National Capital Chapter

No Two Career Paths Are the Same

By Sharon Reis

I am honored to have recently been inducted into the PRSA National Capital Chapter’s Hall of Fame alongside some of the finest PR professionals in the country.

I am so grateful to work in a field that I love, to have a job that is filled with meaning and purpose, and to work with people who are committed to improving health and well-being and making a difference in the world.

Thinking back on my career, I would have never been able to do any of this if it weren’t for the advice I received from several amazing mentors who helped me along the way.

Early on, when I was working at Milton Bradley/Hasbro, one of the top marketing people helped guide me on navigating the world of corporate communications.

As a young rookie PR person, I was eager to prove my worth. I wanted to work on bigger projects that I thought would show my true value. When I was finally given one of those projects to manage, I was disappointed and went to my senior colleague to complain about it! I called it a “dump job,” a project that nobody else wanted. He quickly interrupted my self-pitying rant. He looked me straight up, as my fellow New Englanders are known to do, and gave me advice that changed the course of my career. He said, “You can either look at this as a ‘dump job,’ or you can look at this as a really important opportunity. Whatever it is, give it your very best. Make it shine. And success will follow.”

That was nearly 30 years ago, and I have been fortunate enough to learn the value of a simple but profound lesson that I was taught by a mentor whose care and thoughtfulness really changed my life. To this day, his sage advice influences every single thing that I do.

Another influential person in my career is also a member of the PRSA NCC Hall of Fame. The great Pattie Yu. I met Pattie at Fleishman-Hillard. She was my boss and she taught me the value and importance of nurturing and training the next generation of PR professionals.

She taught me the absolute necessity of becoming skilled in all aspects of strategic communications. She was a terrific teacher and we worked really well together. In fact, we partnered to open our own PR firm when I was a mere 29 years old. Pattie believed in me. She trained me and taught me so much about strategic communications. I recognized this very important opportunity and made it shine.

Today, I carry those same values of giving your best to every task and that same dedication to mentoring, training and growing the next generation of PR professionals to everything I do at The Reis Group.

Everyone brings strengths to our team, yet we learn and grow in different ways. That is why it is important to remember that no two career paths are the same and our individual paths are what allow us to shine as a team. I strongly encourage all PR professionals at every age to find amazing mentors. They could transform your career growth trajectory. They certainly changed mine!

Sharon Reis is a 30-year veteran of the public relations industry who has long been dedicated to representing top-tier clients in health, health care and social causes. She has special expertise in messaging, media, and issues management. Sharon has worked extensively with medical societies, foundations, nonprofits, coalitions, health systems, and academic institutions on communications strategy, reputation building and science promotion.