Central MA Up + Comer, Sr. Account Exec + Marathoner Nicole Solera
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Nicole Solera is a senior account executive at The Castle Group, a public relations and event agency in Charlestown, MA. She has 5 years of experience in the industry and holds a BA in Public Relations from Quinnipiac University. This April, she will be running the Boston Marathon to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis, which is a cause near and dear to her heart.
A Conversation With Nicole Solera
SW: Lets start our conversation with the fact that you are running the Boston Marathon this April. What motivated you to take that on?
NS: As a child I watched my mother struggle with Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic disease of the immune system that attacks the central nervous system. MS is unpredictable and can be mild causing numbness and pain in the limbs to severe resulting in paralysis or loss of vision. There were a lot of things my mother wasn’t able to do or participate in however, as a family we learned to adapt and are incredibly close because of it. Now it's my turn to show her my strength and complete the most physical challenge I’ve ever taken on while raising funds and awareness for all who suffer from MS.
(Go Local Worcester has provided a link to help Nicole raise funds to fight MS. To donate, please click here.)
SW: What have you had to do for training and how do you fit it into your day?
NS: I have to say some days are definitely harder than others; especially when it’s 10 degrees! The secret to my training is to make it part of my daily routine. I’m not a morning person so I pack my gym bag to ensure that I go right after work. I have to pass the gym on my way home so that adds additional motivation. My training includes a lot of hours in the gym doing cross-training. I’m a huge believer in this method because it works out your whole body and keeps you from getting injured on the longer runs. And I can escape the cold! For my long runs, I’m lucky that I live at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill so I run the course a lot. I have a schedule that increases the mileage every week that I follow as well. Sometimes it is hard staying in on Friday nights before a long run when all my friends are going out. But, that’s when I remind myself of why I’m running and I know that it will be worth all the pain and soreness in the end.
SW: As a senior account executive at Castle in Charlestown, MA, what does a typical day look like?
NS: A typical day in my life at Castle starts with reading about 5 different newspapers and scanning 10-15 different blogs and news sites for news. Then I spend a few minutes prioritizing my day and reaching out to reporters with story ideas based on the news. I interact with all of my clients almost every day to swap ideas or send them a press release or pitch ideas. I work closely with my clients to ensure that their current campaigns are successful. On any given day I also help to mentor my account staff by giving them tips and best practices. However, my day can change at any given moment but it comes with the territory.
SW: What made you decide on a career in public relations?
NS: I took a PR class in college when I was still a political science major to see if this would be something I could enjoy. I had an incredibly energetic and motivating professor and ended up loving it. I love the fast-paced, ever-changing environment. It definitely still keeps me on my toes today.
SW: What is the best thing about your job?
NS: The best thing about my job is the fast-paced environment. I love the variety and challenge.
SW: What is your favorite book?
NS: I still love the children’s book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” By Judith Viorst because it reminds me that no matter how bad I may think my day is, someone is probably having a worse day than me and that you can’t run away from your problems.
SW: What is your favorite social networking site?
NS: My favorite social networking site is Pinterest. It’s very visual and although it’s relatively new, I think it has great potential to shape the way the consumer industry shares products and ideas. Additionally, I think we will see Pinterest really shape the events industry in a way we never thought before.
SW: What do you do away from your career?
NS: Outside of Castle I like to stay as active as possible. I attend classes at Beantown Bootcamp owned by John Wayman. Additionally, I love to cook and am a huge foodie. You will likely find me trying out the newest restaurant in Boston with friends.
SW: Are you involved in the community? If so, how?
NS: I have always enjoyed helping others and giving back to the community from a young age. In addition to doing many walks and runs for the MS Society, I volunteer at the Greater Boston Food Bank, The Belle of the Ball organization and sit on the public relations committee for the Emerging Leaders, which is a sector of the United Way.
SW: Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life?
NS: It may sound cliché but the biggest influence in my life has been my parents. My dad is my biggest influence professionally. He is highly respected in finance at EMC because of his integrity and incredibly fair management. He always taught me to work hard, and "go for it." My mother is my biggest influence personally. She is a truly inspiring woman. She finished college while working a full time job and was highly successful in her career. However, she inspires me because she beat so many medical odds and does it with a smile on her face. Through cancer, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, my mother has rarely missed an event, holiday or family gathering and is the most positive person I know. She reminds me to stay positive, be compassionate and live life to the fullest every day.
SW: What is a fun fact few people know about you?
NS: I was a Boston Bruins Ice Girl for three years and have a Stanley Cup Ring from their championship in 2011.
SW: Your favorite quote?
NS: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. I really try to live by this quote so I don’t have any regrets.
SW: What do you think creates success?
NS: Hard work, determination to succeed and a thick skin. I am definitely not the smartest person you will meet but sheer determination got me where I am today. I have been told no many times by reporters, hiring managers and by industry professionals but instead of being discouraged, I learned from it and pushed past it with hard work. That's how I describe success.
SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
NS: In 10 years I would like to be the director of communications as a technology company in the area. My experience is in tech and as nerdy as it sounds, it’s my true passion. I hope to also have a family and continue to run races for MS.
Susan D. Wagner is president of SusanWagnerPR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.
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