To celebrate and leverage the experienced and wise voices in the PR industry, PR Club is launching a new content series – “Words from PR Executives” – where executives and seasoned PR professionals will provide their expertise on a certain topic that they specialize in, as well as tips and tricks.
PR Club Board Member and Content Lead, Catie Valzania, sat down with our 2023 PR Club Bell Ringer Crystal Bell Winner & Principal of Hollywood Agency, Darlene Hollywood, to discuss the power of networking, her best pitching advice and her go-to news source.
Here is what Darlene had to say:
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is just starting out in communications?
Watch the news, read the papers, know what is happening in the world.
What does the future of PR look like to you?
The industry has gone through a lot of transformations. The threat of AI is looming for everyone, but I believe that public relations is about relations with the public and the computer cannot replace that. There will always be the need for that level of consumer interaction.
Go to news source?
New York Times
What is your number one piece of pitching advice?
Stay on it. Maybe means yes.
What is a unique way to network?
People don’t realize what networking opportunities exist by joining a board of an organization – like not-for-profit organizations. I encourage people to put themselves out there as most can rally behind something they believe in, and a lot of the organizations are starved for people in the communications field to support efforts. A not-for-profit organization is stacked with influential people and senior leaders in those communities. You can network, all while giving back to a worthy cause, so challenge yourself to open up and expose yourself to a new group of people that you typically wouldn’t reach.
What are your high-level, blanket networking tips?
Start by going to LinkedIn or an organization’s website to understand who is there, and on the board, and then reach out to ask if there are volunteer opportunities. Even if there isn’t an available board seat, you can offer to help until there is.
Then, my biggest advice is to show up. People join boards because they want to take the credit or for a resume builder, but you need to show up to get the real networking opportunity and make an impact. Be an active member of the team and raise your hand.
What are you involved in?
I am currently involved with a mix of professional and cause related boards focused on community involvement.
From a personal and community involvement perspective, I sit on the Fundraising Committee for NVNA and Hospice, which is a cause of personal importance to me. I am also on the board of South Shore Stars, which is involved in early childhood stars and working on building a school specializing in supporting dyslexic students on the South Shore. Lastly, I am on the Executive Community of South Shore Economic Development Corp – a sister organization to the South Shore Chamber. I am passionate about this as chambers are really the backbone of a community and are heavily involved in economic development. This is important to me as a business owner in Hingham on the South Shore, as I want to help bring in a community of young people to the area through economic development.
From a professional standpoint, I am just coming off of a tenure as President of British American Business Council of New England. In this role, I worked on business relations between US and UK, which was a great learning experience and provided incredible opportunities outside of my network.
For more than twenty five years, Darlene has helped B2B, B2C and nonprofits gain market visibility through thoughtful integrated marketing communications. As principal of Hollywood Agency, Darlene, with a staff of media relations and digital pros, sets the strategic direction for how clients’ stories are pitched, placed and measured. Since founding Hollywood Agency in 2011, her firm has supported household brands including Welch’s, Playtex, Samsonite, Stanley, Black& Decker and Honeywell.
Darlene is a prior president of the Boston Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), one of the nation’s largest chapters. In 2017, the chapter honored her with the Diane Davis Beacon Award, its most prestigious honor for extraordinary achievement. That same year, Darlene was nationally recognized as a Champion of PR by PRWeek, the industry’s leading trade publication. In 2023, Darlene was praised with the John J. Molloy Crystal Bell for Lifetime Achievement by the Publicity Club of New England. An award-winning firm, Hollywood Agency has been recognized with more than 50 awards for its work.
Currently, Darlene sits on the executive committee for the South Shore Economic Development Corporation, a sister organization to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, for which she is also a past member of its executive committee. Darlene is the immediate past president of the British American Business Council of New England. She currently sits on fundraising boards for both NVNA and Hospice and South Shore Stars, an organization focused on early childhood education. She is a past student advisor for Bridgewater State College and was treasurer and press secretary for a prominent Massachusettss State Representative. Darlene holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from Emerson College.