Sarah Evans, a partner in one of New York City’s powerhouse PR firms, J Public Relations, is a busy woman. With over 100 clients on six continents (including many Virtuoso hotels and resorts), Evans – along with her partner Jamie Sigler in San Diego – focuses on high-end travel clients and runs a team of 60 people with offices in NYC, San Diego, L.A., and London.
“I was lucky to be able to focus on hotels fairly early in my PR career and never looked back. I love hotels and the travel industry,” she says. “It’s a benefit to my clients that I know as much about the hospitality industry as I do about PR at this point.”
Here, she talks about her dream job and travel tips.
What do you love the most about your job?
I’ve been fortunate to travel the world and stay at some of the best hotels and resorts, many for work. Many of my clients and media contacts have become personal friends, which makes work not feel like ‘work.’ But it’s not all glamorous. I’ve worked extremely hard to get to where I am today, and am still working just as hard. This means late nights on my computer, early morning meetings, a long commute, and many days and nights away from my family. But I am very lucky to have this career and have worked hard to create a ‘work/life blend’ for myself, my family and my team.
Describe a typical day in the office or on the road.
When I’m not traveling, I’m commuting to my office in NYC from Darien, Connecticut, where I moved last year. It’s about an hour and 40 minutes door-to-door. It can be rough – especially with two young daughters – but I’ve come to appreciate my train time for getting a lot done, especially answering emails.
In the office, I’m meeting with our teams, clients, prospective clients, and media. My travel schedule is unpredictable. Recently, I went to Florida, San Diego, Napa, and Turks and Caicos within several weeks. Travel days can be glorious if I’m experiencing hotels and spas – or I might be a in a beautiful place, spending the entire day in a boardroom. It all depends.
What are some of the perks of working at JPR?
Our team travels to places like Bali, Hawaii, and Lake Como for work – not all of it glamorous but we do travel the world. Aside from travel, we constantly strive to make JPR a happy place to work, from little things like acknowledging birthdays with a day off and a Sephora gift card, to wellness-themed outings (and we always have an office kitchen stocked with healthy snacks!) to celebrating big work anniversaries with milestone gifts. We are not JPR without our awesome team members.
What are your tips for long-haul flights?
I never have a sip of alcohol on planes (ever) and I drink a ton of water. Before take-off, I use lavender oil on my pulse points and spray an Evian mist on my face, reapplying a couple of times throughout the flight. I’m lost without my Beautycounter Peppermint lip conditioner. I use it on and off flights.
What about working out on the road?
I’m religious about working out at home, but it’s hard to keep up on the road – plus, I hate checking luggage, which means sometimes tennis shoes don’t fit! I do walk a lot when I’m traveling, whether it’s on the beach or exploring a new city.
Any other tips for maintaining what you call “work/life blend?”
- I make a to-do list, every single day, prioritizing items that have to happen on top. My list is always a mix of work and personal.
- I write my schedule out every day. I have it in my iCal, but it helps me to see it. Once I complete something, I cross it out.
- I work really hard to remain present wherever I am – if I’m at work, I’m at work; if I’m with kids, I’m with my kids. I’m not always perfect.
- I work out 3-4 times a week, and I recently started meditating. I use the app Headspace, which forces me to stop and breathe. I try to do ten minutes a day. It’s been tough to train my brain to stop, but I feel stronger and clearer because of it.
- I take vacations a couple of times a year when I try to disconnect, and I encourage our team to do the same. We work really hard, but it’s important to stop and reset. It makes you stronger when you’re back.