May 26 Three Questions with Account Associate Ford Donovan
Name: Ford Donovan
Title: Account Associate
Office: New York
Time at LaunchSquad: 9 months
What is one of the coolest things/biggest accomplishments you’ve had at the Squad?
Earlier this year, LaunchSquad hosted client contacts and a key spokesperson from client MaRS — the world’s largest innovation hub, home to 1000+ start-ups — for a 2-day media tour. Our team had only just started working with this account, so this visit to New York was a significant milestone. Emerging from the media tour, we were hoping to land the first, ‘big’ profile story on MaRS that centered more broadly on the Canadian innovation hub. We were less than one week out, and we still needed to schedule briefings. The clock was ticking.
For me, crunch time equals phone time. I enjoy phone pitching, but it’s not always certain that people will react favorably to a cold call, or if they’ll pick up at all. But it can also be exhilarating. A reporter at Forbes seemed like a perfect fit for our spokesperson, so I gave her a ring — not only did she pick up, but she was very interested in learning more. In a matter of minutes, I had locked-in our first briefing, and shortly after, I’d secured two more — one of which turned into our first feature story.
The media tour was ultimately a success, and securing three briefings in succession was certainly an accomplishment. The biggest takeaway, however, was learning that reporters are just people, and as human beings, they sometimes might just want to chat on the phone with you. And sometimes, those little ‘chats’ can turn into big stories.
Do you remember your first day at LS? What was it like?
It wasn’t my very first day, but at some point during my first week, I found a french press in one of the cabinets. This wasn’t a personal french press, but an industrial-sized one that made about a gallon of coffee. I would come into work every morning, fill this giant thing up with dark roast, place it down on my desk, and then struggle to understand the “complexities” of sending cal invites and tagging people on Slack. I’m sure it was quite a spectacle.
Looking back on my first days and weeks at LS, the difference is almost night and day. I figured out proper Slack etiquette and I figured out how to send cal invites. But, over time, I learned that I can be an integral part of each of my teams — I learned that I could pitch, write bylines, and provide thoughtful feedback and recommendations for a client. I feel incredibly lucky to work with such amazing mentors at LS every day who empower me to do all of these things.
What would you consider to be the most important skill to have when working at LaunchSquad?
Resilience. I had been told that in PR, no two days are the same, and I’ve found that to be completely accurate. Every day, you’re forced to try something new — and many times, things won’t go 100% according to plan. Maybe a reporter doesn’t reply to a carefully written pitch or perhaps a client provides unanticipated feedback on a byline you penned. Sometimes even, your whole day is planned out, and suddenly a client makes a ‘surprise announcement.’ These are distinct possibilities on any given day, but with the right approach, they can be exhilarating experiences. That’s why resilience, along with a positive attitude, will help you and your teams deliver amazing work!
Want to meet more of the Squad? Check out our other interviews here!