Jessica Lawlor (’10) has never been one to shy away from intimidating opportunities. As a transfer student at Temple University, Lawlor knew she wanted to get involved on campus. After discovering the world of public relations, she became a member of PRSSA and jumped at the chance to be an initial member of PRowl.
Lawlor dove in headfirst, with no knowledge of how an agency worked. Her experiences in PRowl helped her immensely in her future career. During her time with the firm, Lawlor founded PRowl’s blog, spurring her passion for blogging. Now, her personal blog, all about stepping outside your comfort zone, or “getting gutsy,” as Lawlor calls it, recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.
“I was part of PRowl’s founding team and served as Director of Public Relations. Being part of PRowl even helped me land my first internship at an agency in the city shortly after joining. I cannot speak highly enough of it,” Lawlor said. Her experience with the inner-workings of an agency became invaluable to Lawlor later in life, when she started her own PR agency.
Lawlor always knew she wanted to work for herself someday. After working for a hospital and then a tourism agency for four years, she realized she wanted more. She felt stagnant in her work and decided a change was vital. After successfully working full-time and working on her side hustle (the Get Gutsy blog and freelancing), Lawlor chose to “get gutsy” and take her own business full time.
Two years ago, she founded Jessica Lawlor and Company (JL&Co), a specialty communications agency focused on content management and creation, public relations, and digital marketing.
Lately, she has been spending more time on her blog and brand, which centers around her personal mantra, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” While her blog is self-titled, it’s subheading is the catchphrase, “get gutsy.” The most popular series on the blog details her journey to becoming her own boss. Lawlor wants her readers to take more risks in their lives and find their own ways to “get gutsy.”
“You don’t have to quit your job,” Lawlor said. “It doesn’t have to be a drastic change.” She knows not everyone can, or wants, to run their own company. Her message is no matter how small the act, everyone can find ways to create and take new opportunities.
Lawlor learned a lot about herself and how to run a successful business when she became aCEO. One thing she wishes she did, was to be stronger in her own worth and convictions, especially when it comes to negotiating projects and price. The key part of her success is maintaining confidence in her abilities and not letting self-doubt get in her way.
Lawlor is always striving to make new opportunities for herself, and cites that as one of the reasons for her success. Leaving her job to start her own business wasn’t an easy transition, but Lawlor says the struggle made her even better at adapting to change.
Lawlor is grateful she had the opportunity to be part of PRowl’s founding 10 years ago. When she returned to campus as an adjunct instructor last fall, she had a full circle moment when she realized there were students in her class that were current members of PRowl. “Being a PRowl member gave me access to so many opportunities I would have otherwise never encountered. That’s the biggest piece of advice I give to students I talk to today: take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. You never know where it might lead.”
This alumni spotlight was written by Account Executive Emma Parrott.