PR & Lattes

A latte with Felicia Empey

June 22, 2023 Matisse Hamel-Nelis Season 1 Episode 2
PR & Lattes
A latte with Felicia Empey
Show Notes Transcript

Matisse chats with comms extraordinaire Felicia Empey about finding your career truths and building the career you want.

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Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Hello and welcome to PR and Lattes. I'm your host, Matisse Hamel-Nelis, and I'm so excited to have you join me today. Make sure that you subscribe to the podcast wherever you're listening to this right now to get notified each week when a new episode drops. You can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter by visiting our website, prandlattes.com. On the website, you'll find our podcast episodes plus our amazing blogs with new ones being uploaded every Monday morning. And of course, make sure you're following us on Instagram @PRAndLattes and on LinkedIn PR & Lattes. Today, I'm excited to have Felicia Empey, a passionate, tactical, and pragmatic communications professional with a focus on strategic communications, join me on the podcast.

And did I mention she's one of PR and Latte's feature writers, so make sure you check her out on the website. It was an absolute pleasure getting to chat with Felicia about finding a career path within PR and Communications. She provides us with some insights on different avenues to gain experience when you don't have some of it under your belt or if you're just looking for new adventures. So, sit back, grab your latte, and enjoy. Hello, Felicia, and welcome to PR and Lattes. I'm so happy to have you here today to chat with me about all things, a career path and networking, and all that fun jazz. But before we get into our great discussion, tell me and the listeners a little bit about yourself.

Felicia Empey:

So, thank you for having me. My name is Felicia, and I have been in the field of Communications professionally full-time since 2015. And before that, I did internships and museum work and worked in Ontario Place, one of my favourite first jobs. So, when we talk about career pathing, I don't like to think about it just in terms of the main objective focus of what are you working on right now. I like to think of it as in all of your experience, and not even just on the job experience. I think it's all the other extra stuff you bring outside of the nine to five that I count as career. I like to say my life is my career. My nine-to-five is the income that facilitates my career/life.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

I love that. Absolutely love that. Given your versatile background, if you will, was being a PR Practitioner or Professional Communicator, your preferred preference there, always your dream growing up? And if not, what piqued your interest in it?

Felicia Empey:

No. So, I could get into a long, we go through the path of what do you want to be. I was joking about it earlier with you about when you're in kindergarten and they say, "Dress up what you want to be when you go to school that one day." I dressed up as a vet, and by the end of the day I realized I can't be a vet because I love animals, and the idea of trying to take care of an animal and I can't take care of it, I can't make it better, or I have to tell a family that your dog is sick. I'm six years old, and I realize I can't be a vet. This is too hard. And then, that expanded to I can't be a doctor, I can't tell about people this way.

So, when it comes to career pathing and what do you want to be, there are certain things where it's too much and too high of stakes and whatever. I can't do that. What I really wanted to do, actually, was museum work. So, catch me in my second career totally being a ROM Docent type of touring people around person. I still do that. If we go to the ROM, I'll be your unofficial history nerd, tour guide person. You'll probably say, "I didn't come here to hear you talking about the museum." And I'll say, "Yes, you did. You knew what you signed up for. I gave you warning in advance."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

I love it. I absolutely love it. No, it's interesting that you say that it wasn't your dream job. For me, for example, it was something I didn't even realize was a career.

Felicia Empey:

Same.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Right? It was when I was in high school, I was like, "I want to be an advocate and go into international development and globalization and work for the UN." And then, I went to university for a year for that, and my second semester I had a professor say, "If you don't know more than four languages, you really don't stand in a shot." And I was like, "Well, that's me. Done. Thank you so much."

Felicia Empey:

Oh, no.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Thank you. So, then, I switched to sciences, and again, second semester, I was like, "I want to be a forensic pathologist, give voice to those who no longer have a voice." And they were like, "Yeah, there's like three or four of us in the entire country as an actual pathologist. The rest are coroners, and there aren't that many. You have to go to the States." And onto another career.

