How do you start your work day?
My first hour is always the quietest, so I’m either getting ahead of plans and presentations or walking the floor, talking with people. Occasionally, if a meeting keeps getting bumped, I’ll schedule it then but I try not to before 10 a.m. It’s also the time for emails: following up with people I haven’t spoken to in a while and networking.
What's your pre-work morning ritual?
I start every morning the same. I wake up early to make sure there’s no urgent emails and then quickly familiarize myself with the day’s calendar. Then, I switch work off for an hour for family time.
People are always amused to hear our two-year old daughter is trained to stay in bed until a light in her room switches from red to green. Once that happens, it’s immediately "Dada! Green light! Come get me!" Then it’s books, toys and drawings until breakfast.
Then our nanny shows up and takes over breakfast, and I mentally switch back to work. Before going into the office, I usually spend about an hour writing plans, presentations, articles, lengthy emails and comms. This is when the coffee is most recent and my head is the clearest. Then, I get ready and head in around 9 or 9:30 a.m.
What do you check, read or look at first?
In the evenings it’s general news, and in the mornings I start with trade, client and business updates. It’s Apple News before going to bed and my LinkedIn feed to start the morning. Based on that and a few industry news sources (like PRWeek!), I’ll do some reading on my commute.
Required business reading
A few books that I recommend consistently: Advocacy, by John Daly; Deep Work, by Cal Newton; Powerful, by Patty McCord; and Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.
What book or work of art influenced you the most?
Harry Potter, without a doubt. However, since my Hogwarts invitation never came, I’ve come to terms with muggle reality. Therefore, it’s Creativity, Inc., the Pixar story.
First comms job
I was initially planning to be a lawyer but started out in sales at Marketwire to get some experience. In addition to sales, I became the social media and SEO specialist. One client, an agency called CarryOn Communication, recruited me to develop their social media offering.
What advice would you give for budding comms leaders?
Advice I regularly give is: get into the room so you can observe and absorb from senior leaders; pick a job where you will build an external network; learn to tell stories with data; apprentice with an inspirational leader. What I repeat most frequently is to become known for something. Most PR practitioners struggle to answer the question, "what are you an expert at?" Being known for something is one of the fastest ways for budding comms leaders to get ahead.
Most regrettable career moment
I can’t say there are specific incidents that stand out as regrettable, but most of the moments I would have handled differently involved internal politics in prior roles. That’s why I have zero tolerance for internal politics at Lippe Taylor.
Favorite post-work activity
I’m a big soccer fan, so I always tune in if New York City F.C. or Arsenal are playing. I also like to cook, fix things or do projects around the house where I can tap into a different part of my brain and engage physically.
Ideal day off
My days off are pretty down-to-earth. Family time, dinner, etc. Every now and then, my wife and I take advantage of living in New York City and go sight-seeing to museums, shows, events and stopping at bars and restaurants along the way.
Most distinct aspect of your personal office
My office has a full-length, all-glass wall. I removed the blinds and use the glass like a whiteboard so it’s always full of flowcharts, doodles and designs.
Favorite work perk?
I’m a bit critical of the perk arms race. I think companies should be much more focused on building an engaging and sustainable culture. That being said, one thing Lippe Taylor offers that I find very sincere and important is our profit-sharing program. It applies to every single employee, and many people end up with significant profit-sharing accounts.