August 18, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Chats with Chip: Kami Huyse of Zoetica Media

Chats with Chip: Kami Huyse of Zoetica Media

Kami Huyse is an award-winning leader in public relations, who writes and speaks frequently about the role of social media in modern communications. She brings two decades of experience to her role as CEO of Zoetica Media, where she connects clients with the communities that matter most to them. Like me, she went to college in the Washington D.C. area and graduated in 1994. She, however, was smart enough to choose a warmer climate when she was done with the nation’s capital, and she now lives and works in Texas.

In this podcast, we discussed how she came to head her own agency and the path she took to being one of the leading voices for effective public relations in social media.

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About the Show

Chats with Chip features conversations with public relations and communications leaders, innovators, authors and visionaries. It is hosted by Chip Griffin, a longtime PR professional and veteran podcaster.

*** UNVERIFIED TRANSCRIPT ***

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CHIP GRIFFIN: Kami Huyse is an award-winning leader in public relations, who writes and speaks frequently about the role of social media in modern communications. She brings two decades of experience to her role as CEO of Zoetica Media, where she connects clients with the communities that matter most to them. Like me, she went to college in the Washington D.C. area and graduated in 1994. She, however, was smart enough to choose a warmer climate when she was done with the nation’s capital, and she now lives and works in Texas. I am very pleased to have Kami as my guest today. Welcome.

KAMI HUYSE: Thanks, Chip. It’s great to be here.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Well hopefully it is considerably warmer in Texas than it is here in New Hampshire today. We’re expecting snow this evening as we record this. But, you know, what can you do. I guess that’s life in New England.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, I wish that we had snow occasionally.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Well, I’ll tell you what. We’ll send you ours.

KAMI HUYSE: Alright, great. Thank you. You’re so, so good.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Alright, so, let’s start with, you know, when you went to George Mason University, you majored in PR and Journalism. I think that if I recall correctly, the major was more complicated than that. But what drew you to that field initially?

KAMI HUYSE: Actually it was a Speech Communication degree, which is, you know, basically what you just said. But what it really entailed was an underpinning of theory and a broad understanding of how communication works – persuasion and all of those kinds of pieces of communication, as far as theory goes. And I guess what drew me to that at the time was just that I felt I was probably most gifted in that area. I was always a writer. I was always somebody who liked to tell stories. I was in theatre and music and all of those kind of things. And I felt like this would be a way that I could make a career and enjoy what I did. I didn’t — I mean, it would’ve been nice to make it on Broadway, but I knew that was probably not going to happen. So I wanted to have something that I would really actually enjoy from day-to-day, something that I liked to get up and do everyday.

CHIP GRIFFIN: So did you — have you continued to be involved in the theatre at all? Or was that just something you were able to do when you were a student?

KAMI HUYSE: I have. I mean, I’ve done some things over the years. Right after I graduated from college and I moved to Texas with my husband, actually it wasn’t right after. There was a little gap. I did a lot of community theatre in my twenties and early thirties, and then I sang one season with the San Antonio Lyric Opera. So I did continue to do some stuff over the years. And I’ve recorded some music and sang back-up on some CDΓÇÖs. I actually am a back-up singer on a children’s CD that was picked up by Disney a couple of years ago. So, yeah, I continue to do some things.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Good. It’s great that you’re able to, you know, to still have the time and obviously the talent to do that sort of thing. I would hate to think what would happen if I tried to sing.

KAMI HUYSE: That would be great. Actually, there’s this really great, new karaoke machine that will auto-tune your voice, so I’ll send you the link.

CHIP GRIFFIN: I think I would need at least that, if not more, to make it palatable. Okay, so you went to school, you got this Speech Communication degree, and then you had to go off into the real world. At some point we all have to leave the campus environment, where it’s, you know, fun and mostly relaxed, at least it was for me, and then say, “Hey look! Now we’ve got to get a job. We have to pay bills, all those fun things. Pay off the student loans. So where did you go after George Mason?

KAMI HUYSE: So when I finished off George Mason in ‘94. Actually, I put myself through school, so it never was calm and pleasant. It was something that I worked pretty hard at to get done. I was working in an internship with a non-profit called America’s Charities. Actually, it was called National United Service Agencies, which was a mouthful. But about the time that I went there to be their intern, they decided to change their name to America’s Charities, which is a better name. And they are basically a workplace giving campaign, kind of campaign, like the United Way organization. And they picked up non-profits that were not – that the United Way campaign wouldn’t pick up for various reasons. But we had Make a Wish Foundation and Habit for Humanity, and I think the Heritage Foundation was actually on our roster too. So we did workplace giving campaigns for different organizations and companies around the country. So I was really there for that name change, and in fact, it was so long ago that we had launched our first website at that time for them, and it is – the URL that I got for them was charities.org, so tells you how long ago that was.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Wow, that’s impressive.

