President of Signature Communications and tenured IABC member, Trish Lester is an award-winning communicator with more than 30 years’ experience in public relations and marketing communications. This dedicated and creative professional once chronicled the world of vegetables for a client. She is also a performing songwriter, with growing success in the music industry. In 2007, she released her debut 13-song CD, “Plymouth Belvedere.” Read on to learn how a renowned radio program has recognized her for an embarrassing old car.
Los Angeles, California
Santa Clarita, California
“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”
Three words that best describe me
Frank. Bright. Well-organized.
When I’m not working, you can find me
Cooking, playing with my 2-year-old granddaughter, planning a trip (somewhere, anywhere!), or campaigning against wasteful government spending and abuse of power. And singing, of course. Wait a minute… that IS my work these days!
MY LIFE IN COMMUNICATIONS
The biggest communications challenge I have faced in my current (or previous) role was…
When an Italian superstar race car driver was seriously injured during the Grand Prix in Long Beach. He was brought to our hospital and we (the public relations staff) were deluged with international media inquiries and pushy fans from all over the world. It was quite a challenge managing those communications along with completing our regular work.
My favorite communications memory is…
My favorite assignment was creating a fictional character to promote my client’s products, and writing weekly “journal entries” from the character that were published as e-mails to customers. Embedded links drove traffic back to the client’s website. A cross between Woody Allen and Indiana Jones, fruit and vegetable “expert” Herb Q. Peabody (AKA “The Produce Hunter”) traveled the world in search of such exotic edibles as burro bananas and cherimoya. He led a fascinating and klutzy life…and he boosted sales!
The most important communications or professional lesson I’ve learned is…
Take advantage of your connections. If you know someone who can help you or you need advice, do not hesitate to ask for assistance.
Books I really find useful and recommend to other communicators is…
Word Menu by Stephen Glazier—an all-in-one dictionary/thesaurus/almanac.
Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD—for times when you know what to say, but can’t think of the words.
The New Comprehensive American Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young—because I’m a songwriter.
Of course, IABC has been the best resource for my communications career in terms of networking, education opportunities, and friendship.
A few more thoughts about my music…
Although I sang and composed music casually from an early age, I began to pursue my passion for Americana music in earnest starting in 2003. “Plymouth Belvedere,” a country/rock song I wrote about an embarrassing old car (it’s the title track on my first CD) has been selected for a compilation album produced by National Public Radio. Released in fall 2009 by NPR’s popularCar Talk program, the CD is entitled “Car Talk Car Tunes Volume III: Stairway to Heapdom”—a collection of irreverent songs about automobiles. You can hear the song (and others) at my music website, www.TrishLester.com.
OH, HOW FAR I’VE COME
An active member of IABC for more than 30 years, Trish was President of the LA Chapter in 2000. She served the chapter previously as VP of Membership, VP of Professional Development, and Secretary. In 1999, she was named IABC-LA Communicator of the Year and in 1989 received the chapter’s John Cartwright Memorial “Sunshine” Award. She served as Deputy Director of Finance for IABC U.S. District 6 (before “districts” became “regions”) and spent a year on the IABC International Ethics Committee. She has won almost two dozen IABC awards at the local and district levels for writing, design, public relations programming, and other areas of creativity and professionalism.
This profile was edited by IABC-LA board member Cheryl Farrell.