Nov. 29, 2022

Get Real with Publicist and Best-Selling Author Anna Crowe Ep. 97


Anna Crowe is founder and CEO of Crowe PR, a recognized public relations and marketing expert, best-selling author and speaker. Anna has spent nearly 20 years working for iconic brands in New York, Los Angeles and San Diego, pivoting from a Big 4 CPA track, to scaling and leading a national public relations and digital marketing agency. In addition to running her business and empowering people to unlock their true potential through authenticity, Anna sits on the board of the San Diego Chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization, philanthropy-based PEERS Network and digital wellness non-profit Half The Story, volunteering her time helping small businesses and non-profit organizations. Anna's focus on developing extraordinary leaders and growing her clients' businesses has led to several notable recognitions, including CEO of the Year, Best Places to Work, PR Team of the Year, Women Who Mean Business and more. 

Anna's book ‘Get Real: The Power of Genuine Leadership, a Transparent Culture and an Authentic You’ earned Amazon Best-seller status in 2019 and continues to sell globally. She also co-authored Lead Like a Woman, released May 2022. Anna holds an MBA in International Marketing from the University of San Diego and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Rutgers University. A former Moscovite and long-time New Yorker, Anna lives in San Diego with her husband and two young children. She is happiest when she positively impacts another human being, grows as an individual and a leader, travels the world with her family, and catches a coastal sunset with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Where to find Anne Crowe

Website: crowepr.com

 

SPONSOR

This episode is sponsored by Entire Productions- Creating events (both in-person and virtual) that don't suck! and Entire Productions Marketing- carefully curated premium gifting and branded promo items. 

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Transcript

Anna Crowe:

When I think about the millions of people and the millions of companies out there, there are so much business to be had and there's so many great people to hire that I think if we just shift our mindset it we'll find all of those.

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur? How do they scale and grow their businesses? How do they plan for profit? Are they in it for life or are they building to exit? These in a myriad of other topics will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of successful and FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. My book, RELENTLESS is now available everywhere. Books can be bought online, including Amazon and BarnesAndNoble.com. Try your local indie bookstore too, and if they don't have it, they can order it. To them, the reviews are streaming in, and I'm so thankful for the positive feedback as well as hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively. It is not enough to be resilient. You have to be RELENTLESS. You can go to TheRelentlessBook.com for more information. Thank you so much. In this episode, we're talking to Anne Crowe, founder and CEO of Crowe PR, a public relations and marketing company. Anna is also a best selling author and speaker, and was formally a CPA, talk about a career change. We talk about how she came to write her Book, the Vision and Core Values of her company and her Strategies for growth in the coming year. Now, let's get right into it.

Anna Crowe:

We are a national public relations and digital marketing agency. I founded it in 2015 and similar to you, we just got listed to the Inc 5,000 list, so I'm very excited about that. We represent a handful of brands, Fortune 500 brands and startups as well in the healthcare technology, consumer goods and hospitality industries.

Natasha Miller:

Hospitality sank to all time low in March, 2020. Right.

Anna Crowe:

Sure did.

Natasha Miller:

All starts of that industry, which my core business is in flatlined for quite some time. How was that for your business and for your clients?

Anna Crowe:

Yes. Similar experience. We have these three verticals and the hospitality division just overnight went from profitable and thriving to stop. And I remember my husband and I were supposed to go to Australia for actually EO University event and it got canceled March, 2020. So we ended up going to Palm Springs instead for two nights because we already flown my mother-in-law out from London to watch our kids. So he said, "Let's do it." And I'll tell you by the time between the time I left for Palm Springs, I think. And that got to Palm Springs. I had three conversations with clients about pausing services. I said, "Okay." And it's a two hour drive. It's not a long drive. And then during the time in Palm Springs, I had a few more conversations and then on the drive back I thought, "Okay, I'm a little worried." I'm gonna keep it together. And fortunately, we were able to make up for some of the business with our other portfolios. Obviously healthcare and covid testing and code, all of that was booming for not so great reasons, but good for them and make some financial gains, and we were able to do a little bit more work there. And fortunately, on the consumer side, e-commerce continued to thrive because people were now ordering things right. We were able to, but I'll tell you, it was overnight and at one point I thought, okay, it took me about five years to build this business. A lot of tears, sweat, blood, sacrifices, and fun along the way, and to just have something come to halt in seemingly 24 hours as really powerful.

Natasha Miller:

Have they come back yet? Because I know we are just reemerging as a event industry and hospitality.

