Alisa D’souza, the Founder and PR Consultant at ALISA PR, speaks about her entrepreneurial journey
Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
I’m the Founder of ALISA PR, an independent PR & Digital Marketing Consultancy. We join hands to help our clients evolve, promote, and protect their brands. ALISA PR provides professionalism, strategic thinking, creativity, and hands-on experience in PR & social media combining Digital Marketing Solutions across all verticals of business in the UAE & Middle East. Our communications consultancy is research-driven, newsworthy, and experiential that creates real conversations to help businesses succeed.
A typical day starts with walking my dog, Jordan. Getting to work at 9 am, addressing work tasks and client meetings throughout the day, hitting the gym by 6 pm followed by family time or meeting friends, or exploring my hobbies before bed.
Did you always know that working in the industry you represent was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been an outgoing, ambitious person – especially when it came to public speaking. So, getting into public relations was the industry that excited me. I always had a flare for writing, creative thinking, brands, and a passion for people.
PR is constantly adapting, fast-paced, people-oriented, creative, meaningful, and earned. PR moves quickly and is an opportunistic job, and opportunities can pass you by as quickly as they come. And because of that, you must multitask, wear many hats and juggle things around. I’m not sure anyone will ever be bored if they work in PR – you’re constantly on your toes jumping to the next task. This is a must-have for me.
What first got you interested in the industry you work in?
Passion for people and brands. The ability to help navigate their voices into the public eye by engaging with the media that our client’s product or service is newsworthy. Public Relations increases an organization’s credibility because it earns the coverage of numerous trusted sources.
A PR professional’s goal is to earn trust from the public for clients – and there’s no better way to do that than to show that you care. At the other end of every phone pitch, every email, and every interaction is a new personal connection. PR provides you the opportunity to build strong relationships with those at your job, those in the media, and those you hope to work with in the future. Networking events like dinners or conferences are just one of the ways to meet new people – you can never have too many connections.
The different components that go into a public relations profession is stimulating such as writing press releases, communicating with clients, and celebrities, new business pitches, creating ideas, monitoring media coverage, social media, and event planning. As PR professionals, we constantly have to develop new strategies to think of something just sensational enough to gain media attention. And while each of these elements is a small piece of the public relations profession, I am so fortunate to know now that there is so much more.
Do you have a role model?
Yes, Warren Buffet and Richard Branson.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it” – Warren Buffet.
“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad” – Richard Branson
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
In the PR industry, obstacles occur when clients do not understand the direction, we are taking them in, and that is when their expectations do not meet. They sometimes do not realize that media needs investment as well and PR cannot eternally always salvage that glory. Hence, it’s important to always define and manage client expectations to avoid any challenges.
Budget constraints can be a PR hindrance when organizations that are particular about their budget cuts and distributions derail the progress and efforts of public relations. Organizations are hesitant to spend a little more revenue they hold on improving their media image. Ironically, it should be the prime time for them to better their profile and attain a stronger custom.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the industry you represent? What do you wish you had known?
Expand your horizons as It’s no longer just public relations. It’s digital, marketing, special events, and social media. Keep learning. Always prioritize staying on top of the news. The news in your client’s respective industries, but also the general news as well. You never know when certain news topics can have a direct impact on your media outreach, and you always need to be one step ahead of your clients.
Have confidence in yourself and in your talents and work hard to go after the job you really love. It may take a while but work your way up and don’t give up! Be fearless, Do, try, and fall flat on your face – sometimes in front of everyone. And if you don’t have the ability to control your fear of failure, do it anyway. Be flexible, follow your dreams but be flexible; you never know where it will lead you. Be kind, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Sometimes the PR world can be cut-throat and intense. But that doesn’t mean you should stray away from your morals or stoop to other’s level. Rise to the occasion in your own way and work hard.
What do you do to unwind after work?
I enjoy working out at the gym to destress after work. I am there 5 days a week for an hour or 2 hours at max. I spend time with family and friends. Sometimes enjoy a good read or a movie.