I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Gold of Susan Gold Consulting, a boutique consultancy based in Los Angeles with a focus on media outreach, thought leadership and celebrity branding.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have a background as a tv producer with Fox, CNBC, AMC, Bravo and more. I’m known for attaching A-list talent to projects. A media and publishing company of educational materials in American Sign Language came to me to crossover a children’s video series in ASL. I knew actress, Kristen Bell signed with her daughter and sent her the series. She fell in love and I then brought a national car company to the table for the opportunity of a national promotion. This has led to a multi-year relationship and my business has flourished in the areas of marketing and p.r.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
Dubai’s biggest DJ was referred to me when he wanted to become known stateside. After a year of leveraging relationships, and adding weight to his brand, he had a #3 hit on the U.S. Dance Charts and work at Warner Bros. Records. Honestly, I knew nothing of the electronic dance music or world of DJ’s prior to this project so this prized outcome proved to be a winning moment — bringing all of my experience as a producer forward and validating capabilities as a pr and marketing consultant.
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 was working on a red carpet event for a national brand and had put out more than several invitations to high-level talent. I had a technical issue with my car and was at the mechanic for repair rather than my desk when a call came in. I picked up and it was a very impressionable voice on the other end of the line but I couldn’t grasp the name. I just took a risk that it was one of the invitees and started in with my pitch. It was my dentist. The lesson I learned, don’t pick up, unless you’re fully prepared for a professional conversation.
How did you scale your business to profitability? How long did it take? Please share the steps you took.
I was profitable from day one as I had an account set up, or I might not have moved forward. I’ve only had two staff jobs — one at ICM a large global talent agency and the other for FOX. For me, being a staff employee is an oddity, running my own business is my norm. I also keep my own staff freelance and have several associates I work with depending on the project which keeps things fluid and flexible.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m bringing notables to the table from all fields for a companion book to a PBS series on the US Constitution. It’s led me into many different areas and I’ve been meeting very influential and articulate individuals.
Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR? I’d say spend time partaking in internships in a variety of different facets of PR — events, media, thought leadership and digital platforms for a variety of brands to really experience as much as possible and for a better overview of the reality of working within the industry.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Though it seems passe,’ I’m a huge advocate of cold outreach and often via the phone. If you start high up the food chain and ask for a referral within the firm, it often leads to success.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain? I’m a huge fan of Amy Jo Martin’s Why Not Now (amyjomartin.com/whynotnow/) She’s very savvy, authentic and offers conversations with very high-profile and successful people that are energizing, helpful and often, profound.
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?
I’d have to say it would be to encourage each of us to pause and take a deep breath at some point in our day to re-group, to know we’re safe, and to provide space to believe in our being by finding a more open and loving point of view.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
1. No one is keeping score. I was 25 and living alone in New York City when I left a big agency to open my own firm. I don’t know who I thought was watching but they were very judgmental. I wish I would have realized I was my own harshest critic.
2. The answer is yes until it’s no. I have had opportunities offered to me that I shut the door on automatically. I’ve learned to explore each opportunity thoroughly as you never know what it might bring.
3. There’s never true job assurance. Even though you may be on staff, that position could shift, change or disappear. I think understanding that has kept me going through difficult times being mostly freelance or working as a consultant which I’ve found to fit my lifestyle.
4. You’re ultimately responsible. I signed an agreement and neglected to understand precise terms. It led to uncomfortable days and financial difficulties. It’s helped me to work on better understanding what I am signing completely as well as asking for help.
5. Love yourself and know it’s all learning. I’ve made mistakes. It’s best for me to understand we all make them and what matters is how I respond and what I learn in the process