Monica Rohleder

August 15, 2006
Posted in interviews
August 15, 2006 Terkel

Rule #1: do not call someone the wrong name; especially if they are helping you out while in town. Yep, this happened to me at the end of a great interview with “Monica” who I accidentally called “Melissa.” This small slip-up could have hurt our project a lot seeing as how Monica had been helping us out a lot in Chicago. Not only did she refer us to Jen Hankee and Rayne Martin for interviews, but she was also working to get our story published using her public relations expertise. The moral of the story: don’t mess up someone’s name. On to Monica’s story, which starts out at Purdue University, where she graduated and soon accepted an advertising job creating automotive ads. She put up with the job for a year and a half before she accepted a contractor position at Motorola doing event planning. The temporary gig led to a full-time marketing position where she worked on sponsorships and events with the NFL and ISF. More importantly though, she was able to gain great experience in the marketing field.

But at 28 years old, and enjoying a successful career in Corporate America, she was not happy. Not knowing what to do, she dipped into her wallet and dropped $300 on a career counselor who had her take a variety of tests focused on a person’s interests, beliefs and personality. The results were supposed to give you a better understanding of what careers were best for you based on the personal information gathered. When she got the results back, public relations was at the top of the list. She decided to give it a try. She talked to Motorola, and they eventually agreed to transfer her to public relations.

She loved her new position and found a newfound enthusiasm for what she did. She found success in connecting people, something she did naturally. Using this skill, she was able to formalize a relationship with a famous tech journalist at the Wall Street Journal and Motorola . She realized PR was the niche that she had been looking for all of these years. For the next three years, she helped bring Motorola back into the spotlight with its compelling new product line. After seven years of corporate experience, Monica decided to leave Motorola and start her own public relations firm in Chicago.

It just goes to show that if you assess what you are good at, and are honest with yourself, then you’ll more easily identify your passion. It’s not always about finding the passion within, but finding yourself within. For Monica, it was spending the cash to find what career would compliment her interests and internal needs. So if you’re great at partying, like many of us are, you have to connect the dots. If you’re good at partying, then you’re good at socializing and good with people. So find a field that will allow you to express the unique attributes that make you, you. That was the single most important lesson that I brought out of this interview, even more so than calling someone by his or her actual name!