Charlotte Tomic is President of Tomic Communications. She is a past-President of New York Women in Communications, Inc., and worked for GolinHarris in Manhattan for eight years. Prior to that, Charlotte was the AVP Communications & Public Affairs at St. John's University.
How did you get into the industry?
After working in publishing for Simon & Schuster, I decided I wanted to move to a career that was more interactive. Publishing is very isolating - you basically read all the time and write up synopsis and recommendations for books that should or shouldn’t be published. Public Relations allowed me to work with a team of professionals in areas like public relations, special events, alumni relations and development, and most enjoyably, community relations.
Any emerging industry trends?
I feel that social media has the power of good or evil. People can create fake accounts and assume roles and identities that are designed just to foster a certain idea, whether it’s true or not. The goal is to get more hits and eyeballs for a brand, company or organization. I think that learning to trust what you’re hearing or reading has been compromised as a result. Mobile marketing and digital marketing will continue to grow as consumers demand more user-friendly experiences on mobile devices.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
After working for a big public relations agency in Manhattan for 8 years, and a long career in academic public relations at a major University in New York, I decided to get out of the cold and move to Florida with my husband. My idea was to create a boutique virtual agency serving a variety of corporate, nonprofit, professional and author accounts. I have enjoyed having the freedom to make my own hours and partner with only senior-level practitioners who are based throughout the country. Technology has allowed communications to be conducted virtually creating a seamless interface that take transportation time out of the equation allowing clients to truly get a better bang for their buck.
Our partners work as independent contractors, so they don’t require benefits like a 401K or health insurance from an employer. Having a virtual office allows my agency to keep prices down because we’re not paying for office space or conference rooms. We hold all necessary conference calls on the phone. This allows us to pass those cost-savings on to our clients, so it’s a win: win for both of us.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
I would like to expand with vertical communications specialists, including development and social media experts.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
I find Linked In has provided a great way for me to position my company and me, individually, to a huge audience of potential clients. I also use Facebook and boost interesting posts with FB ads to get more visibility.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
My most difficult experience was working with a biotech company that did not pay after the job was done. I spent two weeks non-stop arranging coverage for this client attending a trade show taking all of my team’s personal time to meet the time crunch of the demands of the assignment, and then he stiffed me. I decided then, that I would never do a last-minute assignment without cash up front. I ended up collecting the money by hiring a lawyer.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
I view my clients as friends, not just business relationships, and as such, I hope they learn that they are working with someone who places integrity, honesty and hard work above all. I find that clients who work with me, usually remain clients for years because I’ve established a level of trust and respect that is continually nurtured - just like a good friendship.
How do you motivate others?
I find you get more results from a team by staying positive and offering strategic advice. Know which battles to fight and which to let go. Motivation comes from enthusiasm. If you’re excited about a project and you are putting your own best efforts into it, it’s contagious and the rest of the team will want to participate and contribute.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Continue to network and meet new people - both in and outside of your industry. Join nonprofit boards to meet people who support causes that you care about and see how those relationships can evolve leading to synergies in the future. Continue to read - everything - in terms of news to keep on top of the latest information about various industries, trends, research (science and medical), books, films, etc. The more you read, the more people will recognize your expertise on different topics. This will also help you find news hooks for clients who you are trying to assist.