• Caryl Bixon-Gordon, Caryl Communications, Inc.

The truth builds integrity, trust and long-term relationships

How do you manage the work/life balance?

It has been challenging, but after three decades, I think I have it figured out! What works for me is keeping my work life and family life as separate as possible and making time for both. You have to be mindful about it, and prioritize events and activities on both sides of the spectrum. From a balance standpoint, I am also taking care of a parent, like many in my generation. And while having my husband as my business partner has not always made it easy to separate work and home, we have learned and are still learning how to leave work at work and home at home. We are still married – 33 years, with two wonderful sons; two dogs; and an outstanding PR company that continues to thrive.

What impact has social media/networking had on your business?

HUGE! Social media has completely changed the face of our industry. It has created many new platforms for us to work with, and it has changed how we communicate with our clients’ audiences. There are just so many great ways to get terrific coverage. It is very exciting, and for a marketing and communications person, it sometimes feels like being a kid in a candy store!

What were some of your early goals and did anything happen in your career /profession to change them?

Caryl Communications is built on strong writing; it is the way I started this company and how we continue to progress successfully. We have talented writers – everyone who works for us cares about how they write and craft their words. News releases, feature stories, bylines, eblasts, emails, brochures – writing is at the core and a source of discussion and pride for our team. We are the word geeks who constantly check our grammar and make sure everything we write is clear and concise. That early goal has never wavered for me or for our team. Today we call it content, and it is at the center of everything we do.

What qualities and/or personality traits do you feel make you most successful in your profession?

People in our field need to know how to listen. When I work with clients, I listen to everything they say. I get to know the company as a whole – what they do, what they stand for, who they speak to – and then I work hard. It is important to be tenacious and take pride in the work and the results. Perhaps most important is to be forthright, open, honest and respectful. Those are the qualities I look for in our team members and that I cultivate in myself. I have always found the truth to be very reliable and comforting, and in the public relations field, working with journalists and distinguished clients, the truth builds integrity, trust and long-term relationships that make us successful at what we do.

What challenges and/or obstacles do you feel you needed to overcome to become as successful as you are today?

As a business owner, I have had to take a lot of big risks. I have had to listen to my intuition, take chances and step outside of my comfort zone. I tend to err on the more conservative side, so this was definitely a big hurdle, but I eventually learned to embrace change. It really is the only constant. In the end, you either grow or learn a lesson for the next day.

Do you feel being a woman is an advantage, disadvantage or no advantage in today’s business world? Why? Why not?

I have never thought of myself as a woman in business; I am a person who has a great career and a great business. Although the majority of my clients are men, we communicate together and share mutual respect. If there are any disadvantages, I have not experienced them. Who do you feel was most influential in your life when choosing this profession? What is funny is that I went to school to be a teacher, but I got into the business world at a very young age. My first boss was a Senior Vice President of Marketing at a bank, and he introduced me to public relations. I was like a sponge, and he took the time to teach me the ins and outs of this business. His most valuable lesson was the importance of working with the media and the community. They go hand in hand and are the most important elements of a strong public relations campaign. I am grateful for all he taught me, and I continue to share what I learned from him, as well as from my own experiences, with my professional colleagues. In that respect, I guess you can call me a teacher too!

What activities do you enjoy during you free time?

I will find any reason to be at the beach. I go there to exercise, relax, swim, walk, collect shells, do yoga, paint and be with my friends and family. There is nothing better than the beach – and yes, the Jersey Shore!

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