KAMI HUYSE: So they still have that. So, yeah, I mean, that was my first kind of job, if you will. I interned for them before I got off school, and then I went to work there right after I got out of school, sort of on a semi-permanent part-time basis, so it was a 30-hour a week job. And then I did some temp work around that, putting together all kinds of graphic design stuff, so I’d go in and their art director would give me a bunch of photos and I’d put them in. And I also worked a little bit for network solutions coding. They had me coding up websites for protease inhibitors and biology catalogs, where scientists could order their biology products.

CHIP GRIFFIN: So when you say coding, you mean, you’re writing the HTML?

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, writing the HTML. HTML 1, in fact. And I told them I didn’t know any HTML, and they said, “Oh, no problem. We’ll teach it to you.” I was a typist. You know, I was typing.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Well, you know, compared to the technologies today, HTML – looking back on it – was fairly simple, although, you know, until you actually got to dive into it, it seemed much more daunting, I think.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, I think that’s right.

CHIP GRIFFIN: So, you know, it seems like very early on you had this exposure to the new media world. Is that something that, you know, immediately grabbed your interest, or did you come along more slowly from the traditional side of PR into the new media?

KAMI HUYSE: I would say I always had an interest in it. I was probably a little slower than I should’ve been because I couldn’t really afford to buy a computer of my own. You know, a lot of people — a lot of my contemporaries that came up through new media and kind of the computer/IT side, you know, they all had Ataris and stuff and they were working on things at home. I just never — I was in a family that wasn’t — we weren’t blessed with the finances to be able to do that. And I didn’t really have my own computer. I was handwriting my college essays until, I think, my sophomore year of college. And then I joined the student newspaper at that time, called The Broad Side at George Mason University, and that really honestly changed my entire world, you know. So that was really where I really switched over. So yes, I was very interested in it at an early time, but, you know, compared to some of my contemporaries maybe slightly later, you know. So, I really felt like that that was probably the seminal moment for me, when I went into that student newspaper and I started to do advertising design and page design. At first we were doing layouts, you know, the old-fashioned way where you waxed the paper, stuck it on the thing, and so we did a lot of that. And then we got a Macintosh with a little – and I did all the advertising on the Macintosh – so I would design the ads and then they would, then we would print them out on paper, and they’d take the ads and they’d paste them on to the layout. It’s amazing to think.

CHIP GRIFFIN: We’re dating ourselves here by remembering these techniques.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, I know. It’s horrible. And they had that neat little line, you know, it was like a tape, and you’d make your divisions on the paper with the line. So that was something that I really enjoyed, and I loved it so much. And then we got PageMaker. PageMaker came out. And PageMaker, we adopted it, and we went to PC actually at that time. Strangely, cause you’d think, you know, Mac ended up winning that game, but that was what they chose. And so I was doing layouts and all of that on PageMaker back in the day. So yeah, I loved it. And when I got into America’s Charities, they were very much on board with moving forward. There was an IT guy that they had on staff that was also excited about it, and he kind of led the charge on the website. And then my second job, which was really the next step for me, was Manufactured Housing Institute, and when I went to work there, they didn’t even have external email yet. So I led the charge on, like, “We have to have external email.” So I remember, you know, some of the engineers were really mad at me because they’re like, “We’re going to have to answer all these emails now. Why did you do this?” So –

CHIP GRIFFIN: Well at the same time you would have been there, I was on Capitol Hill. I started there in ‘91, and I remember, now people say to me, “Jeepers, when you were on Capitol Hill, how did you deal with that influx of email?” I said, “We didn’t have email. We didn’t have PCs. We had dumb terminals.
It wasn’t until my second stint on Capitol Hill when I went back in, I guess, ‘96 or so, that I was actually in an office that had even internal email. So it’s a very different world.

KAMI HUYSE: That’s right. And they had internal email. But I think I started with MHI in ‘95. I’d have to go back and look at my LinkedIn, but I think it’s ‘95. And that was exactly around that time. So I would say, you know, I was working for a trade association and we were probably feeding you from time to time on Capitol Hill.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Probably.

KAMI HUYSE: Just so you know.

