Being a business owner is much like being a mama; you’re the glue of the team, juggling many projects at once, helping your clients (ie, little ones) grow, while stepping back and admiring the results of your work, which is all so incredibly rewarding. Our #NJMOMprenuer of the Week, Andrea Mullan, owner and creator of Victory Public Relations, launched her PR business so she (and those who work for her – most specifically moms) could chase her professional dreams while simultaneously enjoying a fulfilling personal life with her family. One of her simple mantras for success to juggling both? “She doesn’t do working mom guilt.’ From vacationing in Sea Isle City and hiking through the gardens at Reeve’s Reed Arboretum with her sons, to building her business from the ground up with no formal background in business, we’re inspired by Andrea’s gut and grit to create the life she has always envisioned.
Owner and Creator of Victory Public Relations & NJMOMpreneur: Andrea Mullan
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Andrea: Victory Public Relations provides custom, prestige public relations campaigns to increase awareness of and generate valuable buzz for our clients and the brands they power. To do that we hone in on their most important messages, define their target audience, and develop a strategy for distribution of that message to media outlets that the audience is tuned in to. When you see a story about a local business doing something exciting on the news or an expert quoted in a story in a national magazine or linked in a website article you’re witnessing the work of a publicist.
I’m incredibly proud of how VPR combines the best of what our largest and smallest competitors offer by providing the results- and process-driven experience that is typical of larger agencies as well as the agility and creativity more typical of smaller businesses or freelancers. Both are essential when it comes to delivering the campaign and experience clients today demand and deserve.
Seeing the world through my sons’ eyes has been a gift and a precious reminder to appreciate the small moments that make up every day. – Andrea Mullan, owner of Victory Public Relations
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Andrea: I’ve always been fascinated by the media and loved writing. Public Relations is a wonderful way to have a hand in both. A publicist’s job requirements include the ability to identify compelling story angles, spot trends, stay attuned to what journalists in relevant fields are covering, and to write effective pitches.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Andrea: There are many things I love about this business. However, if I had to choose one I’d say it’s the fact that it has enabled me to pursue the career I love while simultaneously being the mother I want to be. A close second to that is the fact that each day I have the opportunity to help our clients grow their business and to see the results of our work, which is incredibly rewarding.
NJMOM: What is your background in business?
Andrea: I have none. I studied English and Political Science and although my lack of formal business education used to be a point of insecurity, I’ve gotten over that. When I started out nearly 10 years ago, I was a solo freelancer and VPR didn’t begin morphing into the company it is today until years later. As my aspirations grew I eventually caught on to what I think has been one of the most important business lessons anyone could have taught me – ask a ton of questions, build a network, and do not put your head in the sand on your own shortcomings.
I still have a ton to learn and luckily there are amazing books and podcasts out today that offer a wealth of knowledge. I’ve also found a few people who I am lucky enough to consider mentors who are generous with their advice.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Andrea: I am most proud of the fact that I have built this little company that permits me and those who work for me to chase our professional dreams and simultaneously enjoy fulfilling personal lives. I truly believe that anyone – mothers most definitely included – can have both.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Andrea: I’m a little bit of a World War II history buff. Last night I binge watched World War II in Colour on Netflix while I was meal prepping for the week and it was excellent.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Andrea: This upcoming year is a big one for Victory Public Relations. We are continuing to grow and working on an exciting new hire that isn’t finalized but once it is, it will be shouted from the rooftops.
NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Andrea: I’m a firm believer in giving back and supporting causes that you’re passionate about and have learned that opportunities to do so are everywhere. Right now I have two young sons and through their experience in preschool and this year kindergarten, I came to understand just how important an active parent community is to the success of a school program. I’m very grateful that my kids go to a school where the teachers and administration are excellent and the PTO has done so much to ensure they’re supported and the student experience is everything it should be. This year is my second on the board and I’m thrilled to continue working with such a great group of parents and teachers to help leave the school even better than it was when we started.
NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Andrea: I have several role models. Right now is a great time to be a woman in the workforce because of the proliferation of amazing podcasts and the willingness of incredibly accomplished women to simply share their stories. One of the first podcasts I ever listened to was the interview on Girlboss Radio of Dr. Anne Marie Slaughter in which she said she just “doesn’t do working mom guilt.” That simple statement has become a mantra for me since and I continue to look up to her.
On a more personal note, I am surrounded by role models. For me, navigating life as a working mom, although something I always wanted and I love, was not easy. Luckily I found a group of exceptional women going through the same things at different stages of their career or motherhood journeys and talking through these challenges and sharing tips and tricks has been vital. There is definitely no secret to making it work but knowing you’re not alone and having someone to turn to makes working through the challenges much less lonely.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom (or role model) ever gave to you?
Andrea: My mom is my biggest cheerleader and most trusted confidant. Her support is essential in every sense of the word – literally since she and my dad have taken an incredibly active role in caring for my kids since my oldest was born. She’s taught me many things but when I think about the best piece of advice she gave me it was to have faith in my ability to figure it out. Whether it was raising me and my sister while my father worked an insane schedule as an air traffic controller or helping me raise my own kids and build a business, my mother is always reminding me that I can figure it out. It might not be easy (or even pleasant sometimes) but her advice to follow my heart and figure it out has been constant and invaluable.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” – Cynthia Occelli
I think this is such a beautiful characterization of the experience of growth and is relatable on so many different levels.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Andrea: I did not always live in New Jersey, but I am very happy to raise my family here. What I love most about living here is that we have a true suburban lifestyle that grants us easy access for work and play into New York City. We have two little boys who adore vehicles and one of the most fun things we’ve done with them is take them on the train into Hoboken and on the ferry into NYC. It’s an easy day trip and one that really thrills them.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Andrea: The feeling I have about my family is indescribable, and after chatting with other parents I know I’m not alone in that. Seeing the world through my sons’ eyes has been a gift and a precious reminder to appreciate the small moments that make up every day. I have big goals at work but listening to my oldest son describe a picture he’s drawn or sitting with my youngest and organizing his trains fills me with a sense of pride and satisfaction that I could never have imagined before I became a mother.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Andrea: I am a devotee of Bar Method Summit and The Wine List of Summit (while I definitely buy my fair share of wine, the Wine List is also home to a great marketplace that includes places like Gigi’s Cupcakes, Ahrre’s Coffee Roastery, and more). I’m pretty much in The Toy Professor weekly to pick up birthday party gifts, the rare errand my son’s are eager to help with. My son loves Reeve’s Reed Arboretum for camp and just walking around the beautiful grounds. My husband and I love La Focaccia, Fiorino, Fin and Summit House for dates.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Andrea: I live and work in Summit and every summer we vacation on the Jersey Shore in Sea Isle City. My husband proposed to me on the beach in Avalon and we take our kids to the boardwalk in Ocean City every year. We love living in Summit where we can get into NYC easily for work and we can walk to town from our house in about 10 minutes for shopping, great restaurants, and fun things for the kids to do.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Andrea: The best advice I can give to fellow NJMOMpreneurs is to reach out to other women who are doing it too. The hardest thing about being a working mom with young children is feeling isolated, and that’s actually probably the easiest thing to solve. I was reluctant at first to reach out to other moms and to talk openly about some of the issues I was dealing with but I found that in every instance going out on that limb was received positively. Whether someone has a job outside of their home or they’re focused on the many demands of being a stay at home mom, I think we all want to feel connected and a sense of community.
Have an inspiring #NJMOMpreneur we need to know about? Send along your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.