Emerging Voices: Blair Martin


Blair Martin is a Senior Associate at Weber Shandwick in New York, she is experienced with healthcare PR.

Please summarize your professional career and its high and low points. (How did you work your way up the ladder? What have you learned along the way? What factors most contributed to your success?)

I am still really new in my career, so I can’t say I have really worked up the ladder up too much, but I have discovered that finding a good mentor, seeking honest advice, and trusting my gut has worked well for me so far.

According to The Holmes Report, women make up about 70% of the PR workforce, but they only hold about 30% of the top positions in the industry. Why do you think there is a shortage of women leaders in PR? What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

I don’t know if I have noticed a specific barrier for women, in my company we have a majority of women in leadership roles, but what I have noticed that in order to be successful as a woman in the workplace you must be strong a self-advocate for yourself. If you don’t fight for yourself, who else will?

What can organizations (and the industry as a whole) do to prepare women for top leadership positions? What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in leadership?

I think it is important to find ways to consistently find growth and new opportunities to broaden experience and push boundaries within the workplace. A balance between seeking diverse experience and self-advocating is key.

As a role model for women, what advice do you have for women interested in a career in public relations?

Raise your hand, find an area of PR that you’re passionate about and most importantly be yourself. Surround yourself around those who inspire you to be better in every way.

What are the three ways you inspire and encourage teamwork among your team?

Stay positive, push for new thinking and have fun. My teammates are some of my favorite people and they constantly are pushing for growth and keeping me laughing.

How did you manage the transition from the classroom to the boardroom? What was the biggest shock or surprise during that transition about the profession?

Internships really helped this transition go as smoothly as possible! Involving myself in a wide array of internships before graduating really helped mitigate any surprises I faced in the workplace.

What’s something you wish you had learned in college but didn’t? What do you do to be an eternal student?

I wish I had learned more about how to manage both up and down the corporate ladder, managing those who work above you and those who are below you is a fine art and an important skill. Time management is also something that was challenging in college and becomes more challenging as you grow into your role as a PR professional, it is important to learn how to prioritize intelligently.

With the myriad of industry changes, what inspires you to stay motivated and encouraged?

Connecting with colleagues of mine who are in different stages of their career or those in different industry types of PR, it is great to be inspired by their work, ideas and progress.

The Plank Center created the Millennials in PR series for rising public relations professionals to detail their experiences and share messages of counsel with students and other professionals.

Published: March 25, 2019