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New Year, Big Milestone: NST Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Key Learnings

50 Years … it didn’t happen by accident. It took passion, grit, a commitment to doing good work, and constant exploration and evolution, not only by our company’s founders and leaders but also by each person who is part of Team NST. This remarkable accomplishment – being in business for five decades – is a testament to the power of continuously living our vision to Redefine PR and reflects our dedication to ongoing growth through learning and teaching.

As we enter a new year and one in which we will celebrate this important milestone, I found myself reflecting on the greatest learnings I’ve taken from my time at NST and the firm’s previous leaders … lessons that in some instances, mark a moment in time in my memory, but also pave the way for future success. These lessons fuel me, and I believe many others at NST. Together, they allow us to make a difference for our team, client partners and communities. Over the next 12 months, we’ll use this blog as a platform to expand on these lessons, sharing stories and learnings that we hope will help and inspire others:

  1. Go deep into the community – When Bob Smith and Dave Nuffer first opened the doors to NST, they strategically decided to get involved in the San Diego community. What started primarily as a new business strategy became a deep-rooted desire to make a difference and has become a legacy of service we continue to fulfill today.
  2. Do the right thing – The business community is littered with companies of all stripes who cut corners, sought to make a quick buck, treated their people poorly, or had values that were permeable. The lasting power of NST is rooted in doing the right thing, without compromise, even when it’s difficult.
  3. Empower and invest in others – When I started at NST as an intern, it was then President Bill Trumpfheller who gave me a chance and invested in me through his time, professional development and education. By empowering and investing in others, we are benefiting not only the individual but also our business and our client partners.
  4. Be humble. Be kind. Be a good friend. – I had the great honor of traveling side-by-side and coast-to-coast with Kerry Tucker for more than a decade. While I have learned a tremendous amount from him the thing that stands out the most is his humility, kindness and friendship. These things have undoubtedly contributed to NST’s success, but more importantly, have enriched the lives of everyone around him.
  5. Get your hands dirty – There are no short cuts when it comes to learning. It requires doing the work, rolling up your sleeves, immersing yourself in your clients’ businesses and getting shit done. While this is true at all levels of our careers, it’s especially true in the early years as we hone our skills and plant seeds that grow into our expertise.
  6. Be curious – For some people, curiosity is innate. For others, it is a skill to be cultivated. But in either instance, curiosity is the lifeblood of ongoing learning and betterment. Curiosity allows one to embrace one’s own naivete and find interest in people and things we never thought possible, and it’s what keeps life – and PR – interesting.
  7. Use strategy as your backbone – Bob Smith was known for his commitment to strategy and process. Putting strategy at the core of all we do is part of our lasting power and why our partners entrust us with various opportunities and challenges beyond the traditional PR tactics.
  8. Fuel your passions to find inspiration – We spend much of our adult lives working in our “day jobs,” … but our lives are so much more. At NST, we encourage our entire team to explore their passions through an Exploration Fund, money set aside for each person to pursue their passions and new learnings. By doing so, we believe they will be happier and more fulfilled people, and team members, because of it.
  9. Use your talents to find purpose – We all want to leave our mark on this world, and each of us holds unique talents through which we can do so. In our work, we have the opportunity to gift these talents and put them to work to make each other, our clients and the world better, and by doing so can find our purpose.
  10. Embrace – and drive – change – My partners and I got the keys (e.g., official ownership) to NST on Friday, March 13, 2020 – the same day the pandemic was declared a national emergency. The world is much different today than a few short years ago. Turn back the clock even further, our current leadership team looks nothing like our past one. It’s been said that change is the only constant and by embracing – and at times driving it – we can thrive well into the future.
  11. Surround yourself with people to learn from and lean on — While NST has always had strong leaders, no one person can achieve what we have achieved as an agency, alone. Rather, it’s the culmination of a diverse set of people, grounded by common values and with a shared commitment to our work and each other that has led to our success. I’m honored to lead this organization not as a sole owner, but alongside my business partners Mary Correia-Moreno and Price Adams, who teach and inspire me and are there for support when I need it.
  12. Slow down or you will miss it – It’s been more than 20 years that I have been part of NST, and it feels like just yesterday that I joined the team. I’m writing this on New Year’s Day 2024. I know tomorrow will hold a flurry of emails, catch-up meetings, rush projects, and perhaps an unanticipated client crisis or issue to address. But in the year ahead, there will also be big ideas, furthered relationships, continued learning and growth, and making a difference. These are things worth slowing down for and soaking in.

These are just a few of the learnings I’ve had thus far, and I know there are more ahead. What lessons have you learned in your career? Shoot me a line at ts@nstpr.com.