The Beauty of Raleigh PR: Day 11 – Q&A with Sarah

By Posted in - APR & Entry-Level PR Job on January 22nd, 2015

Creating a positive work environment is the responsibility of every employee. I think it’s a good idea to get to know your co-workers. I find that in many settings no matter what walk of life you come from, you can always learn something from someone else.

Sarah Hattman, APR, has a passion for storytelling. From a decade in television news to creating award-winning campaigns for her clients, she is always searching for a memorable way to tell the story. Sarah spent nearly 10 years in television working as a producer, reporter and anchor at WECT in Wilmington, N.C. and KRQE in Albuquerque, N.M.

She made the transition from journalist to public relations practitioner with James Korenchen Public Relations in Albuquerque. In 2013, Sarah earned her Accreditation in Public Relations designation. As a member of the Clairemont Communications team, she oversees multiple accounts and provides clients guidance in all aspects of public relations.

Today, I interviewed Sarah to learn more about her experiences at Clairemont and her career switch from journalist to PR practitioner.

Jasmin: “Sarah, How did you know you wanted to make a career change?”

Sarah: “During my ten years in news, I worked with a lot of PR professionals and one of them really stood out to me. I met James Korenchen, president of James Korenchen Public Relations, while working at KRQE and he really influenced my career path. A lot of PR people are former news people, and when I first thought about making the switch from news to PR, I reached out to James to learn more about the PR profession. At the time I wasn’t sure I was quite ready to leave news, but it just so happened that he had an opening and made me an offer. I decided to take the leap and have never looked back or regretted my decision.”

Jasmin: “Since you made the career switch, I observed that you have found a love for PR. What exactly does Pubic Relations mean to you?”

Sarah: “For me PR is another version of storytelling. The difference is that in PR I don’t just tell the story, I get to shape it.”

Jasmin: “What attracted you to Clairemont?”

Sarah: “The people behind the agency. In 2012 when I moved back to North Carolina, I became active with the local PRSA chapter. It was there that I first met Tracy and Dana. I admired their hard work and dedication to the profession and considered myself lucky when I had the opportunity to join the Clairemont team in 2014.”

Jasmin: “What is your personal mantra?”

Sarah: “Be present. (laughs) It’s so cliche, but in a PR agency you often find yourself switching tasks quickly which can make it difficult to focus. When I have to switch gears quickly, I always try to take a deep breath and give the new task 100 percent of my focus. It’s something that is easier said than done, but I strive to do it each and every day.”

Jasmin: “Describe your best moment at Clairemont.”

Sarah: “That’s a tough one. There have been so many great moments but the one that stands out the most in my mind is the night of the T.MAC social at the Clairemont House. The event was developed as to way to introduce T.MAC to influencers in the Triangle. After weeks of planning and hard work, it was fun to see the house bustling in the moments before we welcomed our first guest. The head chef from T.MAC was cooking in our kitchen as well as in our driveway under a tent. Furniture was being a re-arranged, tables and linens were being delivered and Fortnight Brewing Company was setting up a tasting station. It was a fun night and a great feeling to see all of the team’s hard work come together to create a great event.”

Jasmin: “What skills have you found that you didn’t know that you had until you entered the PR world?”

Sarah: “I would say creativity. In news it’s all about the facts. Sure, you can be creative with reporter standups and when editing the video for the story, but its nothing compared to the creativity that I have found in the world of PR.

Jasmin: “What advice would you give to someone like me who is fresh in the PR world that you wish you would have been told?”

Sarah: “Don’t take it personally. It’s actually something I have been told for many years and am still told on occasion. There are times when you will take your best idea to a client, journalist or contact only to be told no. Don’t let it get to you. It’s not that they don’t like you; they just don’t like your idea as much as you do.”

Jasmin: “What legacy do you want to leave behind in this field?”

Sarah: “I want to be known for my go-getter attitude. I love a good challenge and finding a way to work through it.”

I think its safe to say, Sarah is qualified for this gig, and is an amazing asset to the Clairemont team. She is a joy to work with, and I am proud to be her co-worker.

Sarah and I

Editor’s Note: Clairemont enthusiastically welcomes Jasmin Sessoms to our team! Follow this former beauty queen’s journey as she documents her first 30 days in a Raleigh PR agency.

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