Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
My name is Heather Besignano. I am the Founder and CEO of ICON PR in Los Angeles, CA and am also the mother of an almost 1 year old little girl! I'm currently focused on promoting my clients current and upcoming projects (such as roles in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and helping to secure press for the nation's first LGBTQ centered national radio network - Channel Q), as well as maintaining a profile for myself in the competitive world of Public Relations.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I recently went to my first coffee meeting and met some of the most fascinating women there! I loved that so many of them were outside of the entertainment industry and many were either single women or working mom's. It felt so great to support other women who are leading their industries! I made a great connection and have my first client that came from getting to know members from Elevate! I'm a member because I'd like to know more women who are kicking butt as female CEO's, Presidents, etc. who manage a career, a life and have the ups and downs of business that are a reality.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
In order to be successful in PR, you need to be well equipped in social situations, a good writer, able to sell someone or something over the person who is pitching at the same time as you, have a strong backbone/thick-skin and the ability to multi-task.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
One of my most memorable career accomplishments was when my client, Mayim Bialik, won her first Critic's Choice Award. I've been working with her for a decade and have seen her career hit many highlights - including multiple different types of nominations - but this was her first-ever win! It was such a powerful moment and I knew that I had a small part of making that happen with my PR campaign.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
There are more and more publicists breaking off from larger agencies and creating their own firms. It's a never-ending battle trying to procure new business and showcasing how you can be a better fit than your competitors.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I moved to Los Angeles on a whim with $100 in my pocket and 2 suitcases. I had no idea what I wanted to do nor did I know what type of career public relations was. I was guided to a position as the assistant to the owner of a PR firm. I applied for the job, was hired on the spot and was with the firm for 10 years. I helped re-brand the firm in 2016 (while planning my wedding and being the day to day on 25 clients), worked my way from assistant to COO over that decade, and in 2018 I launched my own firm.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Working with people who have a mission to change the world. Whether it be supporting a marginalized community, saving the planet, helping to clean our oceans or otherwise - I love working with people who use their voice to make positive changes in the world.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
The ability to thrive in the most difficult of times.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Make sure you intern with at least 2 different types of public relations firms before you look for a job with one. Lifestyle PR is very different from Entertainment PR and you might find that you prefer one style more than the other. I find great internships can really help guide you to a career path you want to be on, rather than wasting time at jobs as an assistant and figuring out 6 months down the road that it isn't for you.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
Give yourself a break. You have the hardest job already as a mom! Adding in a career is A LOT to take on for any human. Make sure you take some time for yourself every now and then. I really need to follow my own advice! Haha!
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Founder & CEO
Founder, CEO and Publicist. Overseeing the Entertainment and Music Departments, as well as handling campaigns for authors, charitable organizations and digital creators. I'm a new mom (as of August 2018) and am learning how to divide my time between being a CEO, mom, wife, friend, philanthropist and more! I'd love to meet other women in my area who are juggling a million things - moms or not! Continue Reading
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