Courtly is Vice President at W2 Communications where she brings over two decades of technology public relations within network, storage, chip, wireless, and security industries. She is pragmatic with a knack for building productive partnerships between executives, investors, marketing, and sales organizations with their respective target audiences by leveraging key media and analyst relationships, thus creating programs that focus on being ahead of market trends that can influence change.
Why did you choose PR?
I wasn’t certain what PR was, but as I began interviewing after college, I was charged with writing a press release about a washing machine. The task appeared easy until I was then charged with a second draft that included a semiconductor chip. My fascination ran deep and the rest is history.
What is the most exciting thing you have done?
The most exciting thing has also been the scariest: The first time I was in a plane, I didn’t land with it. At the age of 10, I was strapped to my father’s chest (he was Special Ops in the military) and we jumped out of a plane above Montana.
The experience taught me a good life lesson: I learned that while the ground was coming fast, I needed to trust the person I was strapped to.
What is your favorite hobby?
Collecting shells (I live near the ocean).
What is your secret talent?
I work on old muscle cars from the late 60’s and early 70’s with my husband (yup…I have rebuilt transmissions, carburetors, and exhaust manifold systems). I was also a helicopter ski guide in college (Oregon) – guess that “jumping out of planes” habit never really died.
What has been your favorite PR moment?
Is it terrible to say having access to some really cool rock bands as headliners for large client events?
What is your favorite part about working in PR?
You get to be creative every hour of every day, and it’s ok to go out that ledge with ideas, as long as you walk back each night.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to work in PR?
Never fear what has yet to be discovered. When failure is the internal goal, you won’t be afraid to take risks and will view the glass as half full.
What is your favorite concert you have been to?
I’m actually most excited about one that is coming up in the near future… Iron Maiden in Oakland, CA this fall.
If you had a super power what would it be?
Be invisible (because who wouldn’t want to go do, see and hear what they want, when they want it)!
What is your favorite part about living on the west coast?
Surfing, seafood and access to Maui. When you can live within one mile of over 100 different kinds of foods, global music and historical antiquities that are on Bucket Lists for many, it’s never taken for granted. Sitting on a cold beach in Pacifica during any summer month, where the sand, when blown by the wind feels more like needles than soft powder, is a reminder of the beauty that can be heard, felt and seen; all in a single moment (after all, Mark Twain did say, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”).
What are some tips you would provide for employees that work remotely?
Don’t multitask personal and professional during the day (it can be tempting when at home, or remote)
Who is someone you look up to and why?
I look up to all that seek a balanced life.
I admire those that can make fun of themselves.
I respect those that can be the silent one in the room with the answers.
I envy those that have paused long enough each day to capture what matters most, whatever that may be.
If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Meriwether Louis (as his journey is fascinating). Much like Arya Stark who didn’t know what was beyond Westeros, Lewis and Clark set out on a journey, defendant on a native tribe to seek, learn and prosperous from a new land.
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
Not tell anyone and not change anything major. Money grants options, not happiness. If I was forced to do something, I would anonymously help people around me. If I had to do something, I would purchase a large land grant for my children, without them having access or knowing about it until they turned 50; the reason is because I wouldn’t want money to change their life decisions either. Heck, my husband proposed with a cherry ring pop so the baseline was set from that point.