CHIP GRIFFIN: You know, we’ve probably met years ago, we just don’t remember.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah.

CHIP GRIFFIN: There’s actually, Jeff Livingston – who obviously you know – he was a bartender at a bar that I used to drink at while I was underage. Not that, of course, that I would admit to that, but I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has expired. But, so that was an interesting conversation when we realized that.

KAMI HUYSE: That’s awesome.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Small world.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, it is. So, yeah, I mean, I would say that I did have an early interest. I would say the thing that really got my attention were new media, was really the Drudge Report when it came out. I was on, as you were in Washington D.C., when that became a really popular thing. And I donΓÇÖt know if you remember the days because it was about ΓÇÖ97-ΓÇÖ98, where every day almost everyone in Washington would open the Drudge Report to see what the news was for the day. What were the rumors? What were the things that were going on? So that really, kind of, impressed me at the time, either for negative or for good, but just the power of the medium. And then when we went into Baghdad the first time – America went into Baghdad – and we were bombing Baghdad, I found this blog, and thatΓÇÖs sort of where IΓÇÖd became aware of blogs. There was a woman that was blogging from Baghdad and her name ΓÇô she didnΓÇÖt have a real name, she used an anonymous name called River Bend, and at this point it was clear that she was a Sunni negative obviously about the bombings, but she was talking about how the American troops were going door to door and searching, and how the fear that they had, and just sort of a young girlΓÇÖs perspective from Baghdad. And I just was fascinated by that. Fascinated. Like, how amazing is it that I can open up my computer and read the perspectives of the other side of this war every single day, and what itΓÇÖs like to be there. And she wrote so well about ΓÇô you know, she just had really good imagery. So I felt that I was entranced by blogs at that point, as far as being a really powerful medium. The one thing that I would say that though is it also made me feel like IΓÇÖd never write one because I thought I would never be able to talk about my own life like the way that she did. You know, or share that way. I wasnΓÇÖt interested in writing about my day-to-day life. So I guess I also had filed it in my head that I wouldnΓÇÖt have a blog. It wasnΓÇÖt something for me. But then in 2005, a number of things happened. I met my husband, and that kind of transitioned. That was the transition for me. So thatΓÇÖs how I ended up in Texas and some other things. So when that happened, and I started my own company in 2002, I got married, started my own company, moved from Washington, D.C., you know, pretty much changed all the things in my life.

CHIP GRIFFIN: I was going to say, very uneventful year for you. It sounds like.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah. Things that you can ΓÇô basically changing everything that you could possibly change. I didnΓÇÖt have a baby. But beyond that, everything was changing. So I found myself in the middle of Texas. Actually at that point, San Antonio, and itΓÇÖs a beautiful city, but I knew nobody there. And I was feeling very isolated. Then I got pregnant, and had my son. And I just, you know, saw that blogging was ΓÇô there was a couple of people by then blogging for business. And I was starting to read it and look at things, and I thought, you know, I can do that. And yeah, so I launched my first blog in actually this month of 2005.

CHIP GRIFFIN: So 9 years ago?

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah. So, my “blogger-versary” was last week.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Well, I want to come back to the blog in a minute, but as an entrepreneur IΓÇÖm always curious, the story behind someone starting their first company. Why did you decide to start a company rather than perhaps seeking more conventional employment?

KAMI HUYSE: Get a job?

CHIP GRIFFIN: Yeah.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah. “Why didnΓÇÖt you get a job?” Unlike a lot of people, I didnΓÇÖt do it because I had no other choice. That was definitely not why I did it. I had always had this feeling that I wanted to start a company at some point. I felt like I needed to have some experience by the time I had left, you know, by the time I got married to my husband, IΓÇÖd been working for 8 years, I guess. So I mean, thatΓÇÖs a good, long time and I felt like I had a lot of experience. IΓÇÖd been a national spokesperson. IΓÇÖd worked in crisis situations. I had launched a magazine and became its editor. I had done a huge name change for a major national non-profit. I had a lot of really great experiences. IΓÇÖd done national campaigns with Miss America. IΓÇÖd just done a lot of things. So I felt like that at that point that it was probably a good time for me to do that. Also my job – when I left it, from Washington – they asked me if I would continue to edit the magazine for a while, and they thought I could do that just fine from Texas. So I kind of came with a client already.

CHIP GRIFFIN: ThatΓÇÖs always helpful.