Anna Crowe:

Yes, some for sure have. Some came back in a different form. So for some clients that we were helping with public relations services, they came back in a social media scope because they really wanted to build up their social profiles after being silent for a while. Some saw the opportunity to infuse some influence of marketing into their work because now people were traveling again and were making their decisions based on influencer recommendations. So I'd say about 70% came back either themselves or in capacities, and some unfortunately didn't make it. And that was just the reality. And we did end up helping a few clients pro bono for a couple of months as almost just a way to give back and to try to keep some doors open. And we were able to do that, but there's only so much of us to go around as well. So we weren't unable to do that for everybody. But it was a very trying time. And it's interesting to think that it's been, it'll be in March, it'll be three years.

Natasha Miller:

It doesn't feel that way. It's interesting what our brains do with that kind of a trauma and experience. So switching gears, you wrote the book, Get Real: The Power of Genuine Leadership, a Transparent Culture and an Authentic- What was the,

Anna Crowe:

you, you,

Natasha Miller:

You, you, What was your number one goal for this project?

Anna Crowe:

Well, I really was trying to consider if I were to write a book about four or five years ago, what would be the topic that's important to me right now? I circled a couple of different topics around, and at the end of the day I thought, what is the one thing that I can really hang my hat on and say, if anyone was to say she was really good at A, it would be this. And to me, the word authenticity kept coming up. And the reason being is, I joke that this is what you get. "I'm sorry." There's nothing more that I'm hiding. And I really have been proud of building trust and relationships with people early on because I was being vulnerable and I was able to put myself out there. And I thought, "Okay, well there's something around authenticity. What else?" As a leader, I know that I'm an authentic leader. Sometimes I have to give tough feedback, but I have to do it. And it would be a lot easier to just, "Well, I don't wanna tell you all these things, but let's just be real." "Here's what's working." "Here's what's not working." And I've say from the bottom of my heart, not to be a jerk. Things may need to change. And building a company. Well, I worked for a handful of great organizations, Fortune 500 companies, Fortune 100 companies, and some smaller companies. And when you have that experience, 20 years in New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego, there are some things you pick up that you love from the culture and the things that I really connected was with transparency when people were open. Challenges. Opportunities. And you weren't surprised. You wouldn't walk into the office every day. Surprised. And so I thought, okay, there's something about transparent culture. And then lastly, I thought when being in PR, I changed my career. I was a CPA track in 1999, 2000. Found my way to public relations and I thought there's something about building brands and building companies and leveraging public relations, which is a really authentic way to connect and engage with audiences. So that, How can I wrap all this up in a book, and that was what the book about really four chapters on those four topics.

Natasha Miller:

So when you created the book in your mind, were you hoping it would change people's lives? Was it a funnel for your business? Was it a calling card? Did you hope to get speaking gigs from it? What were some of those metrics that you were looking at?

Anna Crowe:

Originally, it was really about helping people find their own journey. The first chapter is about my path to authenticity coming to America, unable to speak the language and not unable to be myself cuz I could not communicate. And then finding my own career path and saying, "Oh, I wanna do this." "Maybe I wanna do this." And changing my career path. Over the years had, if you told me in 2000 that my first day at Deloitte in World Financial Plaza in Manhattan, that 20 years later I'd be running a public relations and digital marketing agency in California and be, yeah, ok, I have no skills for that. What are we talking about? Right? For me was about finding a journey. And there's so many people that I come across daily lives that do things just to do them, not because it's their true calling or they are passionate about it, or they're using their strengths. So that was really the impetus. And then the second impetus was about having gone through different corporate environments and seeing young managers, women and men in their late twenties, early thirties, becoming leaders without any skills and not knowing how to be authentic. That really bothered me too. And I'd have a beautiful conversation with someone in the break room and then who managed me and was a year or two older than me, and I'm in my early twenties, and then would come back to my desk and I get this nasty gram because they were trying to show power. And I said, Well, if you just told me in the break room what you needed, we wouldn't have to have this conversation and I wouldn't have to get frustrated. You wouldn't have to try to be somebody else to exude power. So I thought those two are really at the crux of the book and. Really translated that to the entrepreneurial journey, the business building journey. And yes, part of it was of course, let me try to do the audiobook next and then I'd love to speak on the topic. I taught at University of San Diego for 10 years, and my favorite lessons were when I discuss career choices and what you wanna do with your life. What are your strengths? Let's do a strength finders and figure out what you're good at. So I wanted tolay that message on a greater scale. Unfortunately, when I launched the book while I was at the tail end of the book, I wasn't launched yet, and this was, I had just turned 40. And was, what, three years ago? Almost four years ago, and I had some edits I wanted to make because as you know, as an entrepreneur, as a achiever, you're like, Oh, it's not quite there. And so I was at the very tail end thinking, Okay, I'm gonna spend like a couple of days really perfecting this book and then I'm ready. Unfortunately, I went to the doctor for my annual and I realized within a few days that I had thyroid cancer. And I just thought, "Okay, the book, Who cares?" "Where am I on this journey?" And they couldn't tell me, "Well, you have what stage you're at." They don't know. They said, We won't know until we go in there. It could be phase one, it could be phase four. We dunno. And so I had this decision to make, I thought, I spent two years on this book and I don't know what my future holds and screw it. I'm not even gonna edit it. Just put it out there. Just put it out and let's just see what happens. And fortunately it was at a place where it was not my kind of ready, but it was ready and I learned a lot from that process too. Fortunately I had surgery, "I'm fine, I was stage two." It was fine. They were able to remove whatever needed to get removed, like my lymph nodes and I was back on track. But I never really, all that to say is, I wasn't like, "Let's have this big launch and I'm gonna go on the road." It was more. Let's get it out there cuz I've wrote the words, our own paper. Sure. They could be fine tuned, but they're there and that's good enough for this face and

