Embrace opportunity. Look at every opportunity as a learning experience — even if it might take you outside of your comfort zone. Embracing new opportunities can lead to discovering things about yourself that you may not have known before. Opportunity can lead to future success, so it’s important to take advantage of any that come your way.
As part of my publicist rockstar column, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kaitlin Boyle. She is a public relations professional currently working as an associate specialist for Canon U.S.A., Inc. Shortly after graduating from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, with honors and a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, concentration in public relations, Boyle began working for Canon U.S.A., Inc., which is where she has been employed for almost two years. Boyle showcases her love for public relations through her creativity and ability to multitask in a fast-paced environment.
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?
Even from a young age, I always knew public relations was the right career path for me. Growing up, I was lucky enough to attend several celebrities and high-profile media experiences where I would have the opportunity to witness everything from backstage interviews to promotional events. At times, it seemed I was more fascinated by the behind-the-scenes workings than the actual celebrities or brands involved.
My love for public relations continued to take shape while learning from some of my favorite publicists, some fictional, some currently working in the field: Olivia Pope, a fictional character from the TV series, Scandal, and Tree Paine, a publicist who works for one of the most influential females in the music industry, Taylor Swift. Seeing how these strong women not only excel in their careers but also lead with impact as a female in the business environment, is what has brought me into this career path and inspired me to want to do the same.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
During my first year at Canon U.S.A., Inc., I had the opportunity to pose in a group photo with Mr. Mitarai, the chairman and CEO of our parent company, Canon Inc. As it was still so early in my career, let alone with Canon, I was very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to stand alongside such an influential person from the company.
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?
When I was interning for a small boutique public relations firm in Manhattan, I was sent on a wild goose chase throughout the city to find a grey ribbon — but not just any grey ribbon, a particular shade of grey ribbon. After running in and out of every craft store in the city, I eventually found one that I thought was the correct color, but, unfortunately, it was not. I remember thinking to myself, what a silly mistake to make on such a minuscule task. But after that thought, it led me to another — yes, it is not the most luxurious of tasks, but it’s important to pay attention to small details. And that happens to be one of the most important concepts when it comes to public relations.
From there on, l learned that it’s important to be meticulous when it comes to your work — whether it be proofreading a press release over and over again, or keeping a checklist to make sure you’re on track with all of your assignments — the devil is always in the details.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
As a daughter of a nurse, one of my favorite projects that I am currently working on is highlighting an amazing story about how LDI Color ToolBox, a Canon U.S.A. authorized dealer, has been able to utilize Canon’s technology to support registered nurses at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, part of the Northwell Health system.
For some background on the story, these nurses thought of a quick solution to help make a personal connection with patients as the abundance of PPE they have to wear for safety can make them unrecognizable. Their adaptability to the current times birthed what is known as Project Unseen Heroes. Lending its expertise, LDI Color Toolbox has supported this project by helping to produce, laminate, and slot punch over 2,500 badges utilizing Canon’s technology for the hospital’s caregivers so they can clip oversized laminated photo badges to their PPE, allowing patients to see who their unseen hero is behind the mask.
To quote one of the amazing frontline heroes, Lulette Infante, MSN, RN, CPON, ambulatory nurse specialist, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, “This is definitely a feel-good project of love. While we were creating a better experience for our patients during a challenging time, the badges also helped us get to know our colleagues better — as we stood beside them during the worst of the storm.”
Seeing first-hand some of the struggles frontline workers have had to face during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am honored to highlight stories such as this and work for a company like Canon U.S.A. that lends its support to these amazing healthcare heroes.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Be creative. In public relations, it’s important to always think outside of the box so that we can come up with new ways to creatively drive awareness to our clients. Don’t be afraid to express your questions or ideas, or hold back because you fear they may not be intelligent — you never know what they could inspire.
- Always have an open mind. If something doesn’t work out, don’t give up, change your perspective. Especially in our current environment where we’ve had to shift our focus and plan differently in order to keep ourselves and others safe, it’s important to be open to new ideas and experiences so that we can continue to learn and grow both personally and professionally.
- Don’t be discouraged by your mistakes, let them inspire you. Failure can be considered a key to success, so don’t be afraid to fail.We all make mistakes, but it’s how we grow from them that is important. Instead of putting yourself down, move forward and look to them as learning experiences. As mentioned in the above question about the funniest mistake I’ve made, looking back, I remember at first feeling discouraged, wondering how it would affect me in my career. But then it occurred to me that the effect would not be negative. Instead, it would be inspiring, teaching me a lesson that goes beyond the minuscule mistake I had made years ago.
- Embrace opportunity. Look at every opportunity as a learning experience — even if it might take you outside of your comfort zone. Embracing new opportunities can lead to discovering things about yourself that you may not have known before. Opportunity can lead to future success, so it’s important to take advantage of any that come your way.
- Have fun! At the end of the day, work is work, but you should love what you do. I’m happy to have found a career path in public relations where I enjoy what I do every day, and my greatest hope is that everyone, especially those who may not know what it is they want to do quite yet, finds a place that allows them to feel the same way.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Look at every opportunity as a networking opportunity — you never know who you’re going to meet! It’s important to always be open to whatever opportunity presents itself, especially those that may even be outside of your comfort zone.
Don’t be shy to connect with other influential people within your industry on social networking websites like LinkedIn. Take advantage of networking events, industry panels, and webinars — you may learn something new, or even meet someone who can act as a mentor and lend support throughout your career.
And for those who may be just starting their careers, be active, reach out to your peers from college and stay in touch with your professors, as those are some of the connections that could have a major influence on your career in the future.
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?
Lead generation is especially important for public relations, as it’s our job to make our target audience aware of upcoming announcements and events. And one of the main ways we do this is through media outreach.
When it comes to media outreach and generating interest from reporters, it’s important to do your research on both the reporter you’re pitching, as well as the outlet, so you can ensure the content you are providing is an editorial fit. As reporters can be busy working on tight deadlines, they don’t tend to have the time to read lengthy emails outside of their area of focus, so it’s definitely important to keep that in mind before you pitch them. Research can also inspire content ideas or even a new angle for a story you’ve been working on. Personally, I try my best to dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to researching trending media topics, different public relations case study examples, and relevant topics within the industry I work in as a way to brainstorm new ideas. This has helped me secure media opportunities which can in turn support the business with lead generation.
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 is #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso. The book tells the story of how the author has been able to build herself into the #Girlboss she is today both inside and outside of the office — noting the mistakes and obstacles along the way.
Amoruso’s message is strong — learn from your mistakes, be open-minded, work hard, speak up for yourself, and accept responsibility. Her words of wisdom speak volumes, especially for young women like myself. The lessons I learned from this book play an integral part in life, and I will continue to keep them in mind as I grow in my career.
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 a young female, I hope to inspire a movement that can help change the way we perceive women in the workforce. I am grateful to have seen first-hand some of the strides strong female leaders make every day to help change this perception, but there is still more work to be done. I look forward to seeing and continuing the progress women make to inspire other women, especially those who are entering the workforce for the first time and am proud to work for a company like Canon U.S.A. that empowers young women like myself through programs like Women in Leadership Levels (WiLL).
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.