Recently, I had the privilege to sit down with one of the most respected professionals within the Public Relations field in the Terre Haute, IN area. Her name is Lorrie Heber, President of Trailblazer Communications. Lorrie is an accomplished, creative and results-driven communications and marketing professional with more than 25 years of progressive experience primarily in hospitals and healthcare. She is recognized as a multi-faceted leader consistently elevating the organization and its community in a competitive and rapidly changing environment. Lorrie is especially strong in the realms of internal and external stakeholder relations, key message development and delivery, and brand management.
She knew at an early age she would be in public relations. In the 60’s she moved with her family to Terre Haute, IN where her father was sales manager of a local a radio station. Lorrie assisted with his business by editing commercials, working on sales strategies and assisting with daily programming needs. She attended Indiana State University (ISU) in the Radio-Television-Film program ISU offered at the time but soon discovered she was not meant to become an on air personality so she altered her major to Speech Communications with a minor in Marketing. She later pursued a Master’s Degree in Leadership Development at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in 2008.
Lorrie held a few positions at Union Hospital over 20 years she was employed with them which all positions were in the Marketing/Communications/Public Relations field. While at the hospital one of her cherished accomplishments was successfully navigating a community debate including City Council regarding the closure of a city street for the construction and opening of three major building projects including a $178 million hospital expansion completed in 2010. Union Hospital East Now Open Commerical is one of many great promotional videos that Lorrie created and posted to the my union hospital Channel on YouTube that will give you a sense of the magnitude of projects Lorrie worked on while Director of Communications/Marketing at Union Hospital.
After many years of building her career in a fast past environment, Lorrie decided to start working for herself. Currently President/Owner of Trailblazer Communications she stated her daily routine changed drastically and not all for the worst. After I had a clear understanding on where Lorrie got her start and built her career, I wanted to learn more about her take on the Public Relations profession.
Lorrie explained that in the PR profession there is not a typical work week. Making phone calls, networking, researching the internet, writing, and organizing herself are just a few things Lorrie spends a big part of her day. She keeps current in the PR industry by gaining memberships in her field such as being a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PSRA), attends many conferences and reads articles on the internet. Lorrie mentioned the true PR profession is very limited in this area of the Midwest especially in Terre Haute. She wishes that could change in the near future.
“Writing is the most important skill you can have in my line of work”, Lorrie stated. She went on to add that she journals every day and practices writing to strengthen that skill. She then gave a few tips for me as she knows I am green in this field and need some helpful hints. The three main guidelines Lorrie gave me are to volunteer within my community, stay updated within my field and make sure you know how to explain the history/proof of the skill set(s) you say you bring to the table. Lorrie also added not to overextended myself. She said that I need to understand by saying yes to one thing, I am saying no to something else. This has really opened my eyes and made me really think about this profession in a new light. She stressed that balance is a key factor in the success to this field.
Lorrie sits on several Board of Directors of nonprofit organizations within the Terre Haute community. She most recently was the 2012 Susan G. Komen Wabash Valley Race for the Cure Chairperson as she is also a breast cancer survivor since 2006. After spending over 2 hours with Lorrie, I have realized Communications/Public Relations within a nonprofit organization is exactly what I want to with my career. I can use my passion for cancer awareness combined with my skills in PR to build a platform to spread the word to the world and hopefully one day have a world without cancer. To find out more about Lorrie Heber visit her Linked In page at Lorrie Heber LinkedIn. This by far was one of the most powerful discussions over coffee I have ever had.