Welcome to the latest “Wise Up!” Q+A series, featuring Michele Horaney, APR, President, Public Relations Society of America - San Francisco Chapter, and Principal of Thought Leader Public Relations.

The “Wise Up!" Q+A series features insightful interviews with innovators, disruptors, game-changers and leaders across industries that we work with here at Wise Public Relations, could be a client, reporter, influencers, vendor, partner, etc. We'll ask some questions as it pertains to the individual's line of work, and then a few 'softball' questions on the individual's interest outside of work, like travel, food, music, books, etc.

Check out Michele's responses and enjoy!

What does success look like for what you do?

Success 'looks like' my very smart and experienced clients, often mid to senior career business and non-profit leaders, seeing their ideas, their news, their groups in the media and in social media channels. But the real success comes in the next step, after they're in the news and their target audiences are reached. Then they fill their workshops, sell their books, make the connections with the influencers they need to reach, and build their client and donor/board base.

What is one pet peeve about your peers that you wish they’d stop doing?

Sending a news alert or brief and then immediately hopping on email or the phone to make sure the reporter or editor received it. Even experienced PR pros do this, and it's perfectly understandable. But still not a good idea. 

What was the inflection point in your career that led you to your current role?

During the two decades I worked at Stanford University, I was privileged to work with many leaders and true thought leaders in the fields of politics and economics, and with renowned academics and government officials from around the world. I loved working with -- it was truly with, not for -- these smart people with great ideas for change. 

I didn't always agree with them, but they were some of the people moving the discussion along in education, health care, government and so many other issues  as we ended the 20th century and opened the 21st century. When I left Stanford due to layoffs during the Great Recession, it was clear that I'd found my 'sweet spot’ for public relations practice in continuing to focus on this sector. My clients do great and good things, whether they are helping people manage their money, work with businesses, write about management change. But they need a professional who knows the news and information landscape they're trying to cross, the targets they want to reach and someone who can take that off their hands and minds as they continue doing what they do best. 

What is the most interesting thing about your job?

I meet interesting and very intelligent people every day. My job is to get out and find them! And work with them. Not every job affords this opportunity. I'm very fortunate. 

What is the last book you read?

"The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" by Isobel Wilkerson. This isn't a new release (it was published 2011), but it is so interesting and so well-written. Very clear from the first few pages why this book won the Pulitzer Prize.

Who are the three people you’d invite to dinner? 

Benjamin Franklin, Betty Friedan and George P. Shultz