PR’s Interview with Jeff Beauregard
The latest edition (004) to this Q&A project is one that really hits home for me and is one of the reasons I really like social media. Jeff Beauregard and I both attended Salem State University (then College) and worked our way through school at The Sports Authority. Jeff as the stealth undercover dude and me as the warehouse guy that spent most of his energy making sure not to make eye contact with customers.
Jeff and I hadn’t communicated with each other in well over 10 years until social media reminded me how funny he can be – now 140 characters at a time. It’s been great to reconnect and see that he is doing so well. Jeff and I didn’t follow the same professional path, so I’ve used this opportunity to get perspective and insight into a different path for what I thought would be a PR guy. Enjoy.
So Jeff, you and I haven’t seen each other in years, but then we ran into each other via social media (Twitter, Instagram and your blog) and I quickly realized our careers are very different. Does your current gig match what you expected to be doing back when we were working our way through the Harvard of the North Shore (AKA Salem State)?
No way. Not even a glimmer of what I thought/wanted to do. My idea of what I wanted to do was probably what you are doing. I wanted to be doing PR, promotions or something like that in the PR or marketing industry. My career went on a weird path starting with The Sports Authority and a few decisions I made shortly thereafter….
Can you run me through the career highlights?
After I left TSA, I went to a software company in Boston and started doing data entry. After a year or so, I went to a small… small….small direct mail company in Salem. We did local mailers for banks, country clubs, car dealerships, stuff like that. Nothing exciting. The best and worst of that job was sitting in a room facing Pickering Wharf watching people on their expensive yachts as I clear wafer-sealed 75,000 Self-Mailers over the course of a few days. Tantalizing work, let me tell you! I was there only six months, but it gave me a stepping stone towards another small direct mail company. This one was a great company with a great owner.
Ok, so PR degree and direct mail, I get the connection, but how did you go from that to what you are doing now ?
Remember, this was also the time of the 99-2000 freak out regarding computers and DOS to Windows. They were changing their system from a DOS black screen, green font system, to a Windows White Screen, blue trim, black font system…Basically from HAL to Facebook and for whatever reason I got it. I understood what they were doing, how they were converting it and how users would interact with it. So, by default, I was given the task of training the entire company on the new system. I thought nothing of it, because it came second nature to me. It was easy. Unfortunately, a year later in early 2001, I got laid off from CPS. The bubble had burst and half the company was let go.
After spending that summer bartending and collecting unemployment – one of the best summers of my life mind you – I landed a job at Vantage Travel Group in Boston. Crazy place. I was hired for the non-profit direct mail position, I walked in the door and a day earlier someone quit on the travel side and they moved me to group travel. That weekend they had a sales meeting and I asked all kinds of questions about email marketing and their direct response rates and the owner/CEO said “What the hell is he doing in Travel?”
The following Monday I was back on the direct mail side and a couple weeks later was 9/11. Half of the travel side got laid off and I kept my job on the direct side. Mailing everyone flags and stickers and eagles for affinity support groups (Elks, Masons, Knights of Columbus, etc.).
Alright, sounds like you were pretty opportunistic and maybe even a little unlucky, but how did you get from shipping to the technical?
Just stay with me. This is where it gets good. I landed at a French Gaming company called Infogrames. Shortly after I got there, they changed their name to Atari, which they had just bought the rights to. As a kid of the 80s, this was pretty much a dream job. You got bored, you played video games. Things were slow, you played video games. They needed opinions on something, you played video games.
Wait for it…at the same time, they were rolling out a system called MAM (Marketing Asset Management) which was a homegrown product they created to share marketing assets between the U.S. and Europe for localization of assets. With my experience rolling out and training the previous system at CPS, I was a perfect fit. I trained all of the U.S. marketing department and worked with European counterpart who was doing the same thing in our office in France. Short answer, it didn’t suck at all…until, the company announced “we’re closing, we don’t know when, but we’re closing.” This announcement turned the entire office into one for all head-hunting office. We were looking for jobs for each other and my boss found a posting for a creative asset administrator at Digitas.
Everything I was doing at Atari was in the job description. They were purchasing a new system and I was to help roll out and train the entire agency on the system. It was a much grander scale, but was right up my alley. Adopted system use and naming conventions across the agency.
Next up is we are in the process of rolling out new storage and a system upgrade for our DAM system. It’s pretty exciting stuff, but was nowhere on my radar all those years ago.
People that know you well would describe you as…
A lot of people think I’m this crazy off the wall person, but I think I’m pretty reserved in my own eyes anyway. However, since starting Crossfit a year ago and starting to eat Paleo almost two years ago, those two things changed my life. I’ve lost 40lbs. I feel better than I did 10 years ago. I’m in better shape than I was in my 20′s. It’s an amazing life change and so much more for the better. I now work my schedule around going to the gym instead of the other way around. The community support is a group of people I wish I had when I was in my 20′s. Opened my eyes to self-worth and confidence that I didn’t know existed. That confidence definitely rolls into your professional life too, which is a definite bonus.
What is your Immediate reaction to the following?:
Twitter: People I want to know
Facebook: People I kinda know
Google+: It’s cool, but it’s no Facebook
Klout: Social Media’s “Hot or not”
Corporate blogs: Could do without
LinkedIn: Interesting connections
Social media: About to jump the shark, but become uber specific
Advertising: is social media
Public relations: blurring the lines between corporate and social
By the way, truth be told, I asked Jeff some additional questions not included here (like the classic Maryann or Ginger) but those were more for my own enjoyment. And let me tell you, his answers didn’t disappoint. Very funny guy.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
- @anthonyloftis Hey man, how are things? I see you've been busy. Good stuff. I was worried you won't reply with a question. 6 days ago
- This issue sn't going away any time soon...RT @rgeller 5 Tips On Job Transitions and Updating Social Media Profiles gag.gl/ArKcj 1 week ago
- @anthonyloftis right...that's why I disagreed with your point of news release being key to seeing what co thinks is important. 1 week ago
- @bschwartz are you ever in the Nashua area? 1 week ago
- @bschwartz haha, good to know you noticed I wasn't around. Things are really going well. Very busy, lots to learn. How are things with you? 1 week ago
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