Natasha Miller:

Absolutely. I mean your health is definitely more important. Yep. But I see that you publish with Lions Crest and they typically work with ghostwriter and heavy editing. That's a division of scribe.

Anna Crowe:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

Did that not that happenedd?

Anna Crowe:

So they helped me. Yes, of course. They did help me throughout the journey. They helped me put the words on paper, and of course I had somebody proofreading and reviewing it. It was more that final process where I got to see everything come together and now going back and say, "Okay." So I just said, "Okay, you guys looked at it. I looked at it before. We're good." And I'm really proud of it. Don't get me wrong, my point is not that I'm not proud of. I really, really am because it did take a lot of effort and energy. And then a year later I was able to record it in audio, which was very exciting. And at that point I thought, Okay, maybe I could do a tour or something, and then covid happened. So other things. But it's okay. The message is there, and I did get a chance to do a few speaking engagements and speak to some companies, and I did a mini TED Talk. Three EO. So my 2024 goal is to really turn that into a TEDx type of presentation.

Natasha Miller:

Have you ever thought that you should write a book, that you should write the story of your life to help other people learn from your experience? Please go to MemoirSherpa.com and learn how I can help you write, figure out your publishing path and market your story, your memoir, to a best seller status. What is your day to day like at Crowe PR? When eo, we talk a lot about working on your business and not in it. Not everyone is there. We're all in different stages of our companies. What is it like for you and what is your team comprised of? So this is a long questions. Gonna have a long answer.

Anna Crowe:

I'll try to keep it brief. I'll start with the team. We have different departments. Public Relations, we have a media department, we have a social and digital department, and we've got, you know, put people across the country with headquarters in California, with people in other markets doing different parts of the campaigns in terms of day to day, really ranges. Some days I have blocked time on my calendar to work on the. Usually Monday mornings for four hours and Friday mornings for four hours. I have a big calendar says. Do not book anything here because I've tried to control as much as I can of my calendar, but I do usually wake up and I work a little bit on the business. I'll do some new business outreach. I'll go through my notes, and then I spend most of my days also working with the team on strategy for our clients, reviewing KPIs, do we have the right metrics, and then who are we hiring next? Then making some big decisions. I'll say I definitely come a long way in working on the business versus in, but we're still not in that right ratio. And I think this year for us has been challenging, more challenging than I anticipated. Last year was a great year. Things were gro and I was thinking 2022 was gonna be even better. And there's a lot of other things, factors in the external marketing environment that are halting some of our operations, unfortunately. So we're still working through some of. And planning now for 2023 and how we're gonna really optimize them.

Natasha Miller:

2023 is gonna be amazing period of story.

Anna Crowe:

Right.

Natasha Miller:

So let's talk about your team. How many employees do you have and are they executing? Is there management layer?

Anna Crowe:

Yeah, so we follow some parts of EOS. We self-implemented eos, so we have what we call a visionary integrator. And then account leads. We have our level 10 meetings and level 10 team, which is our leadership. And we have different verticals. So we have a hospitality vertical that's run by a director and a group manager. We have a healthcare technology vertical that's run by director level, and we've got a consumer goods vertical that's run by directors. And then there are team members under those directors, senior account managers, media specialists. We have a media department with the director of media, media strategists. We have interns. We have a robust internship program and everybody working on different clients. So if you're in the hospitality division, you might be opening a hotel or you might be opening a restaurant. If you're in healthcare, in tech, we might be talking to science reporters about precision genomics or medical devices, and then if consumer goods, of course, anything from whiskey to footwear and everything in between is what our team cover.

Natasha Miller:

Oh my gosh. Your tagline should be from whiskey to footwear.

Anna Crowe:

Yep.

