BABE #97: JILL CHANDLER TRUDEAU, Account Supervisor @ The Zimmerman Agency
Jill was my supervisor when I was a PR intern at The Zimmerman Agency in college, and I'd be lying if I said that being hired by her back then didn't feel like one of my life's greatest achievements at the time. She's an absolute powerhouse who somehow perfectly balances professionalism with having a damn good time, and her work in the public relations industry is truly exceptional. Super honored to be collaborating now just three years later, Jill! You are absolutely a hustlin' Babe.
Hometown: Gainesville, Georgia
Current city: Atlanta, Georgia
Alma mater: Florida State University & Syracuse University
Degree: BA in Mass Media Communications, Master's in Broadcast Journalism
Very first job: Gymnastics Teacher @ Gainesville School of Gymnastics
Hustle: Account Supervisor @ The Zimmerman Agency
Babe you admire and why?
My grandmother, Mema. She is 90 years old and has more energy than most people I know. She spends the majority of her time giving back to veterans, Florida State University and the Children’s Home Society, and I admire the passion that she brings to initiatives big and small.
How do you spend your free time?
Spending time with my husband, dog, family and friends, or at live music events and yoga classes.
Go-to coffee order?
Cold brew with milk and sugar.
Go-to adult beverage?
Vodka, soda and a splash of cranberry juice.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
No brainer: boiled peanuts.
Biggest pet peeve?
Being late. To me, five minutes early is on time, and on time is late.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Watching the sunset on the Amalfi Coast, Italy.
The Fast and the Furious series.
What is something not many people know about you?
I studied Mandarin Chinese in college. While I don’t get to use it everyday, it's definitely something I'm proud of.
Tell us about your hustle:
I am an Account Supervisor at the Zimmerman Agency, an integrated marketing firm based in Tallahassee, FL that specializes in advertising, digital and public relations, social media, and branding. In my role, I work on a few pieces of hospitality business and one consumer client account.
What does your typical workday look like?
It’s hard to say what a typical day looks like because they can so quickly change. If I’m not traveling for a hotel opening, national broadcast segment or media trip, I’m catching up on the news first thing in the morning. Then I’m checking emails and answering the urgent ones, putting out any necessary fires, maintaining relationships with the media, and working on client strategies.
When and why did you decide to pursue a career in PR?
I decided to pursue a career in PR in 2012. I was working as a TV reporter at the CBS affiliate in Tallahassee at the time, and wanted to make a change to combine my passion for communication and travel. I left the broadcast world and never looked back (except for the times when a client needs a broadcast pro to step in for an on-air segment.)
What draws you to the PR industry?
I love that I get to work with large, innovative consumer brands on campaigns - and on the flip side - I enjoy the challenges that come with crisis control and management.
What is your work environment/office culture like?
I work remotely and have a coworking space with ROAM in Atlanta, so everyday I see new people and can sit in a different spot. Our team and clients are based in both Tallahassee and all over the US, but we take time to celebrate big occasions and achievements together.
What is your favorite aspect of PR? Writing? Pitching? Client-facing work? Why?
It's a toss-up between client-facing and media relations, probably because I am such a people person and it never gets old. Another thing that I appreciate is that work is different every single day. One day I'll be working on a big campaign, then the next day managing a crisis. It keeps things interesting!
What are some common misconceptions about your job?
A lot of people think that working for a PR agency is a lot like PubLIZity. While hilarious, that's far from the truth. As people in PR, we have to be experts on many topics; I never thought I would go into PR and learn so much about rare blood diseases, the casino industry, the business of hospitality, etc. The list goes on.
How would you say being a woman has affected your professional experience?
I think being a woman has MADE my career in PR. Being able to juggle many tasks at once, show empathy to others and support other badass babes are all qualities that a lot of women possess that make us awesome leaders.
How do you find a work-life balance?
I don’t know that I've found it, but I definitely try! With the ability to reach anyone at anytime, the lines between work and life often blur, and I definitely fall victim to bringing a lot of work home, so to speak.
What helps you wind down and manage stress?
Practicing yoga has helped with managing stress, and even just taking a walk outside is super helpful. Fresh air can do wonders!
What are some notable experiences you’ve had on the job?
Every year at Zimmerman, we have a Halloween party where different teams can perform a skit. On the year that my team won, we dressed as a boy band that was back on a reunion tour, and I flew home from a work trip early just to teach my team choreography. You never know when your childhood background in dance, gymnastics and cheerleading will come in handy! As far as an embarrassing moment goes, at a property grand opening, one of my clients stole my phone and texted my boss that I was "having feelings toward one of our executives that scares and excites me." Luckily, my boss knew it was a joke and now I forever watch my phone around clients. We all still laugh about it, though!
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Stay true to who you are, and if your current job doesn’t feel like a good fit - it probably isn't. Go ahead and take a leap of faith.