Getting to know me
The football coach who taught driver’s ed. handed out the test. It was just ten-questions. I needed to pass to get my learner’s permit. And I got one wrong. This turned out to be one of the more valuable tests I’ve ever failed. Not because it eventually led to my being able to drive, but because of what I learned about the way I think.
For those of you who passed your sign test, you will recognize this as a Side Road sign. Not for me. I thought it was a “T” in the road because I was traveling on the side road.
It took me a few years to see this humiliation as the gift that it was. To know that I may not approach a situation like everyone else has helped me throughout my professional life, and it filters into my volunteer work as well.
So, what does someone on a side road suggest when the task is teaching fourth-graders about bats? Well, interview one, of course. The bat, not the fourth grader. We did just that for the Friends of Kartchner Caverns State Park. In order to protect the maternal bat colony from October through April part of the cave closed. When the students heard the bat explain her situation they better understood her need for privacy.
How would you publicize a Rachmaninoff concert? Remind listeners that the piece was written in protest in Russia in 1917 and to raise money to fund the revolution. Rachmaninoff became kind of cool.
When a bunch of cyclists decided to ride to raise money to fight polio I added temporary tattoos to the event. As family and friends waited for the riders to finish we raised awareness of the disease by walking the finish line area to offer temporary tattoos to anyone who was up for some fun.
There may be other quirks in my character that prompts me to see opportunities that others don’t, but my “T” in the road is a favorite.
Bio-The standard stuff
Lynn Perez-Hewitt is Accredited in Public Relations (APR), holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and a Communications and English double major from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. She is a Past President of the Southern Arizona chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, and a Past-President of the Tucson American Marketing Association. She has written occasional columns for Inside Tucson Business on topics pertinent to small business and nonprofit public relations and has blogged for the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.
She was an award-winning orator in high school, a University competitor, and has coached communication students at her alma mater. She performed in both musicals and plays in Illinois and Arizona. Her love of language extends to French and Spanish. A French student for a decade, she added Spanish as her third language in part by listening to her grandparents speak as she was growing up.
The 2011 recipient of the Southern Arizona chapter of Public Relations Society of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Perez-Hewitt is a consultant to nonprofits, economic development groups and government agencies. Among the organizations she served in Southern Arizona were the Friends of Kartchner Caverns State Park, Microbusiness Advancement Center, Community Food Bank, Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition, the Pima County Health Department and the Tucson Chamber Artists.
She served on the boards of the Grand Junction Community Food Bank, the Friends of Colorado State Parks, was a member of the Horizon Sunrise Rotary Club, the Rotary District 5470 PR Chair, assistant Rotary Zone 27 Public Image Coordinator and for two years served as the co-chair for the annual professional development retreat for the Denver chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.