Aidan Guilfoyle is all about storytelling. Whether it’s her writing or photography, her creative skills are always front and center at Hodges. Here’s her story.
A Roanoke native, Aidan left Virginia to attend Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, graduating with a double major in Psychology and Art. Knowing she wanted to do something creative with her career, she hoped her dual studies would lead her to a job in marketing. And so now, here she is.
A standout volleyball star in high school where she was first team all state, Aidan went on to play volleyball in college and today the middle hitter and former #18 is involved in the Richmond Volleyball Club, serving on the board of directors.
If you haven’t already, meet Aidan!
What advice do you have for young people who want to get into public relations?
It’s a cliché that’s true: the first job you get is (most likely) not where you are going to be for the rest of your life. With that in mind, just say yes. Say yes to experiences that may not be a perfect fit. Even if it’s a step in the direction of where you want to go or what you want to do, it’s a start.
And then when you’re there, work hard.
When I first started at Hodges, they were looking for a contractor to do a mix of client and administrative work. Not my “perfect” job, but it was a welcome start and a foot in the door. Yes, I got to work on some fun client projects, but I also made sure I was the best admin I could be. I wanted my three months to go by and be in a position where they felt like they couldn’t let me go.
Wherever you get your start, humble yourself and work hard – maybe you’ll get the full-time offer, maybe the timing isn’t right, but you’ll leave an impression where they write you a glowing recommendation.
What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Hm, I was in an a cappella group in college—and I did our group’s beatboxing?
I went to Lafayette to play volleyball, but one day, I was in the dining hall, and I heard the most beautiful singing and harmonies, and I knew I had to be a part of it. I love music. I’m the type of person that gets goosebumps when a good song comes on. So, I ended up trying out for the group and joining my sophomore year. It wasn’t like Pitch Perfect with the coordinated outfits and dance moves, although we did wear matching cardigans.
What is a misperception about working in public relations?
The public relations industry has changed so much. The lines between public relations and marketing and social media and graphic design are blurry, and there’s space for introverts (or extroverted introverts).
When I was younger, my dad and I were doing some career brainstorming. My dad is one of THE best people on this planet, but I remember him saying something along the lines of “anything but PR.” Hah – fast forward a number of years, and here I am at Hodges, working at a PR agency. Do I like cold calling reporters? No. Do we typically cold call reporters? No. Are the majority of my days spent behind a computer screen? Yes. Do I still give presentations, interface with clients and pick up the phone occasionally? Yes.
If you don’t consider yourself a huge people person, there is room in this industry for you.
What’s your favorite Richmond eatery?
I have the biggest sweet tooth; I usually give up sweets for Lent because it’s the ultimate sacrifice for me. So, ice cream, I would say Scoop. Key Lime Pie? Shyndigz (but also their bread pudding is to die for). Whisk for cookies and macarons and eclairs, but Red Eye cookies are also delish and can be delivered warm. Sugar and Twine has great muffins and other treats. Proper Pie to get some properly bomb pie.
On the savory side, a couple recs. I love the vibe that Lunch & Supper has; the Chicken & Waffles are so good (but make sure to get the gravy on the side). I am truly in LOVE with ZZQ’s brisket. I think Christopher’s Runaway Gourmet is the best lunch deal in Richmond. And I am a big Sally Bell’s stan: Roast beef on a bun, sauces on the side, potato salad, almond cupcake.
Can you think of a PR campaign that you particularly admire?
This might fall more under the marketing realm, but, after the controversy that followed Serena Williams getting fired up during a match and breaking her racket, Nike took the opportunity and created this ad. Full on goosebumps and so much girl power. I watched it and thought, “Okay, I’m getting off the couch asap and going run a quick marathon.” And I don’t run.