Balancing Act

When introducing myself in new business settings, I often mention that I’m on the third iteration of my communications career. Over 30-some years, my rewarding professional life has expanded, contracted, and expanded again. And during every phase, I’ve maintained a rich personal life, a robust family life and an active volunteer life in leadership positions. It’s a balancing act to be sure, rarely easy, but oh so worth it.

There’s no simple formula for juggling life’s priorities. There are a few principles that have helped me navigate, however. I’ve relied on them for years and can say they’ve worked for me. More importantly, they’ve shaped me personally and professionally. Maybe there’s a tidbit here for you, too.

  1. A solid spiritual foundation offers me daily strength, perspective and motivation for life’s knowns and unknowns, purpose in every activity and engagement in a God-sized enterprise that is much bigger than my own small life.
  2. Prioritizing using the principle of the Ps: People first, pets second, plants third. This may seem like a silly way to determine what to do next, but it helps me figure out what’s most important in the moment. It’s most applicable at home – where plants are actually my responsibility – but it has applications for the office, too. People are always first, projects are second, and plants are still third.
  3. When it comes to volunteering, I only do it if I love it. Sure, there are parts and pieces of many volunteer responsibilities that I don’t love, but overall, something strong and meaningful draws me to make the investment of time, energy and resources. As a result, I’m deeply involved in a few, meaningful – and demanding – volunteer roles.
  4. I believe in “good enough.” Life isn’t perfect, and many parts of life don’t require perfection. For example, when busyness overwhelms, I revert to good enough housekeeping. It works great for as long as I need it to.
  5. Rest and refreshment are essential. This can be challenging for someone in the sandwich generation, working full-time, and invested in significant volunteer roles. Periodic time away from the demands of work, coupled with daily engagement in reading, relationships and exercise feed my spirit and restore my attitude.

Somehow, those principles have allowed me to enjoy a wonderful family, satisfying work and rewarding participation in volunteer leadership. And yes, some days, life’s out of balance and I’m scrambling. Then, it’s time to recall the values and perspective that guide me. Intentionally pausing reframes my thinking and feelings, and brings balance back into view.  

- Beth Fredrickson, Senior PR Counselor

PR in the Political Arena

One of the hottest topics in the state of Wisconsin right now is the new Milwaukee Bucks arena. It brings up the interesting and complex issue of how government and public relations work together.

When most people think of public relations, the first things to come to mind are media hits like TV and radio commercials, billboards and posters but it can be, and is, so much more. The purpose of public relations is to make the community think about a product, organization or, in the case of the Bucks’ arena budget, a bill in a positive manner. PR will play a very important role when it comes to government relations.

Public relations works within the political arena in a number of different ways, including facilitating debates, holding seminars for government leaders, influencing proposed legislation, and testifying before congressional committees.

Another key element for PR is to monitor local and national government activity while keeping in mind their client’s objectives. In order to do this, you need to know what is important to your client and which legislative activity will directly affect them.

Nobody has unlimited time and resources, so you must ask yourself if a particular piece of legislation is important enough to challenge or promote. Creating stronger links between your organization’s marketing communications and public affairs strategies is one way to take advantage the attention the news media, politicians and the public will lavish on reforms and other key issues.                                  

Your brand and reputation will be affected whether you choose to be reactive or proactive. An effective communicator can help the more “politically versed” public affairs expert learn more about complex issues. The smart PR expert can help understand the peculiarities of the political process, its players and the dynamics of public policy debates. The best is a partner who offers both marketing communications expertise and political affairs knowledge.

With all of this in mind, it is important to align yourself with a PR agency with a history of successfully working within the political realm. This partnership will have a measurable impact not only in your everyday business, but also, in the larger scheme when includes policies and legislation.