Welcome to the first interview in our Activism at Work profile series, which highlights people doing good in their respective industries. Staci Levine is the owner of owner of 30+ year-old, Los Angeles-based SLPR, a full-service, lifestyle public relations agency specializing in the fashion, footwear and accessories markets with a special interest in the action sports and outdoor industries.
SLPR was the first public relations agency specializing in the action sports industry and has become a leader in youth market publicity. Full disclosure, Staci is also a mentor to our agency founder, KristinAnn Janishefski, so we found it to be appropriate to kick off this series with her and to talk about how she feels public relations makes the world a better place.
STACI, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND WHY YOU GOT INTO PR?
I grew up in the fashion industry. My family owned and operated a large private label manufacturing company in downtown Los Angeles and I always thought I’d be a fashion designer or something glamourous in the fashion business. Once out of college, I worked for my family answering phones and getting to know as much about the business as I could. After a few years, I decided I was ready to go out on my own and landed a job at the California Market Center managing a fashion showroom and handling local sales for the brand. I loved sales but really wanted to try working in-house at a brand and eventually found my way to a very large fashion company taking a job doing customer service. Over the course of 8 years, I worked my way through various departments at that company learning as much as I could. It wasn’t until I accepted a marketing position there that I found my true passion. I managed our outside PR agency and really fell in love with the concept of building a brand through media. Many years later I took a job at a PR and marketing agency where I have been since, becoming a partner in 2000.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR WORK IN PR MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD?
At one point I told myself that doing fashion PR wasn’t making a positive difference in the world. Or at least not a meaningful one that I could feel good about. My business partner and I created a program meant to inspire our young staff to giveback and be philanthropic. We told ourselves if we could inspire others to give back then essentially we were making a difference. I have since come to realize that building brands is helping other people’s dreams come true and I feel really good about that.
WHAT IS YOUR MORNING MOTIVATION?
I own a business and I have a family, including animals which requires a lot of my time. I’ve had to learn to make my mornings about me – to take the time I need to fuel up otherwise it just doesn’t happen. My perfect morning could include a sweaty yoga class, a spin class, a training session with my trainer or a power walk on the beach or in my neighborhood, but no matter what, I always take time for meditation. It never fails to amaze me how motivated I am to take on the world after I take a little time for myself.
HOW AND WHY DO YOU GIVE BACK?
I am vegan. I chose to be vegan for so many reasons but certainly one of the most important to me is the environmental impact eating animals has on the earth. Did you know that one of the most effective things an individual can do to lower their carbon footprint is to avoid all animal products? I do my best to live a greener life from recycling to eating plant based but I know I can always do better. I challenge myself every year to make an improvement in the way I live.
NAME 3 SECRET RECIPES FOR HAPPINESS
Happiness is a choice. Every day I choose to be happy.
I feel gratitude towards life and everything I have in my life.
Give what you want. If you want love, give love. If you want money, give money. If you want respect, give respect…