studio (un)scripted: 5 questions with christina gayman.

CHRISTINA GAYMAN, APR, DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING, SYVERSON STREGE (and advocate with a smile on her face for all things that provoke happiness, joy and living life to the fullest)

The Studio is my happy place, where is yours?

Anywhere I can be outdoors (running, hiking and exploring). When my husband and I lived in San Diego, being active and being outside was a 365-day-a-year opportunity that we took full advantage of. We’ve been back in the Midwest for nearly seven years, and while there is a ton to do outdoors here, too, we also try to travel to destinations that let us make the most of our time exploring (driving Iceland’s Ring Road in a camper van; summiting Mt. Elbert – our first 14-er near Leadville, Colorado; hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park; and crewing/pacing for my husband at his ultramarathons).

As an experienced PR professional, you have gone above and beyond to earn your APR. Can you tell us more about what that entails and why it was important to you professionally and personally?

Earning my APR was a journey that began in 2011 with tremendous support from so many industry colleagues and friends. I finally studied for and passed the exam in 2018, and earning the designation is truly one of the proudest moments of my career thus far. Public Relations is far more than pumping out press releases and pitching media. It’s a strategic and thoughtful craft that takes practice and is best employed as part of a larger communications plan – whether that is on behalf of brands, clients, events, or any other number of applications. It takes a great deal of practice to feel composed in the throes of a communications crisis, and so much of what I have experienced in my PR career and the actions I have recommended and/or employed were informed by what I learned through the APR process. I highly recommend it to all PR professionals; it demonstrates dedication to the field and continues to earn our teams a seat at the table.   

You’re also very active outside of the office as a mom, wife, avid runner, event planner and PRSA super-member. What keeps you motivated?

I’ve always been intrinsically motivated – sometimes for the fun of something, and sometimes for the challenge of it. I enjoy competing with myself, but also get great joy from giving to others whether that is through volunteering with various organizations (PRSA, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. and Girls on the Run, to name a few), or through the time, love and energy I give to my family and friends. I’m a mom to two girls and letting them see me actively training for a race or giving my time to others is incredibly important because I hope it sparks the same joy in them in the future. And I couldn’t have a better partner and support system than I have in my husband. His ambition and determination are awe-inspiring and that enhances my motivation.

An ever-changing part of the industry we work in continues to be the evolution of social media. How have you found effective ways to leverage these platforms on behalf of brands, clients and yourself?

As social media has evolved, I’ve had professional roles that often involved social media and then other times, not so much. What I will say is that true engagement comes when social messaging is authentic and relatable (it’s the reason we share hilarious memes back and forth with friends). People want to feel connected and not “marketed” to in the traditional sense of the word. I think if brands and individuals keep content authentic and interesting, it’s easy to leverage. Personally, I love the art of sharing and helping others feel connected. If I enjoy an event, a restaurant, or an experience, I try to share something that will spark joy and interest for someone else. But let’s be real: The me today doesn’t even know who let the me from 15 years ago on Facebook. Those statuses are cringy!

If you could ask me anything, what would it be?

What’s your favorite type of workout?

Connect with this beauty on LinkedIn ASAP and support the many organizations that are dear to her when you can, please and thank you.

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