Wilson, a former D.C. press secretary, crisis communication veteran and PR strategic lead for agencies and nonprofits finds herself heading up Knoodle’s PR & Content team. Wilson, a master of multitasking, writes at warp speed, juggles PR, cause marketing, social media and motherhood simultaneously while never missing a deadline.
“I love what I do and feel that as a woman I do not have to choose between career and family,” she said, while juggling Rhett, her five-year-old son and managing a client call – all in an office that has no walls. She manages Cheerios and Capri Sun while helping clients like Fulton Homes secure over $200,000 in TV coverage.
She smiles because she is expecting her next child and knows that as challenges grow, she thrives. “I love the rhythm of chaos and the challenge of organizing it,” she said. Meanwhile, Rhett is hanging out on the creative side of the office where Knoodle team members never fully grow up. “Will you play ball with me?” he asks Art Director Ben Heimer. “Sure,” says Ben. “It’s time for a break.”
How does this work?
Wilson chuckles at the question. “For one thing, I have flexibility built into my job here,” she said. “I come in after I take Rhett to school and pick him up. I often write after he is settled at night and everything gets done.”
How did she get there?
A career in politics or PR was never part of her plan. She thought she was heading for law school. While at University of Arizona she interned for Senator Jim Kolbe, R-Tucson. “I knew very little about politics or D.C. but as a legislative assistant, I was drawn to the energetic, invigorating environment,” she said. “This is where I first learned about public policy among driven people.”
Her first job out of college was a legislative assistant in Mr. Kolbe’s office. In 2005, her mentor Kristen Hellmer, then press secretary for Kolbe who was moving on to the White House, recommended Wilson for her position with the Congressman. Suddenly, she was press secretary for a tenured member of Congress. “My life was press releases, understanding complex public policy issues and then communicating it to the masses,” she said. Wilson said that the Senator ripped up her very first press release, literally. “I learned quickly in the mean streets of D.C.” she said. “This is where I learned about the value of controlling the narrative. A year later, she was treated to a crash course in crisis management.
Wilson then focused her career in the private sector working for crisis communication firms, leading strategy for non-profits and eventually running a PR agency. “I have swayed lobbyists, represented farmers, and fought for rural communities,” she said. “But I was ready to come home.”
Wilson returns to where she started.
Her most difficult job was as a stay-at-home mom. “I did a little freelance while I was home but craved the consistent sense of camaraderie and I missed the workplace,” she said. She found Knoodle.
“Uncovering and pinpointing a story is a great challenge,” she said of client work. “Every client, every business has a story. My job is to find it, position it and to communicate it.” According to Wilson, it’s all about asking the right questions.
“Knoodle is the only agency I have worked at that is truly balanced,” she said. “PR and advertising are equal here- it’s not one or the other, it’s whatever gets a client to his or her objectives,” she said. “We tell their stories – in a surprising and memorable way, and hopefully move someone to act, learn more or share with others.”