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40 Under 40 - Class of 2021
Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 1 week ago

Missy Hurley, 39

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B2 Communication, co-founder/principal
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

Missy Hurley

39

Co-founder and Principal B2 Communications

Growing up in Ohio, Missy Hurley wanted to be a journalist, but it didn’t take her long to figure out the job is not always all it’s cut out to be.

Sure, in the movies there are crusading reporters taking on the establishment to right wrongs and dashing correspondents in far off locales covering wars. But like lawyers, doctors, police officers and firefighters, reporters know Hollywood makes the job seem a lot more exciting than it usually is.

'That’s the one of things about PR, not a lot of people know it’s a viable career path until someone introduces you to it.' Missy Hurley

And that’s what Hurley, a high school student at the time, found out when she looked deeper into what the job entailed. “As I started going down the path, I found out that in your first journalism job you’re working nights, you’re on courts, crime and I was like whoa that’s not really what I see myself doing.”

So Hurley turned to her mother, a career counselor at a school in Ohio who ran a shadowing program for young people to spend time with a company to learn about a profession firsthand.

She got Hurley a spot for a day at Ohio-based consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble’s public relations and marketing department. The experience changed her life.

The company let her sit in on a pitch meeting for an ad campaign and let her participate in meetings about how to spend “a boatload” of money for children all over the world, even asking her, “this kid who’s just walked in for the day…‘what should we do with it?’”

“That’s one of things about PR, not a lot of people know it’s a viable career path until someone introduces you to it,” Hurley says. “For me, it started down that path.”

Hurley, 39, is co-founder of B2 Communications in St. Petersburg. In that role, she gets to employ the tools that would have benefited her as a journalist, satisfying her curiosity by researching and asking questions, crafting narratives for clients and telling their stories. This, not the administrative part of running a company, is what she loves, and what, even after years in the industry, remains her passion. “We take a very newscentric approach to everything we’re doing, so we look at it from that journalistic perspective,” she says.

“I think that’s something that’s really helped me, having a thirst for knowledge, and having, maybe, a desire for journalism but doing that from the PR perspective. And balancing that with ‘How does this help a company’s bottom line or organizational goals?’”

Outside of the company, something that's helped Hurley grow as a leader is her relationship with her mentor Renee Vaughn, a prominent business and branding consultant in Tampa and former Tampa city official. Outside of opening a lot of doors for her, Hurley says Vaughn has taught her the power of positivity. "She's shown me how small shifts in my thoughts or behaviors can make a big difference in perspective," Hurley wrote in her 40 under 40 survey answers, "especially over the past year.   

Birthplace: Akron, Ohio

Years in the area: 20

Marital Status/Children: Divorced, no kids, 1 big dog

Alma Mater/Degree: University of Tampa/BA Communications

What community group or organization are you most involved with? PRSA Counselors Academy, a section focused on PR & marketing agency leaders

What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Car wash - everything from cashier to vacuum to drying cars

What's your top tip for being productive? Turn off as many computer notifications as possible. No alerts for new emails or news headline updates that fly onto the screen, and use 'Do not disturb' on the desktop for the times when you're in meetings or in deep work. I'm an efficiency aficionado who is always on the lookout for hacks, AI tools and automations, and one of my best finds has been a tool called SaneBox that uses AI to sort and prioritize email.

If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Professional coaching and training for PR pros. It's a constantly evolving field.

What's your favorite off-hours activity? Evening walks around Crescent Lake or Old Northeast with my dog Monty. I try to stay off the phone, talk with neighbors, enjoy the scenery and unwind for the day. And learning to play tennis!

Have you gone to the movies in 2021? If yes, what did you see? *No

What's the top item on your bucket list? African photo safari. Always dreamed of seeing lions!

What's your favorite podcast? The Tim Ferriss Show

Where is your happy place? Nearby, it's Sanibel Island. Anywhere in nature, with a preference for off-the-beaten path.

Describe yourself in three words: Constantly curious learner

Who is your mentor for your career and why? Renee Vaughn, president, Williams Consulting Group

What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? The value of thoughtful connection. She's incredibly connected to many people in the community, and it goes far deeper than networking. She listens intently during conversations, and she's quick to extend an invitation to an event that you might like, to send a handwritten note that follows up on something you shared with her, or to leave a meaningful voicemail. She truly enjoys lifting others up, and that joy comes through to the recipient.

Grace under pressure is another big one. She's seemingly unflappable, no matter the situation!

Power of positivity. She's shown me how small shifts in my thoughts or behaviors can make a big difference in perspective, especially over the past year.

 

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