KAMI HUYSE: Which is helpful. And, so I started, and I just, you know, loved it. I immediately loved it. I immediately loved the freedom it gave me. We planned on having kids, and so I knew ΓÇô and I was in my 30s – so I knew IΓÇÖd have to have kids pretty much boom, boom, boom, right in a row. And so it gave me that flexibility that I would need to go ahead and have my family and also have my career because, to me, the career was really important.

CHIP GRIFFIN: And did you have a vision of certain kinds of clients or was it just you know whatever interesting projects came along. You know, what was your ambition at that point?

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, my ambition was exactly the second one. I really just wanted to do interesting work. One of the things that was really great about getting married was that my husband had, you know, a conventional job. HeΓÇÖs an engineer, and so we had health insurance. So, to me, that was, you know, a huge part of the freedom that I had there. I didnΓÇÖt have to find that. And we decided very early on that we would live off of his salary and only his salary, so we didnΓÇÖt, you know, thatΓÇÖs where we went with that. And then my salary would be basically a lot of other things. But we have used my salary, believe me. But, you know, we just set it up that way in order for our personal ability to manage our finances. And I think that, as an entrepreneur that gives you a lot of freedom to be able to do what you need to do. And he always treated my job as if it was as important as his, and we still do. WeΓÇÖre still looking at the calendar, and you know, saying “This is where IΓÇÖm going to this.” I mean, we very much work together because we both travel. We have three kids. So, you know, he doesnΓÇÖt look at my job as being less than his, you know, just because [?] than his, kind of thing.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Right. And so, you know, obviously over time, you know, youΓÇÖve managed to, even further raise your profile in part because of your blog, I think. Right? I mean, I would attribute a lot of the connections youΓÇÖve been able to make through your social media activities.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, I mean, I would say that the blog was a game changer for me. I would say that the blog was absolutely a turning point in my career, no doubt about it. At that point, 2005, you know, IΓÇÖd been doing public relations for 11 years at that point, so I wasnΓÇÖt a beginner, right? But what it really let me do is let me connect with people that there would be no possible way I could connect with otherwise. You know, across the world. Not just across the nation. And work with people on projects and things like that that were much bigger than I could do in the middle of San Antonio, Texas. So, for me, that was a game changer. And that was before Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Vine, and, you know, all of these other things that have come since. And I think that, you know, today weΓÇÖre such a connected society, but back when I started my blog it was really unusual to even work from home.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Right.

KAMI HUYSE: You know.

CHIP GRIFFIN: And now everybody does that. Seems like it.

KAMI HUYSE: Not everybody, but yeah. I mean, thereΓÇÖs people that ΓÇô thereΓÇÖs companies that still, I canΓÇÖt believe, are very selective about that. But I would say that itΓÇÖs common now. I mean, out in my street here, IΓÇÖve met at least 5, 6, 7 people who have a home office, you know. And thatΓÇÖs here in just one little neighborhood in America, so IΓÇÖm assuming thatΓÇÖs happening everywhere.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Was there a moment when you realized that your decision to have a blog was going to be that impactful?

KAMI HUYSE: I donΓÇÖt know if there was a moment, but there was an interesting ΓÇô I did have one interesting moment kind of early on, that I could point to. I was blogging and back then, the way that we talked to each other, obviously, since we didnΓÇÖt have Twitter or Facebook, we would leave comments on peopleΓÇÖs blogs. That used to happen. Still does. In some blogs.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Yes.

KAMI HUYSE: But what I was going to say is that, I donΓÇÖt know if, you know, and you were there, so you know what IΓÇÖm saying, but we would take a concept or an idea and somebody would blog about that idea. And then 3 or 4 other people would take that concept or idea and add their own part to it. And the idea was add value in every single blog post so that youΓÇÖre building a body of knowledge, that was kind of the understanding, and I was very excited about all of that. But what I didnΓÇÖt realize was the personal connection that could happen. So I was minding my own business, and one day I got a huge reply – all type of email with a bunch of peopleΓÇÖs names on it – and it was basically all of these bloggers that I was connecting with online all the time. And it was a big email and they were talking about an issue, and it was this big conversation that happened on email. And I know this sounds ridiculous that that would be a watershed moment for me, but it was because I looked at that and thought, ΓÇ£Oh my gosh, we can actually talk to each other not on the blog. We can actually talk to each other in real life.ΓÇ¥ And so it just ΓÇô it knocked down that silo for me of like online/offline. Do you understand what IΓÇÖm trying to say? And I realized, you know, ΓÇ£Wow, I mean, these are people that are actually going to be people like I actually know-know, like in my real lifeΓÇ¥. And so then that real life and online world kind of collided and I just kind of opened up to that. And then I started going to conferences and I started meeting people, and hanging out with people, and talking to them on the phone, and all the things that you would normally do with any colleague that youΓÇÖre working with day-to-day. And I think, you know, some people probably donΓÇÖt do that still.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Yeah, I think people underestimate the value of the human interaction and rely too heavily on things like email and social networks. ItΓÇÖs one of the reasons that I travel as much as I do. ItΓÇÖs not because I like being away from home, or because I think hotels are, you know, that much fun to be in, but the way that youΓÇÖre able to interact with people directly just is really powerful, and you get to know people better, and you build stronger relationships that way.

