July 2009

Today it’s Ruth’s turn to answer the questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a Toronto-born city girl learning how to live in a small town just outside of Vancouver. I’m happy to be close to Vancouver because I love sushi. A former journalist, I hopped the fence to PR and found the best of both worlds. I get to work with journalists and behind the scenes with clients.

What do you see as your communications strengths?

I am strategic and curious. Learning new tools such as social media is a bonus, not a chore. With a strategic approach, I can identify and define what needs to be done and when and how to meet the objectives of an organization or campaign. I also actively listen. I learned that at Maclean’s. Sometimes what a person doesn’t say is as important as what they do say.

What made you interested in joining AHA?

We started AHA because we wanted to be a part of a great agency, with excellent people, exceptional clients and create a culture that is professional, creative and fun.

What five words describe you professionally?

Strategic

Creative

Focused

Reliable

Professional

Personally?

Hilarious

Quirky

Loyal

Fun-loving

Kind

What kind of beverage do you drink first thing in the a.m.?

Coffee. Any kind. Immediately.

Who do you think you were in a past life?

A rodeo clown.

What makes you laugh out loud?

My dogs and Paul. Sometimes all in the same moment.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A veterinarian. When I was about five, I realized that they don’t just sit around all day and play with dogs, so I decided to become a journalist.

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Today, it would be my mom (I would always want her there!), Waylon Jennings (one of the kindness men I ever met), Jimmy Buffett (for his stories), Pierre Trudeau (for his perspective on the world) and Michael Jackson (to see who he really is, not who we think he was).

What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Iced tea, a lot of yogurt, fruit, olives, artichokes, six types of cheese and 14 different kinds of mustard.

What five CDs would you take with you to a desert island?

Today – Jimmy Buffet’s Greatest Hits, Blue Rodeo’s Five days in July, anything by Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles Greatest Hits and something I had never heard before.

What question do you wish someone would ask you?

Can I introduce you to a great agent for the novel you are writing?

What’s your answer?

Yes, please!

Read more

I have spent a lot of time in my professional life pitching story angles either as a journalist with an idea for an article, where I had to get my editor’s buy in, or as a PR person putting forward a pitch to media about a client’s organization. Since many of my colleagues and friends are either journalists or communicators, I also spend a fair bit of time discussing what makes a good story, even when it isn’t about a specific pitch.

One of the things that AHA clients rely on us for is to help them with media and blogger relations. In the new world of communication, it is important to understand how to pitch both mainstream media (most of which now have some kind of online component), as well as online media, which includes bloggers. At the core of a good pitch is the story.

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There has been a great deal of coverage on the acquisition of online retailer Zappos.com by Amazon. I had the privilege of hearing Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh speak earlier this year at the Ragan Social Media Conference in Las Vegas.

I have to admit that when I saw Tony’s name on the program as a keynote and realized he was speaking about corporate culture, I wasn’t that excited about it. However, you can’t deny that Zappos.com has a great reputation as does Tony, so I went to see him speak because, well – he was there and so was I.

His keynote changed how I view the world.

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