We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandy Collier and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandy, what is the most important factor behind your success?
My years of experience of working in a newsroom afforded me first hand knowledge and insight on what news professionals are looking for from a PR professional. It’s one thing to know how to write a press release and how to click send on an email, but it’s another to have the right content in those emails. Working in the newsroom, I would often receive press releases and pitches that did not provide me with any valuable information to facilitate the PR professionals request. When I write a press release or pitch news professionals today, the reporter is guaranteed to get exactly what they need in the format they need it and within a time frame that is workable. You may have noticed, I differentiated between a press release and a pitch. If you are a PR professional I’m sharing a little tip with you, be sure to know the difference between the two. I know I am successful because I’ve expanded on the knowledge I’ve gained in the newsroom to benefit both the reporter and my clients. Because of this I’m successful in helping small businesses and nonprofits take their organizations to the next level.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
It’s no surprise Sandy decided her career path would include working in the news business. She was bitten by the news bug in 1992, the day Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida. South Miami was so devastated by the monstrous storm, and it was clear to Sandy she needed to volunteer her time to help the community recover. That’s when Sandy met a local news crew and it was evident to her she wanted to be in a business where she could tell people’s stories. That year Sandy started out as an intern at WSVN Channel 7 in Miami and worked her way through the ranks. In 2000 she decided to try her hand at news reporting. Sandy got an opportunity at a local radio news station 610 WIOD as a reporter. Sandy got to cover many local stories that gained national attention. One of the more memorable stories was that of Elian Gonzalez, the little boy whose custody battle between the Cuban Government and the US played out on the world stage. Other big stories included the famous hanging chad issue in Palm Beach County during the 2002 Presidential election. When the US was attacked on its own soil on September 11, Sandy led the news coverage from Miami International Airport when all flights were grounded. Sandy’s love for news was so profound that she even gave birth to her 5th child in a news vehicle. For days the local TV stations covered the birth even visiting Sandy in the hospital with cameras in tow. Sandy took a couple years off to care for her growing family. Her 6th child and only daughter was born in 2006. Sandy decided it was time to get back into the news business and did another short stint at News Radio 640 WIOD until she and her husband moved the family to Colorado where he was moving up the corporate ladder. Sandy enjoyed staying home and caring for her 5 boys and 1 daughter during this transition. In 2008 her family would up and move again, this time to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she eventually took a position as a weekend assignment editor at WLWT Channel 5. In 2011, due to her husband’s failing health, Sandy moved back to Florida to be closer to family. This time she settled in West Palm Beach where she continued her news career, landing at WPEC Channel 12. Again Sandy would move up the ranks and became the Assignment Manager. After 4 years, Sandy knew it was time to spread her wings. Her husband had died in 2013 and one of her children was now facing a potential health crisis. Sandy’s priority was her family. She stepped away from the newsroom and embarked on a lifelong dream of starting her own PR Firm which would give her the flexibility to spend more time with her children, especially one of her sons living with autism. Before COVID-19 hit, about 75 percent of her working day was spent at several of the Tri-County TV stations, working alongside the producers and reporters who were interviewing clients. As we know, the media is a very visual business so showing face was essential. When the country shut down, Sandy went into panic mode and couldn’t visualize how she would continue to maintain those connections. It wasn’t long after being confined to her home office she realized the relationships she built over the years were strong enough to sustain the changes. She kept in close contact with the newsroom folks she built relationships with to make sure they knew she still had the connections they needed to help tell their stories. So Sandy’s best advice is to trust in the hard work you put in before COVID-19. Trust in the belief that change isn’t always bad and you can roll with those changes. And most of all — trust in yourself, because if you believe you can — you will. Sandy graduated from St Thomas University with a degree in Communications. She resides in Wellington with her family. Sandy is known to belt out a tune! She enjoys exercising with her daughter, playing with her grandchildren and a nice ice cream come without the ice cream.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love Rosemary Square in downtown West Palm Beach. I enjoy eating at the outdoor restaurants. But most importantly it’s a great place for kids to run around and enjoy the new water fountain at the square.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First, I give all the praise and thanks to God for helping me to get to where I am today. The road was not easy and still isn’t. My kids are my driving force. I have 5 boys and 1 girl, they range in age from 14-29. The adults have families of their own, but are always giving mom a high 5 for unconditional support. They are my rock in good and bad times. While they are all special I’ve learned the most from my son Raffie, who’s 19-years-old and living with Autism. Raffie taught me patience, love, humility. He doesn’t see hatred or anger. He sees the world through rose colored glasses. He sees love, beauty and happiness in everyone. He’s always smiling and he’s brutally honest. If I put on something that’s not flattering he’s not shy to say it. A big shout out to my parents, my siblings and one of my best friends Marie. She’s helped me from the beginning with building Hey Sandy. Shout out also to Senior Publicist Kelly Tewksbury, Kelly is a GEM. When you have a great team it makes it all easier. The biggest thanks to the clients who trust us to put the spotlight on their business. And to the media outlets for allowing us to share with them good stories in our community and beyond for their audience.
No credit needed.