Ann-Marie Adams of AquabetPR

Once upon a time we were trying to organize a literary conference in Beaufort SC. I met Ann-Marie Adams when she started heading up the planning for the event. I was immediately struck by her vivacious personality and quick thinking. I also liked the crazy-looking-in-a-cute-way dog she brought with her to the meeting. I discovered that Ann-Marie knows tons about publicity. After all, she does run her own PR firm, AquabetsPR. Prior to breaking out on her own, she held a number of public relations related positions including Executive Director of the Hilton Head Hospitality Association, event planner for the US Department of Agriculture, Public Relations Director for Technical College of the Lowcountry, and she worked in PR for Cornell University and Ithaca College as well.  She was nice enough to share some PR tips with me and I asked her to share a few with you today too. Additionally, she is a great artist who has designed her own alphabet letters with a nautical theme. 

Thanks for joining us today Ann-Marie! I know a lot of nerdy chicks out there would love to know more about PR. Can you share one piece of advice with the readers about presenting a great public image? Perfect your pitch.  If you are unable to deliver a 30 second elevator pitch at the right moment your story will never find the opportunity to thrive under any other circumstances where the luxury of time prevails. Compelling stories start with a pitch.

Great advice. And many writers have heard something like this before. What’s the one thing people frequently do to promote themselves or their work that doesn’t seem to work? One size does not fit all.  That’s true in leaping to a solution without thoroughly analyzing, designing and developing your story as well as in the convenience of automating processes across the board.  If you are unwilling to do the work it takes to get to the appropriate delivery and you are not willing to understand the value each tool offers to deliver your message then you don’t really understand your audience nor can you tell your story well.

I see you on Twitter, Facebook, and Linked-In. How important is social media to people wanting to promote something? It all boils down to “content.” Presence is everything. As well, understanding the nature and application of the available tools is key.  Thus, the right content strategically placed can make all the difference in your social media presence, but poor content can make very little impact.

For you, what is the best thing about your career? I have had the good fortune at every juncture along my career path to have or to create the opportunity to work with next geners ~ the two way street of learning and sharing ideas is always accentuated by generational differences.

You’ve been Executive Director of Hilton Head Hospitality Association, served on Redevelopment Commissions, and continue to organize big events. How do you use your brain power to ensure events run smoothly? Surround yourself with the right people. That is, the individuals that are as passionate about the event as you are and in addition to those passionate peeps those that have the skills to carry it off.  That’s smart business.

The letter Z from Aquabet

In addition to your PR work, you’re also a talented artist. You’ve created Aquabet, which you describe as an original art series derived from coastal living that embodies the 26 letters of the American Alphabet. How do you use your brain power to create your art? I tend to think that one never stops creating and thus each year I’m thinking forward to “what’s next” for the twenty six piece art series called Aquabet: is it commercial, is it charitable, is it educational?  The possibilities are unlimited even when financial capital does not exist.

What is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being a nerdy chick? Versatility. Not a medal, award or recognition I know, but a quality of being capable in multiple venues to contribute positively under the best or worst of circumstances.

What’s cool about being nerdy? Wearing it daily with pride.

Tell us about a nerdy chick you admire and why you admire her. That’s easy, Jane Goodall.  There’s the obvious reason because she prevailed in defining research science as touchable and doable, but then there’s her humor.  While working at Cornell University I had the opportunity to attend a public lecture where she was to deliver remarks.  The auditorium was filled, there were individuals standing along the back wall on the lower and upper floors who were also keen on hearing Ms Goodall speak about her work with chimpanzees. At the appointed time for her delivery this frumpy looking professor in a hat, thick rimmed glasses and a trench coat walked out on stage and spoke into the microphone…”I’m sorry but due to circumstances beyond her control Jane Goodall will not be able to join us this evening…” The entire auditorium gasped, people booed, several got up from their seats and walked out.  And just as those departing made their exit there arose great laughter from the podium as the frumpy professor began to shed his hat, the coat, the disguise to reveal Jane Goodall herself.  Humor paired with intelligence is sexy in my book, especially if delivered in the most unsuspecting of ways.

Can you share a favorite song, quote or movie that speaks to your inner nerdiness? I would have to refer to a book series to answer this question.  Octavia Butler wrote a trilogy called the Xenogenesis Series that fascinated me not only in the character development throughout the course of the 3 books, but for the science of genomics that it delivered in fiction.  Granted there are aliens involved, but the science of possibility was real. My interest in genomics sparked by Octavia Butler applies to the “big screen” productions of the like where human genetics plays out, i.e. Gattaca.

What is something you like to do that might be considered a little bit nerdy, but is actually really fun?
Thanks to some really cool scientists at Cornell (Carl Sagan, Steve Squyres) I fell in love with the sky; that is, the heavens above us.  I own a Celestron Nexstar 500 and love to pull out the telescope to take a peek at the constellations, satellites, planets and shooting stars. Add to that experience the mobile app “StarWalk”: on my iPad for standing or laying in my driveway to see in real time what lies above me and following NASAEdge on Twitter for the latest of all things NASA.  I should also mention my mild fascination with Richard Branson’s (Virgin) Spaceport America in New Mexico which promises commercial voyage to the stars. I would travel to space in a heartbeat!

That sounds cool! Do you have a favorite hobby?  Cooking. I love to cook. For many years my lifestyle and professions left little time for enterprise in the kitchen much less inviting people over to dinner and conversation.  When I relocated South in 2003 that was a priority to create opportunity for community through cooking. I cook every week and blog about it on line. All for personal enjoyment.

Oh yes. I’ve seen some of your mouth-watering tweets!  Now for one more question that I ask everyone: If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?   Take the road less traveled.  Just because it seems off course or less likely to be in favor with your peers it’s your path no matter the journey it provides (good, bad or indifferent) It was designed for you and thus being different makes it unique to you and therefore not open or available to anyone else. Being special (different) is a positive thing.

Thanks Ann-Marie, for all of the tips!

Want to know more about Ann-Marie? Well, she describes herself like this:

Communicator. Storyteller. Facililtator. Writer. Advocate. Team Player. Wordsmith. Passionate Foodie. Info Junkie. Book Lover.

 (And she’s also full of positive energy and fun to be around.) You can find her all over the place, of course! Here are some of the links! (Art Gallery) (Google Profile) (Personal Tweets) (Personal FaceBook, subscribe to public posts) (Personal Blog)