Welcome to Chicago North Shore Moms weekly Meet a Mom series where we feature one local mama, what they’re up to both personally and professionally. This week’s Meet a Mom feature is the lovely Northbrook mama of two and owner of Amy Kaske Berger PR & Communications Consulting, you guessed it… Amy Kaske Berger! Amy’s sharing with us stellar PR advice for any small business and an impressive list of local takeout restaurants to help get you through this long winter. Her “just go for it” attitude is refreshingly upbeat – read on to find out how you can “just go for it,” too! Welcome Amy!
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
I’m Amy Kaske Berger, and I’m originally from the northern suburbs of Milwaukee, but now I live in Northbrook, Illinois. I’ve lived in New York, LA, and Chicago for most of my adult life, but the proximity to family and friends in the Midwest brought my husband and I back to the Chicago ‘burbs.
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have two daughters who are three and six.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
My favorite thing about being a mom is seeing the world through my kids’ eyes. As an adult I take the world so seriously, and I love to see their genuine, unfiltered emotions and as they experience everyday life. My kids are also pretty funny so they help me keep things light these days.
Do you have any mom tips make quarantine/COVID life a little easier?
Relatively speaking, we’ve been really lucky to have a decent setup with work, school, childcare, and general needs. But FaceTime has probably been our biggest savior in connecting with our kids’ grandparents. I’m sure we’ll be using it more than ever now that things are shutting down again.
I’ve personally also had a lot of questions about how to live daily COVID-life and I’ve looked to medical experts for recommendations. @impact4hc and @dear_pandemic on Instagram have been extremely useful resources for me and other mom friends.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you…
One of the first PR events I did was Karl Lagerfeld’s FENDI Halloween party in NYC in 2005. I had been temping at a PR agency for about two weeks when I learned that my job for this party would be “red carpet celebrity spotter” – which basically means you watch for celebrities and ask them to walk the red carpet to take photos if they try to run past it. That party was insane – but that’s par for the course in NYC PR! I really miss those days but don’t think I could stay up that late anymore 🙂
How fun! Energy required but now we find pleasure in take-out, right? Any local favs?
We love Basu, EatTaco and Barnaby’s in Northbrook; Blufish in Glenview; and PNS Noodle Shop in Northfield.
You’re a mompreneur! Please introduce Amy Kaske Berger PR & Communications Consulting!
Yep! My business is called Amy Kaske Berger PR & Communications Consulting, and I specialize in PR for female-founded small businesses! After working for big PR agencies and global brands for over a decade, I’m leveraging my big PR experience and translating it for small business owners who want their story told. I focus my services on traditional media relations and influencer relations, and I typically work with mom/kid, food/bev, travel and lifestyle brands.
How do you keep your creative PR juices flowing when everyone is home and interrupting constantly?
Honestly it’s hard to get interrupted constantly, but as a mom and business owner, I’m pretty good at list-making and multitasking! I have a dedicated office space which helps, and hold regular office hours as much as possible. And…. Alas, I don’t do it alone – my kids have an incredible nanny and I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Who are your influencers and/or mentors that have helped you get to where you are today and/or continue to inspire you?
I’ve been lucky to work with some incredible PR women through the years, and the group of women who have inspired me most recently – during the last eight months – is a small crew of local Indie PR friends who I meet with every week to brainstorm and motivate each other! We thrive on #collaborationovercompetition and supporting other women so much that we just launched PR4Good, a pro-bono PR services effort that women and BIPOC-owned business can apply for, because we believe that all entrepreneurs deserve the chance to tell their story.
What advice can you give other mamas out there who are looking to start a new business in the current climate?
Ask your trusted friends and connections for their feedback (trusted, not everyone!) Seek free resources online – it’s kind of amazing what you can learn from Instagram and Google for free! And just go for it – there will never be a moment when everything is perfect; the motto “done is better than perfect” is kind of my jam these days!
Would you like to list any local clients?
Absolutely! While I work with clients all over the country, I especially love supporting local businesses. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a variety of local brands, mostly women-owned, including Lily Horowitz of The Core Method, Andrea Rappaport, Lisa Kahley of Game Set, The Festive Frog, Maison Frida and Blake’s Seed Based.
What are the 2 most common questions that people reach out to ask you?
The two most common questions I get are: 1) when should I start PR? And 2) Can you guarantee I’ll get press?
For the first question, I tell potential clients that you should plan to start PR when your business or product, and your owned marketing (website, social media, etc.) is fully ready to go. Your audience’s attention is more divided than ever and you only get one chance to make a great first impression. You’ll want to engage a PR consultant or agency at least 1-2 months in advance of that date, so they can partner with you as you finalize the brand and get it ready to launch.
For the second question, the short answer is no, which surprises people! PR is called an “earned” discipline, which traditionally means you have to earn it, you can’t pay to get press. As the PR industry evolves, the lines blur on this more and there are more paid opportunities like advertorials and influencer partnerships. However, while PR can mean a lot of things these days, it typically centers around media relations in which a publicist leverages her media relationships and builds new ones in order to get press. It’s a long game – it takes time to drive awareness to media and get them to become believers in your brand – but PR is one of the most efficient, value-driven marketing disciplines and demonstrates real affinity for a brand and brand story.
Current lipstick brand/color: Beautycounter BC Red (shameless plug, I sell Beautycounter on the side!)
Undergrad college/major: UW-Wisconsin, English Lit. Go Badgers!
Favorite candy: This is SO hard. Current favorite: KitKat
Strangest thing in your purse right now: Samples from my new client MaskTite, which prevents your glasses from fogging up with your mask on – I hand them out to everyone I see!
Last book you read: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, by Lori Gottlieb
Your binge shows: Billions, Saturday Night Live, Homeland, Mrs. Maisel, Ted Lasso
So fun! Have you thought about how you and your family are going to stay sane this winter with shutdowns and such?
I love to cook and bake and so I’m sure my kids will “help” me making festive meals and sweets. We love to do pizza Fridays and I’m sure we’ll grill throughout the winter this year. We’re trying to do more games as a family (my kids are pretty little so this is new for us) but we do love our YearCheer holiday boxes that have fun holiday activities in them! I also plan to get more projects from The Painted Penguin, the local paint-your-own project shop (they’ll deliver to your door!)
What’s on the horizon for your brand? Future aspirations, plans….
I’m excited to connect with new female founders in the next year and would eventually like to create a course for brands looking to learn more about PR.