Staci L. Reidinger on Serving Her Country

May 1, 2018

Name: Staci L. Reidinger, APR+M

Current status: Public Relations Director, The UPS Store, Inc. HQ

Location: San Diego

Career highlights: U.S. Marine Corps veteran and communications professional with over 13 years of experience leading PR and news teams in the United States, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Developed a training program and helped educate over 450 foreign diplomats in crisis communication, media relations and reputation management while deployed with U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Favorite downtime activity: Trail running with my dogs

Favorite place to travel: Anywhere tropical that does not have internet!

Any three dinner guests: Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr. and (Saint) Mother Teresa

Favorite film: “Moulin Rouge”

Why did you decide to pursue a career in the armed forces?

I grew up in a small town in southern Louisiana with a big family, and moved overseas with my parents to live in Scotland and Singapore between the ages of 9 and 11. This experience changed my perspective of the world and, when we moved back to that small town, I knew that there was more of the world I wanted to see. 

I loved playing sports and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to serve my country alongside competitive athletes and others who are passionate about fitness. Wait, we get paid to work out?

What was the most rewarding part of the Marine Corps?

The people who became my family. I left my small Louisiana hometown at 17 and served for over 23 years away from my closest family and friends. Over time, from duty stations to deployments, I gradually expanded my family with people from all over the United States and some from other countries. 

When Marines say, “Semper Fidelis,” the faithful part is to each other because, regardless of distance, we have a lifelong bond. It’s a bond strengthened by our shared sacrifices and shared special moments that we couldn’t experience with our family and friends at home.

What has helped prepare you for the transition from the Marine Corps to civilian life?

Continuing education and connecting with communications professionals outside the military have helped me with the transition. Whether it’s earning formal degrees, [participating in] certificate programs and workshops, or reading trade publications, having a lifelong love of learning has helped keep me sharp. In particular, completing my master’s at San Diego State University a few years before leaving the service boosted my ability to conduct formal research and strategic planning.

PRSA has played a key role in my ability to understand the civilian PR sector. As a San Diego Chapter member, I have been exposed to an array of communications professionals across industries and have served on special committees to advance our profession.

Without this connection to the civilian sector, I don’t think my transition from active duty would have been as successful. 

What advice do you have for a new pro or recent grad who’s considering joining the Marines or another branch of the U.S. military?

Serving your country is a noble cause that, even on bad days, helps you persevere when times are tough. As a public affairs officer, you get the chance to shape history through storytelling and an opportunity to help develop young men and women into strong, confident and productive citizens.

As a military spokesperson, you’ve walked in the shoes of the people you represent, and this makes it easier to speak on behalf of them. I won’t sugarcoat the military lifestyle: It’s tough, it’s fast-paced and it can be a bit lonely as a senior leader. But, if you love public relations, want to serve your country and want a challenge, then I can’t think of a better place to start off your PR career.

What are some leadership lessons you’ve learned in your career, and how do those apply to the PR profession?

Treat everyone with respect. Relationships are vital to success for PR professionals. I’ve learned over time that if you are kind, compassionate and willing to slow down and understand each person you meet, then you’ll be surprised how often they remember how you made them feel.

We might get one chance to make an impression, so make it count. In addition, be the catalyst for change, innovation and optimism in the face of mediocrity. As PR professionals and leaders, we can get bogged down in what’s happening today, next week and next month.

John Elsasser

John Elsasser is the editor-in-chief of Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.



Jenny Robinson says:

We are thrilled that Staci has joined the PR team at The UPS Store, Inc.! It's obvious that her military training and experience have prepared her well for a professional civilian career. Really looking forward to being a part of her impact on our business. Welcome Staci!

May 4, 2018

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