At Scratch, our Meet the Team blog series serves to showcase our dynamic culture and highlight the incredible things our team members do, both inside and outside the office.
We sat down with Laurel Case, our Senior Director of Content Strategy & PR, to learn more about her extensive PR experience across both agencies and in-house teams, as well as what it was like starting at Scratch completely remotely, just days into the COVID-19 pandemic back in March 2020.
What has led you to a career in Content/PR?
I’ve always loved writing, and I, like many others in PR, have a degree in Journalism. I went to Ithaca College, studied broadcast journalism, and did a few internships at radio and TV news stations during my time there which made me realize that although I loved many aspects of journalism, I knew it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing. I still loved the writing and media aspects, but didn’t necessarily want to do broadcast. Then I got an opportunity to work in PR/marketing after college, and it was honestly the perfect fit for me. It’s not the typical path people take, but it still allowed me to do a lot of writing and interacting with the media, so the media component of my studies at college made it a natural match.
What’s your favorite part about working at Scratch?
Two things: 1) The people. It’s been an interesting experience through Zoom, but the people at Scratch are really amazing, smart individuals who have pushed me to do better work. 2) I’ve also really enjoyed the challenge of all the various clients I’ve been working with. I’ve always been interested in B2B tech, and challenging myself to learn about our clients and their complex technologies across industries has been really rewarding. So for me, it’s definitely a combination of the people and the work I am able to do with clients.
You’ve worked in a number of different PR settings, both in-house and at B2B agencies. What would you say have been the key differences between the two in your experience?
Great question—I think there are definite benefits to both. If they get a chance, I would recommend that people try both in their careers, just to figure out where your own sweet spot is. The majority of my career has been with agencies, and I think that, especially early in your career, it’s great to experience working at an agency because you have so much more variety in your work—clients, projects, and teams. It just gives you exposure to a ton of different industries and best practices. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with an orchestra, theaters, building and construction, technology, and so many other clients. That’s one of the nice things about a career in PR—you can do it for just about anyone.
I went in-house intentionally because I wanted to experience that side as well. It’s very different in that you’re part of a single brand, and you’re solely focused on that, getting to experience things at a more immersive level. At an agency, you don’t necessarily get to talk to the product teams, sales teams, and other teams on a regular basis. So I found that to be a great learning experience which gave me a better understanding about how companies operate at all levels.
Before I met with a few of the executives at Scratch, I was not really sure how I felt about going back to the agency world. But after meeting them, I remember walking back to my car and thinking, “Well, it looks like I’m going back to the agency world!” and being really excited about it. I’ve worked with companies big and small, and that variety is great. In-house is an awesome experience, but I’m definitely happy to be back in the agency world.
What are your thoughts on working at a bigger company vs. a smaller agency?
Scratch is the smallest company I’ve worked at, so it’s definitely taken some getting used to. For example, getting on the all-hands every week, I’m thinking, “Oh, everyone’s here,” whereas at my previous company there would be 200+ people on a call like that. But at a larger organization, it can be more challenging to find your place, whereas being at a smaller company allows you to develop stronger relationships with all of your coworkers, which I’ve loved.
You started at Scratch just days after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US. What was it like to start a new job completely virtually, and what did you do to handle it?
It’s been interesting—my first day was the first day Scratch closed its offices for the pandemic. Nine months later and here we are! But when I started, everyone else was transitioning to a new situation as well, so I think that made it a little bit easier because we were all in the same boat. There are definitely challenges with starting remote. I think the toughest thing is the fact that you’re really limited to what happens in the box. Hallway conversations don’t happen, so we all have to be more intentional about getting to know each other.
I make a point to join larger meetings, like the all-hands, writers’ conclave, and PR conclave, just to talk with people I don’t meet with on a daily basis, learn more about them, and hear their perspectives. I can say it’s definitely gone a lot better than I expected, but I also look forward to a day when we can all sit around a table together and have a good old fashioned brainstorm!
If you were able to give one piece of advice to your younger professional self, what would it be?
It’s ok to not know what you want to be when you grow up. Early on in your career, you don’t have to have all the answers. At times I feel like there is pressure to figure out exactly what you want to do. I was at a particular job at one point, and they asked me which team I wanted to be a part of. I remember thinking to myself, “Well I don’t want to pick just one, I want to be a part of all the teams!”
I think having the flexibility to try and learn new things is great too—that’ll help you figure out what you do and don’t like doing. It’s okay not to like everything you try. So being open to new experiences and knowing that you don’t have to pick a lane right away is a good thing to keep in mind when you’re starting out.
Early on in my career, I’d be in a job for a couple years and think, “Oh, it’s time to start looking for something new.” And my dad would ask, “Why? Don’t you like your job?” And I would say, “Yeah, I do like my job, but I’m ready to challenge myself with something new and different.”
When you’re not co-piloting at Scratch, what are you doing?
I moved to the Boston area a little more than a year ago. I am originally from Syracuse, NY but just prior to that, I had been living in Seattle for eight years. My husband, 7-year-old son and I have spent a lot of time exploring the area, finding new hikes to go on, and walking around our town, just getting to know the area and spending time outside. I love spending my time (when I’m not working) outside, getting some fresh air, but I also look forward to a time when we can explore indoor spaces as well, like all of the great museums in the area!
Any particular spots?
Over the summer, we spent two weeks in Cape Cod, and I fell in love with that area. I had visited as a kid but hadn’t been in years. I’m still figuring out whether I’m a North Shore or South Shore person though, because I really like both of them.
Since you haven’t really gotten that face-to-face time with many of your fellow co-pilots, what’s something that makes you you, that you’d want more people to know?
I like to bring a sense of humor to everything I do. We have stressful jobs and I think it’s super important to laugh together. I do my best to bring that to all the teams and people I work with. In life in general, you need to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes and bring levity to every situation.Back to blog