Flying Cork employee Evangeline O'Keefe

For those of you who are new around these parts, March was National Women’s History Month but because we love our female employees so much, and NOT because we got someone new to run social media who was a little confused at first (It’s a learning process, ok?), we’re continuing the celebrations into April.

Meet our Public Relations Associate – Evangeline. A lover of glamour and twirly dresses, Evangeline is originally from Turtle Creek, PA and has a masters in Entertainment Industry Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Q: What’s the most valuable part of your day?

A: My morning quiet time for reading and meditation and my workout. It sets the tone for the rest of my day, puts me in a centered frame of mind and gets my mind and body working and ready for the day’s challenges. Of course, it also means I’m contradicting my inherent night-owl-ness, but so far I’m finding I like being a morning person and my day is more productive and enjoyable this way.

Q: How have you developed professionally since starting at Flying Cork? 

A: My background is in the business side of entertainment with an emphasis on film and TV production, so Public Relations is a whole new skill-set. By nature I’m a “people person” so this has been great for using and developing my communications skills further. Part of PR and content creation has played to my strengths too, logistics and planning – I love planning events or productions, the budgets and schedules, getting the details just right. I’d say the way I’ve most developed professionally since starting with Flying Cork is honing my writing skills for communicating with the media while exercising my logistics skills.

Q: Bagels or Donuts? Why? 

A: Yes? I don’t understand the question. Both? Is this a trick question? Do they come with coffee?

Q: If Hollywood was making a movie about your life, what would the title be and what actress would play you?

A: “The Girl Who Forgot To Dance” with Reese Witherspoon. Every story has an arc, and even though mine features a tough glamour girl, the process of becoming her is the real story.

Q: What advice would you give yourself a year ago? 

A: Everything worth having takes effort. Be a duck; stay calm on top and keep paddling hard.

Q: What’s one thing no one knows about you, but you’re going to tell us anyway? 

A: It’s fun to see people’s surprised reactions when I, the glammed up, full-face of makeup, woman in a twirly 50s dress, tell them that I play with swords. I’m a German Longsword fencer in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). I study medieval and renaissance manuals translated from Old High German and Italian, and practice with modern safety gear. I love how it builds my physical strength and mental toughness, and I’ve made a lot of great friends through this sport. Also, I know how to knock a cork out of a bottle of champagne with a sword.

Q: You’re trapped in a train with 3 people for one month, who do you choose? 

A: My best friend because we talk all the time, my HEMA fencing coach, it would be like private lessons for a month (!), and my personal business mentor, so she could coach me on working on my personal business. After a month, I’d come out of that train feeling totally rejuvenated, a much better fencer, and having crushed my business goals.

Q: What has been one of the best moments of your life, so far? 

A: Graduation day from Carnegie Mellon was pretty great, but my best moments have been “I can do the thing!” moments. Seeing the pride and joy in my fencing coach’s face when I executed a beautifully clean technique in a tournament, or my best friend’s (and motion therapist) excitement seeing me fence and dance better than I have in many years. One of my best moments was during the awards dinner for HEMA fencing tournament I organized at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. After all the speeches were made and the awards given out, my co-organizer made a short speech recognizing me for all of the work I put into the event, and it nearly brought me to tears to see the whole dining room full of my friends and fellow HEMA practitioners give me a boisterous standing ovation. It was so wonderful to be appreciated and recognized for months of hard work done so that my friends could have a good time.

Q: What female professional has made the most impact on your career and why? 

A: I’ve had several female mentors but the female professional who has made the most profound impact on me is Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. She was a visionary woman in her day and built a company on the priciple that any woman can achieve anything, and that when a company is built with and acts with integrity, everyone around it benefits. She was featured in Forbes as the preeminent American female entreprenuer, and I think what speaks to me most is the combination of grit and love with which she approached every challenge. Her business principles of putting people first and allowing them to use their unlimited potential has built so much confidence and strength in my life, taught me to set goals, and make achieving them non-negotiable.