J.P. Schuerman has made it his business to help others promote theirs. Spending most of his career in public relations, Schuerman has focused on boosting brands and pitching products. But before that, he spent his early career as a journalist after graduating from Butler University in Indianapolis. Now, as president of MWW Public Relations’ western region – which includes offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco – Schuerman focuses on creating a work environment that is collaborative and stresses the importance of leisure activities outside of work. Schuerman recently spoke with the Business Journal about his career, making time for the outdoors and why it’s important to find creative outlets.
Describe your morning routine.
I don’t have a regular routine. Some mornings I’m on the phone early for calls with clients in other time zones. I regularly get up at 6:30 a.m. I take my two French bulldogs and walk with a cup of coffee before I head into the office. I live in Marina del Rey and some mornings I will grab a paddleboard and get on the water for 20 to 30 minutes.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I pack phone calls in while in the car commuting from Marina del Rey to Hollywood. In the office, I have an open door policy. I’m often sitting with the rest of the team, working side by side with them. I might be brainstorming with a team on how to score a news story for a client, or in a war room conference, handling a crisis that has come up for another client. I do a lot of strategic development and writing.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
For me, being in the outdoors, doing something competitive and aggressive, climbing or backpacking, where I can physically take my body and mind to a threshold. It just wipes the stress slate clean. Every year, I go to Glacier National Park and hike 20-plus miles with friends, all for the sake of challenging yourself physically and mentally while being surrounded by one of the most beautiful places on earth.
What else do you think is important to stress to your employees?
I constantly challenge them to find their activity that provides a stress relief. Anything that gives them the opportunity to use a creative outlet they don’t normally use. I’ve worked hard to build a work environment where it’s a supportive, fun, active culture. We have a saying, “It’s PR, not ER.”
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Early in my career, I had the opportunity to be one of the media directors, battling tobacco industries and got to be on the front lines with some of the attorneys general driving that. We passed the first smoking ban in restaurants in the state of Indiana. Also, we have been able to bring on marquee clients: Hilton, Microsoft, Kellogg. To me, that’s one of the greatest accomplishments, being able to grow during a sluggish economy. It’s less about ego, and it’s more of the pride I have in the people we’ve been able to attract. I am simply a leader among that. Every day, I can’t wait to get into the office because I’m able to work with these tremendous people.