Deirdre K. Breakenridge: Author & CEO, Pure Performance Communications

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Deirdre K. Breakenridge is Chief Executive Officer at Pure Performance Communications. A veteran in PR, marketing and branding, Breakenridge has counseled organizations including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, JVC, Kraft, Nasdaq, NBA Events & Attractions and SYZYGY.

Breakenridge is the author of six business books. Her most recent book, “Answers for Modern Communicators” was published by Routledge in October 2017. Her other titles include “Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional, and “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations. As an adjunct professor, Breakenridge teaches online PR and social media courses for the UMASS at Amherst Journalism Department and for Rutgers University’s PR Certificate course. She speaks nationally and internationally on the topics of PR, marketing, branding and social media communications. Breakenridge is a LinkedIn Learning Instructor with seven video courses on Public Relations Foundations, Media Training, Handling an Unruly Audience, Marketing Communications, Go-To-Market Planning, Competitive Analysis and Creating a Marketing Culture.

Breakenridge is the host of a podcast program, Women Worldwide, interviewing women around the globe who are encouraged to share their incredible stories, educating, imparting advice and offering insights to show listeners. Women Worldwide has recently joined the C-Suite Radio Network, which is the home of podcasts for top business leaders and innovators. NJBIZ named Breakenridge as one of the Best 50 Women in Business in the state of New Jersey in 2015. She also joined the ranks of the Top 250 Women Leaders published by Richtopia in from 2016 through 2018. Breakenridge blogs about communication, the changing media landscape and collaborative technology at PR Expanded and is the co-founder of #PRStudChat, a dynamic Twitter community with Twitter chats for PR students, educators and PR pros.  

What do I do best?

I listen to solve challenges and help professionals get unstuck through storytelling and creating relationship synergy.  Through the right connections, people can achieve greater impact together. I’ve spent 30 years cultivating my network and focusing on alliances for my clients. When you’re in PR and marketing, your relationships mean everything, from the media, brands and industry organizations you work with to the social media influencers, including bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers and Twitter personalities that you get to know. As a CRA (Chief Relationship Agent), success is seeing what the members of my network can do collectively.

What makes me the best version of myself?

Creating the best version of myself is on a never-ending continuum. Constant learning and reinvention through media contribute to always cultivating a better version of the personal and professional me. For example, I started as an author back in 1999, with Prentice Hall. Although I’m still a business book author with Routledge today, I’m also a LinkedIn Learning Video Instructor, a blogger and the podcast host of Women Worldwide. I also had the pleasure of being a digital correspondent for Nasdaq’s Corporate Solutions business, hosting a show streamed LIVE out of MarketSite called, the PR Influencers Series. If you’re a Forever Student, willing to learn and grow, and evolve through media, then you’ll always find a better version of yourself.

What are my aspirations?

My aspirations have changed at different phases in my life. What goals and success looked like at 20-something were completely different in my 30s, 40s, and so on. Even today, I’m transforming my business to be focused on counseling executives to take their storytelling and digital footprints in new directions and to get out of their comfort zones. Similar to what I’ve aspired to do for myself, I’m hoping to guide professionals through books, video courses, LIVE shows, consulting, etc., and to help others be modern communicators who navigate media challenges and tech changes with ease. At the same time, I’ll always aspire to be a go-to resource for my professional peers, answering questions, being a mentor and staying true to the educator / trusted advisor brand that I’ve built.

My Biggest Success?

When it comes to biggest success, the first thing that comes to my mind would be my business books. When I received my first book contract with Prentice Hall, I had a close family member say to me, “You can’t write a book, you don’t know how to write a book.” I immediately responded, “I may not know how but I’m going to figure it out quickly” Now, six books later I’m helping others to carve a path to writing their books, sharing their journeys and creating relationships that help them to grow and excel in their work.

My Most Challenging Moment?

When I was a young mother (and an entrepreneur), going through divorce, I looked at my little girl, and I wondered how I would find the strength, courage and confidence to raise her on my own. At times, I was too proud to ask for help from family and friends, and I was also a very private person. Those challenging moments, wondering where to draw strength, brought out my best instincts as a parent and a business owner. I quickly found the grit, balanced with the grace, to be a “Mompreneur” making motherhood and business work more in harmony.

My Motto?

My motto is, “You don’t know if you don’t ask.” More times than not, when you don’t ask that question, raise a hand to get a better understanding or find out more information, you may be operating from a place of weakness; if only you would just ask. If you ask, you’ll learn quickly, and you’d be surprised as to where your questions and requests can take you.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Personally, my parents have been amazing role models. Both have taught me how to be responsible, kind, to persevere and to always focused on helping people. In business, there are many role models who come to mind. Lately, the person who stands out the most is Oprah. She came from a humble background, worked her way to the top and still cares and gives so much. She’s a woman in media and business, and the great strides she has made in her career are inspiring.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

There are many beautiful places around the world, but my heart will always feel at home in Rhode Island. As a child, we would spend time there, in the summer, by the pond and at the beach. My parents eventually bought a home and lived there for about 20+ years. They sold the house a few years ago, but I’m still picturing the day when I’m back in Rhode Island with a home and grandkids running around; the same way that I did those summers a long time ago.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Most of my favorite products have to do with finding a sense of calm after a long day. For example, I have a jade roller (jade is known for its healing and calming effect) and a diffuser with different essential oils. At the other end of the spectrum are my favorite tech products. Alexa devices are my favorite. I find myself asking Alexa more and more questions these days. I also love my Evernote notetaking software that synchs up on all of my devices. I can write or jot down ideas even when I’m traveling. Lastly, my wireless headphones are convenient especially when I’m on the go and they never get tangled!

My Current Passions?

Aside from my passion for writing, I’ve also discovered that I love podcasting. I’m the host of the show, Women Worldwide with Deirdre Breakenridge. It’s an interesting journey when the tables turn and the PR person is now pitched by publicists and PR agencies that want to have their clients on my show. I’m passionate about interviewing women (and sometimes men) who share their incredible stories in business and the successes as well as the challenges they’ve tackled. Every guest offers advice and insights on pressing topics in business. I find myself not only enjoying the conversations but also learning something new with each episode.