Melissa Orozco is the Founder and Creative Director of Yulu Public Relations Inc., an internationally recognized public relations firm based in Vancouver with the mandate, “do great by doing good.”
At 20-years-old, when Orozco was in her freshman year of university, the few courses she was taking in PR inspired her to pursue a career in that industry. She went to PR school in New York City and worked with leading brands before moving to Canada, where she took a position at one of Vancouver’s top communications agencies. Then in 2011, she decided to start her own PR agency.
Here is Orozco’s story:
- You lived in New York City when you went to PR school – was it as cut throat as they say?
It was just about the best place on earth to do student practicums – pretty competitive in terms of getting interviews but once in, everyone was surprisingly nice, supportive and wanted to help me with my career goals.
- When you were 28-years-old, you were ranked byMarketing Magazineas one of Canada’s #30under30. What was your reaction to this?
Aside from flattery? I was only my first year in business – I was thrilled!
- When did you realize you wanted to start your own company?
When my contracting work became too heavy, I hired on some support. Didn’t think four years later it would grow to a team of 10. But just like that, I went from freelancer to agency owner.
- How many people were on your team when you opened Yulu’s doors?
Just me. I was in collaboration with a couple creative guys but we worked separately. Three months in, I hired my first employee.
- What was the scariest thing about opening and operating your own business?
Losing sight of what matters in my personal life due to heavy work flow. Losing my business. The office burning down. There are lots of fears that enter the brain when operating your own business but I tend to put my focus elsewhere. Meditation a few days a week helps with this.
- What was the first step you had to take to make Yulu PR what it is today?
Finding our niche, which is to work with socially innovative companies.
- PR involves a lot of creative story telling and getting the attention of important gatekeepers. What intrigues you so much about sharing stories?
We aim to champion social innovators. People who see beyond the bottom line and think beyond the status quo. We won’t take on a story and unless we’re inspired by the client.
- What is your biggest accomplishment?
Becoming the first B Corp certified PR agency in Canada.
- What has been the most rewarding aspect of your journey so far?
The most rewarding part of my job is watching individuals within the company grow and become amazing leaders in the social enterprise and impact relations space.
- Working in PR myself, sometimes it’s very challenging to explain to people what it is I do – they often think I just sit at my desk and Instagram all day! What do you say to people who might not understand your work?
I tell them to picture a magazine: look at the articles as earned media and the advertisements paid media. Then I tell them that I work with companies to get their stories published on the earned media side of things. Then I can go into explaining how this can vary based on the type of media.
- What do you do when you’re not at Yulu?
Play with my dog. Go skiing. Attend Pilates a few days a week. Lots of dinners with friends.
- You are an advocate for social justice and are involved in a lot of projects to better various communities both in BC and around the world. Why is this so important for you?
Because I believe that doing good for the world is good for business. There are so many notable social enterprises that are highly profitable and having major positive impact to the world. Working with those types of clients is the easiest part of our job.
- Originally from New Mexico, why did you make the move to Canada?
An ex-boyfriend. But I typically tell people that I came here for the great ski conditions :)!
- Where is your favourite place to find inspiration? Why?
Museums. Sometimes I feel like I have electric currents running through my veins after seeing a really great exhibit.
- What’s next for Melissa Orozco?
We actually have a big initiative that we’re working on this year. Yulu is proposing that we start a new industry within the umbrella of communications and it’s called impact relations. Click this link for more!
A huge thank you to Orozco for her time and her commitment to helping us spread news about important people doing valuable work! Congrats on all your successes with Yulu PR!
Do you know someone in your life who’s kickstarting a career, developing a brand or giving back? Let us know in the comments below!