Young Money: an interview with Therese Hickok
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • January 16, 2013 @ 10:27am
Therese Hickok is the effervescent senior marketing manager at Uniland Development Company and is an up-and-coming professional in Western New York. I had the pleasure of meeting Therese roughly three years ago and am still amazed at her vast experience in the business world, her self-assuredness and her wealth of knowledge on a variety of subjects.
While still a young professional, Therese’s accomplishments and resume leave no doubt that she’s a force to be reckoned with in the Western New York corporate community. I was lucky enough to snag a few moments with her to discuss her career field, life as a young professional and why it’s important to give back to the community. Therese was a fountain of information and answers, so without further ado, let’s get into the interview!
Caitlin McNulty: What drew you to the PR/marketing field?
Therese Hickok: I was in broadcasting at the time I decided to explore the field of public relations and marketing. I dealt with folks in PR positions every day and thought it might be worthwhile to transition out of broadcasting and get into “the business world.” I wanted to stay in Buffalo long-term and knew that the key to that happening would most likely be a transition out of the television business, due to our small market and few new opportunities for growth. I started my research on the field by meeting with one of my former professors from Canisius College, Stanton Hudson. After a few thoughtful discussions, I pursued courses in fundamentals of public relations through the Canisius College Center for Professional Development and ultimately earned my master’s degree in public relations management from Buffalo State College.
CM: How did you know that marketing was the right fit for you?
TH: Once I got into the field and got my first public relations and marketing position it just seemed right to me. I felt that my natural skills and abilities were being put to the best use. Overall, I guess I knew that it was a good fit because I enjoyed going to work each day.
CM: You’ve worked in a variety of industries—which was your favorite?
TH: I am very grateful to have the experience of working with so many wonderful people, industries and causes in Western New York. To say I have a favorite would be lying because each one has been wonderful for its own reasons. That said, I will not deflect your question (though it does showcase my media training skills) and say that when I worked for the city of Buffalo’s economic development arm, under former Mayor Anthony Masiello, in addition to my public relations and marketing responsibilities, I was also liaison to the IT industry in the city. This meant I was tasked with making sure we were listening and then acting on, as needed, the requests and needs of the business community in a proactive manner. Whether it was for improved city services, grant assistance or public relations assistance, every time I was able to do something, no matter how small, to assist them in growing their business, it was so rewarding and a role that I embraced fully, at a young age, knowing the amount of responsibility that came along with it.
CM: What’s the best thing about being a young professional in WNY?
TH: Our community offers endless opportunities to get involved and make a real difference. This is the type of community where young professionals can speak out on issues that will shape the future of our City and region. They are a voice that not only needs to be heard, but especially of late, I believe the community realizes how critical this demographic is to the health and wealth of our hometown. There are programs where young professionals (can) have a seat at the table with influential decision-makers in our community via various speakers’ bureaus and special events. This is just one example of how easy it is for young professionals to get involved in Western New York and make positive change happen.
CM: The hardest?
TH: Buffalo is a tight-knit community. You must network, network, network! I have firsthand experience as the new girl in town and it is not easy but as I said earlier—every challenge is an opportunity. Find some events and activities that interest you and chances are you’ll meet like-minded people that you can strike up a conversation with and someday that person might be someone you need to ask to assist with a foot in the door for an interview or even better, you can be the foot in the door for someone you met while networking.
CM: You’re active in the community, serving on boards and such—why do you think it’s important to give back?
TH: We all have a responsibility to make our communities better, not only for ourselves and our families but for the next generation. Someone I greatly admire once told me, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I have been given the gift of a loving family and a positive environment in which to live my life and grow into the woman I am today. Not everyone is as fortunate and I enjoy volunteering and supporting organizations that I believe make an impact on the lives of children and families in Western New York.
CM: What’s your favorite spot in the City?
TH: This is a tough one! I love the antique stores on Hertel Avenue and the specialty shops on Elmwood, especially at Christmas—you just find the most unique gifts at the stores and you shop local, which is so important to the health of our economy.