I think pigeon-holing yourself and your own idea of what your skill set is, is something that can happen easily. And as an entrepreneur, the reality is you’ll likely end up using so many more skill sets than you knew you had.
Suki Mulberg Altamirano, Founder & Principal of Lexington Public Relations, a boutique PR firm that specializes in helping consumer, lifestyle and B2B businesses drive awareness, engage customers and build equity. She is also the Co-Founder of PressReady, a collection of digital products, expert guides, workbooks and customizable templates that help small business owners and startups run success DIY PR campaigns to grow their exposure and make headlines.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
After handling PR in-house for Kenzo, LVMH, Elizabeth Arden and Williams-Sonoma, eight years ago I went out on my own and founded Lexington Public Relations, a boutique PR firm to help businesses grow their visibility and reach new audiences. With offices today in New York City and Nashville, our small team of media specialists have a proven track record of building brands and reputations for global names to Fortune 500s, specialty brands and even young start-ups. We work with companies across multiple industries like retail, fashion, beauty, home décor, food, education and healthcare.
My latest project Co-Founded with a fellow publicist and good friend is PressReady, a collection of digital products that are designed to help small businesses and startups achieve their own DIY PR success with expert digital workbooks, guides and customizable templates. Each of us had come across so many small businesses and startups over the years that we felt could greatly benefit from some simple tools to help them get noticed!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I think the funniest thing is how as an entrepreneur, you are likely doing business emails and even phone calls in the early days in odd places! The nature of starting your own business just involves so much hustle and it’s inevitable that you’ll end up somewhere random, needing to talk to a client or get an email out… thinking if only they could see where I’m standing!
What was your biggest challenge to date either personally or professionally and how did you overcome it?
I think pigeon-holing yourself and your own idea of what your skill set is, is something that can happen easily. And as an entrepreneur, the reality is you’ll likely end up using so many more skill sets than you knew you had. I think for me, in the beginning, I had a tendency to want to limit my services within industries where I had direct experience. Yet, as we grew and our client inquiries grew, I realized that this skill set was relevant to helping a broad array of companies grow their exposure and drive successful campaigns. We now work with a very wide range of businesses and industries and this variety is one of the things I enjoy most!
What does leadership mean to you and how do you best inspire others to lead?
Being a great leader means believing in your team, presenting them with a vision for success and helping them secure the tools and resources they need to achieve it! I think leading by example is the best way to inspire others.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My husband has believed in my ability from day one and has always helped push me towards my biggest goals. When I’ve lost clients, he’s believed in me, when I’ve gained clients, he’s cheered me on. It’s important to have someone like that in your corner who can celebrate the good with you and remind you of all you’ve achieved when you have difficult moments.
Was it difficult to fit your life into your business/career and how did you do that?
This is something I was particularly worried about prior to the birth of my son about two years ago. How would I manage our growing family and my desire to be present while continuing the moment for my business? I think the answer is to ask for help where you need it! Don’t be afraid to do this and do it sooner than you think you need it.
Did you find that as your success grew it became more difficult to focus on the other areas of your life?
There’s always the struggle to find perfect “balance,” and I think during particularly busy periods other personal endeavors take a back seat. Then things might shift and work projects slow a tad while you can dedicate more time at home. It’s important to prioritize what you care about most and also recognize what’s realistic. These are questions only you can answer for yourself and there’s no wrong answer. It’s about figuring out what works for you.
Can you share five pieces of advice to other leaders about how to achieve the best balance between work and personal life?
- Prioritize what matters most. I think the first thing to creating balance is defining what that balance looks like to you and prioritizing what matters to you most. Understanding this is the only way to begin.
- Get a great agenda / planner! I use a digital calendar and reminders and plenty of project planning applications but I still love a paper agenda / planner! Whichever format you use is great but taking the time to plan out your week can be instrumental to feeling like you’ve achieved what you set out to. This might include urgent work projects to important tasks to things you’re going to delegate, decisions that need to be made, family goals for the week and items that you have pending or awaiting feedback. Setting these each Monday helps me remember and streamline my professional and personal goals in a way that feels achievable.
- Set limits. Seeking to spend more quality family time without your telephone around? Set limits on off-hours. Need a time where you’re able to solo-work without interruption? Schedule aside specific days / times that help you achieve this. You get the idea.
- Do personal check-ins. At week’s end, taking a quick look back at what worked well, what didn’t, and what is still on your plate for the coming week is helpful.
- Be accountable. This might entail getting an accountability partner! Or if you’re great, it can be done alone. But being accountable for our personal and professional goals, what you actually did to achieve them, and what work still needs to be done, is a great way to keep your eye on the prize.
What gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment and pride?
Watching my son grow up, thrive and learn new things all the time! He’s my greatest pride. I’m also proud of Lexington PR and PressReady, two businesses I feel are bringing great value to many other businesses as they reach their own goals.
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. :-)
What if we all said one kind word to one stranger every day for a whole year!
What is the best way for people to connect with you on social media?