Omnicom PR Group’s chief people officer shares tips for finding balance

We caught up with Michele Chase as she starts her new role with Omnicom amid the ongoing battle for talent within the PR industry.

Striking a better work-life balance

The workplace has forever changed—and that means PR agencies are working hard to adapt. For Omnicom PR, those efforts include adding a Michele Chase as chief people officer.

We caught up with Chase as she embarks on her new role for our ongoing “Day in the Life” series where she talked about how she manages the competing needs of life and work, starting a new job in the remote work environment, and more.

Here’s what she had to say:

1. What’s your favorite part of your morning routine?

Chase: Exercising in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee

2. Who’s the most important person you talk to every day?

Chase: It’s actually four people, my husband and my 3 boys…but if I HAD to say only one, my husband.

3. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?

Chase: The biggest challenge of my career was learning to balance being a mom and working—particularly once I added the 3rd! When I was pregnant with my third several people—just being curious—would ask me how I was going to do it and if I was going to come back. My simple answer was to laugh and say, “I bet nobody’s asking my husband that. Isn’t that funny?”

4. What’s your best book or podcast recommendation for PR colleagues?

Chase: I like to listen to USA Today’s 5 Things every morning to get a quick summary of things I need to know that day.

5. What’s your favorite tool you use regularly for your work?

Chase: My phone! I’m constantly getting texts—both work and personal—and keeping up with emails as I’m on the go.

6. Are you in an office/remote or both? What do you like (or dislike) about your current setup?

Chase: Both. I love the flexibility. The gift of the pandemic was that we realized we could really get work done remotely. But when I work remotely, I miss the people. Working on Teams calls is great but you miss out on the human connection. I love that I can work from home when I need to and I go to the office to reconnect with colleagues in person.

I never thought I would be able to have a job where I didn’t have to be physically in the office every day. I’m an extrovert and get my energy from people around me and reconnecting with intention (planning to be in when I know people I want to spend time with are in for example) but being able to have flexibility is so nice. Over the past [roughly two] years we have missed out on interactions we took for granted that cultivate culture and the stickiness of an organization, but gained the ability to work remotely too.

7. What’s one trick you use to promote well-being, make yourself feel good at work?

Chase: I say hello to everyone—especially if I’ve never met them. I love connecting with colleagues – and learning about them and generally trying to enjoy the people that I work with. I’m looking forward to reconnecting and using our office time with the intention of doing that.

It’s the people interactions make me feel good at work.

8. What’s the best advice any one has ever given you in your career?

Chase: Listen. Don’t talk for the sake of talking. The reason is none of us have all of the answers and when people come to you with a difficult question, it’s OK to take a minute—or even tell them you need to sleep on it—to provide a thoughtful response. Our knee-jerk reaction is not always the right one.

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