Dream PR Job Interview: Michelle Tompkins, Girl Scouts of the USA Spokesperson

Monday, January 18, 2010

 2010 Journchat Challenge

Last week during #Journchat, our host Sara Evans presented a challenge to the 200+ PR & Journalist in attendance:  Interview the person who has(d) your dream job, then post the interview. I became both a bit giddy and a bit nostalgic at this challenge. Before I hung up my DeeGospel PR shingle, before I working in architecture, before I had girlee I wanted to work in PR for Girl Scouts. I had worked in PR for MDA, the CDC and The Coca Cola Company, but I'm a green blood. Have been since I was eight-years-old and now am a Cadette leader(Salem Service Unit Troop 27536.) I wanted to jump right on this assignment.

However with the news of the 2010 Haiti Eathquake and how it has affected my immediate family I didn't think I would be able to meet the challenge. My boyfriend lost five relatives (so far confirmed) in this disaster. He is of course shaken and so am I.

But yesterday I decided to take a break from all this sadness and contact my dream job owner, Michelle Tompkins, spokesperson for The Girl Scouts of the USA. To my surprise she responded and called me today ready to do the interview. Wow! Yeah, Girl Scouts!

So here's a snippet of the interview below. I recorded it, but it was a bit muffled. Girlee was yelling at her Wii in the background. lol Enjoy!!

 Michelle Tompkins, Spokeswoman for The Girl Scouts of America

1. How did you become a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of America?

My story is sort of backwards. I was a talent agent before I joined Girl Scouts. I went back to school in 2004 and worked in freelance PR. Four years ago I decided I wanted steadier income, so I responded to a Girl Scout job announcement. I was hired as a temp, then was hired as an associate, then promoted from consultant to manager at a steady trajectory.

2. What training did you need to have to do this job?

  • You need solid writing skills.
  • You need to learn the Girl Scout messages
  • You need good judgment to determine which stories are newsworthy and which aren't.
  • You need to have a good sense of humor.
For instance many people are passionate about Girl Scout Cookies: how are they baked?, calories, the particular cookie being sold, are the girls baking these cookies, childhood obesity, the gamut... You have to think quickly, while continuing to share the messaging of Girl Scouts at the same time.

Last year on this day the FDA Salmonella Warning came out about the food recall for foods baked with peanuts from a list of bakers. Girl Scout Cookies were not a part of that list, because we used different bakers and didn't have the contamination. We immediately wrote a press release about the FDA Warning and a note that all Girl Scout cookies are safe to eat. We updated that press release every month in order to keep it current. We monitored the messaging behind that very closely.

3. What is the most fun about the job?

The most fun is working with the girls. They are so creative.

4. What is the biggest challenge?

Part of my job is Media Relations-- getting our message into the media and keeping things our of the media. The latter is a challenge.  Although most outlets have great things to say about The Girl Scouts of the USA I still have to stay ontop of the messaging, particularly when they leave things out from the message.

Also this year we will be presenting new information regarding the Girl Scouts( our tag lines.) I will have to learn more messages.

Another challenge is that I am tied to my Blackberry. We receive media calls 247 so my job isn't 9 to 5. What is great about this job is that I don't mind taking the calls at all, because I am such a green blood... I will continue to support Girl Scouts for the rest of my life.

We received a media question regarding Girl Scout Cookies and childhood obesity. Do these cookies give a confusing message to girls?  We responded that Nutrition and healthy living is a part of the Girl Scout Message. Cookies like any treats should be eaten in moderation. Also the cookies are sold a few months of the year and is a part of various programs that the girls participate in during the year.

5. Are there Haiti Relief Efforts underway through the Girl Scouts?

The day the earthquake happened we began to receive emails from Girl Scouts from everywhere. They wanted to know what we could do to help the people of Haiti. Our CEO posted a letter at the Girl Scout site, while troops are mobilizing in their various service units for Haiti relief efforts. Check with your local Girl Scouts Service Unit to see what they are up to. These girls are very resourceful.

Girl Scouts of the USA are actively seeking other green bloods and volunteers to support these great girls. Please visit our site at http://www.girlscouts.org/to learn how.

Thank you, Michelle for giving an awesome interview!


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