Member Profile: Sarah Grolnic-McClurg
Meet our members! We will periodically feature veteran and new PRSA San Francisco members, and tell the story of their public relations career. If you would like to suggest a PRSA San Francisco member for a profile, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Principal, Pounce PR
How did you get started in public relations/communications and what has your journey looked like?
My work in PR and communications started during and right after college; I worked in a series of non-profits doing events, collateral, reports, some media, and loads of outreach. I never knew it would add up to valuable experience, because, at the time, I was thinking about going back to school. I toyed with the idea of degrees in law, public policy and divinity school and went so far as to receive an offer to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology.
After ruling out more education, I dipped my big toe in the water in PR and, for the most part, never looked back. Ultimately, my love of politics, policy, issues, and the news—which all might have yielded an advanced degree—ended up being an excellent foundation for my profession.
After launching my PR career in San Francisco, I moved back to the east coast for 11 years and was fortunate to land a job at Mount Holyoke College, a prestigious women’s college in Massachusetts. While with the college, I landed a bevy of national placements; five years later, I founded Pounce PR as a solo practice, which it remains today almost 15 years later.
I’m a self-starter so it’s been a great fit. I work closely with other senior-level professionals and enjoy the fast pace, collaboration, and the opportunities to provide high-level advice. I work well with organizations and businesses of all kinds that need PR advice and those that aren’t yet big enough to support an in-house PR position or only need this expertise part-time. Pounce’s client roster is varied (health care, banking/finance, professional services, cleantech, non-profit, the social enterprise sector) and most client work has been long-term. Learn more about Pounce PR: www.pounce-pr.com.
What do you like most about your career in public relations/communications?
I love the learning, the excitement and the thrill of the chase. And, getting great results is right up my alley, very energizing—if not addictive. I still get excited when I land media results or even smell news.
I also really enjoy meeting new people and educating clients about PR. And, now I’m a big fan of social media. I’ve embraced it, and I’m pleased it’s proven to be a new channel for our profession.
Tell us about a memorable moment in your career.
Placing one of the college’s experts on Oprah was a memorable moment and the photo I have from the set that day is something I still treasure. I have other keepsakes, too, relating to the people with whom I’ve worked: a client note I just received over the holidays thanked me for being “a great member of the team” and “a complete pleasure” to work with. The feeling was mutual and the note is a keeper!
Why did you join PRSA and how does your membership benefit you?
I joined PRSA when I worked at Mount Holyoke College because I sought the APR credential. I wanted to attach the APR letters to my name so people would know I’m serious and that my field is, too.
Now, I’m a member because the San Francisco chapter offers a sense of community, learning opportunities and the chance to give back. I really credit the local chapter for helping me take the plunge into social media. I went to many of the chapter’s social media offerings, and they were all terrific: affordable, hands-on, comprehensive and helpful. I look forward to more educational programming.