Name: Karen O’Connor
Job title: Public Relations, Global Community and Brand
Company you work for: lululemon athletica
Career background: I’ve spent a majority of my career in a customer service role for a large restaurant chain, most recently during its expansion into the US. After graduation I pursued various roles in writing, styling and doing PR for local publications and apparel companies.
Although I loved certain aspects of my job, I was always drawn to a more interactive, interpersonal role that I wasn’t finding within my current scope of work. The hospitality industry refined my skill set to remain composed under pressure and respond to unique crises. This experience has given me a unique angle in which I approach my current role with lululemon.
Career aspirations: I would love to spend a majority of my time on the ground trailblazing into new markets. Doing yoga, cycling and running with key community influencers to understand how our brand translates into something that resonates with different cultures and customs around the world.
Greatest career challenge: Managing the balance between the ‘industry norm’ and how we approach Public and Media Relations within our company. We are unconventional with our outreach strategy so we often have to innovate ways to work within the parameters of what’s ‘industry standard’.
It can be a fine line to walk when you want to keep the integrity of the brand intact and support the needs of your media partners at the same time.
Greatest career success: Watching the stores execute their amazing ideas and constantly innovating how they show up in their communities.
Biggest career mistake or regret: Answering a phone call from a blocked number while driving only to find out it was an ambush, on-air interview.
PR role model: One of our community directors is the most innovative and inspiring people you could learn from. He networks so organically and builds the most unique and valuable relationships with people everyone else would die to even speak to. He’s a natural with people and a true North to the culture within our company.
Best career advice: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
Best place to ‘do coffee’ in Vancouver: Hands down, Musette Cafe off Hornby Street or adding a handmade doughnut to 49th parallel espresso at Lucky’s on Main.
Favourite journalist to pitch to: Jenna Autuori, Fitness Editor for Fitness Magazine. She is always trying the newest, most obscure workouts and really putting our products to the test.
Favourite website: Huff Post, The Sartorialist
Favourite social media site: Pinterest