Meet Team ZAP: Mentor to Mentoree
Recently, I was able to take a moment to sit down with one of my professional mentors, Michael Corrigan. Michael is an account supervisor at Zapwater and almost five-year veteran to the agency. I have worked with Michael for numerous projects and wanted to sit down for a quick session to pick his brain about his professional work and what it means to be a great publicist!
AL: What qualities do you need to have to be a great publicist?
MC: I think, personally, that writing is a really important part about being a publicist, but I sometimes think that our industry puts too much emphasis on it. The difference between a good publicist and great publicist is the ability to understand timing. Timing is how you stay strategic and think ahead. You need to know what media is working on and when they need materials sent. Some other great qualities are time management, thinking quickly and multi-tasking.
AL: How do you show others that you believe in them?
MC: I am huge advocate for positive feedback. I love to celebrate agency “wins.” Also, learning how to give constructive feedback without being harsh is important, and you should be receptive to people coming to you for help and questions.
AL: When is breaking the rules OK?
MC: In terms of creative ideas, there should be no rules. The needs are different for every client. We should not constrict ourselves to something routine. Always be willing to go outside the box.
AL: What does working ‘on’ your business mean to you?
MC: Nobody is perfect in terms of work or life. So it’s knowing what your strengths are and playing to them and knowing what your weaknesses are, admitting it’s a weakness, and always pushing yourself to improve in areas you are not as strong in.
AL: How and where do you find inspiration?
MC: Social media! Instagram is HUGE for our industry! Being visually inspired is imperative to stay creative in your day-to-day work. Traditional media is just as important, too. I just try and soak in as much information as I can!
AL: How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making?
MC: I wear my heart on my sleeve, so that is something I am always trying to work on. I have a new trick that when I have a tough decision, I try to count to five or 10 before I react. This way, I make a sound judgment rather than an emotional one.
AL: What do you do to live a balanced life?
MC: Don’t underestimate a hobby that you enjoy. I love to read, travel, and take cheerleading aerobics. Of course, living in Chicago I really enjoy eating food! Never underestimate the ability to take a vacation somewhere where you can turn your phone off. Especially in PR—the ability to unplug is SO important to live a balanced life.
AL: Who has influenced you the most?
MC: My dad. My dad has been working in baseball for more than 30 years now and he STILL loves what he does. That always inspired me to know that life is too short so you should really do something that you love. PR does have its challenges and stress; but ultimately, I know it’s what I love and what I want to do! So I consider myself lucky!
- Alexis Lucente, Assistant Publicist