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Meet Alyson Campbell of Heart & Soul PR

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyson Campbell.

Hi Alyson, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’m the CEO & Founder of Heart & Soul PR, Inc., a full-service public relations, marketing and consulting agency based in Los Angeles. I did not start off with the intention of pursuing a career in public relations. I double majored in Journalism and Music and I was involved in a variety of groups in college including serving as the Arts & Entertainment Editor for my college newspaper, performing in various plays and musicals and traveling abroad, in addition to student senate.

During my senior year of college, one of my roommates approached me about coming to a meeting with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). With a more than full course load plus my existing activities, I was skeptical of taking on anything else, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. I traveled to New York City with PRSSA to their annual conference and fell in love with the city and made a promise to myself that I would make New York City my home after college. I began plugging myself in to the PRSSA chapter in addition to other related career networking. As a result, the day after I graduated college, I was on a plane to New York City to interview for a variety of public relations jobs.

I love the creativity in public relations and while I will always be a journalist/writer at heart, I think I have a unique advantage in what I do day-to-day understanding the media side of this business. I opened Heart & Soul PR, Inc. in 2015 after working for a variety of large, mid-size and boutique agencies in New York City and Los Angeles. Taking all my years of experience in media and PR working with a range of Fortune 500 companies in the consumer lifestyle categories, I now help emerging lifestyle brands and business owners grow their businesses and reach new levels of success. We are proudly woman-owned and operated and I have a fully woman-powered team.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There are always going to be challenges, but it’s how we approach those challenges that define us. Growing up in a small town in Ohio, there were very few opportunities in media/journalism. I knew that I wanted to move away from my hometown, but I needed an action plan. My parents have always been my biggest supporters, but they didn’t agree to me moving to New York City or Los Angeles without a plan; they have always been very practical in those ways and I heeded their advice to ensure that I had work lined up before making those moves. When I was beginning to plan my career move to New York City, I was met by comments of those who just didn’t think it was possible that a firm in New York City would want to hire someone who wasn’t in the vicinity or who hadn’t previously worked in the profession that I was entering. I didn’t need to tell them anything, I just proved them wrong.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Heart & Soul PR?
Heart & Soul PR is a full-service public relations, marketing, and consulting agency specializing in consumer lifestyle categories including fashion, beauty, fitness, wellness, and food and beverage. We help emerging brands reach their goals by ultimately delivering on each brand’s vision of success with award-winning strategies and results. Our core capabilities include strategic business counsel, brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, social strategy, content development, partnerships, and celebrity/influencer relations. Emerging brands don’t always have full-scale marketing budgets to execute their programming. We are structured in a way that allows us to provide flexible service options based on the priority needs of our clients, whether that’s project-specific, or retainer programs. I named Heart & Soul very purposely. Our mission is to bring back the humanity in business and ultimately change the way business is done. We partner with those brands that also share this same belief and way of working.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
Bill O’Connell is the first mentor that comes to mind. He was my college advisor and Journalism professor. Professor O’Connell had such a fun, yet sarcastic sense of humor. As I continued to add more and more to my course load including switching majors my sophomore year of college, one of the things I will never forget is him saying, “I will sign off on this course load even though it seems that you continue to add more activities every quarter. But don’t let me have to come sweep you up off the floor; the moment that happens I won’t sign off anymore.” Fortunately, he never had to sweep me off the floor. He was incredibly supportive and nurturing in helping me grow my journalism and writing skills.

Our college newspaper staff enjoyed many a Sunday evening laughing and cranking out my college’s newspaper, Northern Review. I will never forget one of my front-page stories. I ran towards a fire of a nearby burning house with the journalistic instinct we are taught about capturing a story as quickly as we can. I had my parents in tow who were visiting; I told them not to worry, I wouldn’t endanger them or myself, but I had to see what was happening. I got some information from passersby and conducted interviews the following day so we could share with our community what had happened and ensure the safety of others. It was an exciting opportunity that really made me feel like I had “arrived” as a journalist.

Sandra Sokoloff is another of my mentors. She is currently the Senior Director of Global Public Relations and Corporate Communications for Alvarez & Marsal and a media relations guru. She took me under her wing, bathed me in the media relations process as the head of our media relations team, and allowed me to soar. Her leadership style is delightful; she helps provide direction and gives you the tools you need, but makes you do the work. She is also someone who has always looked out for my best interests. When I’ve needed to run something by her, I know she’s just a phone call away. We’ve also helped each other throughout the years, and I think that’s one of the best kinds of relationships you can have.

Edgar Trinidad is another mentor of mine. He was my professor for a Fashion Events Planning certificate course for the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) I took on while working full-time. Edgar’s fresh approach to public relations and his professionalism, no matter what clients threw at him, has always stood out to me. He started blogging and developing social media strategies before blog and social content really took off as an opportunity to show clients added value while also advancing his core areas of expertise and encouraged me to pursue my own food blog. This helped me singlehandedly jump-start my experience onto food and beverage accounts and ultimately led me to help agencies I’ve worked for power their food and beverage capabilities, offerings, and expertise by landing new accounts and servicing existing business. Edgar has also always lent an ear to me professionally and personally, and when we get a chance to connect in person, we never cease to find a good restaurant to enjoy!

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Image Credits
Brianna Moss, Miss Moss Photo

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