We like to recognize our featured guest at our monthly Dicho y Hecho Happy Hour Mixer. To get to know our guest we ask them a few questions. Below are a few things we learned about Teresa Lara:

What is the one thing you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy being in the center of a collective force that is committed to a good cause.
I work with various units within and outside my organization who work hard each day towards the goal of decreasing access to tobacco products to youth.

As grants manager, my job is to collect and report metrics on two large multi-million dollar grants, write quarterly progress reports, and submit budget updates up to the California Department of Justice.

It’s, like, solving a giant puzzle, for the greater good.

How did your career in PR lead you to become the Anti-Tobacco Grants Manager at the City Attorney’s Office of Tobacco Enforcement?
PR is a skillset that can be applied to any position because of a multi-dimensional lens we intrinsically look at situations. We’re problem-solvers, collaborators, and creatives.

When I was looking for my next career move, after a short stint in consulting, I looked to apply my experience to a worthy cause and to work with a strong team.  I came across the opportunity within the City Attorney’s office and interviewed with the Tobacco Enforcement team right at the precipice of the vaping epidemic among youth. It was the perfect opportunity to apply my PR and business management acumen.

What is your #1 networking advice for those new to PR/Communications?
Do your homework before coffee or introductory meetings. If a person’s bio is not on LinkedIn, ask them or their assistant for it to help get insight into a person’s career trajectory and interests…before the meeting. It also allows more time for a more substantive two-way conversation—you get to dive in deep quicker. Also, practice the art of active listening, without having to respond to every sentence— and let ideas breathe.

Who inspires you? And why?
That’s a tough question, many people. I think a common thread is that it’s usually persons who inspire and uplift others behind-the-scenes. Patricia Perez, comes to mind. She’s someone who is known and respected across various fields and sectors, and makes time to help others.  She supports other’s success, is relatable, and also unafraid to share when life hits some bumps.
I could name many more people, but we’d be here all day.
There are those quiet yet strong forces who are behind great ideas, powerful leaders, and movements. That’s probably why I wrote my thesis on Emotional Intelligence.