Networking is my forte! Having a fun and outgoing personality is key, but also being kind, genuine, and having a sense of humor goes a long way. I have a background in entertainment. My career before this (now hobby) was TV and Film actress. Interesting for a girl who used to be a shy kid! Social skills are so important with what I do, so the best tip I can give for someone looking to get into this profession — take an improv class! I took classes at The Second City Chicago, not only because I wanted to be a professional actress, but because I was still a little shy in my early 20’s and needed something to launch me out of my shell. It worked! My modeling and TV and Film careers took off! Flash forward to 2020, here I am running a prestigious PR firm!
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 Laura Orrico, President of Laura Orrico Public Relations, LLC.
Born with impeccable communication skills and a natural ability for connecting people, Laura has created a number of success stories with her ability to network.
A TV movie was made from her connecting a producer and screenwriter, the career of an artist took off after she connected him with a producer which led to his career in major motion pictures, a young graduate began his career after she connected him with a famous Internet sensation/political figure, and she connected a legal organization with a celebrity comedian to emcee their annual gala. Her expertise in media relations, social media, creative writing, strategic PR planning and management, image maintenance, consulting and development, media preparation, and interview coaching and networking for clients are what have launched Laura Orrico Public Relations, LLC into a sought-after boutique PR firm for high-profile clients.
Laura was born and raised in Chicago and has made a name for herself as an actress in television and film, and now as a public relations expert. During her childhood, Laura spent many days performing her own Saturday Night Live-style skits in her backyard for family. She attributes her strength to her mother, who also has a wicked sense of humor! Laura also credits her sense of humor to her father, who passed away when she was 9. Laura went to Columbia College of Chicago and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Television Writing and Producing, with a minor in Acting. Continuing with her love of the entertainment industry — and idolizing the likes of Lucille Ball, John Ritter, Gene Wilder, and Gilda Radner — she began attending classes and performing at The Second City Chicago. She credits this experience as what led to much of her success. With this, she also began runway and print modeling, as well as appearing in TV commercials. Wanting to take her career to the next level, Laura made the move from Chicago to Los Angeles where she would reside for 12 years. She quickly found success with a variety of films and television shows, with roles on The King of Queens, That ’70s Show, and a memorable role as Mia Graham on CBS’s CSI: Miami. She then continued honing her comedic prowess by becoming a series regular on TBS’s Frank TV with Frank Caliendo.
Her sense of humor also found fame on the Internet, as her self-produced videos went viral and she was often featured on top-notch programming, including Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die. Her most successful Internet sketch was developed by Airplane! director, David Zucker. It starred Laura, who was aged 40 years to play Senator Barbara Boxer, in a video titled “Call Me Senator”. You can still catch Laura making special guest appearances on network TV, like her recent appearance on CBS’s Kevin, Can Wait. You can also see Laura in another soon-to-be-released Internet spoof by David Zucker and occasionally on Chicago’s WGN Morning News comedy sketches! Gracing headlines and talk shows, you may recognize her from being featured in Hollywood.com, Hollywood In Toto, mentioned in Vanity Fair, and from appearances on shows such as Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld and a regular guest on multiple radios shows across the country to name a few.
Laura shifted focus from actress to caregiver after her husband, Ryan Cosgrove, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After losing Ryan in 2015, Laura decided to utilize the knowledge she gained from her own life experiences. This included successfully executing PR for herself and colleagues for many years prior, which eventually led to launching her own boutique PR firm. Laura Orrico Public Relations, LLC is based out of Chicago, with Laura serving as the president and representing high-profile clients across the country. Whether a large or small business or organization, an up-and-coming or established entertainer, celebrity, musician, artist, politician, or author, Laura and her team customize their work and connect clients with the proper outlets to get them notoriety and the (media) attention that they deserve. Laura Orrico Public Relations, LLC continues to be a huge success. Laura continues to make appearances on the radio and makes headlines in various publications, such as Forbes, American Express Open, AXS, Hearpreneur, The American Genius, etc., giving her expert advice.
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?