Felicia Empey:

Yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

So, if it wasn't for my husband really who said, "You should try PR," which full disclosure to the listeners, I legitimately thought personal records, HR. I was like, "Why? What makes you think that's my personality type?" He's like, "No, sweetheart. No."

Felicia Empey:

See, for me, with PR, my exposure and understanding of PR was Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

So, basically using her connection with Lucy Liu to get a birchen bag and getting the girls into parties and stuff.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

So, I thought, is that a job really? Because I really don't see Samantha doing a lot of PRing that much.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

But what happened was, so I was working at a museum as one of my first jobs, and then I ended up doing more promotional talking about the museum, talking about touring people around, that type of stuff versus actual museum work in the archives, describing whatever artifact it is in meticulous detail and writing the little number down, and blah, blah, blah. I was like, "This part sucks. It's really boring." And they're like, "Well, that's actually the museum work. The stuff where you're touring around with the trophy," because it was a sports museum, "and telling people all about it." And I had made a little fact sheet so I would have something to talk about instead of just standing there being like, "Don't touch the trophy." I was like, "This is boring." So, I tried to make it more interesting for myself, and that's when someone said, "That's actually doing PR.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

And I said, "Excuse me, tell me more about this PR you speak of."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Exactly. Yeah. When I look back on it in high school, all the stuff I loved to do, whether it was in class or extracurricular, was PR. And the fact that I had no idea that was actually a job blows my mind now. But it makes sense that this is the industry I'm in going forward. And so, I always find it interesting to hear how people found their way into PR and Communications because-

Felicia Empey:

Well, and something you said, too, about even wanting to do forensic pathologist is giving a voice to people who can't speak for themselves; it's almost the same thing where, what I like, with the history element is making people or things of the past come alive again and connect people to, actually, this isn't so far back. It's actually very relevant how it impacts our lives right here, right now. And it's the same thing, too, I think, in communications. It's understanding the interconnectedness much more than we're led to believe. Someone thinks, "Oh, that has nothing to do with me."

But actually, there's probably more impact or touching in alignment than you're aware of. And I like the idea of bridging people with that understanding so then they can go forward and make a better decision. I feel like so many times in my life, when you look back and you think, "Oh, I wish I had known this," well, the wish I had known, well, that's where I want to be the person saying, "Did you know?" And then, they don't have to look back and say, "I wish I had known." Instead, they're like, "Wow, I'm really glad someone took the time to give me information that I can make a decision about something," or whatever.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. What have you found with professional communicators, and maybe also with yourself, has been one of the major challenges when planning careers in this industry and planning your career in this industry?

Felicia Empey:

I think it's because it can be so broad in terms of what is available. And I think there is something to be said about how many times are we told in annual reviews, or blah, blah, blah, "Make a SMART goal. It has to be specific, measurable." So, when you try to SMART goal your career, especially in something like communications, it can go all over the place, really.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yes.

Felicia Empey:

So, I think that can be a challenge, especially when, a lot of the time, unless you have certain experiences with it, it's very hypothetical, so you don't know what that actually looks like. And so, I feel like, at least for myself, unless I experience it on the job or at some way through volunteering or something like that, I don't really have a firm grasp of all that's required of it. And then, I can say, "Oh, that's not for me." Or, "Actually, I didn't know it was like this. I'm really into this kind of thing."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. Yeah, and that's a really good point. It's something I tell my students as they're getting ready to find placements, for example, that you might think you found the perfect placements, exactly what you want, and you get there, you might hate it.

Felicia Empey:

Yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

That's still a good thing.

Felicia Empey:

Yes. Yes.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Because you realize what you like and what you don't like.

