Around the office with Weber Shandwick's Gail Heimann

Heimann walks through a day in her life as president at one of the largest PR agencies in the world.

What did you think you’d do professionally when you were in college?
I thought I would be a writer. I am on most days. I just didn’t realize the better part of my work would be in PowerPoint.

What was your first job in PR?
Proudly representing the U.S. Virgin Islands at a large agency.

Any advice to young women entering the profession?
Embrace change. It’s the only thing that’s constant. Leap into the tech and innovation world. Even if it’s not your thing, have an understanding of the potential and bring a vision for that to your clients and colleagues in whatever you do.

Drive change for women in our industry by driving change for yourself — raise your hand, focus, deliver, ask questions, take a few calculated risks, be excruciatingly proactive every day, and treat everyone with respect and kindness. Your ascent is ours.

What's the first app or site checked in the morning?
Axios, the Broadsheet, theSkimm, and Facebook.

What's your quirky morning routine?
I don’t think there’s anything quirky about enjoying a 6:56 a.m. yogurt on the couch with pugs. Do you?

Average commute time?
Between 25 and 35 minutes. About an hour and a half during the U.N. General Assembly.

What's the first thing you do at the office?
I get a decaf latte at some point.

Average number of meetings per day?
Four to five.

Time spent on the road each year?
45%.

What's the most distinct aspect of your personal office?
My office is very spare. Always happy to gaze at family pictures during conference calls, and proud of the trophies and plaques.

Any tips for keeping days on track?
It can be tempting to pack in back-to-back meetings every day and allow people to slap them on your calendar at will. But we are more effective when we build in time to think and reflect on all those meeting topics.

"Thinking" is why we’re in this business. We need to be as planful and protective about thinking time as we are about meeting time.

Who is your mentor?
I am fortunate my parents believed knowledge was as important as food. I am equally fortunate my husband and daughters mentor me in sports, music, and all things Kardashian.

What's your biggest early career regret?
In the words of French singer Edith Piaf, "je ne regrette rien." I spent the early years with costumed characters, dirigibles, and TV personalities. Each one taught me something.

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