PR Pro: Robin Luymes

Robin Luymes, APR, is the executive director of communications at Davenport University. He is best known for his 18 years of work at Amway Global where he did everything from media relations to advertising. He is a professional in every sense of the term, as he has been a part of the PR/communications field for over 20 years and has had great success. You can follow him on Twitter @SuperDu. Now let’s find out more about him.
Who helped you the most to get you where you are today as a PR professional?
I really truly feel that each interaction I have with professionals, students and others outside the PR industry have had an impact on my development as a PR professional.  It started with my mom, who taught me a love for reading, and my dad, who loved to tell stories. Their influence led to my studies of literature and writing — crucial for a communications professional.
After working as a journalist for a few years, I was hired into a corporate setting where I learned from two successive bosses — Kim Bruyn and Beth Dornan — who taught me the art of corporate communications.  I also learned all about sponsorship management, speech writing, media relations and more.  They taught me discipline and organization.
What aspects of your work life carry over into your personal life? Has your work in PR shaped the rest of your life in any way?
I believe that empathy lies at the heart of effective public relations.  Understanding the needs and motivations of others is critical when entering a dialog.   That talent, refined through my public relations practice, helps me in all my relationships.
How did Luymes PR start?
I started Luymes PR LLC after I left Amway Corporation, where I worked 18 years. Luymes PR LLC allowed me the opportunity to be my own boss and to take on a variety of clients and meet different needs that exist in the marketplace.  I enjoyed the year I spent developing my consulting business but decided after a year to take on a new challenge as Executive Director of Communications for Davenport University, where I am now employed.  I continue to keep my business entity current and plan someday to once again actively pursue clients and help them achieve their goals through effective PR and communications programs.
If you could share a piece of advice, based on your professional history, with aspiring PR professionals, what would that advice be?
I always encourage students to do at least two things.

First, they must take every opportunity to write, write, write. The strong PR professional is a highly competent writer and that doesn’t just happen by accident.  It comes from a lot of practice and being exposed to a lot of good editors who help you along the way.

Second, aspiring PR professionals who are still in school should try to get as much work experience as possible before graduating.  That includes internships, student-run agencies, and classwork conducted for real or fictional clients. If you can’t get a “real” internship, create your own.  Find a small business owner and offer to provide them free PR services that will help them build their business. Find a non-profit that has a lot of needs and help them by applying what you have learned in your PR classes to help them meet their objectives.
Which advancement in technology could you not live without? (It could be a device like a phone or software such as Twitter)
Wow. You have to realize that, although I’m only in my 40s, I can remember composing articles on a typewriter (before corrective ribbons) and having to make all calls on standard desk phones.  When driving my car out to an assignment, I sometimes had to navigate my way to some destination with frequent, nervous glances at a map spread on my lap.
Today, my navigation system guides me safely to my meetings and my cell phone keeps me in constant contact with my office. My laptop is much lighter than the cast iron Olivetti typewriter I learned to type on.  I’d have to say my laptop is the most important of the three, but all of them have been real game-changers.

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