Tom Halkin: From the NFL to Mills
Join Us in Celebrating 10 Years
As we gear up to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, we’re bringing it full circle by reaching out to the Mills Public Relations universe to catch up with former colleagues and clients (yes, this is a flat-out “Where Are They Now” column!)
Tom Halkin was more than prepared when he joined Mills in 2010. After spending two seasons working in the Minnesota Vikings media relations department where he arranged player interviews, fed stats to football beat reporters, and met Brett Favre, Tom was ready to, as he put it, “try my hand at strategic PR.” Tom thought he’d be a “country music star” at Mills after spending years working with leading national media outlets such as ESPN, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.
Fortunately for Mills and Tom, things worked out that way, but not without a bit of a learning curve. Despite his big league experience, it didn’t take very long for Tom to realize that he had plenty to learn – how to position clients to ensure media coverage; how to really flesh out a story beyond the headline; what works with journalists and what doesn’t (including how they liked to be pitched); when to follow-up; even how to speak ‘off-the-record.’ Along the way, he learned the art of client relations, grew to understand the modern-day 24-hour news cycle, and even learned to read the newspaper (rather than just the sports section) every day.
Tom earned a reputation for delivering big-time results for clients, especially placements for clients in local, regional, national, business/trade media, including magazines, national TV outlets and newspapers. He booked clients as speakers at prominent industry events and helped them win awards.
Tom left Mills in the fall of 2012 for a career in non-profit PR where he raises awareness about scientific research, funding models and drug discovery related to treatment of brain tumors.
Communications Manager, National Brain Tumor Society
Network Health, City of Lowell, City of Gloucester, Cambridge Savings Bank, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, MBCR, ZOOTS, Wynn/Foxboro, The CIP Group
What Tom learned at Mills
“I learned really how to learn. More specifically, how to learn quickly and to take the initiative to learn. Working with so many clients across so many different subjects, I realized I needed to do ‘deep dives’ to pick up quickly on the client’s expertise, its value proposition, what mattered in their industry and what separated them from competitors. This experience really helps me in my current job, because I often write about complicated, scientific topics. Before joining the National Brain Tumor Society, I hadn’t taken a science class since junior year of high school.”