Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Breanna Walther (née Suden) found herself at a crossroads.
"I had been reevaluating my job trajectory for quite some time before then, trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go in. At the time, I was completely burnt out from large agency life and was biding my time at a smaller agency to recharge and figure out my next move. As you can imagine, everything changed once the pandemic hit in early 2020, and I was, in a way, pushed to make my decision quicker than I had anticipated," Walther exclusively tells Morning Honey of beginning her own PR business, Suden PR.
"While not the most ideal situation, I made it work and haven’t looked back since," the Founder and President of Suden PR adds of her next chapter.
Naturally, the businesswoman went through "so many emotions" when deciding to venture out on her own.
"The thought of building something from the ground up was both exhilarating and daunting, and at the time, I wasn’t fully sure that I was making the right decision. With that said, I am blessed to have such an amazing network of friends and colleagues who supported me and my embarkment on a new journey. When I made the official announcement, the amount of people who reached out asking to help was overwhelming. But it helped solidify the fact that I was making the right choice. I mean, if all these people believed in me, I have to be doing something right," she shares.
After settling into her role as a founder, she learned she'd have to wear many hats — and juggle a lot all at once.
"From being the visionary to handling the nitty-gritty details of operations, each day brought a new set of responsibilities, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Venturing into my own business has been a transformative journey – one defined by the fusion of passion, uncertainty and resilience. And as I continue to navigate the unpredictable landscape of entrepreneurship, I am grateful for all my clients, friends, and colleagues who have supported and continue to support me. Looking forward to seeing what the future will bring!" she says.
With any job, there's challenges along the way, especially since Walther is required to know all about all facets of the operation, but she's confident in her abilities to handle anything that comes her way.
"Before I worked for myself, I had a set position, set list of duties, and a set person(s) to report to. As a business owner, I oversee everything, and time management can become a constant struggle. Prioritizing tasks, meeting deadlines, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance become ongoing challenges as the business grows and demands increase," she explains.
Still, Walther, who grew up in a creative household and was "always great at writing," is thrilled to be doing something she loves.
"All of that said, the best part of running my own business is also working for myself and having full creative freedom to shape and execute campaigns that align with my vision and values. This has allowed me to grow immensely, as I am constantly overcoming challenges, adapting to industry changes and pushing boundaries. And, with being my own boss, I am allowed the flexibility to set my own schedule to best suit my needs and the needs of the business," she says. "While the challenges of running a PR business can be demanding, the ability to shape a creative vision, build meaningful relationships, witness impactful results and experience personal and professional growth make it all worth it."
Since Walther's mom was an artist and her stepfather grew up in the foundry business and owns art galleries in the U.S., it made sense her clients are art galleries and artists, in addition to some in lifestyle, entertainment, health and wellness and more.
"Ultimately, my main hope is to make a positive impact; to share heartwarming and informational stories with the world. One client we worked with in the past was a couple and the bride dislocated her knee during their first dance and returned to the reception after the hospital visit. We broke the story with People magazine, and it went viral from there. Another client took it upon himself to purchase artwork from undiscovered or underrepresented artists amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to get a feature story in the Associated Press, an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show and endless more placements. It went extremely viral, and we won a few awards for it as well. It felt great being able to share such heartwarming stories and witness everyone gravitate toward them," she says of her work.
Walther also feels like she's making a difference in people's lives — one of the many reasons she decided to go into this business in the first place.
"Being able to witness the positive impact of something I’ve worked on is highly motivating. Back when I worked for a big agency, I worked on a campaign with JetBlue to highlight their volunteerism and community service. We hosted a contest where we hosted consumers on a volunteer trip to the Dominican Republic. I was fortunate enough to attend the trip and got to spend time with the locals, working to help them paint local schools and help with recycling programs. Being able to meet the people we were helping and seeing the impact we had was amazing to see. The close collaboration created a strong sense of community and a shared sense of accomplishment with everyone involved. That feeling is something I constantly chase in the industry," she says.
For those who may be thinking about taking the leap, Walther advises others "just go for it!" when starting a new business.
"The risk is worth the reward. That said, make sure you establish a strong business plan to set you up for success," she says. "The possibilities are endless!"
Walther is also lucky enough to be surrounded by so many amazing women over the years.
"My main aspiration is to be a visible and accessible role model. Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of being able to work under amazing female mentors and would love the opportunity to be a mentor to others. Sharing experiences, providing guidance, and fostering a sense of community is instrumental in helping others navigate challenges and unlock their full potential, especially in such an ever-changing industry," she notes.
Though the future is uncertain, Walther hopes to continue to grow professionally and keep expanding her business.
"As we head into the 2024 year, we’re continuously working to build up our client roster. We believe everyone should have access to high-quality public relations – regardless of company size or budget. So, if you’re a small business who thinks they may not be able to afford PR, reach out!" she shares.
She concludes, "I absolutely love networking and meeting new people. If anyone reading needs advice on how to start their own business, what the PR industry is like, or just wants to connect, reach out to me on LinkedIn or email@example.com."