Listen to your instincts, advises Jen Kelley Young, Senior Vice President at CURA Strategies in her interview for Agility’s latest PR Profiles episode. “A lot of times you want to dive right in, whether it’s to start a new client relationship or to address an issue that’s coming at you very quickly. But oftentimes you need to take a step back, think about what your instincts are telling you, and think about how your actions in the moment are going to impact business in the long term.”

Jen has the honed instincts of a PR and comms professional with almost 25 years of experience—largely in the healthcare space. She got her start in healthcare at The Advisory Board Company in Washington. While there, Jen realized she had a passion for the industry. “Healthcare cuts across so many disciplines,” says Jen. “It’s incredibly interesting and dynamic. There’s no more interesting subject matter that you can dive into and tackle head on.”

Jen made the move to CURA Strategies in January 2021 after CEO Anne Woodbury, a former colleague at Fleishman-Hillard, reached out to her. “It was an opportunity to join a small boutique firm that was really focused on transforming healthcare and working on what matters to people.”

Before joining CURA Strategies, Jen spent more than fifteen years working at some of the biggest PR agencies in the world. “What’s so wonderful about large PR agencies is there is a lot of diverse work available and at any given time there’s a new opportunity to tackle.”

One of many lessons she took away from working at agencies like Fleishman-Hillard and Edelman was how important saying “yes” is. “It’s easy for us to say no or think about a reason why we don’t want to work on a particular subject area or join a particular account,” says Jen. “The willingness to say yes is incredibly important as it gives you the opportunity to try new things, to master new skills, and quite frankly, to find your passion.”

Saying yes and being flexible, another of Jen’s lessons learned, are closely linked. “You want to be seen as someone who is interested, who is willing to take on tough projects and tough assignments and is easy to work with.”

Being easy to work with is essential in an industry like PR that is built on relationships among practitioners, leadership, clients, media, and various other stakeholders. “A lot of the work that we do really comes down to relationships,” says Jen. “This industry, especially in Washington, is really small and you come across people that you work with time and time again. Being mindful of the relationships that you have with your colleagues, with your peers, with your clients, and making sure you’re taking the time to nurture them is incredibly important. Those relationships are really helpful when you’re thinking about your next career step, switching industries, or going in house.”

Jen, as we’ve seen, speaks from experience. After all, it was her relationship with Anne that led her to CURA. “I’ve only been with the agency for a couple of months, and so I’m still learning more about current clients, but I’m also already thinking about new clients that I want to work with. I love helping them bring their stories to life and having a true impact on their business.”

The full interview with Jen is available as a podcast or on the Agility PR Solutions YouTube channel.