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Hope Zils: “Do not be afraid to feel uncomfortable ”

Do not be afraid to feel uncomfortable — getting out of your comfort zone, accepting invitations, flying solo to events, joining in a conversation that you overhear in line at the coffee shop… There is opportunity everywhere and you never know who you will meet. As a part of my series about the things you need to know […]

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Do not be afraid to feel uncomfortable — getting out of your comfort zone, accepting invitations, flying solo to events, joining in a conversation that you overhear in line at the coffee shop… There is opportunity everywhere and you never know who you will meet.


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 Hope Zils. She has worked in the PR industry in areas such as hospitality and nightlife, fashion, beauty, health/wellness, and lifestyle, with expertise such as media relations, celebrity & influencer relations, and events & partnerships. Clients of Hope’s have praised her on demonstrating an ability to think both short and long term, and delivering their brand message in the most organic, clear way which allows them to become more visible to target consumers.


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?

Although I studied in the fields of health and wellness throughout college, my passion had always been in writing. When I moved to Los Angeles, one of the internship opportunities I found online was for a PR firm that listed the opportunity to do a lot of writing on a daily basis. I wasn’t too familiar with the field of public relations, but after taking the internship I was thrown into the deep end and have loved it ever since.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

One of the most exciting things about working in the PR industry is that interesting stories happen on a daily basis. Most recently, it has been interesting to see how brands are pivoting their strategy to continue to grow in these uncertain times. The digital conferences, Instagram Lives, contactless deliveries, and subscription-based food boxes are not new concepts but are now the new normal.

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?

No one mistake sticks out — but rather a constant string of learning experiences. In my first assistant role, I remember the anxiety I felt every time I hit the send button on an email with my boss in CC, and would just wait for her to scream my name from down the hall. The right of passage in the PR world is working for people who help you grow a thick skin. The first couple of years are absolutely a make or break time.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am working with self-made billionaire Cindy Eckert, and her Women On Top campaign. Cindy is the creator and founder of Addyi, which was the first non-hormonal libido pill for women (btw there are about 26 for men!), and she is also the founder of The Pink Ceiling which invests in brands that are either founded by or delivering groundbreaking products for women. Her Women on Top campaign truly shines a light on not only HSDD as a legitimate medical condition but on women’s right to desire. Working on this movement is not only something I am passionate about, but working with Cindy is one of the most inspiring and empowering projects of my career.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Do Not BCC Pitches — Accidentally hitting CC instead had me crying in the bathroom as an intern
  2. Other Publicists ARE Your Friend — There was a stigma that publicists hated other publicists, but that is quite literally the opposite of the mentality you should have
  3. It is Okay to Send an Invoice to Your Friends — Some people may want to take advantage of your friendship to get free publicity, but your time is valuable
  4. Work With a Charity/Non-Profit — If you are able to share some of your valuable time then volunteering your skills to give back and help others can be the most rewarding use of that time
  5. Do Not Be A Robot — Forming relationships with the people you are pitching allows you to be more human, and in return, they will feel much more appreciated

You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?

Do not be afraid to feel uncomfortable — getting out of your comfort zone, accepting invitations, flying solo to events, joining in a conversation that you overhear in line at the coffee shop… There is opportunity everywhere and you never know who you will meet.

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?

Being in public relations means you have to be proactive. You have to keep a constant hand on current events, do your research, and most importantly, stay curious. The good, qualified leads will form from there.

Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?

One of my favorite books that just inspires general creativity is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Creativity is a huge part of publicity so when I feel like my most creative, authentic self then I can do my best work.

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. 🙂

As I mentioned earlier, I have been working with Cindy Eckert on her Women On Top movement. I think that she started something that has grown tremendously but still has more room to expand to more women. “Women On Top” can be related to sex, but it can also be about taking away the idea that the woman in the room can not be as successful and powerful as the man. #WomenOnTop

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