Felicia Empey:

And I think, also, too, for me, it's about expanding that I like it, I don't like it beyond just tasks.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

Instead, honing in on what is that value? And this is where, just in general in life, the more you take the time to understand yourself, what motivates you, what you value, what are those core elements that, regardless of where the desk is, what the title is, anything, there's an alignment there because that's the biggest thing for me, anyways. I know for certain people, they're about, "I need to have a certain salary. I need to have a certain title. I need to be doing a certain field, and it has to be in this sector or whatever." But I think that stuff is very transient. It can change so quickly that knowing what actually matters the most to you that you feel is, not just professionally satisfying, but personally satisfying, I think that is critical to knowing that.

So, for those students who have those, "This is a negative experience," well, was it a negative experience because you were told to call a bunch of people and you hate talking on the phone? Or was it a negative experience because dig deeper than that. What is it about that? "Well, I didn't really like how I felt like I was doing sales pitches. I really want to have connection with people." I'm like, "There. You want to have a connection with people. Find that. Find a job where you have that real connection instead of feeling like a salesperson." No shade to salespeople. I did door-to-door sales, and I killed it, actually. I was really surprised at it.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah, it's just not for everyone.

Felicia Empey:

No.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

That's the thing, right?

Felicia Empey:

No.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. I know, for me, and my bosses at all my jobs have always heard this, is that I'm an early riser. I wake up at five. And now, with being remote, if I am working from home, being at five and being on my computer by 5:30 kind of thing, and just start working. If I don't want to get up to go to work, that's my cue that something has changed, and it's time to either have that initial conversation with my supervisor being like, "Hey, things don't feel right, things this, that, the other." Or if those conversations have already been had, it's like, "Okay, now it's time to start looking elsewhere because something's not aligning with me anymore."

Felicia Empey:

Yeah, yeah. Well, and knowing that about yourself, I think a lot of people, they're unconscious to those cues. And it's not until they're in the real mess of it, it's like the house has to be literally a five-alarm fire before they're like, "I think I might have left the oven on. What is going on here?"

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. Oh, it's true. It's true. Everyone has their own breaking point, I guess, would be the way of putting it. And for some people, it's early on. And others, it is that five-alarm fire. So, what would you say is the worst thing someone could do when they're trying to advance their career? And then, on the opposite side, what's the best thing do you think that they could do?

Felicia Empey:

I think the worst thing you can do when it comes to advancing your career, it's twofold, playing into that whole thing of being unconscious about it. You just go through the motions without actually asking yourself, "Who is this for? Why does this matter?" And you just are going down a path. The other one, too, is to give yourself a limitation or a definition or a box or whatever you want to position it as, as in, "I don't do X. I'm not a blah." That type of thing. And I think twofold, one, you're never the task that you do. So, cut that language out of here. That's like when someone says, "What do you do, or who are you?" I don't like going into what's my title or what's my job because that's just something that I do, but I'm a lot of other things, as well.

I'm an amateur landscaper, in my opinion. Things like that. So, I don't want to just narrow it down, but I think a lot of times people will think, "Oh, I've never done this, so I can't apply for that." Or, "I can't do this certain job." But I think there is enough people who will say no to you that you don't need to be the first one to take yourself out of the running. Don't worry. If someone doesn't want you to do the thing, they won't let you do it. And then, that actually may give you an indication of, one, is there something else I need to do so that they will say yes. Or two, do I even want to be with someone who doesn't recognize how many transferable skills I actually have?

I think that, a lot of times, people on the recruitment side, they can get a little rigid where they're like, "Unless you've worked in this exact job, in this exact position, we can't hire you." I saw a meme that was saying, "We need you to have at least 15 years of social media experience." And it's just like, "What?" 15 years of experience on TikTok. It wasn't even born. What does that even mean? So, I think, yeah, don't take yourself out of the running before the race has even started.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. And something that you said that I really liked was that when you talk about yourself, or the question tell us about yourself, you don't lead off with your job title and what you do. And I saw this video on TikTok, funnily enough, with a recruiter who was saying, "When you're asked in an interview, but tell us a little bit about yourself. Don't start off with that. Start off with, what is your spark?

