How She Got There: Jordyn Palos, CEO of Persona Public Relations, Inc.

Name: Jordyn Palos
Job Title and Description: CEO, Persona Public Relations, Inc.
College Name: California State University Northridge
Major: Cinema and Television Arts, BA with an emphasis in Electronic Media Management
Website: www.persona-pr.com
Twitter Handle: @personapr
Instagram Handle:  @personapr
Facebook Handle: @personapr

When you're in college, you're perpetually contemplating if an internship is worth it, especially when you could be using that time for your studies (or sleep). However, CEO of Persona Public Relations Jordyn Palos talks about how her first college internship helped her realize public relations was the right job for her—and how she transformed that initial internship into an empowering career. Beyond her own career experience, Palos has some insightful advice on how college students can get into the industry and how they can hone their passion in a professional application. 

Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Jordyn Palos: Working in publicity there is never a typical day! Every day there is something new happening, from press junkets to photo shoots, pitching and securing press, red carpet events, signing meetings and media training (just to name a few items), and that’s not including the day to day operations of running a bi-coastal company. Luckily, I have a great team of people who help make the business-aspect of my firm come together on a daily basis, so I can spend the bulk of my time being a publicist and working closely with our clientele. 

HC: What is the best part of your job?

JP: I love having a role in building careers — what I have come to realize is that idea applies to my clients and my incredible staff. For my clients, the exhilaration of securing meaningful press that will actually move the needle for them never gets old, it is so rewarding to see them continue to grow.  The beauty of being a business owner is providing jobs to some of the most brilliant and talented people in the PR business, so that is certainly one of the best parts about my job as well.  

HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

JP: My first entry-level job was an internship that I took my senior year of college. I needed an internship to graduate, so I looked on Craigslist for PR firms near me and found a small boutique company looking for an intern, applied, and got the job. I quickly realized that PR might be a long-term career for me, and dumped my heart and soul into everything I did at that company. The owner hired me when I graduated and I stayed there for about four years.

HC: What words of wisdom (well-known quotes, an anecdote from your boss) do you find most valuable?

JP: Wow, this is a tough one. Sometimes I feel like I am a walking fortune cookie, I always have quotes running through my mind!  My mom always told me “work like you are replaceable because you are.” Tough love, right? I always have that in the back of my mind which has definitely helped create an unwavering work ethic throughout my career. Another one I live by is “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The entertainment industry is full of all different kinds of people, some you can trust, some you can’t, but no matter what when someone shows me who they are (whether that is through actions, words, or emails) I believe them!  In my office I have a few quotes framed, one of them being “good vibes only” so that’s one I should point out, and of course “work hard & be nice to people.” Can’t get much better than that. 

HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

JP: I have made so many mistakes over the last decade! The trick is to never quit- I think to be successful you have to fail sometimes and learn life lessons along the way. One small mistake I recently made (not ashamed to share this!) I sent out an email to a potential client and had spell-check on, so their name was auto-corrected throughout the entire thing. It was so embarrassing.  I, of course, apologized profusely when I realized what had happened (and still landed the client thank goodness) but I should have slowed down, triple checked everything and then sent the email. Lesson learned: spell check may not always be your friend.   

HC: What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

JP: You know, I have had so many moments where I sit back and think wow I can’t believe I am here.  It is such an honor and privilege to be representing a select list of talent in film and TV today, working award season campaigns, spearheading press nationally and internationally, it really blows my mind that I somehow fell into this crazy job.  Some of my recent favorite moments though have to be waiting backstage at the SAG Awards or Golden Globes watching to see if one of our clients won… I literally can’t sleep before a big show like that. I am probably on pins and needles more than the client, ha! I feel like I have so much more to achieve, many more surreal moments to come, my company is just getting started.

HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

JP: I rarely hire, we are a boutique firm so if I am bringing someone into the company the first thing I look at is experience (pending the job opening) and if they fit into the company culture. In the past I have notoriously hired interns that showed me their work ethic & why they want to be working in publicity; however, over the last few years, I have been more focused on growing the teams we have in NYC and LA & not aggressively hiring.  I usually have a gut feeling if the right person comes along. I also always ask potential hires if they want to do publicity long term, this job is not for the faint of heart.

HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

JP: Top item: network like crazy.  Get to know important people in the media, managers, agents, attorneys, other publicists at networks and studios, photographers, stylists, hair and make-up people, social media experts, basically everyone you can imagine. When people think “publicist” they believe you can make one phone call and make anything happen, so make sure you can deliver (even if the struggle is real… LOL fake it until you make it).  I always say to my staff we are magicians, ha!  If you are starting your own business and you aren’t working 12 to 15-hour days on the regular, then you aren’t putting in enough work. To this day I have been in PR for over a decade and have owned Persona PR for over eight years and I still put in that many hours, and then some.  Hustle, do good work, make connections, and everything else will fall into place. 

HC: What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

JP: I look at the overall design of a resume, if it is easy to navigate and highlights the candidate’s strongest elements I am more likely to put it in a “yes” pile and bring them for an interview.  I also love seeing a cover letter that explains why someone is applying for the job, their passion for PR- anything cookie cutter or not designed specifically for the job listed I will automatically delete. I typically will look at a candidate’s social media pages as well before bringing them in so if they have their LinkedIn account on the resume and some fun items about who they are, (Instagram link to show they love to travel, a food connoisseur, or are a Disney fanatic etc.) that’s always a plus too. I think some companies are a bit more traditional, where I like to see personality.