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Publicist Rockstars: “Don’t take on clients you aren’t enthusiastic about or don’t believe in” With Wendy Gordon of Flash Public Relations

Don’t take on clients you aren’t enthusiastic about/you don’t believe in. Your attitude will come across in everything you do. If a potential client simply doesn’t mesh with your belief system, expertise, etc.; if a potential client badmouths people, etc.; if they are demanding the impossible…run, do not walk…away. You don’t need the negativity nor […]



Don’t take on clients you aren’t enthusiastic about/you don’t believe in. Your attitude will come across in everything you do. If a potential client simply doesn’t mesh with your belief system, expertise, etc.; if a potential client badmouths people, etc.; if they are demanding the impossible…run, do not walk…away. You don’t need the negativity nor the potential hassles that could come later. Don’t take on a client out of desperation.


As a part of my series about “Publicist Rockstars” I had the pleasure to interview Wendy Gordon of Flash Public Relations.


Thank you so much for your time Wendy. 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 majored in journalism in college and always imagined myself as growing in that field. As a ‘stringer’ at that time, the work was not steady nor was the income. Fast forward several years and two children later, an opportunity to promote a wine personality came my way. I agreed to do it, and my career grew from there beginning with the hospitality industry and diversifying into luxury, lifestyle, non-profits, branding, finance, etc.

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

I’ve been lucky enough to have had a myriad of interesting experiences and stories to tell. I think among the most interesting in recent memory was working on the reenactment of the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles first live North American Concert in its original venue (which was a completely raw space at the time) with the original playlist, staging and even the original opening act who returned to open the show 50 years later. We also included a ‘museum’ of the original iconic photographs of the event and video and written memories of those who were actually there for the original. It took a ton of research, outreach, creativity in promotion and coordination from many people, but was not only interesting but a huge amount of fun. The event was sold out and garnered international coverage.

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?

So embarrassing. I made the mistake of cutting and pasting a pitch to various journalists and forgot to change the name in the “Dear….” salutation. Of course, it was too late once I realized my mistake.

I learned not to cut and paste. Ever. I also learned to do my research, proofread my work over and over, not be so lazy and certainly not to be careless. My clients and self respect as a professional are worth more than that.

How did you scale your business to profitability? How long did it take? Please share the steps you took.

I have a boutique agency that has its own clients and does freelance work for other agencies. I purposely kept myself small and work from a modest office with low overhead. I took over my business from an existing one, so it was easy to be profitable immediately as I already had clients in place. But clients come and go. More often than not, this business is based on relationships and reputation. Initially I attended every industry event possible; networked my tail off and was diligent in making sure to manage expectations and not overpromise and under deliver.

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

My forte is the hospitality industry; restaurant, hotels, chefs, etc.I’ve learned to diversify my client base, however. Recently, I was privileged to work with a nonprofit that focuses on immigration — how the immigrant population in the 100 largest cities (ad beyond) affect the economic impact of the country. Not only was the information interesting, but it provided the opportunity to feel as if I was a part of truly tweaking public opinion in a politically charged climate. It was a palpable feeling of doing good and spreading the word about something really important and potentially instituting actual change.

Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR?

I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is not necessarily the high profile, elegant job as it’s often portrayed. There’s a lot of real work ‘in the trenches.’ It’s also a position of strategy. It’s not a matter of getting a ton of coverage in areas where the client’s demographic is not represented. It’s not throwing a plate of spaghetti against a wall and seeing what sticks. There is a real thought process to each client’s needs. It’s also important to know the media to whom you pitch. Know what they write and what they cover.

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

Be open. Be out there. The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is so often true. It’s as important to network with potential clients as it is to develop your relationships with your colleagues out there. It’s also important to lean on mentors and those more experienced in the field. You need help? Ask for it. People are usually happy to give you good advice.

Be truthful. If you don’t know something, say so. If you cannot deliver what a client wants, never promise it. This is a field of very few guarantees. Manage expectations and be as transparent as possible.

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

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some legends in this field. I lean on them as mentors. Their real experience has been more valuable to me than any book or podcast. I learn something new every day.

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. 🙂

There are so many possibilities! I’m a huge Animal Welfare advocate and would like to see more education about treatment; environmental effects and use of animals to enhance the lives of humans whether it’s a prison or military program or help with developmental or emotional issues. I believe animals so positively affect our lives.

Education — especially in the arts. Again, I believe there are so many avenues to enhance life through the arts whether it’s music, theater, fine art, etc. I’d love to see more programs to help aspiring artists find their way and grow their craft.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Be creative; think out of the box. Don’t copy something that has gone before. Come up with the eye-opening angle that will get you (your client) noticed. We’ve done everything from elephant parades to tenting off entire streets in gorilla marketing campaigns. You’re only limited by your imagination — which has no limits.

Relationships are important. Build them personally and in business. Everyone has something to offer whether it’s a new friendship or a future collaboration. Relationships are the best ground for business and for personal growth. Never ever burn a bridge. This is a good way to ruin an otherwise stellar reputation.

Do your research-both about your clients and about the media you pitch. Know everything you can — background stories; business information, etc. In the media, know who writes what; what the interest is in; story angles that are applicable. Never simply ‘mass pitch’ a story blindly.

Listen. Really hear what is being said. What is on the surface may not be the entire story. Be kind, but don’t get taken advantage of. Naiveté will get you in trouble. For example, when first starting in the business, I worked for an agency that gave bonuses for proposals that resulted in business. I was asked by a colleague to ‘help’ them with a proposal, which I did. I wrote the entire thing. The agency got the client and the person for whom I wrote the proposal took the entire bonus without acknowledging my work at all. These things happen. Be helpful, be kind, be accommodating. But don’t allow yourself to be a victim.

Don’t take on clients you aren’t enthusiastic about/you don’t believe in. Your attitude will come across in everything you do. If a potential client simply doesn’t mesh with your belief system, expertise, etc.; if a potential client badmouths people, etc.; if they are demanding the impossible…run, do not walk…away. You don’t need the negativity nor the potential hassles that could come later. Don’t take on a client out of desperation.

This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.

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