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Meet GG Benitez of GG Benitez & Assoc. Public Relations in San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to GG Benitez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My plan was to become an attorney. I did well in school growing up, and I always loved the art of debate, persuading people to agree with my angle of any situation. However, coming from a strict Middle Eastern family, I was set up to be married just after completing my freshman year at UCSD, and became pregnant with my first child just a few months later. I still stayed in school full time, while working and playing wife and mom, because education was not an option for me; it was a must. I wasn’t in a happy marriage, and while still a student, I knew I had to figure out another career path that I would be able to engage in quickly after graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree, in order to be able to go out on my own and support my daughter.

I had interned at a credit union while at UCSD, and, one day as the credit union manager was depositing a customer’s checks who was in pharmaceutical sales, she called me into her office (she was well aware of the predicament I was in) and explained that she thought that medical sales would be the perfect job for me with significant income potential which would help me change my daughter’s life and my own. I set out to secure this, but had to first gain sales experience. My first post-college job was selling Paul Mitchell hair care products, as a stepping stone to get into pharmaceutical sales, which I was able to do within a couple of years.

By this time, I was already a single mom, struggling to pay bills each month, and securing this position in pharma sales completely changed my daughter’s and my life, in that we were able to move to a great area with a fabulous school system, embark upon adventures together from traveling to learning how to ski, and really learn to enjoy the “American” life, and opportunities of living in a free country where a woman isn’t forced to stay in an unhealthy marriage. After several years that proved to be quite successful in pharma sales, I had decided that as much as I loved to sell, I hated to have a boss. (Side Note: Funny enough, that same boss who gave me my first break, also just hired my daughter for hers.) So, in 2005, alongside my best friend, I launched my own brand of trademarked onesies – which I personally landed on every major media channel and placed directly into the hands of celebrities.

While our brand was a flourishing success, the profit margins were too tight to justify continuing on this pathway, and I had to find a way to provide a greater income for my growing family. Through my clothing line, I found that I felt a real passion for public relations, and in October of 2008, a local based children’s entertainment group had called me to order some onesies. I asked the founder if she had a PR firm, and she replied that they were about to hire a large NYC based firm. I asked for a chance to submit for the business, and she agreed to allow me to present to the board a couple of days later. That same day, I created my new PR firm, legally and on the internet, created business cards, enlisted the guidance of a successful pr woman as a mentor to come on board for my first client, and read as many books as I could find on PR.

Within 2 days, I landed my first PR client – and have since continued to develop and manage public relations campaigns for others with the same amount of perseverance, enthusiasm, intuition and strategic thinking. Having previously been on the corporate, sales and client sides of the business, my well-rounded approach includes personalized attention, sharp communications skills, and a hand-selected team of pr specialists to support my hands-on efforts. I employ both traditional and innovative public relations tactics to command the results that have made our firm successful.

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?
What entrepreneurial endeavor can be smooth along its entire journey? I anticipated struggles, and have consistently learned from each one. Having my own firm, with business thus far based solely on referrals, some months/years are definitely stronger than others. This is a constant challenge my colleagues and I do face.

I also learned early on the type of client I can best partner with, and how important it is to set up realistic expectations before engaging in any agreement. In the beginning, I struggled with time management, as PR can require endless hours, and it’s hard to “turn it off” at the end of the day. I learned that it’s important to be extremely organized with time, being able to account for and share with the client where your hours are going, and setting up those expectations of hours from the beginning of any campaign.

And, a couple of years into having my firm, I began, and continue to, take Fridays off as a “me day,” helping me unwind from what is usually an intense week before playing full-time mom again on the weekends. This has been one of the best strategies for me, personally. Each of my clients respects this, and everyone knows I am still checking my emails and calls for time-sensitive matters, but the “day off” allows me to not feel the need to immediately respond to every email, which is what I do the rest of the week!

Please tell us about GG Benitez & Assoc. Public Relations.
GG Benitez & Associates Public Relations Inc. is considered to be one of the industry’s leading independent public relations firms with full-service capabilities. We are renowned for our expertise in delivering buzz-building campaigns that elevate products and services into premier brands. As a seasoned strategist for media placement, branding, personality management, and celebrity/influencer programs, I am proud to have built a stellar reputation for helping clients realize their full business potential while supporting their vision and goals.

To date, we have achieved significant media and celebrity attention for a diverse clientele that spans the technology, children’s, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries. We maintain an extraordinary track record of garnering consistent, valuable media impressions on national and local levels in print, broadcast and online outlets. I am pleased to possess the unique ability to nurture sincere, solid relationships with many of today’s top influencers.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memories from childhood consist of being naughty! In junior high, as the sweet Catholic School girl that I was, I used the excuse that I had to tutor my best friend in order to get to hang out at her house, as my dad was so strict and barely allowed me to go anywhere. In between calls from my dad checking on us, my best friend and I would run to the candy store nearby and buy bags of candy. We did study, too! HA!

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