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Amanda Munro: Every Dark Times Has Its Silver Lining

By Jennifer Budiarto

From a Communication Assistant Intern to a partner in her own company, Amanda Munro continued to strive even through the darkest points of her life.

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“There is a saying that I use all the time, ‘never over promise and under deliver’. It’s a huge model in which I live by and our company really strives to always achieve. So when it comes to professionalism, it's just showing up, being authentic, but having integrity in what you say you're going to do.” 

Amanda Munro gave this advice during our meeting. Her calm, composed, and friendly energy radiated throughout the call. She always included me in the discussions and was genuinely interested in who I am as a person. From our brief interaction, I can see that she is a great leader who is firm but possesses a lot of patience. It is no wonder that she is leading her own company; Munro Thompson Communications Inc. 

Munro became acquainted with the world of PR in a rather serendipitous way. She grew up in a typical working class household just outside of Halifax. She started her journey by studying at Memorial University in Newfoundland majoring in general studies. While working at a restaurant for her summer job, she met somebody who is involved in the PR field. That day she went home and started looking into the world of PR. In just 2 short months, she completely shifted her career focus; switching her studies to Mount Saint Vincent University.

After 4 years, Munro graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in public relations equipped with various co-op experiences. She worked as a communications assistant in 3 different companies. Armed with her experiences, she moved to Vancouver to look for more opportunities. “The things that I started chasing when I came to Vancouver weren't postings, rather it was just meeting people. I started reaching out to my connections and building a network to figure out where opportunities could be,” Munro explained. Finally, she landed a job working for the Vancouver Park Board & Britannia Community Service Center, handling the communications coordinator job and internal communications.

Although she already had a stable job, Munro still had the thirst to continue learning. Unfortunately, she did not really have a mentor to help her advance her career. She sought out PR agencies and started working for them. This is where she learnt a lot about media relations, project management, crisis communications, and strategic communications. “The agency also taught me a lot about what I liked about the industry and how I would like things to run and what I didn't like,” asserted Munro.

An opportunity was then presented for Munro to be the VP of PR in a different agency. Unfortunately, after working there for almost a year, the agency had to shut its doors. She was devastated and felt lost. In the midst of adversity, she decided to start her own company with a business partner, Brandon Thompson. Munro’s struggles did not just stop once she decided to start her company. “There's a lot of risk that goes into starting your own company. There's a lot of things to manage, especially once you get into hiring employees,” she mentioned. Her motivation to keep on striving is to do meaningful work for her clients and be able to choose the kind of projects that she wanted to do versus projects that she was told to do. Her journey proves that there will always be a silver lining in every bad situation if you do not give up and keep on striving.

Munro also mentioned that PR is an ever-changing industry. She highlighted the importance of hard work and willingness to learn. “The more experience you gain the better consultant you will be. Doing your research and being smart about it will help you to give advice and make a good strategy,” she disclosed. According to Munro, PR is a competitive industry in terms of compensation. “In Canada, if you work for a small business like mine as a junior consultant, you might not make as much compared to if you’re working for the government. You can definitely make six figures working in PR for the government in BC,” she informed.

Parallel with her advice, Munro hustles everyday. She does not have a set routine and likes to let her day play out naturally. The only routine she does daily is to check her email as soon as she rolls out of bed and before she goes to sleep. Some days she gets up as early as six in the morning to put up a news release, call the media, or arrange interviews and on other days she conducts media training for senior managers. There are also times when she has to spend holidays working. For example, last Thanksgiving where she left to do a film production in Northern BC. “Honestly, there is not even one typical day in my life. Everyday is completely different. I don’t like monotonous things,” she chuckled. Among all of her busy activities, it is not uncommon for a creativity block to happen. “I have a really great partner who I can bounce ideas with. So finding someone you can trust, whether it's a partner, whether it's a friend or a professional that understands the industry really helps,” she admitted. After a busy week, she unwinds by going on a hike or just a walk. “Being outside in nature is really important and I really love it,” she smiled. 

 

After approximately 4 years of running Munro Thompson Communications, suddenly Covid-19 hit and changed everything. It was chaotic because a lot of  projects had to be canceled, but Munro continued to strive and proved that she always comes out stronger than before. “Some of the projects went forward at a slower pace, but other projects really had to pivot to something completely new. We got busier during the pandemic because people needed more communication support,” she answered gratefully.

Through every ups and downs in her life, Munro feels that she already conquered many of her professional goals. “I think getting to where I am today is a cherry on top. I'm going to be president of CPRS Vancouver next year, that's been a professional goal of mine,” she claimed. Moving forward, she hopes for her business to continue to do well and when it is bigger, she will be able to have more personal time. On top of that, she also wants to continue supporting her employees to be better in their profession and to achieve their goals. “Mentorship is always important to me. I want to give back to the PR community and other professionals who want to do important things with their lives,” she revealed.

Throughout the interview, she gave multiple great advice, but the best lesson that I received is that there will always be a silver lining in every bad situation if you continue to strive. Munro concluded with, “Look for the kind of company you want to work for, something that you'll be really passionate about. If you're really passionate about it, that will show and it makes the people that you work for and the people that you work with also excited”.

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