Absolutely! My career before owning my PR firm was as a full-time TV and Film actress and model — since I was 14 years old. I started in Chicago and for 12 years I lived in L.A. I would often do PR for myself, my husband, and my friends. It came naturally to me. Unfortunately, my husband passed away in 2015. I really had to think of what my next steps would be — continue working as an actress or shift gears. I decided to keep acting as a hobby and shift gears since I had already made a name for myself and knew I could successfully do both. In April of 2016, I launched my Chicago-based PR firm. We represent high-profile clients across the country.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
Yes! I met rock icon Jim Peterik of the iconic rock band, The Ides of March, in the summer of 2017 at a House of Blues Chicago charity event and concert and we became fast friends. He wanted to stay in touch for when the band was ready to launch their 55th-anniversary album, and when that time came, they hired my firm! We loved working with him and to this day we are still in contact.
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?
Yes! When I first launched, a client asked me to handle some of the managerial tasks for his band. That went well, for the most part, but booking gigs was just not my thing. I can connect people and network on clients’ behalf, very successfully, but the booking process was quite the undertaking. I was able to secure them as the opening act for Alien Ant Farm…success! However, from the work and time it took to get that, I learned I am best sticking with being a PR rep and not crossing into “entertainment manager.”
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now we are representing Michael Reagan (President Ronald Reagan’s son). He is the president of TheReagan Legacy Foundationand has an amazing project called Walkway To Victory. The Airborne Museum’s Walkway to Victory Memorial brick program is a special place dedicated to honoring and remembering the veterans who served in the European campaign of World War II. Michael created The Reagan Legacy Foundation to memorialize his father’s accomplishments and to educate and inspire people worldwide to value freedom and liberty. Proceeds from Walkway to Victory brick purchases will benefit The Reagan Legacy Foundation and help to further educational programs honoring WWII Veterans.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- I wish someone told me that owning a business makes for a great and fulfilling lifestyle, I would have done it a long time ago. I help my mother who has MS and I also kept my acting career as a hobby. So, by making my own schedule, I am able to do it all. While my business is full-time, I love the flexibility it gives me to live life to the fullest while working.
- I wish someone told me that it is possible to work remotely, before it was “the thing to do,” because I am loving it! I rep clients across the country and with technology, our communication and relationships are strong and conducive to this lifestyle. So, again, I would have started this business sooner had I known.
- You don’t have to work 9–5 in this unconventional world. As long as the work gets done and work for our clients is done, you can thrive and succeed in a big way. The flexibility is especially great with having clients in multiple time zones. I am so grateful for my business.
- The many benefits of running a work-from-home business. I knew there would be great benefits, but again, wishing I had made the leap sooner. My business is mobile, so I can grab my computer and work from anywhere for a change of scenery. From a coffee shop to the pool or even a hotel while away on vacation, it’s truly wonderful. One must have great discipline and time management skills to do this, and I do, which is why this works for me.
- The value that influencers would have. They have become so critical in what we do. We are on it now, but I wish I had a crystal ball right at the start of my business to know the high level of importance they would carry. We have made some amazing things happen with our clients in the influencer realm.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Absolutely! Networking is my forte! Having a fun and outgoing personality is key, but also being kind, genuine, and having a sense of humor goes a long way. I have a background in entertainment. My career before this (now hobby) was TV and Film actress. Interesting for a girl who used to be a shy kid! Social skills are so important with what I do, so the best tip I can give for someone looking to get into this profession — take an improv class! I took classes at The Second City Chicago, not only because I wanted to be a professional actress, but because I was still a little shy in my early 20’s and needed something to launch me out of my shell. It worked! My modeling and TV and Film careers took off! Flash forward to 2020, here I am running a prestigious PR firm!
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?
To be honest, word of mouth and our company social media. I let my “product” sell itself and it works. If people need our services and have it in the budget, they will see our value and hire us. We showcase our work on our social media and website.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Yes! When I was first starting my business, my cousin, Michael, bought me a book called, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. Funny thing is, I didn’t get to reading it until after my business took off as it happened so fast. However, this book turned out to be an amazing and inspiring one to read. It gives great insight into understanding why some businesses and entrepreneurs make it and some don’t. Understanding why you do what you do is crucial. If your customers don’t understand why, how can you succeed? While every journey is different, I recommend this book as you start your entrepreneurial venture.
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 would love to start a movement for medical research that opens up more opportunities for easier to access trials for people with brain cancer (my husband passed from brain cancer) and MS and Parkinsons (my mother battles both). If I may, I would like to mention a second one. I would also like to start a movement for young widows and widowers. There is not enough support, sadly. I was widowed at 38 years old and although I found general grief and support groups, there were not many specific to this need.
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time!
Laura Orrico Public Relations Links
PR Website: www.lauraorricopr.com