Lead with the Heart
By Tammy Hinojos, Director of Editorial Services
If you’ve met MPR’s Vice President, Amanda Polk, you already know what a fierce advocate she is on behalf of the clients we serve. And on behalf of the people in her life, both professionally and personally. You know she’s strategic and creative, a rare marriage that makes her really, really good at what she does.
And if you don’t know Amanda (we lovingly call her AP!), I invite you to read on:
TH: You wear a lot of hats in our agency, but what does a typical day look like for you?
AP: Typical? Not sure I have those, but let’s see. I think my key role is listening to our clients, digesting what they tell me about their challenges and goals, and then coming up with creative strategies to help them accomplish those goals. I like to be really invested in our clients, to see a project all the way to the finish line and to enjoy the fruits of that.
I also spend a great deal of time above the trenches in business development, strategizing what our next move as an agency is and how best to keep us top of mind.
TH: What’s the best part of your job?
AP: Beyond taking care of our clients, the most important thing I do is developing our team here at MPR. Making sure people are in the right seat on the bus and that they feel inspired, heard and respected. Although it’s been the most challenging of my roles, I really enjoy leading the team, keeping a pulse on things and just staying aware of where team members’ heads are at on any given issue. Being in this role has really opened my heart and mind.
TH: What was it like leading your team and your clients through a world health pandemic?
AP: Honestly, it was scary. Scary, because it was something I’d never done before. It was my FFT. I tried to just take it hour by hour and sometimes even minute by minute. Things were changing quickly as more information became available. I tried really hard not to internalize or externalize the angst. To be a good listener and keep my door, my head and my heart open to my team members.
For our clients, I kind of very naturally fell into data collection mode. Since we have multiple clients in multiple states, there were a lot of moving parts and various angles to consider. There was a lot of asking questions, listening to their concerns and helping them navigate change quickly. I kept in near-constant communication with our clients and we helped them get out messaging to their patients about modified hours, safety protocols, closures, telehealth and lots of other things. I tried really hard to support our clients by being a source of calm and compassion.
TH: Who are your leadership mentors?
AP: My biggest mentor is probably Brené Brown. She is a no-bullshit truth-teller and she speaks to the innermost parts of me. I love Brené because she names the things we all feel. But she offers real solutions. She leads from a place of genuine authenticity, and that really resonates with me.
I also like Andrea Owen, although her teachings are more personal, and I appreciate John Maxwell’s Developing the Leader Within You course.
TH: Okay, Speed Round! What’s your fave food? Fave way to unwind after a long week at work? And fave guilty pleasure? Go!
AP: Cane Rosso pizza; wine.music.patio with JJ (husband); BRAVO!
TH: Okay, last question. What’s the next big project on your plate?
AP: This COVID-19 season that we are emerging from really caused me to take a deep look at what is important in my life. It also really bonded our team here at MPR in a profound and real way. We’ve been talking about how it seems to have changed us all in one way or another, and opened up some space in our minds to think new thoughts and in different ways. I look forward to seeing how this will play out creatively for us.
And I am always looking forward to inviting new clients into the family as well as serving the ones we have to the best of our abilities.
MPR is made up of an eclectic group of individuals. This bus is never boring! We’re unique and diverse, but our common denominator is our collective Yes-mentality. We are thinkers and doers; trusted experts in marketing and public relations.
Yes, we can.