Kevin Spacey is a genius. There’s no way around it. He started stage acting in the 1980s, and since then has become a professional actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, and singer. He has produced over 40 film and television projects, and has acted in over 80. His performances in pieces like A Beautiful Mind, American Beauty, and (one of my favorites) House of Cards are just captivating. Watch his interviews on MasterClass, Inside the Actors Studio, or The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and you can’t help but be enthralled. While we as a society come to expect celebrities to be motivated in promoting only themselves, Mr. Spacey is a longtime advocate of giving others the tools to achieve his kind of success, a belief that was passed along to him by his mentor, Jack Lemmon.
One of my (Kelly/ KBru) favorite quotes from Spacey is when he said, “If you have done well enough in the business that you wanted to do well in, if you have been successful, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.”
When I finally made the decision to get my company its own website, I didn’t really do it for the purpose of promoting my business. So much of your professional success in the business of motorsports is built upon your existing relationships and word of mouth. A website has very little influence in whether or not a PR representative gets a job. I did it for this blog, which would serve two purposes: First, to share the entertaining behind the scenes of motorsports public relations that the public may not see or understand, and second, to help future public relations professionals as they try to navigate their way into the sport.
I started my motorsports adventure as a teenager as a volunteer for CART. I spent my summers traveling to the few races I could afford to help out in whatever area I could, eager to learn and see what opportunities were available. I don’t think I truly thought I could make a career of it, and I certainly didn’t see myself starting my own company (Ah, if 13 year old KBru could see me now). While I may have not realized the potential of a career in motorsports, I had the passion to ride the wave to wherever it took me.
Looking back, it would have been easy for people to dismiss me as just an eager teenager, and some did. However, there were those who saw something and decided to send their elevator down. Maybe they saw a glimpse of themselves, or maybe they just liked helping people. But looking back at my timeline of events, there is a small handful of people who stand out as people who dramatically changed the trajectory of my career. They took the time to offer pointers, answer my questions, offered opportunities I didn’t ask for, and most importantly, they each gave me a chance.
In the four years this little company has existed, we’ve successfully represented some big names. All in all, it’s been an incredible success so far, and there remains plenty to still achieve. In a sport where people can get competitive over the smallest things, it can be easy to keep everything you know close to the chest. However, the people who kindly took a chance to offer me advice set an example I have always chosen not to ignore. When you become successful in your field, how can you not send the elevator back down to help and inspire others? Might these people become competition later? Maybe. But I’m confident in the job I do and what I bring to the table. Each PR representative is unique, as is each client in need of PR that suits their program.
My inbox gets a steady stream of new or future PR reps seeking advice, and for two years, I’ve used this blog as a way to answer those questions, discuss industry topics, and create a discussion that could be taken and applied to everyday work at the track.
This time last year, I hit my breaking point with sexism in motorsport. One tiny comment from a misogynistic tool was added to the stack of thousands of incidents, and I spoke out about it in blog form. The blog on my own site hit 80,000 views in a matter of days before going viral again when Autoblog reposted it on their website. While many men and women constructively acknowledged the topic, the haters were even more vocal. The Autoblog comment section was filled with such hate from misogynistic keyboard warriors that the editors released their own statement supporting myself and other women, and then promptly silenced the negativity by removing the ability to comment on the piece. But that wasn’t enough for some people. My professional and personal social media accounts were inundated with condescending, hateful, and sexually explicit messages and threats. People combed back through years of tweets and Instagram posts to find any ammunition that could be used against me in any way they could find when they twisted reality. Friends and family who supported the stand against sexism were also attacked. I knew speaking out was a risk, and call me an optimist, but I never expected such pathetic attacks on such a large scale; attacks that completely proved my point about the disparaging way in which people can be treated.
I immediately took a step back from my personal social media, and to an extent, my own company’s as well, hesitant to give the vultures any kind of content they could twist to suit their purposes. As I waited for the hate to taper off until it slipped back into the oblivion, the race season picked up, and this blog fell to the wayside. I still answered questions via email and in person at events, but here on my own website, something had changed. It was no longer a place to share tips and fun industry stories; it was a conduit people used to channel their hate. It was tainted.
But there is a time for everything, and it’s time to get the elevator working again. In the last few months, I’ve spent countless hours working on future blogs that I hope you’ll find entertaining or helpful. Whether you’re an aspiring motorsports professional or a super fan, and you have questions about working in the sport, I’d love to hear from you and include your questions! I’ll continue to feature other professionals from the motorsports industry, so we’re not limited to only talking about public relations.
So use the comment field below (I’ll keep the comment field private on this post), or contact me via the contact tab on the top banner!
Thanks and stay tuned!