Felicia Empey:

Yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

"Why are you passionate? How has your passion and your love for something led you down this path?"

Felicia Empey:

Yeah. It is the same thing with at the top of your resume or anything like that. What's your positioning statement? It's not just about this one thing that you've done, it's a collective, like you said, the ethos, the spark, whatever you want to call it. What's that underlying principle that drives you throughout the things? So, I'm always saying I view myself as a bridge between people and information.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

I love that. And it's like your elevator pitch.

Felicia Empey:

Yeah. Yeah, totally. And it works in a myriad of different things. And also, it doesn't limit people's perception of you. Because, unfortunately, people make very quick decisions. And if you say, "Oh, I'm this communications position, this title, or at this type of company," then you get people who will just write you off and think, "Well, you're only here at this level. I'm not going to talk to you." But in my opinion, you don't want to talk to that person anyways. If they have that kind of attitude. No limited thinking necessary, thank you very much.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Exactly. Or on the flip side, they might be too intimidated to even approach-

Felicia Empey:

That one, too. That one, too.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

To have that conversation where it's just like, "Okay, there'll-"

Felicia Empey:

Be a snob to me.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. "Oh, you're only this? I'm sorry now."

Felicia Empey:

Totally chill.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah, exactly. Which actually segues really well into my next question around networking and having that elevator pitch, if you will, or knowing who you are and having that spark. From your perspective, how would you describe the impact that networking can have on someone's career?

Felicia Empey:

I think it can be really, really high. Now, this is the other thing. I know you work with students, and I know the mantra that we were told all the time was you've got to-

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Network.

Felicia Empey:

... network and networking and this and that. And I think the struggle, though, and the misconception is that I, student, will meet you, Matisse, and we'll have a great conversation. But even then, before we even have a great conversation, I'm already launching into, "I am a student, I'm ready to go. Do you have a job for me?"

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

And it's very no soft handling at all. So, I think, yes, there's definitely the value in the networking, but it's understanding that it's not just a once fly-by night type of scenario. Genuinely, let's talk about relationship building and instead of a, "How can I get what I need out of you," more of a, "How can we through the passage of time actually help each other out," instead of it being a one way street. So, I think, for myself, I've found the value, and this is something, too. I had to learn it, as well, through that trial and error. Because everyone talks about, "Then you shake hands, and then they'll be like, 'I'll see you on Monday.'"

That doesn't happen. So, I remember thinking networking is dumb. If it's not like in Madmen where it's like, "Oh, I just followed you up on the elevator. Welcome to Sterling Cooper," like Don Draper weaselling his way in there, then what would be the point of it? But I think the value with the networking, like I said, is long-term relationship building. And also, you never know what experiences or what information may be shared that isn't just directly about career pathing. I think we do ourselves a real disservice when we only think about it as in, I need a job, or I need to find someone for a job, or something like that, instead of saying, "This person has their own personal experience that informs a lot of what they do. They also have their work experience. How can I learn from them, and what can they learn from me?"

So, I think that is helpful. And it also gives you perspective outside of just your own little bubble of a situation. And I think that's where, twofold, having older, more seasoned professionals, being almost informal mentors in that way is great. But also, too, recognizing that even if you think, "Oh, I don't have the depth and breadth of that type of experience, I can't help anyone." That's not true. Because even if you are new to the career, you still have your own life experience, own perspectives that could be helpful for them or for someone else, too. Because I think that understanding that it's a shared knowledge transfer in that way.

And also, the Canadian communications landscape is very small. So, never nasty talk about anyone, even if someone thinks it's an easy bonding exercise to talk about what a jerk so-and-so was like, don't do it.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Don't do it. Everyone knows everybody.

Felicia Empey:

It's low-hanging fruit. Everybody knows everybody. Just don't. And as soon as someone starts doing that, respectfully excuse yourself from that conversation. Don't even stand by with it. That would be my pro-tip. If a student is like, "Oh yeah, they're talking about how hard it is at such." And so, I'm like, "Leave. Don't."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah, just walk away.

