The Grammar Hammer, who is also known to her friends as Cathy Spicer, is on vacation this week. So while she’s away, we’re giving our readers a chance to know her better, in this edition of Inside PR Newswire.
She picks up her flute.
“My outlet is music. It’s important to have a creative outlet to balance the work stress,” says Spicer, PR Newswire customer content services manager in Cleveland. “I’m always in such admiration of the people who play professionally because they’re so skilled and talented. It shows me just how much I have yet to learn.”
Spicer has been playing flute for 30 years. She especially loves duets and remains in awe of flutists who flawlessly play complicated pieces of music.
“I can appreciate the effort that goes into a person trying to master a piece of music,” she said. “You’re so focused on the music and what the next passage is going to be.”
This kind of focus and thinking also has benefitted Spicer in her PR Newswire life. In April, Spicer will celebrate her 18th year with the company.
Spicer started out as an assistant editor in the Cleveland office. It was her first big job out of college.
Today, she oversees an eight-person team that’s the primary contact with clients from the northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, with the exception of New York. Her team primarily handles the editing of news releases, and it manages customer calls to the PR Newswire 800 number.
The calls into that line cover the gamut: Billing questions, inquiries from new prospects, clients with an immediate release to send out, or clients with changes to make on a current release.
Spicer is incredibly proud of her group.
“They have good instincts,” she said. “They know our policies and procedures, and we have a lot of great resources around us. We work in a very collaborative environment.”
Spicer spent some time opening the PR Newswire office in Chicago, where she spent 10 years before moving back to Cleveland.
In addition to managing her team, Spicer also can be found immersed in social media.
On Twitter, Spicer and her colleagues from Albuquerque tweet PR Newswire consumer-related content. The feed currently boasts nearly 900 followers.
You could say music always has been a part of her family – her father was a newspaper publisher by day and a jazz player by night.
Cleveland features an impressive music scene with its Institute of Music, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College.
Spicer said she prefers to play with small groups. That’s why she joined the flute society.
“The trick is to play with people who are better than you,” she said. “You learn so much just paying attention with whom you’re playing.”
When she puts down her flute, Spicer loves to cook. But she admits she’s not a great baker, which “requires a lot of precision.” She also has a 20-year-old cat named Sidney.
Christine Cube is a media relations manager for PR Newswire and freelance writer. You can follow her @cpcube.