Just 10 days after submitting her resume, Abby Kelly was offered a job at Susan Davis International. There was, though, one hiccup along the way.
After her phone interview, she was asked to come in the next day and she said, “Sure thing!” Soon, that excitement fell to panic. She had taken her one black blazer that makes the most perfect interview outfit to the dry cleaner that morning and would not get it back in time.
Praying that Ann Taylor still had the identical blazer in store she ran to Pentagon City Mall to find her miracle awaiting her. The next day, she wore it into the office ready to nail the interview, tucking in the tags so she could return it later. Moral of the story for the young professional: don’t take your best clothes to the dry cleaners while you are applying for a new job.
Abby joined the SDI team as a Public Relations Associate Account Executive in October 2018 and now works with many of our military clients on their media relations and social media. This summer, Abby led the media outreach efforts for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s “Military Kids Have Talent” contest, which resulted in stories across the country for contestants.
Abby is most known for walking around the office (now, via Slack) sharing photos of cute dogs from Instagram to cheer up her coworkers. More about Abby:
How has your routine changed due to COVID-19?
I still get ready every morning and change out of my pajamas to help get me in the right mindset for work and I have been making breakfast (to substitute for the Starbucks stop I would make in between the metro station and the office). However, because I am not commuting, I feel like I get more time to do things for myself. After work, I’ve been reading a lot more and going on longer runs. I am also trying to plan a wedding for next year in St. Louis, which is basically a second job.
What was your major in college, and why did you choose that?
Journalism with minors in economics, international business and political science (focusing on foreign policy and national security). My sophomore year in high school I wrote a paper about journalists and the Iraq War, and I read Richard Engel’s book War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq.
What drove your interest in public relations (or events)?
I never thought I would go into public relations and that I would always want to stay in journalism. When I first moved to DC after college, I got a job as a reporter, but lost my full-time position in an organizational change. When I started searching for a new job, I decided to make the switch to the communications side.
However, the reason I love public relations is the same reason I first fell in love with journalism: connecting and engaging audiences. I love being able to craft messages to share with others.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year, and why?
From the Corner of the Oval– which is the memoir of a White House stenographer during the Obama Administration. I related to who she was at the beginning of her story: a new young professional, trying to find a job and navigate DC culture who didn‘t have a clear sense of direction. Finding your way in this town and networking and balancing between work and life is a lot harder than you think it would be, but anything can happen! I also loved the inside perspective to some of the biggest moments in Obama’s presidency that you would never really know looking from the outside.
What is your favorite place to visit, and why?
Cinque Terre, Italy. I went there to hike in between cities during my study abroad in Florence. I was only really there for a day, so I would love to go back and explore more.
Who inspires you and why?
My college professor for my summer abroad in Italy and my senior capstone in Political Journalism when I interned for the Cincinnati Enquirer during the 2016 election, Annie Laurie Blair: Army Veteran, Journalist, World Traveler, Teacher.
She was tough on me, but she knew what I could achieve even when I didn’t see it myself. Now, I know I am a better person for what she taught me both inside and outside of the classroom.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
Rejection is not going to kill you.
I think we get afraid of being rejected or having people get mad at us, that we end up not taking risks. But the worst that can happen is you hear no, or someone yells at you, and then moves on. You own up to what you did well and what you didn’t and do better next time. The world doesn’t end.
And, you always miss the shots you don’t take.
What is your favorite part of working at SDI?