Felicia Empey:

Just walk away.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. Yeah. When it comes to networking, another thing I tell my students, and I found it very useful when I was a student, was the informational interview, where it's not a matter of, "Oh, I want you to get to know me so you hire me," but rather, "You are in a position and in a role that I would love to attain down the line. What was your journey? What was your path? What should I be taking into consideration? Can we keep in touch? Can we have these touchpoints?" And I tell the students, you are paying for the coffee.

Felicia Empey:

Yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Because they're like, "But they're working, but they're doing you a favour."

Felicia Empey:

They're doing you a solid.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Right.

Felicia Empey:

But, and also, too, never underestimate that the informational interview isn't actually that informal conversation-

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Correct.

Felicia Empey:

... interview. I did that once. I once had an informational interview. I was in a good space. I should have called it, but I didn't. And then, I remember it was bad. I was flippant. And I said something along the lines of like, "Well, it's not like this is an interview." He's like, "Well, it could have been."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

And then, I was like, "Oh, no."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Exactly.

Felicia Empey:

Those are those, in the moment, it's the hardest lesson you've ever experienced. But then, looking back, actually, that's not that bad. But I'm really glad it happened when it happened because, yeah, you never know how things could pan out.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Exactly. Because you never know. They might not be hiring, but having this informational interview and having that connection, they might realize, "Hey, I know so-and-so's hiring, and I think you'd actually be a really good fit."

Felicia Empey:

Yeah. It makes their life easier. And that's the other thing, too. I've actually done this, as well, where let's say I've interviewed with a position, and then once we started getting in the nitty-gritty of it, it was like, "Oh, I don't think this is actually going to be in alignment on both sides." And I've actually said to the recruiter, "I know it's really hard to find someone. I'm aware of someone who's messaged me and they're looking for something. I could set you up with them." And they were like, "You want to help me? Nobody wants to help me." And I was like, "No, I'll help you out." And he said, "Really? Well, there's this other job that we have right now. It might be a better fit for you in terms of what you're looking for. So, how about I get in touch with them?" And I was like, "Amazing." More of a collaborative nature. I think, just in general, if we bring that two things, I think it always pans out for the best.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah, agreed. And one thing, there was an incident years ago, when I was a student, where, particularly for those entering the field, they get excited about a job opportunity or potential, even for placement, where they think, "Okay, there's two that I love. Let's see if maybe one of them will give me more." And they play them off each other, not realizing, as you said earlier, it's a very small community. So, getting the phone calls afterwards, being like, "So, this student applied and is telling me they have another position and trying to play it off." And there were no positions available. They hadn't been offered anything. It puts a bad taste in people's mouths. So, being a hundred percent honest at all times, don't think that you can play the field because everybody knows everybody.

Felicia Empey:

Well, and I think that's the other thing, too. If you actually want to do that whole leveraging thing, that is a move. I don't discourage it because I'm very pro-worker. I'm like, "Do whatever you can do."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

I'm pro-employee versus employer. Sorry. But be honest. If they're like, "Oh, are you having a conversation?" Say, "Yeah, I'm having conversations with other people. So, I'm a hot commodity. Get on this, or you're going to miss out." I think in terms of that. But I think there is something about if you've gotten to the point, and they say, "Are we your one and only?" And you know that you're not, don't lie.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

The truth will come to light one way or another.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yes, exactly. Exactly. Okay, so, shifting gears a little bit. Someone's already in their career, but they want to gain more experience. So, maybe they're entry-level, and they want to move up quicker, but don't know how to get that experience. What would you recommend they should do in addition to their nine-to-five?

Felicia Empey:

So, this is something that I was recommended to do by a mentor, and she said, "Join a board." And I said, "Well, I'm not that experienced. Can you just join a board?" Because in my mind, I'm thinking, "Oh, the board is for people who have been in the field for 10, 20-something years, and now they sit in the glass tower telling the president-

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah, the CEO and the president.

