Holly Baird finds her public relations niche behind the scenes

By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — Holly Baird is a woman who works primarily behind the scenes about all things public relations.

Baird is the founder and owner of The Source PR, a public relations agency committed to elevating the sophistication and quality of a client’s media footprint and mitigating reputational damage through creative narrating and strategic communication campaigns.

A graduate of Cal State Fullerton, where she majored in television and film journalism with a minor in criminal justice, Baird chose to go into the public relations sector despite it not being on her radar after starting her career at a well-known production company.

“When Paramount began the process to buy KingWorld/CBS Productions, I saw the writing on the wall and contacted a headhunter to start sending me out on interviews,” Baird said. “The first company they sent me to was Sitrick and Company, the rest is history. PR got into me. I never in a million years could have imagined being in the field I am in representing the clients that I have. I love what I do.”

Baird credits her compassion, discernment, patience and keeping an open mind as key components to her success.

“I was fortunate to learn the business from one of if not the best crisis management professionals of all time,” she said. “Working alongside the brilliant team at Sitrick and Company and being trusted to run significant accounts allowed me to gain my ‘sea legs’ and build the confidence to create my own land and go out on my own. 

“A lot of what I do is instinctual and that’s not teachable. I’m doing what I was meant to do and following the path that leads me to my ultimate goal: To help those in need that truly deserve it.”

Having been in the business for over two decades, Baird currently represents a handful of prominent law firms that consist of trial attorneys, litigators and plaintiff-focused legal professionals, an estate of a well-known rapper, a half-dozen professional athletes and entertainers on various matters, a domestic violence center and consults for a presidential campaign. 

Although Baird works with high-profile clients, she encourages small business owners to invest in public relations services to help their company grow.

“All business owners should allow a professional to help them navigate telling their story,” she said. “I work alongside some fabulous marketing executives and the successful companies recognize having a team behind you driving the narrative is more impactful most times than allowing the consumer or whatever your audience is to speculate and have no sense of your brand identity.

“With clients that are dealing with a crisis, it’s vital for a third party to come in and objectively assess your risk potential and develop a plan for you to maneuver out of the crisis and protect your brand and assets.”

With the dominant role social media plays in running a business, Baird incorporates the various platforms to stay on top of her clients through the lens of the public.

“Social media is where many companies and high-profile individuals break news and see news being released about them,” she said “Black Twitter for example can drive and dominate a narrative for days and social media logistics are vital to any media plan.

“Different platforms are used to deploy various messaging and reach a range of demographics; know your platforms and familiarize yourself with how they operate in order to best serve your clientele.”

Baird said social media can have a huge impact on a company’s branding and image which makes a public relations specialist an integral part of any business team.

“It’s always best to be on offense when dealing with crisis communications issues,” she said. “Being in control of the narrative is always the best position to be in. However, having solid messaging and receipts to support your claims assist when having discussions with members of the media.”

When asked what advice she would give an aspiring entrepreneur, she said there are plenty of tools that begin with each individual.

“There are resources available and people willing to give you an opportunity; use them and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Baird said. “The only thing holding you back is you. Do the work. There are zero short-cuts to success. Lastly, be an advocate for your community. We have to begin to foster real community alignment in order to break down the walls of discrimination that unfortunately still gate-keep many of the industries we are in.”

As Baird’s career continued to thrive, she suffered the loss of her mother, which caused significant stress while still continuing to meet the demands of her clients.

“My mom’s death rocked my world,” she said. “It’s a daily struggle to navigate the grief process and help defend one’s livelihood. I take on a lot of my client’s worries and stress so finding positive ways to release the tension is something that took me a while to formulate.

“Solid friendships and trustworthy dependable co-workers helped me tremendously along the way. With that being said, the journey that I have been on since an early age has prepared me for the challenges that come with being a crisis manager and my focus is always to move in ways that would make my mother proud of me.”

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at emiliesaintjohn@gmail.com.