500 Coffees #61 – Wendy Underwood

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More than 61 weeks ago I read a theory that going for 50 coffees with people you’ve never met is the entrepreneur’s equivalent to the theory that doing anything for 10,000 hours will make you an expert on it. While I got the idea, 50 coffees was far easier than practicing something for ten years, so after completing that challenge I decided to make a major commitment and publish 500 over the next few years. In this series I introduce you to interesting Vancouverites, many of whom I had never met before. It’s an exercise in networking for myself and for V.I.A. while also being a platform through which I to introduce you to some people who are doing really cool stuff in the city you live in.

COFFEE #61
Name: Wendy Underwood
Occupation: Marketing and Communications Specialist
Beverage: Drip coffee, black

Meet Wendy Underwood. Principal of Fever Pitch Marketing Communications, she’s a Vancouverite who loves this city just as much as she dislikes hearing people complain about it. Needless to say, I love her attitude.

We met at Coffee Bar in Gastown and chatted about her work, her clients, her past work experience and her husband who was, coincidentally, my #28th Coffee in this series.

Wendy grew up in Australia where she got her degree in journalism, then moved to Vancouver in 1995 and wrote for a few years before going to work on the other side of the fence in media relations. She worked with our friends at Tourism Vancouver as their Manager of Travel Media Relations, International, for 7 years. We talked about the excitement that her position held during the Olympics, and how she decided to start her own communications firm after it.

I love meeting (and working with) people who work in communications who have spent time on our side, because they truly understand how things work, when they don’t they’ll ask you how to make them work, and they know what you like to hear (and what you hate to hear) when they’re pitching you. I personally get a boatload of press releases every day, and most of them are either addressed to the wrong department or they’re simply not something we’d cover. In fact it’s rare that we’ll pursue a story based on a press release that rolled in. Wendy is the type who would reach out personally and say “Hey Bob, I know you’ve been working on stories about [insert something she knows I like and have been covering because we’ve actually spoken to her about it, or she’s just paying attention], and thought this might be of interest”. That works really well.

At the end of our meeting, when I was asking about her current clients, she dropped the knowledge bomb on me that British Columbia is pretty much the blueberry producing capital of the world, and that no other region produces as many as we do here. She works with the BC Blueberry Council and she’s going to get my family out to a farm soon so we can pick some and learn more about this semi-hidden-yet-massive industry. That’s really, really awesome.

Stay tuned for more 500 Coffees! I have a few in the bank that I haven’t had the time to edit, but rest assured I am staying caffeinated with good company and I’ll be delivering them to you soon.

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Bob is our founder and Editor-in-Chief. A family man and outdoors enthusiast in his 3rd decade of publishing, he steers the V.I.A. ship, hosts our 'BC Was Awesome' history TV show and co-hosts our weekly podcast. bobk@vancouverisawesome.com