Felicia Empey:

"... We can't do that. It's not approved by the board." That's my idea of the board. And she said, "No, there's a great site. It's called Board Match. And what you can do is you plug in what are your interests? What do you like to do? What are you passionate about? What do you want to explore more and try more? And so, I did that. And then, I joined a board called BridgeWay Family Center. So, the EarlyON Centres in the Peel Region are run by BridgeWay.

And they're amazing. They're free, and it's services that support newcomers, new parents, grandparents, just in general, anyone in the family unit for children's age before they're even born till five years old. And they have drop-in programs, centers, different things that are resources, especially for people who may not have a family network that can help them in those first things. And so what I really liked was like, "Yes, anything that helps women, children, newcomers, this is great in alignment that way." And what did I end up doing? I was on the risk management committee. I don't know anything about risk management. Now, I do. I was on the governance committee, now I'm the chair of the strategic planning and fund development committee. So, that has been something, in terms of expanding my understanding and knowledge so that when these things come up in a professional setting, I have an awareness of what is that and what does that actually look like and best practices and principles.

And then, on the flip side, I was a student member starting when I was very, very early on with IABC Toronto. So, to be part of the professional association side. And that was from the standpoint of professional development as a communicator and that networking thing. Communications is a small place. You want to know the people. These are the people who potentially will be sitting across the table on the hiring side. You might be working for them. So, it'd be nice to get to know them. And I think that's the critical piece, too, is twofold. One, you get to expand your talent set, whatever it is, skill set, that you may or may not have. You get to learn new things. You get to hone in on things. But, more importantly, you get to work alongside people who, like I said, may the ones who decide to join have you joined their team.

And it's always wonderful that if you say, "Oh, I need a reference or something," those people can be a reference to you because they've actually seen you in action. They've actually worked with you. So, they could say, "Yeah, I've worked with Matisse. She's amazing. Look at how she's done all these different type types of things." And it's just not hyperbole of, "I think they're amazing." It's like, "No, I've worked with them."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

So, in that respect, that's where I think taking the time to volunteer to be either part of a board or a professional association or however it is, to raise your hand and say, "I've never done this before, but you're willing to give me the chance." And I think that's the distinctive difference between doing a volunteer position versus you apply for a job, and they'll say, "Well, you haven't done this exact type of thing before, so we can't give it to you."

But if you can say, "Well, I've actually been working on this side for a while. I just haven't been getting paid for it." But it doesn't mean that the standard and the expectation of the work isn't there. If you are an operational board, you are making sure that the lights stay on. So, that's what happens with IABC Toronto. It's all volunteers. I have my group of volunteers who help out and do this stuff like that. So, it makes it work, it makes it tick. Versus Bridgeway, it's a governance board. So, that's a different thing. But because we are dealing with donor funds and stuff, we have that fiduciary responsibility. So, it's not fun play times, essentially, is what I'm getting at. When people are like, "Oh, it's just volunteering. Must be cute," I'm like, "No, no, no. It's a lot of responsibility. It's a lot of work. But it's great experience."

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

It's true. And in a lot of cases, I think, when people think volunteering and they hear board, they think, "Okay, well, there's only the board," or it's, "I'm going to run a bake sale." But there's so many different variations depending on what you want to learn and what you want to get involved with, particularly with an organization like IABC Toronto, which we're both on the board of at this time. And so, if you're looking to expand your knowledge and professional communications and say, "I want to learn more about the social media management." Or more about, "I work for a nonprofit and I'm looking to get more information or assistance with volunteers and that sort of thing," you can find bits and pieces that you can volunteer with. Or event planning, and that sort of thing, with Ovation, right? There's so many opportunities where you don't need to have a board seat at any of these organizations, but there's other areas that you can say, "I can offer you, for three months, five hours a week. What can I do?" And then, after that, I need to hop out.

