In an interview with Insights Success, Nicole Rodrigues, the Founder and CEO of NRPR Group, shares the insights behind her glorious voyage as an entrepreneur. The fervent and admired leader has driven the ascension of this distinctive public relations and social marketing agency with her contemporary and innovative entrepreneurial expertise. Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Nicole and Insights Success:
Can you give us a brief overview of your background and the evolution of your career towards being a recognized business leader?
I have based my career path on following my dreams while being a pillar of professionalism and strength. My first professional PR job was at an enterprise software company until I left to pursue a PR role with the Oakland Raiders. Through my early career experiences I’ve learned to blend knowledge of tech and consumer/entertainment worlds to help tech, digital entertainment, consumer and consumer tech companies, be more relatable through clearer and relatable messaging.
In 2005, when I moved to the PR agency life, working on tech launches for eHarmony and Become.com before joining MOBITV as PR Manager and started building my expert reputation in the industry. Post MOBITV, I became Senior PR Manager at Voce Communications, managing accounts including Dolby, Yahoo!, and Sony PlayStation. I learned the beauty of incorporating social media and owned-media strategies into all account efforts. I was then recruited by Demand Media as director of consumer marketing, managing the marketing strategies for eHow, and LIVESTRONG.COM. I served as VP of digital entertainment at Bender/Helper Impact, where I led strategy for YouTube, Hulu, Hallmark’s Video Platform, M-GO, and others.
I leveraged every position I held as an opportunity to build expertise needed to succeed as CEO of my own agency. I worked hard, built a reputation for being accountable, reliable, and creative, knowing my reputation would follow me.
I want NRPR Group to be the public relations agency of the future, serving consumer, digital, and enterprise technology companies. Public relations, digital marketing, social media, marcomms, events, and thought leadership impact a company’s marketing mix. We work closely with CEOs, executives, and internal PR/marketing teams to uncover specific passion, vision, and differentiators, and share those stories with appropriate audiences.
Pertaining to your leadership experience, how, according to you, do the changes in technology utilization, volatility of the market and talent recognition, affect the overall development of any business/organization?
A company must evolve to stay ahead of the changing industry circumstances. NRPR works largely with disruptive technology companies, which means we need to be ahead of the curve in using connected technologies. NRPR is dispersed with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and the east coast. Through texting, email, phone, Slack, a shared cloud-based drive, shared software databases, and more tools that allow us to remain connected, though many of us are dispersed through multiple offices, the agency works as though in one location. Work-from-home days every Friday, provide the staff with freedom to accomplish personal tasks without lost work time. We are also able to serve clients outside of traditional office hours with full remote access to office resources. This flexibility empowers employees and increases satisfaction. Because the US is experiencing low unemployment, staff can easily leave jobs not meeting financial and personal goals. NRPR has low attrition and employees have the opportunity to grow their careers.
What according to you are the vital attributes that a business leader should possess?
A leader gives back. Everything a leader does should be meaningful, informed and in top form. Leaders inspire others—especially future leaders—through feedback, mentoring, motivating them to pursue dreams and achieve their goals.
In terms of market competency, how do you strive to sustain your organization’s leading position?
NRPR is as an award-winning agency, known for its public relations and digital marketing expertise. I have created a continually updated playbook detailing best practices and standards for conduct, and have implemented weekly reading periods and discussions to assure staff are abreast of industry news and trends for pitching and thought leadership. These activities translate into success—increased media coverage, sales leads, and revenue-generation in the millions for each client.
Considering the dire necessity of encouraging women to take up leadership positions, in what ways according to you, can this be achieved?
To achieve success in leadership positions women—regardless of marital status or age—can and should be amazing at work, without guilt. I know firsthand that it’s okay for moms to have a career and to be incredible at what they do—meaning thoroughly knowing your role, and also the roles of those you manage, so you can step in when help is needed.
Every time I walked into a job, I wanted to do my best for the company, and also for myself. I gave every job 110 percent, because I knew if I did a good job, not only would my employer be happy, but it would help me to improve and motivate them to give me more responsibility. I moved up quickly because of it.
What would be your advice for the aspiring/emerging women business leaders?
Don’t let anyone tell you that something is not appropriate for a woman. Do not change who you are to fit into sex-role stereotypes. Being feminine, caring, understanding, cooperative and organized has helped me grow as a professional and be respected along the way.
If you want to be taken seriously, don’t bring emotion, drama, and outside “stuff” to work with you. Your bosses, especially men, don’t respect that. I’m true to myself in every way, but as I grew in my profession, I try to always keep a level-head and be focused on work when I’m in the office.
I want my daughter to know that it is OK to chase her dreams and still be a nurturing mom. Your kids will understand, and they will admire you for the hard work and hustle you put into your work. I want to encourage working mothers and future working mothers to take pride in the fact that women in power, who are great at work, are great at life.
How have you envisioned your future with regards to your career as well as your personal growth?
My mom always told me I could do or have anything I wanted, provided I work hard for it. She’s living proof. I give my daughter the same advice, and I show her through my actions.