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NicoleAfter working her way up in the corporate world in Los Angeles, with a stint as a cheerleader, Nicole Rodrigues has just made the big move to go out on her own and start her own PR company, NRPR, in Beverly Hills. All while being a young mum! This woman seems like a great mentor and boss and someone who rises to any challenge.

Here’s my interview with her:

How did you make the transition from cheerleader to publicist? Was it difficult?
As funny as it sounds, I don’t think I’ve ever transitioned “out” of being a cheerleader. I feel like I’m a cheerleader for clients and employees everyday. It’s just a true characteristic of mine.

I’ve been a fan of the Oakland Raiders since I was a little girl. I began cheerleading when I was 8-years-old and cheered all the way through high school.

After working with the Raiders [PR] I knew I had to try or it would haunt me forever. So, I tried out and MADE IT in the first try. Two dreams came true at that moment: I was doing PR for my favorite team and also cheering for them.

I loved it, but I knew my career in PR was going to have a much longer shelf life than being a cheerleader.  So, I cheered for two years for the Raiders, worked in their PR dept. for three and knew I had to grow in my career and move on professionally if I was ever going to own my own business and truly be successful.

What advice would you give to other young women who are stuck in a certain role and want to be taken more seriously – based on your experience?

You have to think like a man and act like a lady.

Let’s face it, men have been in the business world much longer than us women have, but that doesn’t mean we have to change who we are as women to fit in.

I’ve always been a tom boy and really enjoy my sports, I also don’t get caught up in office drama or politics, I think that makes me a little like a guy that way. However, being feminine, caring, understanding, cooperative and organized, like a lady, has really helped me grow as a professional and be respected along the way.

If you want to be taken more seriously, don’t bring emotion and outside “stuff” to work with you. Your bosses, especially men, don’t respect that. I’m true to myself in every way but as I grew in my profession, I learned to use my strong, nurturing qualities when it comes to employees and clients, but I try to always keep a level-head and keep my mind on work when I’m in the office.

How did it feel to start your own PR firm recently? Was it scary?
Yes. It was, and still is, the scariest thing I’ve ever done. There are no guarantees for success as a business owner. Starting off, there were no guarantees I’d even make money right away.

When I finally made my mind up and told myself I was ready, I started selling things; all the “stuff” I owned that was collecting dust and still had value. Then I moved to a smaller place and had enough money saved up to get my business up and running while keeping a roof over my head for a few months. As a mom, I knew I had to have enough money to care for my daughter as well. Now that I think about it, what I did was completely insane (she laughed). But, I had absolute faith in myself, my skills, and the strong network I’d built over the years. I just knew I was ready and I wasn’t going to let self-doubt get in the way of moving into the next chapter of my professional career.

How long were you planning your own business – did it take a while or was it something you always knew you wanted to do?
Starting my own agency was a college dream of mine. However, I grew up in a loving, simple, middle-class family, where my parents and grandparents were all blue-collar professionals. I had no clue how to start a business. I was the first to graduate from college. I had an upward battle to fight, but thankfully, I had amazing mentors and people who believed in me to teach me over the years.

I finally worked my way up to VP level at a very large and respected PR agency in Los Angeles and knew I didn’t want to work my way up to being “president” or even SVP at someone else’s agency.  I wanted to be CEO of my own.

What are your plans to grow the company?
My plans are simple: grow at the rate the Universe wants to take it.

I plan to grow at a pace that still allows me to find the right “energy” in employees. It’s one thing to have people on your team that have the right skills. It’s another to bring on employees that have the right attitude.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
My mom always told me I could do or have anything I wanted, as long as I work hard for it. She’s living proof. I give my daughter the same advice, and I show her through my actions everyday.

Follow Nicole on Twitter: @NicoleRPR

Want to feature as an Inspiring Woman or have someone else to put forward? Please email the work her [@] gmail dot com or fill out the submission form.

Laura is the Founder & Editor of The Workher. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman.

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