11 Lessons I’ve Learned Over 11 Golden Years

In numerology, the meaning of the number eleven relates to our progression through life. Lore has it that, when it appears, it foretells that we can make great things happen and that great things can happen to us. And as Truscott Rossman marks 11 years, I can’t help but recall what I’ve learned and what we’ve accomplished since our founding 11 years ago on January 11, 2011. 

On this golden birthday, our team has successfully navigated the obstacles that we have all faced over these past two years. From the pandemic to working remotely, and sadly, the loss of one of our founders, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, we’ve come together stronger than before.

So, here are 11 lessons I’ve learned over 11 golden years: 

  1. Dream big.
    Set ambitious goals, then work to achieve them. The thought seems obvious and, perhaps, difficult to attain, but neither is true. When you dream big, hard work can make your dream a reality. 
  2. Always be ethical.
    Core values define all that we do in this profession. The fundamental beliefs that guide our behaviors and decision-making process are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness. These pillars should be our foundation in any internal or external communications work. 
  3. Relationships matter.
    Relationships are our single biggest predictor of success. Always be kind to everyone. You never know when an intern may one day become the media person you’re pitching or your client. 
  4. Trust your team.
    The best leaders leverage the abilities and insights of their staff to multiply – not diminish – their impact. 
  5. Love what you do.
    Life is too short to do anything else.
  6. Change is inevitable – roll with it.
    Take a moment to consider everything that has changed for you and everyone you love over these past two years. Roll with it.
  7. It’s never “just PR.”
    Shortchange communications at your own peril. Whether you’re announcing an initiative five years in the making or you’re in a full-blown crisis, you’ll have the best chance of earning and retaining the trust and loyalty of your key audiences with honest, transparent, clear and timely communications.
  8. Tools of communication, and the people who use them effectively, have transformed history.
    The tools – from the telegraph to news media to the internet – have evolved. The constant is the people who employ them. History has taught us all to respect the power of these tools to reach, influence, educate and move people to meaningful action.  
  9. Don’t be a jerk.
    It is not only possible to be an intense, demanding leader without being toxic and overbearing, but mandatory if you want to get the best out of your team and deliver for your clients. It’s one thing to have high expectations. But if you let those expectations transform your personality, you’re never going to meet them. And if you have been a jerk, apologize. We’re all human. 
  10. Listening and empathy are critical.
    Forget about “Always Be Closing.” We should always be listening and learning from others if we want to effectively lead and help them. 
  11. Listen to – and learn from – Kelly.
    Kelly Rossman-McKinney was one of a kind. She was funny, smart as hell, generous and was a human Energizer Bunny. Those who knew her say there’s nobody like Kelly. Truer words were never spoken. Read Kelly’s top 10 tips to be a successful businesswoman.

We’re looking forward to more golden years of making great things happen. And of course, when in doubt, listening to and learning from Kelly.