I adore Suzy Welch. She’s an incredible Christian role model for me and one of the smartest women I’ve ever met. I read her book “10–10–10” and it was all about decision making. It tells you to ask yourself three super easy questions. I do this all the time now with every personal and professional quandary and it works! I feel like having a guide to decision-making has helped me weed through what’s worth stressing about and what’s simply not.
Because of the role you play, 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? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I am a huge animal rescue advocate. I have been for many years. It still amazes me that people actually buy animals from breeders and pet stores. I tell everybody that I meet…even if you think you are getting a dog from a special breeder that says they take care of animals, you are not! 99.9% of breeders get their animals from puppy mills. Horrible places that put six dogs in a crate at a time, oftentimes a female in heat and five other males. I rescued a puppy mill dog and at the time, she had never seen grass and had never been out of her cage. It took two years to get her back to normal. Please, please before you buy a dog look into your local animal shelter first. Almost always, you can find a loving dog that will KNOW you saved them. Oftentimes, you can even find that purebred you are looking for. In my area of West Palm Beach, Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch is my most favorite shelter because they are a 100% no-kill and give so much back to our community. Thanks for letting me get on my soapbox!