For nearly 10 years, Kelli Brignac has been working as a model account leader for Obsidian. For several of those years, she’s been pioneering the increasingly popular virtual model from Lake Charles, Louisiana. With her stellar work ethic, client management skills and communication expertise, you’d never know she is out of state!
Luckily, Kelli’s remote station gives us a glimpse into Louisiana life, and we’re sharing that access with you! In this month’s spotlight, get to know how she got started in the industry and some advice she’s learned along the way.
You’ve been a PR professional for several years now; what drew you to public relations in the first place?
My favorite and best subject was always English. My mom was a college marketing professor, and one day, I overheard her telling someone she thought I’d be great at marketing or PR. I declared the major when I started at LSU, and after my first internship, I was all in. It feels like I spent my whole life preparing to write professionally!
As a native Louisianan, what is your favorite (past and present) local tradition or event outside of Mardi Gras?
I am hooked on the food in general. My family is Catholic, meaning we don’t eat meat on Lenten Fridays (non-meat items or seafood only). When I lived outside Louisiana for a few years, I realized what a legitimate sacrifice that is almost everywhere else. Now, I have to make a concerted effort not to eat boiled crawfish or some other amazing seafood dish on those days!
What is one thing that you’re most proud in your career thus far?
I feel really proud to still be with Obsidian nearly 10 years in (and remote for nearly eight of those years). It feels good to be valuable enough to the firm for them to work with me on my location, and I feel accomplished at being able to work effectively in alternate circumstances.
You made a post earlier this year about saying goodbye to “cool Kelli” when you bought your first minivan – while we disagree, the post was hilarious. What is your advice for budding PR juniors on creating fun, engaging content?
Take yourself out of the equation. Don’t think about what YOU want; think about what your audience wants. You can’t promote a steak special to a Catholic on a Friday, as mentioned above! The minivan post was really borne out of the adamant anti-minivan attitude I harbored for most of my life. I remember seeing a brand-new van in the carpool line in middle school and thinking “That’s so sad. If you’re going to buy a new car, why would you get THAT?” The irony was too great to not poke fun at myself. (And while I certainly don’t look cool driving it, I’m not sure how I lived without my van before!) It can be difficult in communicating for different brands, though, and it is definitely an art that I still work on every day.
We all have a movie we have seen a thousand times, but it never gets old. I like to call these “comfort movies.” What is your go-to comfort movie?
I will watch Dirty Dancing anytime, anywhere. (And there are pictures and a video floating around the internet of me and a college boyfriend actually accomplishing that lift!)
Working at Obsidian has truly been the best experience for me, and I think I could say everyone else too. What is your favorite facet of your job?
I love a good success story. Sometimes, that comes in the form of a crisis. Crises are never fun, but the “other side” feeling you get after successfully guiding a client (especially one that is doing their part) through is kind of unmatched.
Gumbo vs. Etouffee: Which is your clear winner?
When the temperature drops below 60 or 70 (and if I’m making the potato salad)…gumbo. And no, I will not publicly declare whether my dad or my husband makes the better gumbo. You can stop reading now, Dad and Blake.