Michelle Mekky: Mekky Media Founder

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Read The Native Influence Full Q&A

How did you get into the industry? My experience with the industry really it started in high school when my English teacher recommended I try for a position at the school newspaper. I had never tried journalism before and once I got into it I absolutely loved it. I eventually became editor-in-chief and set my sights on studying journalism in college. I ended up going to Northwestern University, because I lived close by, and it had the best journalism school in the country. The school had a television studio, and I had the opportunity to anchor news shows. That experience inspired me to purse a career in broadcast journalism. It was only after working at Fox for 12 years that I started to really think about PR. I had been pitched by so many publicists as a senior producer, and I felt that I had developed a knowledge of what it would take to be good at PR. So I decided to cross to the other side.

Career Advice? I think the most important advice is don’t be afraid to work hard. For a while I was working two eight-hour shifts, barely sleeping. I was 23 years old and thinking, “I graduated from Northwestern and thought I was going to be set for life. I went to the best school, I did everything right. What happened?” That was so challenging, but I learned so much about perseverance, and I learned how to grow in my career and what it takes to succeed. Young people need to find their place and what they’re passionate about and then really prove themselves in that job. And that might mean volunteering to take on an extra project or asking for more responsibility. Not everybody knows early on what they want to do for the rest of their life, so I think it’s important to watch for the signs that point to what you’re passionate about. Then seek out as many opportunities as you can, like internships, shadowing, any opportunity to get in there and see and experience what a particular career might be like. You’re going to have to work for the rest of your life and you need to love what you do.