I met Marybeth Cale, founder of Cale Communications about 5 years ago around the same time I started the Hudson Valley Good Stuff blog. She has given me many good leads and tips since then. I’m delighted to interview her, and especially happy that Cale Communications become a sponsor in 2013.
Hudson Valley Good Stuff: Describe the genesis of Cale Consulting? How did you first become interested in pursuing a career in PR? When did you decide to set up your own office in Rhinebeck?
Marybeth Cale: I started Cale Consulting (now Cale Communications) after my second son was born, back in 2005, in an effort to achieve a healthier work-life balance. I felt that self-employment would allow me to “own” my time, which would give me the autonomy I needed to ensure that I could best meet the needs of my children, my husband, my extended family and friends, and, of course, myself. In addition, though, I also felt that having my own business could help me further my career goals, giving me a chance to work with a variety of clients who would, collectively, support my personal and professional development. My career, which had included development, public relations, and communications, gave me the skill-set necessary to launch a firm that could provide similar services for my clients, and although it took several years to build my clientele to the point where I could finally leave the traditional workforce to go full-time to my businesses (which only happened two years ago), it has exceeded my every expectation. I now develop and implement multi-faceted PR campaigns, which incorporate press releases, public speaking engagements, communications trainings, social media and email marketing campaigns, blogging, public statements, and overall writing/editing/publicity efforts. To me, PR is, simply put, about sharing stories.
Throughout my life, I have been learning how to craft and articulate messages for individuals, organizations, and businesses, and have always loved helping people connect through stories. It is very rewarding work, and as the daughter of an Episcopalian minister, I have been well-trained by my father, who I respect and admire to no end – he is one of the greatest communicators I have ever known. While I can’t even begin to try to match his natural ability to connect others to his messages, I will always try to emulate his good work in effectively engaging an audience. While my work is vastly different, he has been a role model and inspiration for me, and I hope to do some sort of good in the world by working with great clients who can help make a difference in the lives of others because their work is well-publicized enough to attract the attention they need.
HVGS: What is your average work day like?
Cale: My work day is definitely centered around my family life, so the days vary depending on the needs of my children. Most of the time, however, I spend my days drafting public statements, writing blogs or web copy, developing and distributing press releases, and reaching out to journalists to pitch stories. I also spend a great deal of time meeting with clients or their key stakeholders to develop timelines and campaign plans, and, of course, I always leave ample time for long walks, tennis, and lunch with my friends – all important to the creative process, and to my overall health and well-being, which of course has direct benefits for my clients and my family.
HVGS: What are the rewards and challenges of working in PR these days? Any challenges or rewards unique to the Hudson Valley?
Cale: It is incredibly gratifying to see a great story get the coverage it deserves, but there is no doubt that it can take months, or years, to get a publication to recognize the importance of a particular message. PR is a highly competitive industry, and it is critically important to stay very organized to ensure that potential is being maximized at all times. Working within the Hudson Valley has been really fantastic – I grew up in Rhinebeck and set up my office in the village because I truly believe in the wonderful synergy of a “downtown” business corridor. I have an expansive network of really terrific people in this region because I have spent most of my life here – and, true to the ‘small-town America’ culture, people really take care of one another. There has been a real outpouring of support in the way of referrals and connections from people who have known me since I was a young girl, or people who are now raising their own children alongside us, or community members who have gotten to know my husband and I through event committees and the like. I am deeply grateful to be a part of a caring community that fosters the growth of small business.
HVGS: What do you love most about working and living in the Hudson Valley?
Cale: I think that the Hudson Valley offers all of us who live and work here the perfect marriage of small-town America and the progressive, cosmopolitan New York City influence. Everyone works hard to preserve and protect the old-fashioned values of caring for one another and nurturing our community, but all in context of an exciting push toward responsible development. I love walking down the streets of Rhinebeck and knowing most of the faces I greet – but I also love that we have exploded in popularity and countless tourists are making the Hudson Valley a high-in-demand vacation destination, providing our communities with opportunities for long-term economic growth.
HVGS: Which clients are you focusing on now during the holidays?
Cale: Right now I am working on a project for Abilities First, my former employer and first client – an organization with a 50-plus-year history of providing educational, residential, clinical, and vocational services to individuals with disabilities throughout the Hudson Valley. We have been working tirelessly to get the word out there about their comprehensive programs and services, all delivered in a nurturing, warm atmosphere which really fosters self-advocacy for the people they serve. Their work, which really began around the time when people started recognizing that people with disabilities did not belong in institutions, symbolizes a beautiful human rights movement which has really taken shape throughout the last several decades, and has resulted in hundreds of success stories through the years. We are now collecting stories from people who have children with disabilities who are willing to write essays about the victories that their families have experienced along the way. We will pull all of these stories together and publish an ebook in 2014, as part of our LOVE OUR KIDS campaign, which celebrates the exciting milestones of individuals with disabilities at every age and stage. You can learn more about it by visiting their blog site – abilitiesfirstny.wordpress.com, or Facebook.com/AbilitiesFirstSchool – the book is designed to inspire those who are facing similar challenges, and the writers need not have ever had any experience specifically with Abilities First. If you have ever loved or taken care of an individual with a disability and want to share a story of hope and inspiration, you can participate in the project.
HVGS: What are you most excited about or looking forward to in 2014?
Cale: Every year brings the promise of new experiences and new people – I look forward to embracing whatever new opportunities present themselves to me, and hope to help others in some small way through the work I do to publicize the stories that matter.
To contact Cale Communications, please visit their website or call (845) 876-2220