A Significant Conversation With Christine Faulhaber By Trainee, Kendrick Tran
dateMarch 25th, 2021
My name is Kendrick Tran, and I am currently an intern at Faulhaber Communications. I recently had a conversation with Christine Faulhaber, the President and Founder of this very company; you can find it on my podcast A Train OFF Track on all streaming platforms. During this almost hour-long conversation, we talked about a lot of things. I am here to share the key takeaways I took from our conversation, and my hope is these will be as insightful for you as they were for me.
One thing that we do know is that the Public Relations industry consists of a lot of women. FAULHABER is a female-owned company with an entirely female staff – except for myself. With the rise of feminism, equality, and inclusivity, it’s an incredible and inspirational company to be a part of. That being said, FAULHABER is the first to admit there is internal work to be done. Where does diversity come in? Where are the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ members? So I asked Christine just that: “In an industry typically filled with women, especially Caucasian women. How do you go about providing opportunities for the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities?”
The answer I got made me even prouder to be a part of this company. We discussed the initiatives that Christine has taken to make shifts and support these communities in her personal and professional life. FAULHABER has a yearly Toronto Metropolitan University Award, which now gives preference to a BIPOC woman to help them develop their career in the PR industry. The support via schools does not stop there. Christine herself is on the Board at Humber College. As a member on the board, she often has the conversation in questioning why many people in the PR industry are Caucasian Women—bringing up the fact that it may stem from the education system. Many people in these programs and studying to be in this industry fit that demographic. Why is that? She goes on to say how they are looking into recruiting and getting diverse students in the program and shaking up what the industry looks like at the moment.
This year, FAULHABER launched FCONSULTS and provided pro-bono PR and marketing support for BIPOC Female Entrepreneurs. They also had many conversations with people in their network and clients, helping brands diversify their campaigns and whom they interact with.
As of late, I have been hearing a lot about mentorship and the importance of having a mentor. As a soon-to-be graduate, figuring out my next steps leaves a lot of room for guidance, and I am actively on the hunt for mentors in the Fashion and Entrepreneurships realms. Christine views mentorship as a crucial part of her job. We discussed what it’s like being a mentor and what to look for in a role model/mentor. She shared that there are always existing people in your network that you look up to or play this role in your life – you just may not realize that. That was something that I never previously considered.
On Getting What You Want
Christine shared many helpful insights into getting what you want out of conversations (which you can hear in-depth in the podcast) but simply put, she said, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. I never thought about it in terms of your relationships. I always assumed that when you give, you can expect the other to reciprocate, be that in a personal or a professional relationship. If you let it be known that you are looking for a mentor and surround yourself with the right people, that relationship will naturally develop, almost like dating. I always thought that simply asking is the way to ask for support in a professional relationship. That is something that I will take into all of my relationships going forward. Think of it as direct over communication. This idea can be transferred into networking, another key takeaway from my conversation with Christine Faulhaber.
On Business Cards
“Do you think business cards are effective and how should you go about networking, especially in this time of video calls and limited interaction?”
This conversation has been the most memorable of any I have had on my podcast thus far. Business cards are something I’ve always had, never questioned, and assumed that having a business card would equal more opportunities (especially as someone that is starting their career). So I was a little surprised to hear that Christine feels business cards have had their time and are no longer relevant. The matter of fact is, in this time of being wary of what you touch and who you meet, “who is going to want to touch your business card”. Who is going to want to touch something that isn’t exactly essential to this connection? Instead, she focuses on other ways to leave a lasting impression.
This is where the networking aspect comes in and the importance of a lasting impression. When we first had a conversation pre-podcast, Christine shared the idea of the 30,30,30 rule: What will they think of you if they see you from across the room? 30 feet away. What will they think when you are coming to approach them? 30 inches away. What will they remember of you from the first 30 seconds of speaking to you? This in itself is a checklist of things that she recommends you prepare for when pitching yourself or going to networking events. Essentially, it is about; What are you going to wear? How approachable are you (your smile, scent, demeanour)? And finally, what are you going to say to them (what is your elevator pitch)? These are all things you need to think about when thinking about making the most effective in-person first impression.
One thing that is not included in that is the ‘woo’ moment. How are you going to ‘woo’ them? Of course, sharing your experience/expertise and looking polished is all-important. But what are you going to do or say that makes them think about you and remember you when you follow up with them; the next day, week, a month? Say you are going to a brand launch, and chances are you have bought your ticket to be there. Here is what you do to make the most of that payment: Look around and see where you may fit in. This doesn’t mean finding the loudest people or in the corner and seem like the easiest to talk to. Who in the room do you recognize, who do you by chance even follow on social media. Let’s say there is an influencer in the room that you follow; go up to them and have a conversation about what they were up to recently. Did they go on a trip to New York recently? “Hey, I saw that you were in New York recently. I love it there! How was your experience? I would love to share some places you have to check out.” This, of course, coming after you following the 30,30,30 rule and introducing yourself. Give them something so that when they see your name, they remember the conversation you had, not just you trying to sell yourself to them.
To hear the full conversation with Christine Faulhaber, listen to the podcast, “Building a Media Empire with Christine Faulhaber”, or find it on all streaming platforms and YouTube under the name, A Train OFF Track.