We recently interviewed Pam Abrahamsson, the Founder and Director at PRA Public Relations, an award-winning agency focused on the blockchain and fintech industry. Instead of only asking business-related questions, we also asked Pam about her personal motivations and what inspires her to do what she does so passionately everyday.
CryptoCoreMedia: What motivates you in life?
Pam: “If I can sum it up in one word, it would be: advocacy. From an early age, I realized I loved helping people tell their story. I realized this was a gift I had when my fourth-grade pals asked me to ghost-write their fan letters to their favorite rock band crushes. Apparently, they had already figured out that I had the ability to tell their story in an effective fashion. Looking back, this adventure in fan journalism set the stage for my future career in financial technology, blockchain public relations and more. While my clients today may not be asking for my help in writing to their favorite crush, I do have the privilege of helping them express themselves to influencers, analysts, journalists and more.
While life offers many opportunities, the reality is a person doesn’t just need to be gifted or good at what they do, they need to be able to share the message of their talent with the world. This is what motivates me, to have the privilege of taking my clients’ unique experiences and translating them into an educational and inspirational message that makes an impact in the larger world.”
CryptoCoreMedia: How do/did you use your strengths to achieve what you have so far?
Pam: “This is a great question. The key to good storytelling is not to tell the story that the client needs to hear. It is to tell the story in such a way that the audience understands and connects with it. Because I’ve been trained in the art of listening and have empathy for my clients and the hard work they’ve put into their success, I feel I have a special strength in this area.
I’ve learned over the years to hone my skills in listening to what the “is” – what the client solution offers, what the blockchain-driven application delivers, and then translating that into what it means for the market audience. Does it create an easier financial transaction? Does the technology deliver peace of mind, or greater security? For the world of financial technology, the audience’s idea of a happy ending is “what” the solution will do for them, not necessarily a laundry list of what those features are.
Being able to translate our clients’ stories has been the key to success; it’s enabled us to successfully tell the stories that have earned market share, awards and other success for our clients and ourselves.”
CryptoCoreMedia: What do you like most about your line of work?
Pam: “My favorite thing by far is the fact that I am in the front seat with the drivers of innovation. I am fortunate to be able to tell the stories of individuals that are making real changes in our society, and in a number of industries.
For people in the world of the digital economy and blockchain, this is especially true. As people understand the power of blockchain to drive efficiency, transparency and security across different industries, the new applications are exploding. My role in telling this story is a rewarding one, and a large part of the many-piece puzzle that drives their marketing success.
I was able to help a financial services company figure out a way to make the ICO process more open and democratic by integrating the Jumpstart Our Business Startup (JOBS) Act from the Obama Administration. By helping to connect this story with powerful journalists serving the readers of Wall Street Journal, Forbes, VentureBeat and more, we were able to not only help this business succeed in their fundraising mission, but to also educate people regarding the power and opportunities within the democratic world of investment.”
CryptoCoreMedia: How does it feel to be in a position where you can give back?
Pam: “It feels AMAZING! The key to giving back, for me, is not to give people the proverbial “fish” but to teach them how to go fishing. What that means for me is mentorship. If I have the chance to empower an entrepreneur by showing them how they can tell their story better, or encourage them to reach out to journalists, and show them how to be effective, then I feel good.
As an example, I participated in a mentorship program with a financial services trade organization. In the program, I was able to help a financial services professional develop and market an educational program to help our members of the armed forces by better educated financial consumers.
My mentee met and exceeded her goal of attendees and participation. For me, that means she now has the skillset to go out and help others through communicating effectively – and that means more families well-served with financial know-how.
The gift of experience is valuable to me, and I am blessed that I get to share this with others through education and mentorship.”
CryptoCoreMedia: Starting from college, how/why did you choose your major? And, then after that, what was your motivation for making the career choices you did?
Pam: “College was a fascinating journey for me, and, as a late-entering student, a gift that I greatly appreciate. I had married young and was delayed in finishing my education. This turned out to be very valuable for me, as it gave me a chance to see what I enjoyed, and what I was good at.
For me, I understood that I needed variety, a fast pace, challenge, and a love of writing. In researching careers, I saw that public relations is a perfect fit for this set of interests and abilities. From that point, I was able to identify a college that had an outstanding program.
In pursuing my education, I relished the learning. Also, because I was a somewhat older student, I brought a perspective of real-world experience that allowed me to see the practical benefits of the education I was pursuing.
