Paula Worthington is founder of Worthington PR & Story.
What’s your background in this industry and why did you set up your own company?
Worthington: I was born and raised in Calgary and completed a communications degree at the University of Calgary. After graduation, I started my career in Toronto, where I had the opportunity to help grow a national not-for-profit organization called Enactus, which I still proudly support today. I missed the mountains and decided to move back to Calgary, where I landed a PR job in the ski industry. From there, I followed my passion for travel and joined the marketing team at WestJet.
I spent the last decade working in senior leadership roles at two prominent PR agencies, working with clients across every industry. They were great experiences, but I was ready for something more. I’ve always been entrepreneurial at heart and was ready to make the leap to start my own business, so in early 2018 Worthington PR & Story was born.
It’s been an incredible experience so far, and the growth of the business has been phenomenal. I still have a strong passion for travel, and take the opportunity to visit off the beaten path destinations in Canada and abroad once a quarter and write about my experience for a number of media outlets and my own website, wanderswild.com.
What areas does your business specialize in?
Worthington: Worthington PR & Story provides PR and communications expertise for brands with a story to tell. My focus areas include communications, PR and social media strategy, media relations, influencer campaigns, event management, content writing, photography and videography, marketing and brand development. My client roster includes national brands, entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organizations and changemakers. I’m selective about my clients, making sure I align well with their goals and values.
While my company is still relatively new, it’s been so rewarding to provide modern, creative and straightforward counsel to my clients, whether it’s starting a brand from the ground up, building public trust, navigating the world of social media, or collaborating with their teams to help them be more successful. Each day is rewarding, busy and varied – it’s been a whirlwind but I wouldn’t change a thing.
You recently became a member of the Trico Changemakers’ Studio at Mount Royal University. Can you explain what that is and why you joined?
Worthington: The Trico Changemakers’ Studio is such a unique space. It’s based out of Mount Royal University, and is a co-working space that incorporates experiential learning, meaningful work opportunities for students and faculties, and connections between business, campus and community.
I strongly believe in the power that can be harnessed out of combining business with creative thinking, a compassionate spirit and an entrepreneurial approach. When I decided to start my own business, I knew I wanted to lend my experience to big and bold brands, but also support Changemakers who are making a worthwhile difference in our communities.
Needless to say, the stars aligned when the opportunity to join the studio came my way. As part of the move, I’ve launched a subsidiary brand to Worthington PR & Story, called Noble Arrow Projects. Noble Arrow Projects is a special designation for my clients and organizations who are defined as Changemakers – when they do well, we all benefit. In addition to great PR and communications support, the goal is to provide Noble Arrow clients with additional profile as well as access to students, academic staff and studio support to help propel them forward.
My ambition is to grow Noble Arrow Projects alongside Worthington PR & Story so that changemakers know they can get top-notch communications and storytelling support as we all work together to positively shape our community and the world. Doing business with heart and compassion is a no-brainer to me.
What were your biggest challenges in becoming an entrepreneur?
Worthington: Making the decision to take the leap is probably the scariest part of the decision – there’s a time when you face more questions than answers in your mind – “What if?” scenarios will occupy a lot of your time.
Be ready to have seemingly limitless energy and be nimble enough to be able to constantly adjust and make decisions to help your business grow. I spent time considering what I really wanted to do and where I wanted to focus my time, which I think has helped contribute to my success so far.
What’s your biggest and best piece of advice to someone who is aspiring to be an entrepreneur?
Worthington: It truly does take a village to make it work. I have a great team that supports my work and projects, as well as friends, family, mentors and peers who have cheered me along.
Becoming an entrepreneur will bring you unanticipated moments (both good and bad), new learning curves (both good and bad), but also the joy of creating something new and doing it in a way that resonates with your beliefs and values.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be open to learning something new every day, even if you have years of experience under your belt. Be humble, be nimble, bring positive energy to everything you do, and have a realistic but optimistic outlook.
Oh, and try to get enough sleep and keep a phone charger and lots of healthy snacks in your car – you’ll be on the move.
– Mario Toneguzzi