I wish someone had told me to trust my gut and follow my intuition. There have been many campaigns and clients where my gut has given me warnings or red flags, and unfortunately, I ignored my feelings. A successful campaign oftentimes is defined by the client and their team members. If you are working with a client who is mindful, trusting and communicative, you will almost always see incredible results. I wish I had the confidence to trust myself when it came to knowing my worth and putting my foot down on some campaigns.
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 Mona Loring.
In the fast-paced, complex and challenging world of public relations, it is uncommon to find an award-winning publicist who can create innovative, personalized PR campaigns for a wide range of talented clients and help them stand out and achieve their career goals. Mona Loring has accomplished this feat, while establishing her talent agency MLC PR, to become one of top entertainment PR firms to develop from the ground up. With experience in talent, music, lifestyle and literary public relations, Loring brought together her wide knowledge and experience in business expansion, image consulting, artist development, and talent relations into various departments at the agency. Through her visionary leadership, Mona has consistently led her team to become synonymous with excellence, hard work and integrity, and through that and her success with her efforts on awards campaigns for the Oscars, Emmy Awards and Golden Globes, she has been officially recognized as a trailblazer in a rather impenetrable industry.
During her career history, Mona has developed the careers of talent such as Michael B. Jordan, Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez, Zoey Deutch, Academy award-nominated director Theodore Melfi, among others. She has collaborated with countless top tier corporations such as Facebook/Instagram, Proctor & Gamble, Disney, Toyota, and Warner Bros. She has an abundant portfolio of domestic national and international secured press placements including magazine covers, national talk shows, and paid personal appearances. Mona’s spiritual journey inspired her to establish her passion within the conscious space via Conscious Living PR, representing wellness-related and philanthropic clientele. After gaining experience and forming invaluable connections in her entertainment work over the past decade, she is now using her intuitive abilities to help people and the planet through her keen talent of connecting people.
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 fell into PR unexpectedly. I originally thought I was going to be a music video producer out of college. Once I graduated, I realized I no longer wanted to go that route. Later on, I began seeking a business I could do working from home since I had a baby on the way. I initially started studying and working in copywriting. That led me to work as a freelance journalist for local Southern California magazines. From there, I decided to start an email list to share my work because I was excited to be published. One of my former employers from my production days saw the email and asked me to discuss a job at her new children’s book publishing business and that’s how I first fell into PR.
From there, I had a calling to work with the entertainment industry, so I began to network with anyone and everyone I could, and finally found myself some entry-level talent clients. I was blessed that my work got the attention of others, and between referrals and networking, my business really began to take off from there. Years later, I started a second PR agency Conscious Living PR, specific to those within the mind/body/spirit fields as well.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
This is a tough one! There are always interesting stories in PR! I would have to go with the first award I was able to help a client receive, since it was a really significant moment in my life. This was now a number of years ago, but I still remember the entire journey like it was just a few months ago. I had a really strong sense of intuition about this client and her work, and I knew that if I could keep pushing for her to be acknowledged on a grand scale, she would be. I set out to position her for an Emmy award for a recurring role she had on a popular drama and was thrilled that we succeeded. What makes this story interesting is that as many know, most of the actors who win an award like an Emmy or an Oscar are well known, popular actors. This client was known if you watched her movies and TV shows, but compared to the other nominees, she was not a household name. It took not only strategy and effort but my unwavering belief in her deserving this accolade. The point I am getting at is, when you believe in something and work hard for the goal, it will happen. It can take a lot of time, but if you keep at it, you will achieve the goal. I believe that in this case and many others with clients of mine, my belief in them was a huge part of why I was able to achieve certain goals for the client.
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 don’t like to make mistakes, so they are rarely funny to me! But, if I had to choose a light-hearted mistake, I would choose the time when I was working on a very crowded Emmy Awards red carpet. I was lining up the next interview for my client and time was of the essence. In my haste, I didn’t realize I needed to look up. I ended up cutting off a man, a very gracious actor who just smiled at me as he tried to make sense of what I was doing. This man, if you’re wondering, was Kevin Costner.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am really excited about everything we do at both my PR agencies. We just completed an awesome book PR campaign at Conscious Living PR for my client Jessamyn Stanley’s book YOKE and it was thrilling to see such an incredible response. We have been working on a number of other book campaigns while also helping launch a new client’s digital magazine and a mental health podcast. It’s always a blast getting to use our creative side. We’re also working hard at MLC PR on a number of clients’ upcoming releases and it’s been great being back at it after the pandemic slowed Hollywood down to almost no action, for a number of months. A few current exciting projects at MLC PR are for Carrie Preston’s new season of “Claws,’’ Alex Neustaedter’s new series on Showtime “American Rust,” and gearing up for my client Garcelle Beauvais’ memoir release.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. I wish someone had told me about the importance of boundaries. An example of this would be when I was younger, I would allow clients who were not mindful, to call me after business hours asking me to do work that was not urgent and could wait. If I had set boundaries with the client(s) sooner, they would not have taken up my limited and precious time off work.