I partnered this education with several internships, giving me the chance to see what the working life of a public relations professional was like, and it was indeed the rewarding combination of helping others share their story, using my talents, and creating success for my clients.”
CryptoCoreMedia: As a professional, what challenges do you think you learned from the most (both personal and business)?
Pam: “My biggest challenge was realizing that I need to be firm in helping clients see what they need, not what they feel they want. Many clients feel they can’t “start where they are” but need to portray a bigger, more accomplished reality than they own.
The reality is I need to make them feel confident in what they’ve accomplished and share this in a way that can resonate in the marketplace. I’ve learned that I need to listen carefully so that I can truly vet where a company is in their journey and translate that into messaging that makes sense to the marketplace.
This intersects both my personal and business selves, as the challenges in communicating this, and identifying the client’s reality, touches across all elements of my working and personal worlds. The reason this challenge is worthwhile, however, is the satisfaction in accurately understanding my client’s progress, how to translate that into a market-moving story and creating success from that.”
CryptoCoreMedia: What are the top 3 three characteristics every professional must have to succeed (e.g. hard work, punctuality).
Pam: “In the world of communications, and most particularly in the fast-changing world of blockchain, the number one characteristic is integrity. If a person, executive or enterprise does not demonstrate integrity in thought, word and action, then all of the brilliance in the world will be of no value.
In the world of blockchain, in which the “digital ledger” is at the core of accountability for an enterprise, the perception (or reality) of dishonesty can be fatal to success. Fortunately, I’ve been very lucky in that the colleagues and clients I’ve worked with in this sector, and across financial technology in general, have been talented and honest in equal measure.
A second, critical trait is the willingness to learn. No, scratch that. It’s the open-armed embrace of, and enthusiasm for, new experiences and information. In the world of blockchain and technology, change is the only constant, and thinking you’ve seen it all, or know it all, can be ruinous to your career and your enterprise success. Embrace learning!
Finally, a sense of comradeship is essential. Yes, things such as hard work, discipline must be in place, but I like to think we understand that in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship. What often gets lost, though, is the sense of cooperation and mutual benefit that is key to succeeding. It is trite, but true: no man (or woman) is an island, and if you work together, you’ll go much further than striking out alone.”
CryptoCoreMedia: What are your short and long-term goals (personal and professional), and how do they relate to who you are as a person?
Pam: “My short-term goal, and ever-green, goal is to continue to keep my finger on the pulse of innovation in the blockchain world. People are beginning to understand that blockchain may be critical to the world of cryptocurrency and the digital economy, but it is by no means limited to that.
Blockchain is a transformative technology for everything from supply chain logistics to financial services to research and more. My goal is to continue to keep abreast of the exciting developments in this field.
This goal also relates to my personal goal, which is to always bring a sense of enthusiasm and learning to my life. The day a person thinks they have “seen it all and done it all” is the day they should hang up their life license and go home. The key to life is to keep a sense of wonder and learning, and my goal is to never forget how important this is.
For a long-term goal, I’d like to foster a better understanding of public relations. I’d like people, especially entrepreneurs, to embrace what a powerful tool this is for bringing prospects and community to your cause or solution with credibility and purpose.
It may not necessarily “close a deal” in the first round, but it is instrumental in bringing willing prospects to your marketing funnel so that you can engage with them, build loyalty and a mutually valuable relationship. As part of its credibility role, my goal is to help people also understand that public relations is an SEO asset of the highest value: search engines respect PR results, and rank accordingly. And, when budgets get tight, it’s reassuring to know that published PR results on the web won’t go dark, even if your pay-per-click campaign needs to shut down.
So, in summary, my short and long term goals can be summed up as respecting and being part of innovation, enthusiasm, learning and understanding. And if there’s enough time at the end of the day, my goal is to enjoy a well-earned bit of chocolate, a delicious goal if ever there was one!”
Pam’s Short Bio:
Pam Abrahamsson is the award-winning founder and director of PRA Public Relations, a national Top 25 B2B communications firm with a focus on technology and consumer industries. Pam brings over 16 years of industry experience and has worked with Fortune 500 and emerging enterprises to secure top coverage in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fox News, Huffington Post, Mashable and more. Her expertise has been featured in Huffington Post, Forbes, Retail Today, and she provides counsel to social impact accelerators and organizations such as TenX.org, STEM-focused MESA and other groups.