How Inspire PR’s Marisa Long finds her work-life balance

Some PR pros rise early to get in gym time or answer emails. Others get up because the baby is very awake.

Executive Vice President manages her days at Inspire PR by downing some coffee to get through the morning and relying on her colleagues for intense collaboration.

We caught up with her for our Day in the Life Series, and she shared what she sees as the future of the industry, how to find success in the short term and how to keep a hectic schedule under control:

1. What time do you wake up?

Right now, my 10-month-old son likes to wake me up around 5:30 a.m. Sometimes he falls back to sleep, but I’m usually up for the day after that and getting bottles, backpacks and lunches ready.

2. How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?

Well, it depends on that 5:30 a.m. wakeup, but I usually keep it to about two cups and really only drink it in the mornings more than that and I might scare people, because I’m already high energy. I love iced coffee in the summer.

3. Who is the most important person at work you talk to during your day?

I recently came back to agency life after being in-house for several years, so Inspire’s president, Hinda Mitchell, has helped me dive right back in and has been a great mentor. One of the things I really like about Inspire, though, is that we know that everyone on the team. … Our clients are all important and we treat them that way, so no one person is the most important.

4. What’s one tool that you couldn’t live without?

Does my cellphone count? There isn’t much it can’t do when it comes to keeping me organized, listening to podcasts, capturing photo memories, connecting me to people all over the world and staying on top of the news and emails, whether I’m at the office or at my older son’s baseball practice.

5. What’s the last thing you do before finishing your workday?

I try to check in with members of the team to make sure they don’t need anything, and I’ll check my calendar and to-do list from that day to see if anything was missed. I also glance at what’s on the horizon for the following day and check in with my husband to confirm which one of us is picking up the kids.

6. What keeps you up at night?

As a manager, I’m always thinking about how my team is affected if something goes wrong or doesn’t feel right and what I can do to help fix it. More broadly, and as a mom, I also think about how we are leaving this planet for the next generation. I’m inspired by the great work already being done, especially from young people, but we need to take environmental concerns more seriously, work to reduce our impact, and hold corporate and political leaders responsible for implementing changes.

7. What trend or change is the next big thing in communications and/or your industry?

Social media has helped many companies build their brands, but it also throws millions of messages out a minute. This has transformed the media landscape and can make it hard for companies and brands to stand out when so much is being put in front of the consumer. I think we are seeing a resurgence in creating personal touchpoints for stakeholders like events, experiences and tailored messaging—as a response to this information overload. Creating dedicated and personal engagement opportunities will be increasingly important to the work we do as PR professionals as the digital world continues to evolve. We can’t let technology get in the way of personal relationships, and this is something our agency understands is important.

8. Anything else you want to share?

Companies are prioritizing social impact and sustainability like never before, and they will be looking to the PR industry to not only tell those stories, but to help engage others. Part of this is due to consumers demanding that companies prioritize CSR. It’s a great opportunity for the PR industry to “do well by doing good” and develop new ways for our clients and companies to differentiate themselves, whether it’s LEED certifying their corporate headquarters, initiating a zero waste program, engaging and giving back in the local community, or committing to robust sustainability goals as part of a corporate strategy. Consumers care about these commitments, and we need to be telling more of these stories.

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