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Life and Work with Robin Rockey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robin Rockey.

Robin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Life is short, so get out there and explore! I’ve always had a passion for exploring the world and sharing the most exceptional experiences with others. As a travel and lifestyle journalist and public relations professional, I’m lucky that I get to do just that every day.

I’ve never been afraid to barrel headfirst along the road less traveled, and in 2007, after graduating from journalism school, I moved to Southern California to start an internship at Cat Fancy magazine. I didn’t know a single person who worked at a magazine, but it seemed like the coolest job in the world!

I spent my days learning the ropes of publishing and digital marketing. It was an exciting time for new media. The website I worked on brought in more than $1 million in advertising dollars that year, thanks in part to the content I developed and the online community I grew and managed. Brands were starting to dip their toes into the world of social media, and we launched Cat Fancy’s Facebook page, earning more than one million likes over time. I was lucky to witness firsthand the way that photos and videos of cats and other animals helped make the Internet a more accessible place for everyone. After all, who doesn’t love a good cat meme?

I spent every weekend exploring SoCal with new friends, and my husband who trusted me enough to join me three months later in a new city, sight unseen. I was so passionate about uncovering and showcasing SoCal’s hidden gems so much that I found a way to make it my full-time job, joining AAA – the Auto Club of Southern California, where I managed the website, social media, and email content strategy for five magazine brands, including flagship Westways (4 million print circulation) for the next six years.

I covered SoCal and beyond, writing about everything from Hollywood movie premieres to California wine country to stand up paddle boarding in Hawaii. I even interviewed actor Robert De Niro and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa at the opening of their very first Nobu Hotel in Las Vegas.

After that, I transitioned to the field of government public relations, while freelance writing in my spare time for publications including Sunset magazine, TravelAge West and more.

Now, as the Communications Manager for the City of San Marcos, in North San Diego County, I have the opportunity to share all the amazing things that are happening in the city with our residents and visitors. Right now, San Marcos is building a bustling new downtown district called North City that reflects San Diego County’s thriving food and craft-brewing scene. This year, we’re updating the city’s General Plan, the guiding document that serves as a roadmap for achieving the community’s vision for the future.

I also launched the Go Southern California lifestyle brand to celebrate all the incredible cities, activities, food, drink, shopping, sports, entertainment options and hotels from San Diego all the way up to California’s Central Coast. Two of my favorite spots to cover are San Diego and La Jolla.

The response to the Go Southern California Instagram and Twitter accounts has been amazing, and I frequently receive requests for personalized recommendations and tours from people all over the world. Since I’m not a tour guide, I wanted to find a guidebook to recommend that covered all of my favorite places, many of which are in Orange County, where I live. Orange County is a diverse region with more than 3.1 million residents, and I was surprised to learn that the entire county garnered only a few sentences in guidebooks covering Los Angeles and San Diego.

That’s why I decided to write my own guidebook – 100 Things to Do in Orange County Before You Die. The book, published by Reedy Press in October 2019, is designed to be a fun, bucket-list guide for both first-time Orange County visitors and longtime locals. I hope it inspires everyone in Southern California to explore their own backyards, which, of course, include Orange County!

One of the most rewarding things about writing the book is getting the chance to celebrate Orange County’s diversity and reveal the secrets I’ve learned for enjoying Orange County’s most luxurious experiences on any budget. I love meeting young aspiring writers and spending time with folks at book signings and events, where I play an interactive trivia game that I created based on the book.

I’ve been blown away by the positive response to the book, and I’ve had the honor to chat with some of my favorite California journalists and communications pros about the book and to be featured by some of the nation’s top TV stations, publications and organizations, including KTLA, KDOC, Beyond TV, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register’s Coast Magazine, Travel Costa Mesa, the OC Breeze, The Senior Reporter, the University of California, Irvine, and more.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of the most unexpectedly inspiring (although not at the time) speeches I ever heard was from a successful woman whose advice boiled down to marrying rich and tapping powerful connections to get ahead. As someone from a gritty town in the Midwest with absolutely zero connections (or so I thought), her advice felt utterly demoralizing.

But then, I realized and that your “connections” don’t have to be to politicians, business leaders or wealthy relatives. Connections can be folks that you have authentic, organic relationships with already, including friends, colleagues, neighbors, and even random people you meet on the Internet that cheer you on from afar. Even if you don’t have connections, you can start moving forward anyway, even if it’s just an inch at a time.

An effective way to forge new connections is to join professional organizations in the field that you work in or are interested in joining. You can often attend single events for free or a small fee. I highly recommend joining a committee to get more involved. Three of my favorite organizations are the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). The women and men who I’ve met through these organizations have been some of my top supporters, and it’s a true joy to champion their successes, as well.

Please tell us about your work.
In the time I’ve spent working in communications and human resources, I’ve developed a diverse skillset. I specialize in public relations, internal communications, media relations, social media management, digital marketing, journalism, event planning, executive speechwriting and more.

I graduated summa cum laude with honors from Northern Illinois University, and I’ve earned the Accreditation in Public Relations credential, along with a certificate in digital marketing from Cornell University, an advanced social media certificate from Syracuse University, a certificate in public information from the California Association of Public Information Officials.

You can learn more about me and view samples of my work at www.robinrockey.com.

I’m proud to announce the launch of my new book 100 Things to Do in Orange County Before You Die. The book is divided into five sections to enable readers to create a custom Orange County journey based on their unique interests, including food and drink, music and entertainment, sports and recreation, culture and history, and shopping and fashion. My goal in writing the book is to inspire everyone who picks up a copy to fall a little bit more in love with Southern California, in the same way that I do every day! You can pick up a signed copy at www.orangecounty100.com.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
I love that the Internet and social media applications provide women the opportunity to tell their own stories.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Robin Rockey. Headshot credit: Christina Mason

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