Rachel Millner, the Director of Public Relations for WIRED Magazine – which details how technology affects our everyday lives through culture to design to science and relationships – recently told Levo that “the world of public relations never sleeps and is never monotonous”. Indeed, PR professionals have an ever-evolving job with varied tasks every day.
Rachel has the privilege of being WIRED’s PR head and is accountable for ensuring that their voice is heard in pertinent conversations. She not only executes her responsibilities with poise but also maintains a distinct fashion sense as she navigates through the San Francisco offices wearing trendy clogs and glasses. At home, Rachel can be found indulging her six-month-old son Felix by dancing to reggae music or making delicious BLATs (bacon lettuce avocado tomato). Read on to learn how Rachel manages to juggle job duties while collecting shells from a beachside sandwich break!
Current Location: San Francisco, CA.
Where are you from originally? Orlando, FL.
Education: University of Florida, Marketing.
Short Overview of WIRED: WIRED is part of the Conde Nast portfolio. WIRED chronicles how technology is changing every aspect of our lives — from culture to business, science to design. We introduce you to the people, companies, and ideas that matter!
Job Title & Description: I am the Director of Public Relations for WIRED. I help to promote and spread the word about what we’re up to! That includes what’s in print, online, new business news, brand extensions and expansions, and making sure we have the mic on important and relevant news coming out of our industries.
Before this job: I was working at a mid-size agency handling luxury resorts and high-end food clients. I ate and slept very, very well!
How I ended up at my current work: I wanted to make a calculated move into an industry I believed would benefit my career longevity and relevance and for me, that was pivoting into the technology sector. There isn’t a better place for me to receive that kind of education than WIRED. I read about really cutting-edge companies and truly inspiring people every day. On a slow day that keeps me current, but most of the time working here gives me a glimpse into the future.
WIRED recently commemorated its 20th Anniversary — What lies ahead for this magazine? Are you endlessly intrigued by the tech industry and digital revolution? I was purposeful in my move into technology, but I am as interested in it as the average coastal-living person. It is part of my everyday life; I’m a digital native. As for what’s coming up for WIRED… lots! We are constantly undergoing change; it’s one of the standards of our brand. We have just undergone a print redesign and we launched a video channel and original series in May.
Your office fashion in a few words: Juxtapose, I like to mix the old with new, modern takes on classic silhouettes.
Style icon: Jenna Lyons 1000%.
Favorite pair of work shoes: Toss up! Sven’s Swedish Clogs or gold wedges from Anthropologie — they are both comfortable, give me some height, and are unique.
Most trusted brand of jeans: Levi’s.
Favorite lipstick: Nars Heat Wave.
What bag do you use at work? I carry a Fjallraven Kanken backpack. Handsfree has been very liberating!
A normal day in the workplace would resemble: I’m in PR so there is always something atypical about my days! I usually get in early since I’m based on the West Coast and my East Coast colleagues are way ahead of me! I enjoy my coffee, catch up on email, make my day’s to-do list, and read through the news: publishing trade stuff, tech stuff, and news of the day. I need to know if there is anything that’s going to affect my day’s efforts and if there is anything I should ping the higher-ups about. Then it’s off to meetings so I know what’s coming down the pike editorially, followed by pitching, pitching, pitching. Got to get that in early since that window shuts down for me around 2 pm! Followed by my busy work — strategy documents, reviewing lists, and the like — and maybe some networking. I am a big fan of face-to-face meetings. And in between I’m on Twitter, lurking and tweetin’.
If I need a short break I: Walk to a little shop around the corner called Small Foods and grab myself something sweet!
Favorite part of your job: It is never monotonous.
Desk/office decor? I keep it clean. Just the necessities on my desktop: fruit, a family pack of gum, hand lotion, Le Pens, and document clips — they are one of my favorite inventions. Sometimes I use them as hairpins.
Describe the work environment at WIRED: The environment is highly collaborative and social. We sit in an open floor plan so you see what the gadget lab reporters are testing, what the science writers are ogling, and so on. It’s fun and entertaining, on a good day it doesn’t even feel like work!
Morning habit: I have a six-month-old so my mornings are hectic and planned down to the minute. We’re up early. Our coffee machine has a timer so we get our fix at 5:30 a.m. My son Felix gets his first breakfast, we check our work emails, and then we take turns showering. One person handles diaper duty while the other is getting ready, then we switch and the other one gives Felix his second breakfast. Sometimes we make grownup breakfast, most days that is an on-the-go meal. Somehow we find time every morning for a little family dancing to a reggae record (baby’s choice) and lots of hugs and kisses. Then we hand him off to the nanny and we’re out the door by 7:30!
Currently reading: Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing.
My favorite SF restaurant: Is plow.
Do you make your own meal? If so, what is your favorite food you like to cook? I used to cook often; I love to cook really satisfying (read: fatty) meals and I’m a baker. Lately, I’ve had to resort to really quick meals. My favorite weekly staple is the BLAT. Thick-cut bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato on some good bread. Sometimes I add in an herby mayonnaise if I’m feelin’ fancy.
Best SF coffee: I am so not a coffee connoisseur. I use coffee creamer, like flavored stuff. I will probably lose friends over that statement.
Ideal Saturday in/around SF: We like to go down to Half Moon Bay, set up our little tent on the beach and grab some sammies on the road, and have a picnic!
As a mom and wife, how do you make sure to create quality family time while still being successful in your professional life? Do you prioritize any specific hours during each day or week where work is completely off-limits? I am focused at work in a way that I’ve never been before. For me, time spent away from my son needs to be well spent. If I’m not doing work I love and I’m proud of then I would rather be at home hanging with my main man — so I make it count. As far as going offline there are times when I need to check in late into the evening and on weekends, but when I or my husband are spending time with my son we do not put a screen between us — unless it’s too take a picture or Skype with family! And if I don’t need to be online, very simply I’m not.
Best piece of advice you got: There is so much, I’ve been really fortunate to have (some) really excellent bosses. Something I heard more recently at our Business Conference came from Neil Blumenthal, a co-founder at Warby Parker. Something like, “presume positive intent.” I love that. It totally changes how I react to potentially volatile work situations and how I receive criticism.
My mentor: I have a few women who I really look up to my former boss, Samantha; and a VP at WIRED, Maya. They’ve both had really amazing career arcs and are the type of people who are authentic and you just want to spend more time with.
After 10 years…: I hope I’m satisfied with my past 10 years. There are so many paths I’m curious about — perhaps I’ll stay the course and move up to a big, fancy job, maybe I’ll pursue one of my entrepreneurial ideas, perhaps I’ll have written a book or start a foundation or dream of dreams: cash it all in and own and manage a B&B — I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I do hope I’m able to smile about it.
Career advice for professional women: Don’t be complacent. You should feel a little terrified about any new job. If you aren’t at least a little afraid that you’ll fail you haven’t aimed high enough. Taking on positions and tasks you’ve never done before is the only way to learn and grow!
Rachel is a Levo Mentor who can answer any of your questions about the public relations field, how to balance work and family life, or even how to showcase who you are through your job. Make sure to give Rachel and Wired a warm greeting on Twitter while you’re at it!
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