Patricia Courtney has worked in the PR and Communications industry for nearly 10 years. Currently, she works as the Manager of Global Luxury Brands Communications at AccorHotels.
Her company’s head office is based in Paris so she gets to do quite a bit of travel back and forth from Toronto. She tells Women in PR that she gets to work with so many exciting luxury hotel brands all around the world. Most of her day is spent developing content for all of the global luxury brands she manages and executing media events.
On a personal note, Patricia volunteers her time with the Toronto Humane Society, is working on her French language skills by taking courses and she absolutely loves SoulCycle!
Name: Patricia Courtney
Title: Manager, Internal Engagement & Global Luxury Brands Communications
Describe yourself in 3 words: motivated, collaborative and friendly
Education: Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Western Ontario in MIT and specialization in Media & The Public Interest as well as a Post Graduate Honours Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
What was your first job in public relations/communications/media and what did you take away from the experience? How did you discover your passion for working in the field?
My first job in Public Relations was a short term contract in the corporate communications department at the former Sears Canada. Prior to that I had volunteered with various PR agencies in Toronto for events (Fashion week and TIFF) but this was my first real position. I started on a short term contract and soon after stayed on …for another 4 years in a various roles. I developed so much hands on media relations experience during that time that I knew this was the industry for me. I love connecting and interacting with media – it is my favourite part of the job!
How do you prioritize and start your work day?
I’m all about lists. I create a lot of task lists for myself and I start my day by reviewing my emails, dealing with anything urgent and then going down my list of priorities. Of course, no day is ever the same and things change very quickly.
Have you had any challenges in your career? Any specific challenges as a woman in the industry? How did you overcome them?
Throughout my career, I’ve had to navigate through extreme integrations, acquisitions and exercises in change management. I’ve always been fortunate to be surrounded by great and supportive colleagues.
What is one of the greatest misconceptions about the field of public relations/ communications/ media?
I travel quite a bit so I get this one a lot! Many people think that PR is all about fun events and parties! No one sees all of the behind the scenes work that goes into even one event!
What is your greatest achievement in your career?
I’ve had so many wonderful experiences throughout my career that I’m not sure what my greatest achievement is. I love to see a project through from the ideation all the way to the execution – it is very rewarding!
What are your tips for setting yourself apart in the workplace?
I am very collaborative and a big team player. I think that is a definite way to stand out as more often than not we encounter situations in the workplace where there are accountability conflicts.
It is important for people to WANT to work with you. Always be friendly – it’s good to be nice! You can still be assertive but in a friendly way!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell myself to not sweat the small stuff. There will always be obstacles and it is important to not focus too much on what may be in the way of the overall goal.
How can a new graduate set themselves apart in the hiring process?
I look for new graduates who take initiative. Ask a lot of questions and show that you are interested. It makes a big difference in an interview setting.
What’s next? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My goal is to continue to grow and to further develop my skills. I’d love to take on a more senior management role in communications!
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