The Auburn R eporter “She really found her niche,” said Ric Smith. “She has that connection with media she always wanted, but she found this perfect connection where her passion is and where her talents lie.”
Molly Parrish Auburn Public Relations Alumna’s Great Success by Stephen Kelly An alumna of Auburn’s public relations department, Molly Parrish’s career has been nothing short of an adventure since she left the plains just six years ago. Originally, Parrish came to Auburn with her sights set on becoming a pilot. She promptly switched her academic concentration from flight to media and began to study radio television and film where she found a mentor in professor Ric Smith. “I started on the broadcast side, but I noticed that the things I liked to cover were not necessarily newsworthy topics,” said Parrish. “As Ric Smith will tell you, most of my stories were about social activities more so than news.” Smith enlightened her to the media relations aspect of the industry. Her interest transitioned more to journalism and public relations classes, and in 2004 Parrish graduated from Auburn University with a degree in public relations. “She really found her niche,” said Smith. “She has that connection with media she always wanted, but she found this perfect connection where her passion is and where her talents lie.” Out of school Parrish struggled finding a job as a fresh graduate, and looked to
Habitat for Humanity as a philanthropic use of her time when she found an entry-level opening in media relations at the organization. Parrish was offered the job and moved to Americus, Ga. where she spent two years working for Habitat for Humanity. Her experience with the organization quickly turned to birth by fire when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast in 2005. “At one point I took a group of about 10 reporters down to the gulf coast and we built for a week,” said Parrish. “Instead of just telling them the story and giving them details they were there and they got to experience it which is something really cool that Habitat does for media other than just your typical pitching.” The next step for Parrish’s career took her from non-profit to Atlanta, Ga. where she began work at a for-profit boutique public relations firm. Over the two years she worked at the firm she was able to develop mutually beneficial relationships with reporters in the Atlanta area and built strong relationships with her clients. The firm was eventually forced to downsize and Parrish, along with some of her colleagues, was let go. Fortunately, her clients
were so pleased with her performance they asked her to continue servicing their accounts after she left the firm. “That was a really refreshing point of my life because I was considering doing something else, I was somewhat burned out, but the feeling that my clients really appreciated the work that I was doing and asked if they could come with me was refreshing,” said Parrish. Parrish now owns her own public relations firm, Polished PR, that she manages out of a home office. Her client base has snowballed into a healthy collection of businesses that she believes in and cares for. She prides her business on her ability to keep her client base at a level in which she can provide the quality of service required for them to succeed. “The friendship I’ve developed with my clients has given me the opportunity to treat these people not just as clients but as business partners because they are helping me succeed in my business and I’m helping them succeed in theirs,” said Parrish.