Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Morales.
Lisa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I studied Marketing and Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University and then transferred to the University of Toronto where I would graduate with an HBA in Cinema Studies and English. Because I had reached the ARCT level in Piano Performance and Pedagogy with the Royal Conservatory of Music, I taught piano part-time at the same time as working full-time in advertising. I relocated to South Florida 25 years ago.
While raising a family, I continued to teach early childhood music, piano and was the Vice President of Publicity for the Miami Music Teachers Association. I also organized a volunteer-run Meet the Master’s program and gallery night at my children’s school, which involved promoting it to the community.
In 2010, I began working as the Public Relations Specialist for a Catholic School in Upper Buena Vista, as well as organized and promoted exhibits for the school’s outreach gallery. Through the networking and publicity generated from this project, people involved in the visual arts in and around the Design District began to notice my work.
Since then, I have been fortunate to have received interesting contracts such as launching a wine store in Downtown Miami, a restaurant in Wynwood and an interior design focused retail store in Aventura. I have promoted exhibitions and special events for a Design District art gallery and theatre events for a local university’s fine arts department; community events for the Miami Downtown Art District Association; and smaller events for artists based here and abroad.
In 2014, I was hired as Managing Curator for the “At Home with Art” showcase as part of the Home Design and Remodeling Show. Basically, it was organizing a local artist exhibition that focused on the various art districts in South Florida and visual art non-profit organizations and incubators.
Because of the background in PR, I gradually adopted more roles within the company: first the social media and media relations and then when the Marketing Director left, I became the Marketing and Communications Director.
Since there are four Home Shows per year (two in Miami and two in Fort Lauderdale), I don’t have time for much more work. However, I still do some small event promotion in the areas of food and wine and the arts. During Art Basel Miami, I switch hats and work as a journalist covering art fairs for European publications. It’s my favorite time of the year and I love the chance to be media rather than the person running after it!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not! I think the hardest part initially was bridging the gap between starting a professional life in Toronto and then relocating and not working for some time while my children were young. Although staying at home with your kids is a privilege, I’ve always believed that women should make sure that their skills are current because anything can happen, and you never want to be in a position where no one will hire you. When I returned to working full-time, I felt that I had to prove myself and worked around-the-clock. I also have had personal challenges that included losing both parents and my only sibling within three years. I think work became an escape and I forgot how to take care of myself and feel comfortable with, rather than guilty about free time.
Alright – so let’s talk about your work. Tell us about Allegory PR Services – what should we know?
I formed Allegory PR because I love to tell and cultivate stories. I hate just selling a business through pitches and angles. I look for interesting details in the type of event, people involved, novelty products or facts — something that resonates. Through these details, I can then project the broader message that allows me to connect the client to the public. That’s where the “allegory” idea came from.
I always say that I’m not PR or Marketing “by the book” and by constantly being informed, I rely on instincts. There’s an ebb and flow feel about whether the message you are delivering is working and when it’s not, you need to switch gears quickly and find another way.
I don’t really know what sets me apart from others. I work best with clients who are extremely passionate about what they do. When it seems like only the big-budget companies can survive, I believe that small businesses need to have a voice too. My work is community driven and although businesses need to be competitive, we must all remain a part of the economic growth of the macrocosm.
I believe that the role of publicist and marketer has to evolve. We can be our own platform and help our clients build their own too. Digital and social media has changed how we tell and receive news. However, I think we need to remain creative and not just drive out the crafted press release, but tell compelling visual and written stories. Also, listening to and engaging with our audience is very important. Building and improving my online and social media presence is also a part of what I do and hopefully, a valuable platform for my clients. I’ve just started blogging and this gives me a creative outlet and a way to write about my personal interests.
Finally, I believe in team work. I like my clients to be actively involved in promotion. It could be as simple as sharing business supporting information on social media. Or, just understanding that PR is much more than having the fancy party or dreaming up, what I like to call, the “story of the century” to entice media. Understanding the process and being both aware of the day-to-day and patient, is the key to a successful partnership.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My now adult children are the biggest cheerleaders! A couple of my clients have become great friends and advocates. I think the best supporters are the people who are honest and tell you when you are improving and where you can improve. I’ve reached my Renaissance and I’m happy to have the people who’ve seen me get here, still by my side.
- Website: www.allegorypr.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) Desk: photo credit Lisa Morales
(2) Home Show Wynwood Opening: photo credit Armando Colls
(3) Tenuta Regaleali Event: photo credit Lisa Morales
(4) Robert Foley Meet the Winemaker Event: photo credit Michelle VanTine
(5) On the Set at NBC 6 in the Mix: photo credit Lisa Morales
(6) On the Set at El News Cafe Univision: photo credit David Barski (no credit needed)
(7) Art Basel Interview on PBS Newshour: screen shot of me being interviewed (no credit needed)
(8) Home Show Team: Samantha Perez (no credit needed)