Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Professional Posse: Greta Edgar

Why hello first Professional Posse post of 2017! Oh how I've missed you.

Let's dive right in, because we seriously need to talk for a hot second about the fabulous Greta Edgar. I've known Greta since my elementary school bus riding days, when she was one of my sister's cool older friends. Fast forward 12 years, and she's still one of my sister's cool older friends... but I'm lucky enough to call her one of mine too. This girl is so sweet and stylish, and her instagram is like some hazy dreamland of coffee, confetti and rosé -- for real, go look.

Greta's public relations professional life is the reason I see her as much as I do. I'm always in for a laugh filled dinner whenever she makes a work trip from Pittsburgh to NYC. (Incidentally, Greta is also the first PA girl to join the Professional Posse! #represent) I couldn't wait to read more about her work life for this post and, of course, her interview answers are amazing. I loved reading more about PPG as a company, and the advice section, in particular, contains some serious gems for ladies hunting for their first professional gig.

I was also seriously excited to read Greta's style section answers, because I've never met a girl who is always so perfectly put together. Although, it's best not to tell her that, because the response will be a disbelieving "are you kiddingggg me???" accompanied by an eye roll.

Name: Greta Edgar
Field / Industry: Public Relations/Communications
Title: External Communications Specialist
Company: PPG
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Current City: Pittsburgh, PA
Alma Mater: Saint Vincent College

The Job

Describe your role?

First, to give you some background on PPG, we are a global leader in paint and coatings. We coat the planes you fly in, the cars you drive, the phone you Snapchat with, and the walls of your home. I work in the architectural coatings division, which includes the paint brands PPG Paints, Glidden paint, Olympic paint and even Liquid Nails sealant.

It’s my job to protect, maintain and enhance PPG and our brands’ reputations through media relations efforts. This means that I’m working directly with members of the media to ensure our products, news and subject matter experts are included in editorial (unpaid) content. For example, if you see a Glidden paint color mention in HGTV magazine, our team worked directly with their editorial staff to place that mention.

What was the application and interview process like?

The job that I initially applied for and had at PPG was actually a Communications Intern position. I applied for the job after seeing the listing on and then connected with the recruiter on LinkedIn (an SVC alum!) A week or so later I got a call to come in for an interview with the senior communications manager and the communications specialist on her team (now my boss). That following Tuesday, I got a call saying that I got the internship! I was a full-time intern for a year, then moved to a full-time contractor role, then was hired in March 2016. I think this is a testament to getting your foot into the door. You never know where an internship can take you, so don’t be defeated if that’s where you start.

What tactics did you use for finding your job?

I applied for jobs that I knew would be a good fit and that I could picture myself at. I didn’t apply for jobs just to apply or to add another check mark next to my list of applications. Also, I tried to find recruiters for companies I was interested in on LinkedIn. I knew if they saw my request, they would be more likely to view my resume on my profile, rather than picking it out of a pile of other hundreds of applicants.

Why public relations?

I find PR both fascinating and fast-paced. It’s really rewarding when you earn a media hit and can say, “I did that – and it cost us nothing but my time!” The interesting thing about PR is that you have to make your content newsworthy. With advertising, you’re paying for a placement, but with PR you have to be sure it’s attention-grabbing enough to be picked up.

What’s a typical day look like?

There is certainly no typical day, and almost everyone in PR will tell you that. I am usually working on media requests, Q&As, writing press releases, tracking down images, sending out PR packages, pitching editors and working with our PR agency partners.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I get to do something different each and every day. My role is the farthest thing from predictable, and that’s exciting to me. Our little team is great too, which makes the work fun!

Is there anything about your job that took some serious adjusting?

The thing that I found most difficult when I was transitioning from a student to full-time adult was being responsible for setting and meeting your own goals (even as a very type A person). 9 times out of 10, you are setting your own deadlines and you are responsible for prioritizing your own work. There is no syllabus or roadmap to help guide you.

What's the company culture like?

I wish I could be as cool as Elizabeth Grady and say that PPG lets us bring our dogs to work, but unfortunately that’s not the case! PPG definitely values performance and is constantly seeking ways to improve its products and its processes in order to best serve customers. There is definitely a clearly defined hierarchy within the business and lots of opportunity to move up.

How do you maintain a work life balance?

Most nights, I completely shut myself off from work and emails. Unless something is absolutely urgent or I’m on a deadline, I disconnect each evening and weekend. I do yoga a few times a week and always make plans that I can look forward to, whether it be a vacation or simply drinks with a good friend.

I’m not going to lie, when I first started working it was hard for me to disconnect, because I thought everything was urgent. But now, I’ve learned to know what is important and what can wait.

What’s the best thing that’s ever happened at work?

A few things come to mind immediately. Last year, I got the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico to lead a community engagement project at one of the most iconic landmarks on the island. It was amazing being able to give back by repainting the Parque de Bombas museum, because the community was so appreciative. It was exciting to be able to travel to a place I’ve never been and experience a different culture.

I also recently got to travel to New York to meet with top-tier DIY home and lifestyle editors to discuss 2017 color trends… wearing a dress made completely out of paint swatches. The dresses my colleague and me wore were GORGEOUS, and all the editors absolutely swooned over them.

The Preparation

What did you study at Saint Vincent?

I majored in Communications (PR concentration) with a minor in Marketing.

What did you do on campus? How did you get involved?

I was involved in our Women in Business club, being a member for two years and then serving as the fundraising director on the executive board. I was also a member of the dance team and served as a student ambassador for our business school’s alumni association.

