MEET PRSA AUSTIN CHAPTER MEMBER: Elizabeth Custy
What do you currently do for a living? Director of Digital Experiences for a public affairs firm, Public Blueprint. I also run a small business that focuses on political communications and design.
What did you want to be growing up? I actually wanted to be a fashion designer and live in New York City! In my junior year of high school I fell in love with doing design and communications for the school yearbook and shifted my focus then.
What motivated you to pursue a career in the communications industry? In high school, I learned I had an interest in communications - particularly visual communications. I nerded out pretty early on the communication industry by working at the campus newspaper and yearbook in college. I continued to explore other forms of the communications industry through internships around Lubbock, being a member of a competitive advertising team and even interning in New York!
When the communication industry evolved, I began to focus my attention on social media. This was perfect for me because I am your typical millennial! I love technology, design and social media -- it just made sense for me to merge my creative and digital practices together.
Where are you from? Where have you lived? I grew up in Lubbock, TX. I also interned and worked full-time in New York City for a short stint!
What college(s) did you attend? Texas Tech University - with a B.A. in Advertising and a Fine Arts minor in Printmaking
What was your first job in PR/communications? My first PR job was as a Marketing Student Assistant, my sophomore year of college, at the College of Outreach & Distance Education - Texas Tech University. As a paid intern, I clocked in 12-20 hours a week learning from three different marketing coordinators, a web developer and a designer. At CODE I assisted in writing press releases, designing marketing material and planning events. I worked there for a year before pursing other internships.
What is your best piece of advice to your fellow PR practitioners? Continual education is extremely important to me. There are a lot of opportunities around Austin to listen to a panel or take a workshop. I encourage everyone I meet to go out and be inspired by someone as often as they can!
What is your most memorable experience as a communications professional? My most memorable experience was interning at MRY in NYC. I was fortunate enough to be one of eleven interns in their intensive summer program. In 10 short weeks I got to work and deliver projects for brands like Coca-Cola, Dasani, Ford and Blackberry. To this day I still reference my key learnings from that summer program and my internship mentor. I encourage all my interns to apply to similar intensive programs.
iPhone or Android? I'm all about Apple! I love that my iPhone, iPad and laptop all sync to each other -- it's a blessing and a curse.
What publication/book/blog do you recommend others read (professionally or personally)? Personally I recommend the Secret by Rhonda Byrne -- visualizing and focusing on positive thoughts help me get through my hectic day.
Professionally I recommend Brand Thinking by Debbie Millman -- this is a great book discussing brand affinity from design to products and customer service.