QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Elaine Lyerly, president and CEO of the Charlotte-based Lyerly Agency, is a communicator by day, but a cowgirl at heart. Unlike many of her peers, however, she walks the walk when it comes to giving back to her community

Tell us something interesting about your agency

Tell us something interesting about your agency

Tell us something interesting about your agency

We started in 1977 as Eve Communication Services, The Original PR Firm.

Women in business were sort of a novelty at that time. The wire services

picked up the story and played it with headlines such as ’These Women

Make It Without ’Adam’ Bit of Help.’

What do you do there? I develop new business (anyone in North or South

Carolina need help?), run the company with my sister (and partner) and

generally have a good time.

How do you make a difference? As a way to give back to a community that

has been so good to me, I volunteer my time on local boards. I’m

chairing the 2001 National Red Cross convention that will be held in


What was your proudest moment and greatest achievement? My proudest

moment was adopting my son and bringing him home from South America. My

greatest achievement was starting a business in 1977 at age 26. I was

too naive at the time to know that I couldn’t do it!

What was your most embarrassing moment? I was picking up Elizabeth Dole

for a Red Cross meeting, and was nervous and trying to be so


As we were walking out of the airport, I looked down and realized I had

my skirt on backwards.

Who or what do you hate most? The way the media focuses on the physical

features of women political candidates.

How did you get into PR? I was one of those weird and fortunate people

that knew in the 10th grade that I wanted to do something in the

communications field. The rest was detail.

What are your hobbies? Becoming a Pokemon whiz so that I can communicate

with my son.

Name one thing about your past that people would be surprised to learn

Needing to earn money after college, I painted silhouettes of naked

ladies on the walls of a topless bar. Hey, it was good money and I was


What is your favorite magazine? Cowboys & Indians. I am a misplaced

cowgirl and I love reading and daydreaming about the lifestyle of the


What would you do if you didn’t do what you do? Paint funky furniture

and study the mysteries of life.

What is the best invention of all time? Chocolate - it goes anywhere and

is appropriate for any situation or occasion.

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