2. That leads me to the next one, which is honoring my self-care. Self-care is now such a buzz word, but ten years ago, if you had told anyone you need time off to go on a hike, or meditate, they would see you as lazy. I used to be one of those people judging others for not working all the time. It was awful. Self-care is absolutely necessary to give us the strength we need to be the best we can be at work. It benefits everyone when you aren’t run down, tired and/or resentful from overworking.
3. The third thing I wish someone had told me before I started is for the working parent. I wish someone had told me that work will always be there, but my children’s youth would not. I spent so much time working, I missed a lot of precious time as my kids were growing up. I did my best to balance, but I could have done more and I wish I had known that before I started in PR.
4. The next thing on my list is realizing the value of those who work for you. Through my years not only as a publicist, but as an employer, I had always been pushed to provide more for the client — and in turn, pushed my team to provide more for me. I did not stop and realize the value of some of my earlier employees until they were gone and let me just say that the saying “good help is hard to find” could not be more true. I wish someone had told me what to look for in a quality employee, and how to manage and retain them. I have learned to do this the hard way, and at times, kept the ones who were not as valuable when I let the better ones slip away.
5. Lastly, I wish someone had told me to trust my gut and follow my intuition. There have been many campaigns and clients where my gut has given me warnings or red flags, and unfortunately, I ignored my feelings. A successful campaign oftentimes is defined by the client and their team members. If you are working with a client who is mindful, trusting and communicative, you will almost always see incredible results. I wish I had the confidence to trust myself when it came to knowing my worth and putting my foot down on some campaigns.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Networking is next to everything in PR. The more people you know as a publicist, the more likely you are to find new business and connect your clients to better opportunities. I have always loved social media for networking. It is absolutely great to make in person connections at the right events with like-minded people, but personally for me, nothing beats online research and reaching out to those who you can partner with on an idea. From new journalists to bookers for appearance opportunities for your clients — looking into who is behind where you want you or your client to be next, then following through by reaching out and sending emails, calling or even these days, direct messaging on social media is a smart networking move.
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?
Most of my leads today come from referrals. These are people who have worked with me, be it as a current or former client or a client’s team member. Doing great work, being honest, fair and hardworking really does pay off. Many people will acknowledge you for it and pass your name along when someone asks them who they know for the job. Now, I realize that doesn’t help anyone who is just getting started. What I did when I first got started was cold emailing. Yes, cold emailing. I know it’s the worst now, but it worked for me back then. I would find who I wanted to know about me and send them a personalized and genuine email telling them who I was, what I wanted from them and how I could be a benefit to them. No one wants to have someone reach out and just ask for business. That is not what I did. I offered solutions. I offered to help them, and I also never focused on the money. Like my client Patrice Washington says, “Chase purpose, not money.” I had always done that. I was led by my passion in making it in the PR business over what was in my bank account. I am sure nowadays there are all kinds of marketing tactics for lead generation especially with social media and email lists, but I did it the old fashioned way and can say that when people reach out to me, and have a genuine reason for seeking my support and are upfront about their purpose. I respond. I may not always give someone what they want, but I do take the time to read their email or message and respond.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I am a very spiritual person. Unfortunately, there is a lot of deceitful information to sift through these days, but I have always found that being spiritual and mindful helped me in business more than any business book I have ever read. The books that I read that had the most profound impact on my business are: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer; The Magic by Rhonda Byrne and The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer.
Let me explain why these books helped me. The concept of detaching from your ego mind was a profound concept for me when I read Singer’s book. It helped me detach from my negative thoughts (albeit not always!) and become more mindful in business. It totally shifted my relationships and outlooks in business. The Magic is all about the law of attraction in theory, but more importantly, it’s founded in gratitude. Finding my deep sense of gratitude in not only business, but for everything in my life, opened so many doors for me. I still practice gratitude as often as I can remember. Wayne Dyer was my first deeper dive into the concept of energy and really helped lead me into a deeper spiritual practice once I read his book. Now I always say, “intention is everything”.
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. 🙂
This is a powerful question! I feel that if I could do this, I would! Granted, that is why I started Conscious Living PR. I wanted to start a PR firm that would highlight the “good” that someone is doing for the world. As far as a movement idea, what if we all could nominate someone, we know that needs a hand and have five people you “tag” help that person somehow. Then each of those five people would then nominate someone and tag five others. It could potentially spread so much help for people who can’t voice their needs to the public or be seen. A version of paying it forward, I suppose!
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.