Suzanne Rutledge Meeting Recap

By: Emma Crosby

This week we welcomed Suzanne Rutledge, senior account executive at See. Spark. Go and author of the book, “From the Rut to the Ledge.” She talked about her nine-month journey around the world with her husband and son, and how working in PR taught her some valuable skills she applied to her travels. Here are three of those tips:

1. Be organized
Suzanne and her husband created a master spreadsheet of travel plans before embarking on the trip. They used and added to the spreadsheet throughout the nine months. It allowed them to think strategically and plan the trip accordingly. They were even able to make sure they were in Hong Kong during the Chinese New Year and avoided India during the monsoon season. Suzanne explained how being organized is an important skill to have in the PR world and your personal life.

2. Adapt to change
While on a nine-month trip around the world, there are many unplanned hiccups along the way and it is important always to be ready to make changes when necessary. Suzanne explained that, even in your best PR campaign, something will probably go wrong and it is necessary to be able to adapt to change and work through the hiccups. While abroad, they continued to plan their trips. Egypt was a country that interested their family, after continually monitoring the news; they decided a week before that they would go. Things change at the last minute, and being adaptable makes you marketable.

3. The best story is told through people
Suzanne explained how her best PR pitches are always a personal story. Photos are impactful. Throughout their trip, the Rutledge family made sure to make meaningful relationships with the people around them. They volunteered at an orphanage in Kenya and had nightly dinners with a family while in India. The relationships that they made on the trip were much more lasting than the tourist sites they saw. Suzanne advised us to always to find a compelling personal story to make your work richer.

Beyond these three tips, Suzanne explained in depth how much closer her family grew after "roughing it" for nine-months on a trip around the world, with only a backpack and one carry-on bag each. They found strength in connecting with people around the world, and strived to not see the world as tourists, but to actually live in the communities they were visiting. They did not want to see the world as if through a looking glass...they wanted to be a part of what they were seeing and touch the lives of people around the world.

Our members were so inspired by Suzanne and her journeys that we cleaned her out of the books she brought to sell at the meeting. Check out her book here and learn more about her and her family's amazing journey.