Telling stories and spreading good news

An interview with a healthcare PR professional 

6258577781_c9c95efffa_oAs I sat down with Lindsey Kate McCarthy last Friday to discuss agency PR, it didn’t take more than a few minutes to recognize her authentic positivity. Her staff biography on CAWOOD’s website reads, “Lindsey Kate literally bubbles with optimism.”

Lindsey, an account coordinator at CAWOOD, a full-service marketing agency in Eugene, Ore., relays her optimism in the work she produces for her clients, specifically, for Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, or WVCI.

Before joining CAWOOD, Lindsey was a public relations student at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication and Robert D. Clark Honors College. Her experience, knowledge and interest in health communications led her to join CAWOOD after graduating in 2011.

What does your typical day look like?

  • Through public relations, advertising, Web development, and video, WVCI truly utilizes CAWOOD for its “full-service” offerings. Lindsey’s work day includes, but is not limited to, creating brochures and fliers, updating social media, researching new cancer treatments, writing weekly emails to enhance internal communications, interviewing cancer patients, and sharing their stories through blog posts and articles.

She takes a moment and says, “I tell stories and I spread news. I’m fortunate enough that I’m spreading good news.”

What is the most challenging aspect of working in agency PR?

  • At an agency, it’s nonstop. Lindsey explains, “It’s a balancing act between clients.” She prioritizes her projects by meeting with her supervisor to discuss task deadlines each week. It’s a must to have “clear communication from the beginning,” she says.

It’s a fast-paced, energetic environment. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but as she explained her perspective, I couldn’t help but look forward to joining this industry.

“Besides the constant work flow, it’s also different types of work. You can get a fresh perspective when you go back to a client,” Lindsey adds.

Suggestions for an aspiring PR professional? 

  • It’s imperative to get excited by the industry you work in. In addition to being interested in health, Lindsey says:

“Health care is a people-oriented business. It’s not like tech or consumer goods. We’re promoting a service (for WVCI, that would be cancer care) that affects people’s lives in a positive way, hopefully uplifting them, inspiring them, educating them, and making them feel supported. A newspaper article, a brochure, an email or a Facebook post we create may touch their lives in more ways than we’ll ever know. I love the possibility of that sort of impact.”

  • Gain exposure to the industry beforehand. During college, Lindsey worked with Relay for Life and researched Susan G. Komen for her honors thesis. This experience helped her realize her personal interest in health communications.
  • Be prepared and open to “learn so much in the first month.” Lindsey thanks the SOJC for preparing her with the basics, but notes that “on the job” learning is where you learn how to succeed in public relations.
  • This doesn’t have to be a 24-hour job. Establishing boundaries, like turning off your email when you get home, help tremendously, according to Lindsey. However, as a PR practitioner, you are constantly “on” as you represent your agency and each client you work with.


There’s no secret whether Lindsey enjoys what she does. One of her most rewarding projects is writing weekly emails to the staff at WVCI. Her goal is to inspire hope in the staff who then pass it on to their patients.

“When I sit down to write these, I think, ‘These aren’t just words, 150 people will read this…and sometimes all someone needs are some kind words.'”

Visit the Believe Institute Blog for news and patient stories at WVCI.


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One thought on “Telling stories and spreading good news

  1. […] Olson interviewed a former account coordinator (now account executive) at Cawood. A special thanks goes to J452 veteran Lindsey McCarthy, an outstanding public relations […]

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