Natasha Miller:

And how do you encourage the best work from your team, especially if they're distributed and in these times of having to be distributed?

Anna Crowe:

Yeah, it's a great question. Being an EO and part of that community, I have. Heavily leaned into the values and making sure that we have our core values communicated and understood that we have our why and we have our vision. We have a state of the union twice a year. We have a company retreat once a year where I try to communicate as much as possible, reinforce some of the values, and then of course, talk about our roadmap, our vision, our why. We have to give examples of our way. We say we are building the best mid-size agency with the best talent and world impacting clients. We're elevating industry standards, and we get to do the work. We're not in the laboratory creating something that could potentially detect cancer earlier, but our help gets those. Propel their message and people get to know about those companies and lives are saved as a result of those companies. Even with on the hospitality side, we let people know about the extraordinary experiences and life changing opportunities that await them. So we're really proud of the work and I think just. Reinforcing and inspiring on that vision. People get really excited about it. Of course, we also have dashboards and scorecards and all sorts of fun things that you have to have as a business to make sure you have a pulse on how things are going. And with a core value piece. And I'll say this last thing is we've got an agenda. We do core value shout outs. We do core value awards. We discuss how people are exemplifying, entrepreneurial spirit, authenticity, radical ideas, and I've seen camaraderie around those things.

Natasha Miller:

Wonderful. What are you doing to focus on the growth for your company that you thought you were gonna have in 2022 for next year? What do you think you'll double down on as a strategy?

Anna Crowe:

Yes. Well, first of all, a big part of the strategy is me personally really. Leading from the visionary seat and not getting myself into every other seat possible, as I'm sure you are, I'm a natural problem solver. Solve, have any problem, Everything has a solution and it's easy for me to see. So if somebody's struggling with something like, "Oh, let me just fix that real quick." And while I'm here, let me look at this real quick. And while I'm over here, I'm gonna go over there and just getting myself to the, my zone of genius. And staying there and trusting my team and having the right dashboards in place that tell me, without me being there, I'll always tell my team, I said, "If I'm on a deserted island, what do I need to know?" And I went to Fiji earlier this year and I said, I'm going on the deserted island and we need to come up with what I need to know. So I think that's part of it, right, to I'm gonna incorporate a bigger, greater team into building our rocks for the year. When you go from a smaller company and you're really responsible for strategy, it's easy to be like, "Okay, I know what we need to do, and as a visionary, you know, this is what we need to do next." "This is what you do." But I'm not as great a follow through and follow up as I am with that initial thing. So just creating processes that allow us to take it from concept to execution and then having that check in. Those are some of the things. And of course, I'm really leaning into the abundance piece. I know it's tough. A lot of companies are impacted. I know the labor market is tough. It's. It's different today than it was four months ago. It was different from a year ago. And when I think about the millions of people and the millions of companies out there, there are so much business to be had and there are so many great people to hire that I think if we just shift our mindset, it will find all of those. And sometimes it's hard, especially for the greater team to see that because they're stuck in the day to day because they have to do the stuff for today's clients to make sure that they're successful, right? So just combination of all those things. Just need to formalize that a little bit better than what I'm saying here.

Natasha Miller:

For more information, go to the show notes where you are listening to this podcast. Wanna know more about me, go to my website OfficialNatashaMiller.com. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved the show. If you did, please subscribe. Also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review where you're listening to this podcast now. I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Anna CroweProfile Photo

Anna Crowe

CEO & Founder

Anna Crowe is founder and CEO of Crowe PR, a recognized public relations and marketing expert, best-selling author and speaker. Anna has spent nearly 20 years working for iconic brands in New York, Los Angeles and San Diego, pivoting from a Big 4 CPA track, to scaling and leading a national public relations and digital marketing agency. In addition to running her business and empowering people to unlock their true potential through authenticity, Anna sits on the board of the San Diego Chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization, philanthropy-based PEERS Network and digital wellness non-profit Half The Story, volunteering her time helping small businesses and non-profit organizations. Anna's focus on developing extraordinary leaders and growing her clients' businesses has led to several notable recognitions, including CEO of the Year, Best Places to Work, PR Team of the Year, Women Who Mean Business and more.

Anna's book ‘Get Real: The Power of Genuine Leadership, a Transparent Culture and an Authentic You’ earned Amazon Best-seller status in 2019 and continues to sell globally. She also co-authored Lead Like a Woman, released May 2022. Anna holds an MBA in International Marketing from the University of San Diego and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Rutgers University. A former Moscovite and long-time New Yorker, Anna lives in San Diego with her husband and two young children. She is happiest when she positively impacts another human being, grows as an individual and a leader, travels the world with her family, and catches a coastal sunset with a glass of Pinot Noir.