Felicia Empey:

Yep. Yeah, and I think that's the great element, too, is, yeah, it's more flexible with your time and your level of commitment. And also, too, stakes wise, like I said, even though it's very important, it's lower stakes than, "If I don't do well on this job, they will say goodbye, and then I don't have money. And I can't pay my rent." So, it's not as high stakes that way.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

So, one of the last two questions is, what is one piece of advice you wish you had when you were first starting out?

Felicia Empey:

It's funny because I feel like I got a lot of good advice when I was first starting out from my first and my favorite mentor, Sharon Thomas Counts. And she's no longer with us, and I miss her a lot because I wish I could call her and just be like, "Hey, this is what's happening. This is where I'm at." But I think her attitude was very, "It's just a job. Calm down. Yes, take it seriously, but not so seriously. There's more than just this." So, I think trying more and more, that perspective really only comes, I think, if you've lived more life, or if a lot of life has happened to you. And I think, if a lot of life has happened to you and you have that perspective at a very, very early age, I'm like, "Ugh, please get in touch with your inner child and enjoy play and joy and that stuff again."

But also recognize that it is good to have that perspective of this is only a certain period of time. This is only a certain element of your time. It's not the be-all and end-all. It's not who you are. You have inherent value outside of what you can produce, despite being told you are only here to be a human consumer. You are not. You are a human being. So, I think that just having more of that type of perspective, especially when it can feel like the stakes are very, very high. But, yeah, calm down, chill out. At the end of the day, we're all stardust. It's okay.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

I love that. And it's very similar to the one piece of advice that I was given, that I've always held onto, the job doesn't exist if you're not there. If you don't take care of yourself. So, you were saying if you've lived a lot of life in a short period of time or had a lot of life in that short period of time, embrace that inner child. Even when you're in your career, just remember to take time for yourself.

Felicia Empey:

Yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Right?

Felicia Empey:

Well, and also the job's never going to love you back.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah.

Felicia Empey:

Yeah. And I told a coworker this. He wasn't doing well. This is before COVID, when people used to muscle in and come in and still be sick.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Right.

Felicia Empey:

And I was just like, "The job is not going to bring you soup in bed when you need soup in bed." I'm like, "You need to leave, please. Go away." And that's where, in terms of the time and investment, yes, care about your career, put the time in, but keep that perspective of it's your friends, it's your family, it's your people, those relationships, those connections, that is the investment of your time, your emotion, your money. That is what you want to be focused more on. And yourself, the relationship with yourself, put it in there first because you will get that return. Whereas, with the job, nothing is guaranteed.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

You come first. That's the thing. At the end of the day, you come first. All right. Well, to wrap everything up, this is PR and Lattes. So, we have to ask the question, or I have to ask the question. What is your go-to caffeinated beverage to help you get things done when you're in the thick of work?

Felicia Empey:

Well, I can't make it myself because I don't have one of those fancy, fancy coffee machines. But I thought about this one. And I'll say that a Parisian Mist, which is a riff off of a London fog, but instead of using English breakfast tea, it uses French breakfast tea, and it has a lavender-ish latte type of thing. I think it's just a fancy lavender latte, but it tastes delicious and like lavender and honey. So, yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

That sounds yummy.

Felicia Empey:

I know. Now that I've talked about it, I'm thinking, where do I find one of these? No, I think it's at, it's at Balzac's. It's their specialty or something like that.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Well, thank you so much, Felicia, for being on the show today, and look forward to chatting with you again soon.

Felicia Empey:

Amazing. Thank you very much.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

You've been listening to the PR and Lattes podcast. Make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you can get notified each week when a new episode drops. You can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter by visiting our website, prandlattes.com. On the website, you'll find our podcast episodes, as well as amazing blogs, with new ones being posted every Monday morning. And of course, make sure to follow us on social, on Instagram @PRAndLattes and on LinkedIn. I've been your host, Matisse Hamel-Nelis. Thank you so much for listening, and we'll see you next week with a new latte and guest. Bye for now.