KAMI HUYSE: Right, and I invest in that too, carefully. And mostly, I only go to conferences where IΓÇÖm speaking and those kinds of things because I do have small children, and we do have an interesting schedule. But I would say that overall thatΓÇÖs one thing that IΓÇÖve learned about social networking. It will connect you with everybody in the world, but you still have to make the personal connection.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Right. And there are different ways. I mean, obviously for folks who I know who are overseas, the in-person is not always feasible, so, you know, in those cases you use things like Skype, like weΓÇÖre using today. Or things like that, that get you as close to that, you know, in-person experience as possible. DonΓÇÖt rely on just 140 characters to have the relationship.

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, I think itΓÇÖs funny because I think it was Shel and Neville I heard talking about on their podcast a couple of weeks ago having dinner parties on Skype. I thought that was really interesting, funny.

CHIP GRIFFIN: I missed that one. IΓÇÖll have to dial it back to that one.

KAMI HUYSE: It was before they met in person, the one. So 7/7/7 probably. Anyway, so I mean, I just feel like that those kinds of things are really interesting and weΓÇÖre not utilizing them yet to the full potential that they have.

CHIP GRIFFIN: So, you know, speaking of relationships, you know, one of the things that I noticed is that you have the APR designation from the Public Relations Society of America, and thatΓÇÖs something thatΓÇÖs often a topic of discussion. IΓÇÖm curious why you decided to do it, and what you see the value of it as.

KAMI HUYSE: Sure, I got it in ΓÇÖ95 or ΓÇÖ94, I donΓÇÖt know, very early in my career. I went for it. And partly, the reason I went for it is because my boss really valued it, and he was part of the PRSA National Capitol Chapter. And he really had — he just encouraged me to do it. He paid for it. He paid for my training, all of that. And I loved it. I will tell you that I did because, number one, I didnΓÇÖt go to a PR program. I went to a Mass Communication program, so I didnΓÇÖt have like tactical understanding about how a strategy would work. Do you know what IΓÇÖm saying? I didnΓÇÖt understand that there was a four part process. I mean, I understood it, that there were all these things you could do. You could do research. You could do measurement. I didnΓÇÖt know how to put them all together. I didnΓÇÖt know the “R pie”, if you will, you know, the research, you know, and all of the things that you need to do to pull a strategy together. And so I think that that strategic framework, honestly, has made me as successful in my career as I am. And I will totally and 100% credit that to going through the APR process and mostly credit it to the course that I took to get ready for the APR that was taught by these coast guard guys in Washington, D.C. Really, really good training. So, for me, thatΓÇÖs the value IΓÇÖve had out of it. I mean, I donΓÇÖt personally think it gets me jobs or people even care that itΓÇÖs hooked to my name. For me, it was really about the knowledge base and understanding those things early in my career so that I was able to apply that stuff from day one.

CHIP GRIFFIN: What advice would you give to younger communicators today who are trying to figure out how they can improve their career trajectory over the next 10 or 15 years?

