Elizabeth McGlone, marketing director at CertaSite, has been an active volunteer of the PRSA Hoosier Chapter and has served on various committees over the last few years. We recently asked Elizabeth to reflect on her journey with PRSA and the powerful inspiration behind her incredible generosity toward our Chapter.
Tell us about your career so far: How did you get started in PR and how did you get to where you are now?
Oh wow, what a journey it’s been. My interest in PR and communications started in college. I attended Butler University and went from undecided to majoring in psychology to majoring in strategic communications and psychology. At the time, I was particularly interested in crisis communications. I was excited by the fast pace, high pressure, challenging and impactful environment of crisis communications. Like many, I have a deep-rooted desire to have an impact, and I saw that opportunity in crisis communications.
However, you don’t typically start out in crisis communications. So, upon graduation, I looked for any job in communications. And I got my first gig at Pinnacle Solutions as their Social Media Coordinator. Pinnacle Solutions was just getting started with marketing and communications and they didn’t have much besides a website and a logo. At Pinnacle, I quickly went from Social Media Coordinator to Digital Marketing Coordinator to Digital Marketing Strategist, to Director of Marketing. I built their entire marketing and communications program from the ground up and then expanded it into Canada. I worked closely with the CEO and my work with him shifted my interest from crisis communications to marketing and sales enablement. He taught me a lot about how a business operates, how to evaluate new investments, and how marketing can impact a business and help it grow. I am forever grateful to DJ Penix for giving me my start and being an amazing mentor.
Though DJ taught me a lot, there were things about communications that he didn’t have a background in and couldn’t provide much guidance on. Most of my coworkers didn’t have a clue about marketing – though they were geniuses in their own right – so I found myself a little lonely and hungry to keep up on the latest best practices in the world of PR, communications, and marketing. That’s why I joined the PRSA Hoosier chapter and started volunteering right away. Being involved with the chapter as a volunteer has connected me with many other local pros and created new friendships. And the chapter programming and resources have helped me grow myself as a marketing and communications professional.
Now I am the Marketing Director at CertaSite, a fire and life safety company. I wasn’t actively looking for a new role, but when CertaSite reached out to me, I was intrigued. When I researched the company and saw their powerful and thought-provoking messaging, I knew I wanted to be part of the marketing team that was behind such an amazing brand. Turns out it was a marketing team of one, Kelly Henderson. Fast forward just over a year later and we have a rockstar marketing team that’s supporting a multi-million dollar company with over 400 employees and 18 markets. I love working at CertaSite and oversee all areas of marketing, from demand generation and sales development to acquisition marketing to recruiting marketing to brand management and positioning. It’s a lot and I couldn’t do it without my team. I love what we do and that we have a lot of fun doing it.
What inspired you to donate to the PRSA Hoosier Chapter?
COVID-19 was devastating to so many people and organizations. I lost count of how many of my favorite restaurants and businesses had to close their doors permanently. For me, COVID didn’t bring any disruption. I was very fortunate in that regard. I actually joined CertaSite during COVID. I am well compensated for my talent at CertaSite and so when I got my stimulus checks I didn’t feel right keeping money I didn’t need. I believe in PRSA and I saw an opportunity for that money to go to an organization that would spread the impact far and wide by continuing to provide programming and opportunities that cultivate local PR pros and shape them into some of the best in the industry.
What part of our Chapter’s programming appeals to you most?
I really enjoy the chapter luncheons. The topics are always relevant and give you information that you can then apply to your company. I also like the myprsa.com forums. They are a great way to get advice from pros around the country, and I’ve even made some contributions to some threads.
How long have you been involved with our chapter and PRSA and what got you started?
I have been involved with the chapter since 2017 and I have also been volunteering since that time. I got started because I was looking for an opportunity to connect with other PR pros and to grow in my professional development.
You have been an active volunteer of the chapter for more than three years. How would you describe your volunteer experience with our chapter and has this experience benefited you in any way?
I tell everyone I know considering joining PRSA or in PRSA not currently volunteering that they should volunteer. I have found that if you want to get the most out of your membership, volunteering is the way to go. You will connect with more people. You will have the opportunity to refine whatever skillset you want through volunteering in that area. And you will find yourself going to more chapter events and programming because you’re volunteering with the chapter.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to students interested in establishing a career in PR and to anyone who is new to the profession?
Join your PRSA Chapter and start volunteering. It’s the best way to learn about the field, get exposure, and make connections with pros who can help you in your journey. I can’t speak for other chapters, but the PRSA Hoosier Chapter is incredibly welcoming to all who join and everyone is always eager to help each other out.
Would you recommend PRSA Hoosier Chapter to PR/communication professionals? Why?
Absolutely! Our chapter is a great group of talented, welcoming individuals eager to help and learn from each other.
The PRSA Hoosier Chapter board and members are grateful to Elizabeth not only for her generous gift, but also for her contributions to advance our profession.