Did you intern at all during undergrad?

I interned with A to Z Communications, a small advertising agency in Pittsburgh; College Fashionista, a blog/online resource for college style; and was a research assistant for the Saint Vincent College Communications department.

The Style

What’s your go to work style?

I like to think of my work style as “business smart.” Our office is business casual, so I love combining t-shirts with pencil skirts, booties with dresses, and boyfriend jeans with heels on Fridays. My go-to colors are gray and black, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to add pops of color into my outfits, whether through a red lip or a cobalt blue flat. Recently I’ve been obsessed with midi skirts, block heels, these Zara culottes and this Topshop coat.

What’s the typical workplace style?

It’s pretty typical for what you’d expect in a corporate setting but with a slightly casual twist.

Do you have a favorite store for work clothes?

As a former #loftgirl, my go-to for work clothes is LOFT. I also can’t speak enough about the importance of investment pieces. I would rather have 5-10 investment pieces than 30 less expensive pieces, because a good leather bag, a structured pea coat and simple booties will never go out of style and always look polished, even if you pair them with a $3 dress from Goodwill. Seriously, good shoes and a nice bag are KEY.

How did you make your desk your own?

This is an extremely SENSITIVE question. Just kidding, it’s not that sensitive, but I’ve been struggling with what to do with my desk space for like, 2 years. I’m sure my coworkers are sick of hearing about it. Right now, I’ve made my desk my own by adding pops of color in the form of two framed pieces of art, prints, a gold lamp and by having a hearty stash of tea in my drawer.

How long does it take you to get ready for work in the morning?

About an hour. People think I’m crazy, but I have to shower and wash my hair every morning – no dry shampoo for this gal. I also like to have a few moments before I start the day for a good breakfast and green tea.

Do you have a style inspiration?

Ugh, inspiration is an understatement (obsession?). I love Olivia Palermo, Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam, Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies, and Olivia Trewatha of Corporate Catwalk.

The City

Why Pittsburgh?

I have always loved Pittsburgh. Even though I’ve lived here basically my whole life, I’m constantly finding new things that I love about it. To me, Pittsburgh offers all the perks and excitement of a bigger city like NYC or Chicago, but is more manageable and affordable.

How long have you lived in Pittsburgh?

25 years (in various areas around the city), minus a six month stint in Cincinnati.

Any restaurant recommendations?

So many! Tender, Gaucho, Coca Café, Butcher & The Rye, Smoke. I could go on and on.

Care to share a city secret?

I feel like no one knows about this new boutique in Lawrenceville called Von Walter & Funk. It’s like Anthropologie and your favorite second-hand store had a baby.

What’s the best season in the city?

It’s a hard tie between fall and spring. There’s something about roaming the streets with the leaves crunching under your feet, but also the relief of warm whether when spring rolls around. When it’s cold 5-6 out of the 12 months, you learn to relish the warmer months.

Do you have a favorite part of the city?

I love Lawrenceville because there is something new popping up to eat/shop/do every day. It has the most perfect boutiques (Pavement, No.14) but also great cocktail bars (hi, Tender) and food (hi, Morcilla).

Do you have a dream city?

I wouldn’t say I necessarily have a dream city at the moment because I love a lot of places, but I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon, and it was pretty perfect (the food! the shopping! the wine!). I love Pittsburgh, but I know I’ll have to move away at some point in order to be convinced to stay here later on in life.

The Advice

Do you have any advice for young professional women who are just starting out? Think applying to jobs, starting a new role, networking.

  • “Don’t let them know how the sausage is made.” – Sounds weird, but don’t let colleagues or those higher up the chain than you know how the work is done. No one wants to know how sausage is made, they just want the delicious end result!
  • You are not a drive through window – you have an opinion and expertise. Show it!
  • Be positive.
  • Build your toolbox. A wise person once told me, “you wouldn’t hire a handyman who came to your house and could only fix your leaky sink, but not your furnace. You want someone who can fix it all.” Companies want the exact same thing in an employee.
  • Don’t settle.

Do you have any advice for girls still in school, be it freshman or senior year?

Don’t only network when you need something. Build a network of colleagues that you can share ideas with and learn from. These people may eventually be your advocate when opportunities do arise.

What’s one thing you wish you had known when looking for a job?

Cherish the time you spend not working. While I love my job, once you start working, you can’t get off the ride. Also, your dream job doesn’t exist straight out of college. If it did, you wouldn’t have anything to look forward to after that!

Any resume tips?

Keep it simple and only to one page, but show specific results you’ve achieved. Oh, and always save it as a PDF before sending to a potential employer.

Any advice for interviewing?

Show your personality – no one wants to hire a robot that will come to work and simply do what he or she is told. Also, be prepared with a notebook and a list of questions to ask. Remember, you’re interviewing your potential employer as much as they’re interviewing you.

The End Game

Do you have a mentor?

I have a few amazing people I trust and confide in professionally and personally. I think it’s important to build a network not only with people in your organization, but also with people at various career levels outside of the workplace.

Do you have a dream Job?

I would say working in PR for Anthropologie is the dream. I would also love to be an editor at one of the top shelter magazines, such as HGTV or Better Homes & Gardens.

What's next?

I am honestly just enjoying life and my job right now while keeping an eye out for new experiences and opportunities for development.

Interested in keeping up with Greta? Obvi (G). You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or by sending her an email!

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1 comment:

  1. oh my gosh, your intro has me cracking up! thanks so much for featuring me, Nat. you're the best. hope to see you soon! xoxo