Finding a supportive mentor when you’re just starting out can be life-changing, and that’s something our NJMompreneur of the week, Laura Cocivera, knows well. Having worked in media relations for 12 years, she made plenty of connections, but one made the most impact—and it would propel her to make her own life-changing decision. Fast forward to today, and Laura is the face behind LC Communications, a boutique media company with a robust client list and a work schedule that can happen any time of day (even while cooking dinner). We sat down to chat with this ready for anything Morganville mom of one (and another on the way) about the thrill she gets seeing a client on TV, what she wants her kids to know about working on your own and the best places to chill out when she’s in Cape May.
Tell us about your background–how did you start a career in media?
I was always fascinated and drawn to the world of media, and growing up, I’d collect magazines and save them—I still have stacks from years ago. In college and graduate school, I studied psychology and English, with a research interest in mass communication. I never set out intentionally to be in PR, but when I was looking for an internship in the media industry, I landed one with a PR firm, and I was hooked. It allows me to be creative, continue to write, and launch fun campaigns. It’s definitely exciting for me, and even 12 years later, I still get a thrill being behind the scenes on a TV set or seeing a client article with a beautiful photo—it’s magical to know you made it happen.
What inspired you to start your own media relations company?
I started LC Communications two years ago after I had my daughter and was looking for more flexibility in my schedule. Before launching out on my own, I worked with an amazing woman who I was lucky enough to not only call a mentor and colleague, but a friend — even family. When you work with someone so closely and speak to them daily, you start to form a special bond. She passed away in 2018 and, as the most incredible, precious surprise, left me her business and clients, many of which I’m still working with today. She had her own media company, and it’s because of what I learned from her that I was able to start my own small media business and pursue more significant ventures. I think of her almost every day and hope she’s proud. I keep a photo of her on my office desk.
What’s it like to work on your own?
Being on my own, I get to work with people, brands, and industries that I’m passionate about—travel and dining, books, and supporting causes that help others—and my clients are hospitality brands, nonprofit organizations, lifestyle consumer goods, and authors. I also have more personal relationships with my clients. Media relations requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking and strategy, so those relationships make it more comfortable to discuss ideas, even if they are wild ones. And since media is not a 9-5 industry, all of my clients have my cell number and can send me a text or give me a call when they need me, even when it’s in the middle of cooking dinner with a toddler at home.
So many businesses have had to make changes during the pandemic and pivot their business plan. How have you made changes?
I’ve had to be more flexible with my schedule. Lunch breaks look a lot different at the moment—they involve frozen dinosaur-shaped nuggets and practicing ABCs instead of working through lunch. I’ve also been adapting my way of doing business as usual to a continually changing climate and keeping up to date with it. The media industry works on short-lead and longer-lead deadlines, and it’s challenging to predict what a few months from now is going to look like and how to plan for them.
Tell us about your family and where you live in NJ.
My husband Kristopher and I are both from Staten Island, NY. We attended all the same schools together but didn’t become friends until high school. After college, we reconnected and began dating in our mid-twenties and eventually lived together in Hoboken, NJ, where we stayed for several fantastic (and fun) years with our five-pound Chihuahua, Charlie. In 2017, we moved to down south to Morganville the same month our daughter, Ellie, was born. As much as I miss Hoboken, we love our Morganville and Monmouth County community. Our family is growing— we have a baby boy on the way, arriving this fall.
You’ve had the experience of working for others and now on your own. What advice do you want to pass on to your children?
I would like them to see that being creative and having a focused vision are wonderful attributes to have — even if your ideas, plans, or dreams don’t make sense to others. And it sounds cliche, but I want my children to learn that hard work pays off and that they can do anything if they remain focused. The battle isn’t always going to be easy (there will be behind the scenes tears), but it will be worth it. But mainly I want them to know it’s okay to be kind when you’re in the business world, and you don’t always have to be cut-throat—at the end of the day, we’re all human.
What are your favorite places to go to in New Jersey?
Our favorite family spots are Marlboro Diner and Jersey Freeze for ice cream. I miss heading down the shore and look forward to returning to Cape May for a visit at The Ebbitt Room at The Virginia Hotel and Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall. Beach Plum Farm is also a must-stop for any foodie. We’re also big fans of Rooney’s in Long Branch and Poached Pear Bistro in Point Pleasant Beach. We will use any excuse to go to the beach and explore the beach towns.
Recently we’ve been hitting up local gardens and farms. Since quarantine lifted, I’ve started a “breakfast in the park” tradition with my daughter, where we pack up or pick up breakfast and spend the morning at a park or garden before I get into my workday. We’ve been to Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown, and we always love Happy Day Farm in Manalapan and Sitting Pretty Farm is lovely as well.
Do you have any advice for moms wanting to start their own business?
You can do it, and it will happen, especially if you have the support of family and friends. But my one piece of advice is to find a great accountant to help set up a business account that’s best for you and your payroll. Don’t let the paperwork and legalities of starting a small business scare you, and you will be able to navigate through it all.
What’s next for LC Communications?
I just began working with a new baby product client called Liuliuby, started by a fellow mompreneur. They make on-the-go products for busy moms, so I have experience there. It’s fun to combine my skill set and knowledge for all things baby and work with other mothers.
For more information about LC Communications and Laura, follow her on Instagram.