Andrea Samacicia Mullan is the founder of Victory Public Relations. VPR specializes in working with clients - brands and experts in the health, beauty, and wellness space - to help build their businesses and reputations through media relations.
Andrea is from Long Island but based in New Jersey with her two young sons, her husband, and her parents who make it possible for me to work and mom so hard. When she’s not working or hanging with her family, she’s usually working out or reading!
We recently got to catch up with Andrea, get to know her!
How did you get started in PR or Digital Marketing?
I got my start in PR in a roundabout way. I majored in English and minored in political science with the intention of becoming a lawyer. But after a few different experiences including one particularly memorable internship in a law firm on Long Island, I realized that pursuing that path wasn’t right for me.
When I graduated from college I landed a job at my local newspaper The Long-Islander, which was one of the most incredible experiences I think a fresh faced college graduate could have. There I was a beat reporter and each day was so utterly different from the next. From there I was hired by the Suffolk County Police Department where I was very proud to be in the first class of civilian employees to comprise the department’s Public Information Office. Essentially my colleagues and I worked as a touchstone between the media and the police department.
At that point I was in my mid 20s and felt compelled to look inward and question what I really wanted out of life. I knew in my heart that I wanted to be in New York City, which was always a magnet for me, and took some advice from colleagues who suggested that I pursue opportunities in public relations.
When I was hired at my first PR job I really didn’t have any hard PR experience but it absolutely didn’t matter. I loved everything about it. I am lucky in the sense that I have loved all of my jobs, but I realized that what I loved about each of my prior jobs (waitressing and retail included!) had more to do with the people I worked with than the actual job. This was different. Although I made some great relationships at that job, I never before felt so energized and impassioned by the actual work I was doing. It was transformational.
What steps did you take to have the job that you currently do?
Prior to landing my job at the PR firm in NYC I wasn’t what you’d call particularly ambitious or competitive. PR brought the best of those things out in me.
It was a turning point because I realized early on that PR requires a person to do the three things every day that I am most happy doing: getting to know a brand or expert by putting on my journalist hat and interviewing them, zooming out and strategizing a long term plan, and building relationships with the media who would cover whatever you’re pitching.
But at this point in my story the economic crises of 2008 hit and I found myself out of a job. After a couple of weeks of floundering (not a great look!) I got up and went out to find a job. Although, instead of finding a job I found a number of clients and when I realized what I had, I quickly established my LLC and got to work.
What does your day-to-day look like?
I’ve been a working mom and the lead parent in my family since 2012 so my days are insane. I get up at about 6 am with my sons and have until 8 am to have breakfast with them and get all three of us ready for the day. At 8 am I am relieved by my sitter (three days a week it’s my mom and dad!) and between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm I work.
My work day is different every day. My primary duties are strategizing on our client accounts and developing new business opportunities for Victory Public Relations which can look different each and every day.
What special projects are you working on right now?
Right now is a special time in my life because I have young children and I honestly feel like nurturing this company into what I believe it can be is my special project. Central to that vision is to address head on some of the most challenging issues women face today in the workplace. At Victory PR we openly and often talk about maternity leave, the importance of work/life balance, and the really hard time we as women have in recognizing and defending our financial value.
Take us behind the scenes, how is (your company) structured?
We are a team of three driven women - myself, Christina Halper Gorini who is our director, and Kerry Haggerty, our senior account executive.
What are three must haves essential to succeeding in your position?
A thick skin - you cannot be afraid of criticism or failure. Not only should you not fear those things, but you should learn to use them to fuel your growth.
A solid support system of people who care enough about you to point out your shortcomings and and are smart enough challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. Christina Halper Gorini and my husband have been those people for me.
My iphone! I work anywhere and everywhere.
How do you stay on top of industry trends?
I read anything and everything. My social feeds are full of the media brands and influencers in the fields I cover and I am addicted to.
Our industry is one that can be stressful and full of rejection, how do you stay motivated?
It’s so true - stress and rejection are daily parts of the job and I definitely sometimes get down, but never for long. We live in a world where so many talented and insanely successful people are happy to share their wisdom, and I insist on taking advantage of that! Here at VPR we love the Girlboss Radio, NPR’s How I Built This, and The School of Greatness podcasts to name just a few. Through those podcasts and books like The Alchemist, Never Eat Alone, Lean In and more (even Shark Tank!) we’ve gotten a killer education in entrepreneurial principles and truly feel like we are surrounding by these incredible people. We’re always on the lookout for more, so let me know if you know of any!!
On the days I’m feeling stale, there is nothing like a hard workout and listening to one of my favorite podcasts (Kendra Scott’s How I Built This is a must listen!) to reignite the fire I need to feel to get it all done.
What's been the most meaningful moment in your career thus far? *
I am incredibly proud that when our first employee announced her pregnancy we were able to assure her that she would be fully paid for 12 weeks and that we would work with her to ease her back into her responsibilities here.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be in the position you are in now?
Work, work, work. It’s that simple and that hard.
What's the biggest challenge facing communicators right now?
There are many challenges, for sure. But the one I think we deal with over and over again is that there are no rules today and the world literally changes week to week. Sometimes day to day.
We often marvel that hard and fast rules we were taught not that long ago simply don’t stand anymore. The lesson here is that you must be mindful of the goal of each initiative and take the time to zoom out and evaluate what is going on in that moment in the big picture and how your message best fits into that.