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Katie Harrington gives us the dish on what it’s like to head up the PR and Social Media team for global baby brand, Munchkin. We’re so obsessed with their products for our girls, that we needed to find out what makes this brand tick and how they are navigating the ever changing social landscape.

 

Tell us a little about your background. How did you get into PR?

It all kind of fell into place while I was working at The Land of Nod. I was working as the Marketing Administrator . At the time Land of Nod was about to jump into their re-brand. Michelle Kohanzo had just moved up to fill the CEO position, and brought new initiatives on board. Before I knew it, my role was shifting from assisting with e-mail segmentation, and catalog circulation, into more influencer outreach, sponsored campaigns, and cause marketing opportunities. During that transition, I became the PR & Social Media Strategist, and we were able to bring our digital and philanthropic voice to life. It was such a whirlwind, and such an incredible experience, as Michelle saw that my personality was better suited for PR versus analytics.

 

What do you love about what you do?

I’m a social butterfly and absolutely love connecting with people. I’ve always loved pop-culture and have been personally involved in charities; it’s really a blessing to be able to bridge together the things I’m passionate about while making a living. I studied history & political science in college and was always interested in the sociology. Sociological questions that interest me are what are the circumstances in decision-making, what is happening in their world that develops certain behaviors, and how social media/technology today instantly captures movements and moods. It’s going to be incredible to be able to look back and see how individuals and brands have joined real time conversations and made a stance during specific events that would end up in the history books.

Katie Harrington of Munchkin

What qualities do you have that makes for a successful PR person?

Personality, gusto, and curiosity.

 

What do you feel has been your major contribution to Munchkin?

Bringing the digital PR to life for Munchkin, I found ways to connect the brand to bloggers and influencers which has been a big accomplishment for me. Other accomplishments would be the development of the corporate social responsibility partnerships with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Operation Gratitude, and others. Opportunities for our brand to give back to the community through charities, causes through sponsorships, volunteering hours, and product donations are so important.

Katie Harrington of Munchkin

Can you tell us a little about the in house team at Munchkin and the work dynamic there?

We have a lot of fun and are a tight-knit group. We’re a small team of three, but have the personality of 10. I’m really proud of the team, as they’ve worked tirelessly to navigate the road of rebranding and connecting with consumers, plus influencers. It takes special talent to be able to be the voice/personality of the brand, and we’ve got a team of strong employees.

 

How do you see the digital space and social media playing a role in Munchkin’s future?

It’s the fastest avenue to connect with millennial moms. We review digital/mobile behaviors of these moms on a daily basis, and we certainly want to connect with her to showcase our personality, products, and mission.

 

How do you work with influencers?

In a variety of ways, anywhere from sponsored content, and Instagram takeovers to sponsorships of their events. There are so many opportunities to create a branding campaign as every influencer has different skills, and ideas.

 

How have you seen social media change the pr landscape?

A large part has been the transition from print to the .com, but I’ve also seen and worked so many influencers, i.e. former models, actresses, etc. that have been able to reinvent themselves via blogging and are essentially now known as “lifestyle” brands.

Katie Harrington of Munchkin at the Alt Summitt

What has been your experience working with big conferences like the Alt Summit? Would you recommend these to influencers?

I’ve had the best experiences at Alt Summit. It’s an amazing conference to connect with influencers who essentially become your brand ambassadors and to create beautiful content and photography for the brand. I always leave the conference feeling incredibly inspired with new partnerships, friendships, and learning experiences. This is a large group of women who truly understand the social media endorsement realm and help make those connections possible. I absolutely recommend it to anybody looking for inspiration or brands looking to connect with creatives in the digital space.

 

At heymama we are very much about community and supporting each other as women, how important do you think community is building a successful career?  And how important is it in your personal life?

The social/PR community that I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of is truly a major factor in maintaining a successful career. It’d be virtually impossible to go forward without their support and involvement. For example, a fellow heymama friend, Morgan Smith and I hold similar careers of PR in the infant/toddler space; yet support each other’s initiatives. We go to each other’s events, share connections, and brainstorm opportunities.  There are also entrepreneurs like Amy Richardson-Golia, and Kelly Mindell who have been active in staying connected through new careers, re-brands, etc.  You should always surround yourself with an ally, and it’s been super easy to do so within the social/PR world. We’re all in this together, and are aware of what social media can do for your brand, so being able to support each other’s respective goals is very rewarding.

 

….a fellow heymama friend, Morgan Smith and I hold similar careers of PR in the infant/toddler space; yet support each other’s initiatives. We go to each other’s events, share connections, and brainstorm opportunities.You should always surround yourself with an ally.

 

 

Is there anyone specific that has supported your goals or been mentor to you?

There are a handful of incredible women in the workplace with whom, I know I wouldn’t be where I am. My first boss at The Land of Nod, Margie Stephens, was and to this day is my #1 believer. She saw something in me and never let me settle, or take the easy road. Margie taught me so much personally, and professionally; self-confidence, remembering to laugh, and giving back to the community. The same goes for Danielle Kurtz (Creative Director at Nod) and Michelle Kohanzo. They literally always encouraged me to think outside of the box. I had an absolute blast with them, so many memories that I’m thankful for. Also, Munchkin’s General Counsel, Petty Rader has taken me under her wing and become a great friend. She’s shown me the ropes of navigating a new career, and life here out west. They have all been my guardian angels. I’d also like to add that I’ve been so fortunate to be surrounded by supportive family and a wonderful group of friends from the start. They’re very active in engaging in my career initiatives, and are great cheerleaders.

 

Where would you like see yourself in 5 years?

Still in the PR world, I’m pretty content with the scope of work, but tackling more responsibilities. I think it would be fun to also become an adjunct professor teaching PR and social media practices.

 

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Act like an owner. If you showcase an entrepreneurial spirit, and are able to articulate goals, then there’s nothing that will stop you from achieving the desired results. You’ll have all of the tools necessary to make it happen.

 

What would you like to tell your 22-year-old self?

I was definitely having fun at 22 years old and living in the moment, but was always trying to please everyone. It might have been a lack of self-confidence, and looking back, I’d tell myself to be more secure and own who I was, and not be shy about voicing an opinion.

 

How do you balance career and family and carve out some time for yourself?

This is always a juggling act, as the truth is that I’m not very good at relaxing. My mind is always thinking about following up on emails, cleaning, or running around to get Gavin to his lessons on time. I’m constantly being reminded to “take it easy” or not worry so much, but I tend to get swept up what I’m a part of; motherhood, work, life…it’s just genuinely part of my DNA, as I think I always like to be a part of/accomplishing something, big or little. I will say, however, that I always find “me” time for a nice mani & pedi.

 

How do you plan to nurture and encourage your son to encourage his dreams?

I am Gavin’s biggest fan. I tell him everyday how proud he should be of himself, whether it’s problem solving homework, sharing, or completing his chore chart. As he grows, I’ll continue to be his #1 advocate and encourage him to be self aware, kind, and ambitious. As long as he is fulfilled and has good morals, nothing else matters. Little brother is due in April 2016, and I want nothing more for my kids to be healthy and happy.

You can learn more about Katie on her heymama profile here, the Munchkin website here,  and the Munchkin Instagram here.

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