KAMI HUYSE: Yeah, I think, you know, the more strategic that you can be, the better that youΓÇÖre going to be because you can show your value. So being able to show your value clearly through the kinds of programs you put on and measuring your results are like maybe the most important thing that you can do in my mind. And IΓÇÖm kind of pulling up here, because I wrote an article in Spin Sucks a couple of years ago about this that I think really, really kind of hits that point. But one of the things that I think I told them was, “Learn Excel. Learn how to, you know, manipulate data in spreadsheets, because the honest truth is most communicators donΓÇÖt know how to do it. And if you know how to do it, youΓÇÖre going to stand hand and shoulders above the others. ItΓÇÖs not hard to learn. ItΓÇÖs not math, even. It does the math for you.” You know. So I would just say, you know, that would be one thing that I would really, really recommend that people do. I also recommend that that they do go ahead and understand. If they donΓÇÖt understand the four step planning process, or whatever, that they should learn that, because that understanding how to do all of the different parts, you know, the planning, the implementation, the, what they call, you know, evaluation, so ” R is for research, P is for planning, I is for implementation, E is for evaluation.” That is called “R pie” to remember it. But, you know, learning all those steps and how to put them together, all of a sudden you have an integrated and totally measurable campaign or communications program. And every time that is going to get you promoted. I mean, people are looking for the go-getters out in the world. So if you are the go-getter. If you do the 2% that nobody else does, youΓÇÖre going to get noticed. You donΓÇÖt have to be brilliant to get noticed like that. I mean, you donΓÇÖt have to be the smartest person on the planet to do this.

CHIP GRIFFIN: So I feel like we could, you know, go on for an hour here, but we donΓÇÖt have that long unfortunately. So I would like to hit up my last question – which is my favorite last question to ask on this show – and that is if you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

KAMI HUYSE: Wow. If I had to do it all over again, what would I do differently? You know, I really feel like I would do nothing differently. I really feel like I learned so much even from my failures in life. I would not change my failures for anything because your failures really do show you, they really do show you how to become a better communicator and how to do better in life. And so I find that almost all the knowledge IΓÇÖve learned, itΓÇÖs been through like a failure or two or a difficulty or a struggle. So, you know, struggling is that way. But I guess maybe I wouldnΓÇÖt have taken myself so seriously at a young age, because realizing now where I stand, all of those things that seem so important and so like overwhelming at the time that youΓÇÖre in them, you know, ten years from then will mean nothing. You know, so whatever struggle youΓÇÖre in, whatever concerns you have, I would just say work through them, but persevere. And I think perseverance is so important. And I do feel that I persevered. So I feel like I, you know, did the right thing, but donΓÇÖt give up. Even if you think that youΓÇÖre completely failed, please donΓÇÖt give up, because you really can reinvent yourself every time. As we were talking about before the call, everybody should have the chance to at least change their name once. You know. So, you know, we all make mistakes. And so I would say, just donΓÇÖt take yourself so seriously.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Yeah. And, you know, speaking of failure, IΓÇÖm a huge fan of failure, I guess, is one way of putting it. It sounds so odd. But IΓÇÖve actually, as an entrepreneur, IΓÇÖve been on a number of different panels that have been focused on discussing just failure. And my personal perspective is that you can only learn from failure. You canΓÇÖt really learn from success because it might just be dumb luck that got you to where you were, whereas failure, you have something to dissect and you can really figure out what went into it. So itΓÇÖs not to say that failure is something you want to do a lot of. You certainly want to minimize it. But I think that failure is a really powerful learning tool. And as you say, I think it does help you, you know, take yourself perhaps a little less seriously. I think back to twenty years ago, the responsibilities I had when I worked on Capitol Hill. I thought I knew everything. I thought that, you know, it made perfect sense. Now I look back and say, ΓÇ£God, why did they ever let me do that when I was 23 years old? ThatΓÇÖs crazy.ΓÇ¥

KAMI HUYSE: Well I always find itΓÇÖs funny that, and thatΓÇÖs something I learned living in D.C. too, and I tell people all the time, I say, ΓÇ£Do you realize that 23 years olds are running the country, truly.ΓÇ¥

CHIP GRIFFIN: Yeah, itΓÇÖs kind of a scary thought at times, but –

KAMI HUYSE: ItΓÇÖs good though. I mean, these are great opportunities. And I had great bosses along the way that gave me opportunities that were beyond my years, and I thank them for it everyday. Because I believe struggling through some of those things is what made me as strong of a communicator as I am today, so yeah.

CHIP GRIFFIN: And I strongly encourage anybody whoΓÇÖs interested in communications to when theyΓÇÖre young, put in some time in D.C. because you do get, I think, a lot more hands on exposure to things at a much younger age then you would in most other places.

KAMI HUYSE: Mhm. ThatΓÇÖs probably true. I mean, I came from that, so I canΓÇÖt really know. I donΓÇÖt know about other places, but definitely I did.

CHIP GRIFFIN: Yeah. Well, Kami, I really appreciate you taking the time to be with us today. My guest has been Kami Huyse of Zoetica Media.

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About The Author

Chip Griffin is the Founder of CustomScoop. He writes and speaks frequently about data-driven public relations. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChipGriffin.

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