Similar to nursing rounds, in PR you are ‘on call’ and continually assessing for, monitoring and addressing situations — positive or negative.
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 Susan J. Farese. Susan J. Farese, MSN, RN, a native of New Jersey, is the owner/president of SJF Communications, San Diego, CA which provides communications services including Public Relations, Publicity, Marketing, Websites, Social Media, Writing, Public Speaking, Photography, Filmmaking, Mentoring/Coaching and Legal Nurse Consulting services.
Ms. Farese has diversified experience in health care/communications, including clinical nursing practice, management, education/training, research, and consulting. Ms. Farese is also a veteran, serving 12+ years as a former Army and Navy Nurse, attaining the rank of Major. Susan has presented numerous continuing education classes, seminars, and keynotes. She is the author of the book “Poetic Expressions in Nursing…Sharing the Caring” (1993, Vista Publishing, Inc.) and has written poetry and articles on a variety of topics.
Susan is a member SAG-AFTRA, American Legion Post 43, Veterans in Media & Entertainment, San Diego Writers Ink and the San Diego Press Club.
Ms. Farese has a master’s degree in nursing in Adult Health from Seton Hall University (NJ) and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Widener University (PA). Susan is a Volunteer Mentor in the San Diego State University Aztec Mentor Program.
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?
Thank you for inviting me for an interview. I am from an entrepreneurial family (my paternal great grandfather, paternal grandfather and parents) and am known to be ambitious, with a knack for intuition, creativity, and communication skills.
My personal entrepreneurial journey began in 1990, after 12+ years of military nursing.
Since 1990 and over the years, I have been familiar and comfortable with the responsibility of handling my own business PR/Marketing for my consulting and public speaking opportunities and throughout several geographic changes. I also wrote media releases for our daughter’s youth, community, school, or professional theatre productions.
In 2011, I was approached by a well-known professional theatre and artistic director to join a theatre board. At the time he was the director of a professional musical theatre production that our then teen daughter was involved in. He was impressed with my writing a media release about the chorus of children and teens who were a part of the production with the professional actors. I joined the board in 2011 and soon after assumed the position of PR/Marketing which lasted until I began doing freelance PR with SJF Communications in 2016.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
I have been fortunate to have been involved with so many interesting stories! Two that stand out are:
1. Providing PR for a touring international music and theatrical production company in 2019
2. Promoting a classical pianist’s concert at Carnegie Hall in NYC in 2017
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?
Not really a ‘mistake’ but probably acting like I knew what I was doing as a neophyte in professional PR navigating ‘how it all worked’ in theatre PR! I learned the ropes and my confidence eventually manifested!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My company SJF Communications has evolved throughout the years, from providing PR to theatres, musicians, filmmakers, authors and businesses. I have been fortunate to have worked on projects with clients such as: a former presidential advisor, an international classical pianist, a nutritional psychiatrist, professors/faculty, psychologists, psychotherapists, acting coaches, musicians, veterans, attorneys, a retired superior court judge and several other amazing authors, theatres, and associations. I also am a professional actor/filmmaker and recently have been a producer, casting director and publicist for films. I thoroughly enjoy teaching Haiku workshops and have been teaching since 2017 and am anxiously awaiting a San Diego County contract (due to pandemic, a big HALT for now) to teach my Haiku workshop throughout the San Diego County Library system.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Promotion does not come naturally to many! Some creatives, namely authors, are supremely introverted and need lots of guidance in ‘getting the word out’ — so they can PROMOTE, MOVE and/or SELL their brand, book, or product.
2. Similar to nursing rounds, in PR you are ‘on call’ and continually assessing for, monitoring and addressing situations — positive or negative.
3. That you monitor your clients’ social media like a hawk and address problems, inappropriateness, errors etc. ASAP (likewise, celebrate and compile positive media ‘hits’)
4. You need to be resourceful, have excellent intuition and instincts when something ‘isn’t right’ as it is portrayed in the media and be able to communicate issues and ‘nip them in the bud’.
5. I wish someone told me how much fun it is to see your clients shine in the media!
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Pre-COVID-19, I would always embrace networking with business card exchange, phone calls, emails, good eye contact, following up etc. Now, virtually, I still actively maintain networking by interacting with contacts in professional organizations and social media organizations/groups, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. and others I belong to.
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?
Utilizing my professional network, social media platforms and contacts, reading and reviewing periodicals and press articles, watching/reading news, and dynamic and continual research on the internet.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
No book or podcast in particular. My PRexperience has helped me enormously.I have been super busy with clients and building my brand working as a solopreneur and am always gaining experience and insight. Most of my reading is for business and pleasure. I check out podcasts in general, am up to date on Twitter, Medium and Authority Magazines, Instagram and read pertinent articles and email blasts. I also value change and embrace it!
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. 🙂
Yes, indeed! I am a published author and poet since the early 1990’s. I teach virtual (previously in-person) Haiku workshops and would love to inspire a major Haiku movement (especially with the National Youth Laureate Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman’s recent RISE as a poet and the subsequent recent emerging popularity of poetry as a result). More about my Haiku workshops at https://sjfcommunications.com/upcoming-haiku-workshops/.
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.
Many thanks as well! I’ve enjoyed this!