Posted on September 30, 2016
20 Questions with Rachel Thexton
20 Questions with Rachel Thexton
Rachel Thexton and I started showing up on each others’ radars a handful of years ago as it quickly became apparent that she and I share a passion for rescued animals. Rachel has a dog and a cat of her own – both rescued – and her love for them has spurred her on to being an advocate for the adoption of other animals. Originally from Toronto, Rachel’s home base has been Vancouver for many years. She’s one of this city’s most innovative PR pros and recently founded Thexton PR. Rachel is an entrepreneur, pet parent, bookworm, beauty-ista, traveller, sister, advocate for mental health, and friend. She’s also a vibrant woman who, I suspect, has many beautiful layers to her, so I was excited when she agreed to answer 20 Questions.
1. What are you really excited about these days?
I’m excited to be able to connect with all kinds of people who have amazing personal stories to share, but likely don’t have the communication experience, or the budget, to hire a PR team. Being able to find these individuals and volunteer time to help them to tell their story to media is so rewarding and it can result in change. Right now, I am especially passionate about looking for those who want to tell their stories about addiction and mental health. We need to understand more about these topics and we need to create change in this country – urgently.
2.What was the last picture you took on your phone?
My dog Bandit and cat Elvis exploring our new loft. I recently moved, and instead of taking pictures of the condo features, of course I’m taking photos of what they are doing in the home!
3. Making yourself accessible through social media (and/or PR) opens the door to admiration but also criticism. How do you handle criticism?
It doesn’t come often but it’s definitely there, mostly when I speak my opinion on an issue. This can be frustrating because the online community is a great place to discuss different perspectives on an issue. I often want to respond instantly with a heated and “intelligent” response to this criticism, but my role in PR reminds me to pause, wait and consider if I am comfortable with my response being on a large city billboard the next morning for all to see. If the answer is yes, I respond once, but I never engage in an online argument. Those are never productive.
4. Without giving away more than you’d like to, what kind of projects are you diving into at the moment?
I am working to start a creative writing class in January at UBC. I would really like to dedicate some time to writing non-fiction. There is a specific project that I have in mind and I hope to be able to share this one day. I have always loved writing and, although it’s a part of the work I do, I would like to be able to focus on my own personal writing.
5. What’s one piece of indispensable advice you follow for loving yourself?
I find that taking care of myself with regular exercise and good food helps me to feel better about myself, but to be honest, this is an area that I am still figuring out. As women, there are so many expectations as to who we should be, how we should look and act, and I tend to want to rebel against those norms. My challenge is really sitting with myself and finding out who I really am, and then working on habits like journaling and meditation.
This question is timely because this is truly something I am currently working to figure out and master… I’m not there yet.
6. The Breakfast Club featured a rebel, a princess, a brainiac, an outcast, and a jock. Who were you in high school?
I was the princess, mixed with a bit of jock. High school was a fun time for me. I loved playing on the basketball team but also participated in school theatre. The small private school I attended didn’t have the typical “cliques” but I remember having lots of confidence in high school!
7. If I gave you $50,000 to expand your business, what would you do with it?
I would invest in professional development and learn new skills that I think are important as PR continues to evolve. I would also use some of this money to fund the project on storytelling that I describe above — a volunteer arm of Thexton PR that would focus solely on helping to tell important stories around issues that matter to me. I would also treat my team and my network of contacts to a fabulous dinner… the success of my business relies on a great team and a strong network.
8. What’s your all-time favourite jam from the ‘80s or ‘90s?
Hard question since there are so many. “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak was always a favourite, especially after it was featured in an episode of 90210. Wow!
9. Entrepreneurship has its fair share of ups, downs, and bumps along the way. Where do you see yourself in 2021?
I would really like four things to happen:
1. I would like to have the success and freedom to be able to work remotely around the world. I love travel and I would love to share my skills and areas of expertise with clients in different markets, worldwide.
2. I would love to have a book published, authored by me. This is something I have wanted to do since I was a child.
3. I would love to continue to grow the part of my business dedicated to telling stories for those who are not being heard.
4. I would like to have a family and somehow balance this business and travel thing with an amazing husband and kids!
10. It’s girls’ night in – sweatpants and wine included. What are we watching?
Watching old movies — maybe Dirty Dancing or Heathers. I love ’80s and ’90s movies.
11. It’s now 2:00 a.m. and we’ve had half a dozen glasses of wine. Where are you going for your greasy food fix?
Ordering Dominos pizza! It’s not fancy, it’s not the best pizza, but after a night of drinking, it’s the best. I could eat a whole pizza on my own!
12. In Vancouver, what’s the one restaurant that no one has heard of but everyone should eat at?
There is a small and simple sushi place on Robson street, between Denman and Bidwell, called Sapparo Sushi. The quality is amazing, good service, the food tastes great, and you can always count on the basics for a perfect sushi meal.
13. What’s the biggest misconception people have about you in real life?
People think I am an extroverted PR gal that loves parties and attends all the top events. In facts, I am an introvert and I am most comfortable at home, with my animals and a book, with a vinyl playing, a glass of wine and lots of fruit to snack on. I love people but I find the social events exhausting and it takes lots of energy for me. People often wonder how an introvert can work in PR and I guess it’s because I am able to do the social part but balance this with lots of time on my own: writing, developing strategies and materials for clients, reading, and re-charging for the more social parts of my job.
14. If you could star as any character in the remake of any movie, which famous role would you reprise?
Dirty Dancing, but it would never be the same unless Patrick Swayze could still play his character! I also love the role of Jenny in Forrest Gump.
15. If you could learn a new skill, language, or hobby, what would it be?
I would learn piano and master Spanish. I took piano lessons as a child and always skipped lessons… how I wish I could play now! It’s such a beautiful instrument. As for Spanish, I have been studying through Rosetta Stone but the best is being in a Spanish speaking country where you can really learn. Maybe I will pack up and move to the Dominican Republic for a few months!
16. Who are you most proud of?
My Mother. She has had to fight her way back from some hard places and I admire her for that.
17. Who is (or was) the single most influential person in your life?
My Grandmother. She took a large part in raising me. My Grandmother was the kindest, most patient, loving, special person. Whenever I do something, I wonder if she would be proud. I have my Grandmother’s sensitive heart and although it can be hard at times, I am proud of the love that it produces. I miss her every day and she still inspires me.
18. I’m throwing a dinner party next weekend. You’re invited and can bring three others with you (dead or alive). Who should I set the table for?
Author Jeanette Walls — her memoirs are brilliant. Dr. Martin Luther King — I would love to discuss his thoughts on race in the world today and how he would help lead us to an even better place as a diverse community. My Grandmother, of course.
19. What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you?
Why do you have such a passion for animals, especially dogs and cats?
20. So why do you have such a passion for animals, especially dogs and cats?
I will shorten this answer because I could go on forever. Animals are the purest of souls. I learned to walk with a dog and have had one in my everyday life ever since. Not only are dogs loyal and loving, fun and intelligent, but the way that they help people amazes me. The work that dogs do to help the disabled, sense and alert of seizures in patients before they come on, work on rescue teams, help law enforcement, relieve stress, provide companionship – it all amazes me. Also, I see the look on people’s faces when I walk my dog Bandit down the street. They smile, even if they would not have smiled at me alone. Animals bring such joy and happiness. Their loyalty is beautiful. When someone says, “It’s just a dog!” my blood boils. “It” is so much more.
All photos are provided courtesy of Rachel Thexton.