Member Profile: Andrea Hudnut

7 questions with PRSA Central Iowa Chapter member, Andrea Hudnut

Get a glimpse into PRSA - Central Iowa member, Andrea Hudnut’s life as a mom to three, and a public relations strategist at Veridian Credit Union.

What is your job title, where do you work, how long have you worked there?

Public Relations Strategist – Veridian Credit Union – 12 years

What does a typical day look like?

One of the best things about my job is that there isn’t a typical day. Public relations includes a diverse set of responsibilities, and I’m fortunate to get to practice most of them pretty regularly.  My primary responsibilities are in corporate communications, so I do a lot of writing for owned and earned channels, critical communications planning and spokesperson preparation. I also serve as Veridian’s media contact, so a day can shift quickly into prioritizing a reporter’s request.  When needed, I also get to help out with community partnerships and sponsorships.

What’s your go-to morning routine?

A 30-minute commute gives me a daily, standing appointment with NPR, an occasional audio book or some old-school country music (unpopular opinion – the more twang, the better).  I work full time and am a mom to three awesome and busy kids. Commuting gives me time to reset and transition between the two worlds.

What initially sparked your interest in public relations?

I discovered public relations in college. I was a reporter and served a short stint as an editor for William Penn University’s campus newspaper, The Chronicle. That job helped me get to know my school, my campus and the people on it, and I hoped to be doing the same for readers. My first “real-world” professional experience was as an intern for the Marion County Development Commission. I wrote and submitted news releases and developed promotional pieces for commission programs.  I started to see the value and the primary role that communication played in bringing people together. I was hooked.

What is one of your favorite industry trends and why?

Calling it a trend makes it sound too recent and temporary, but data is still an easy favorite. No matter where your duties fall on the spectrum of public relations, finding and including the data points that support your story gives you a stronger story to tell in all channels – paid, earned, shared and owned. General organizational stats are great. But it’s always worth the extra work, if necessary, to find the data that supports a specific message.

Who within our industry are you inspired by? And why?

Please pardon my gush, but it’s hard not to be inspired by the marketing team here at Veridian. I’ve read and listened to others talk about the insistence of marketing and public relations working together as though it’s a widely identified challenge. In 12 years at Veridian, that’s never been my experience. While we’re each assigned duties specific to marketing, public relations or creative deliverables, many projects involve all three. We all support and rely on each other, whether it’s for the success of a project I’m leading or that of one of my marketing counterparts. Our leadership culture isn’t lip service. It’s service-oriented - we all lead, and we all follow. There’s nowhere in our organization that’s more true than on our marketing team. (End gush.)

What do you believe is your greatest strength within the industry?

Curiosity. At Veridian, you’ll hear people talk about the value of a “zero-gravity perspective” – think of it as the opposite of expertise. It’s the perspective of someone with little or no knowledge or experience on the topic at hand. If it sounds more inspirational than practical or valuable, hear me out. I’ve learned a lot about the financial services industry in 12 years, and I can still find myself in a meeting with a zero-gravity perspective. It’s only valuable if the person bringing it also has a healthy curiosity. As a professional communicator, the combination of a zero-gravity perspective and curiosity can help you more fully vet a conversation and process it from your audience’s point of view.

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