Emerging Voices: Olivia Ortiz

Olivia Ortiz

Olivia Ortiz is a Global Operations Coordinator at Legends in Frisco, Texas. She received her MBA at the University of South Florida.

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?)

My professional career thus far, specifically in the sport and entertainment industry, has been filled with an abundance of encouraging peaks and humbling valleys, but each experience has taught me more than I would have ever expected about myself on a personal and professional level. With only being in the real world for approximately 9 months after completing my MBA, I have learned to make sure I am controlling all the variables I can control each day to seek the greatest version of myself upon starting work, including a positive attitude, open mindset, personal wellness and productive actions. Each day is never the same, but I know if I bring the best version of myself, I can handle anything that the day may bring or get thrown my way in a professional manner, that is true to myself and character foundation.

As I look at opportunities to learn and grow professionally, I pay attention to the small details, that the leaders around me practice daily and the high professional standards they hold themselves and work towards. Specifically, I look for opportunities daily, that I can assist with outside my comfort zone, even if it is a minor or observatory role because I know these are the opportunities where I will learn and grow the most from. I often refer to myself of having a sponge mindset, as I see real-world practices and strategies actively come to life now outside of the classroom. While looking for these opportunities daily, I have learned the importance of being proactive and value of constantly having my head on a swivel to immerse myself in any opportunity that may increase or diversify my professional growth. Finally, being a team player in the workplace holds immense value and respect for a positive and productive workplace setting.

In summary, be the best version of yourself each day and the rest of the day will come as it may since your mindset sets the standard of what you can achieve and inspire those around you. As a young professional, embrace and thrive from the sponge mindset.

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

Be confident and do not hesitate to speak up when you have a contribution. It’s natural to find an excuse and pick the quiet route, but to grow, learn, and lead in the future, your voice must be heard and there is no reason to be hesitant. Be brave and raise your voice because no one else can speak for you and in most cases, your insight will be immensely valued!

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

  1. Bring a “can-do” attitude. As our very own, Betsy Plank said, “Build a can-do reputation.” I am a strong believer in the attitude and mindset you bring to the office encourages those around you, as this is a variable that we have control and decide on every day. I inspire and encourage my colleagues by taking control of what I can and make sure I walk into work each day with a “can-do” positive attitude.
  2. Find time to help others and don’t forget about yourself. The smallest daily actions can have the largest impact. I test myself once a day to ask a colleague if they need help on a project, with an idea, thoughts on an opinion, etc. because we may not be working on the same task, but we are ultimately one team working towards the same goal. I love helping others, but I remind myself to ask for help when needed. With a holistic team mindset, I have been allowing myself more than ever before to not be afraid to ask for help because the industry moves too fast to wait when resources, that may have a faster answer surround me.
  3. Celebrate the small victories. When in a routine, each day may start to feel similar, but it is crucial to highlight the small victories daily. Everyone works hard and puts the time in, but it is the culture around them, that can make all the difference. Whether it’s sharing a piece of encouragement, bringing cookies to the office, or ending an email wishing someone a great weekend – the extra effort can make all the difference.

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?

The biggest surprise during the transition was the amount of patience and time I had to allow myself to learn about the company practices, procedures, culture and foundational pillars of their success and dynamic operations behind industry-leading projects. I wanted to grasp it all as soon as I walked in the first day, but quickly realized, that was not possible. I am still learning to be patient with myself and follow the understanding on how it is all a process.

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

From my wealth of experiences in public relations at UA and additional opportunities I was able to gain while earning my MBA at the University of South Florida, I feel I prepared myself as much as possible for my entry into the real world. Looking back, I wish I took advantage of the most helpful and easiest resource – the inspiring and successful alumni in the industry. There is no better way than connecting with alumni, who has been in the shoes we hope to be in someday.

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

From my involvement in the College of Communication & Information Sciences, specifically through PRSSA and Capstone Agency the friendships and mentorship relationships I have made inspires me daily to stay motivated and encouraged. It’s the lifelong friendships I have made, that I keep in touch with on a daily or weekly basis, that encourage me to think creatively, but also provide a sense of comfort. We may be in different sectors of the industry, but the opportunity to share experiences and current industry trends with friends, that I have worked with in the college setting is special. We are all in our own unique routine and grinding it out each day to be the very best we can be, but it’s important to remember we are not alone and may be states away, but only a phone call or text message away.

How have mentors played a role in where you are today?

As we all are familiar with, Betsy Plank valued mentorship and that is one of the many pieces of insight from Betsy I remind myself daily of. The value of mentorship on both the receiving and giving end, is a tremendous resource I have worked hard to obtain and grow. The value of a phone call can turn a hard day into a joyous one, an obstacle into an opportunity, and a piece of advice into a daily motion practice. Mentorship can be an investment of time, as it involves communication, time, and coordination, but is a trustworthy relationship, that can be cherished forever.

What is one piece of advice you would like to conclude with?


Please bring the art of the handwritten thank you note back! The five minutes it may take to write and mail a note does not compare to the immeasurable impact it will have when it is received and recognized. Small actions like these often speak volumes and leave immediate, lasting impressions.

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