Our Industry

BRB, Just Watching “Workin’ Moms”

By Abena Koomson on April 8, 2024

Share this article:

A promo ad for the show Workin' Moms, where the show title spans the middle in large yellow text. Behind the text are the five main characters walking and smiling.

In the late fall of 2023, I was browsing through Netflix when it suggested the show Workin’ Moms to me. I was captivated by the two-minute teaser, and I had no idea that I would be hooked for three weeks. Yes, I completed all seven seasons in three weeks! When I first started watching the show, I only knew that it told the narrative of four women navigating the difficulties of juggling their careers, love, and parenthood in modern-day Toronto, Canada. About 20 minutes in, I discovered that the main character, Kate Foster, was a public relations practitioner at a top PR firm, and immediately said, “I have got to see how working in PR is represented on TV.” 

When I was growing up, the only professions always showcased were doctors, lawyers, businesspeople or athletes. As a Public Relations major, you have no idea how happy it made my little heart to see a representation of my envisioned career.

The show

Catherine Reitman created the CBC Television and Netflix series Workin’ Moms. She also stars as Kate Foster, the lead character, who is a committed PR professional and a new mom. In addition to being highly entertaining, the show’s realistic portrayal teaches viewers essential lessons about working in public relations.

The PR world on screen

The TV show did an excellent job representing working in PR, and watching Workin’ Moms felt like I was living in it. Over the last few months, I have had numerous coffee chats with industry practitioners and also attended seminars, where I have learned a ton of fresh information about the PR landscape in Canada.

It was fascinating to observe day-to-day PR activities, including curating PR campaigns, utilizing digital platforms to spread a brand’s message, and media relations activities like media pitching, interviews, and conferences. Additionally, using PR terms and phrases was a minor but delightful touch that brought me joy throughout my binge phase.

Workin’ Moms demonstrated how fast-paced and dynamic the PR industry is. Practitioners have access to exceptional opportunities to collaborate with a wide range of clients on various projects—campaign planning, product launches, influencer relations, you name it! Working in PR, especially on the agency side, offers a vast array of experience.

The show also emphasized how the field of public relations is constantly changing due to recent news consumption patterns and technological advancements. Not staying on trend is not an option!

What we can glean from the show

Have a healthy work-life balance to avoid massive burnout. Kate faces numerous challenges working in PR in the show, but the recurrent struggle is choosing between family and work. She is frequently forced to sacrifice one for the other. Even though PR professionals play multifaceted roles, they should always yearn to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The series draws attention to the stereotype that Public Relations professionals put in a lot of overtime and frequently forgo their personal time.

Burnout can extend beyond work, affecting every other part of an individual’s life. Following a few instances of burnout, Kate ultimately commits to employing certain strategies to break free from the never-ending loop of “either-or” circumstances. This proves that having a successful career and a healthy personal life is achievable and motivates us to reconsider workplace culture and strive for a healthier balance.

Your personal values have to align with your work in PR because if they do not, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. Aligning your personal values with your professional path is crucial for maintaining your integrity and satisfaction in the workplace. Spend some time introspecting and reminding yourself daily of the values most important to you in your career. Since honesty and transparency are fundamental to public relations, it is crucial to consider them.

In one of the episodes (don’t worry, no spoilers!), Kate was in a compromising situation as she had to represent a client on a matter that did not correspond with her values. Afterwards, she would have to carefully consider whether it was worth sacrificing her integrity for the fee she would receive. It is imperative that PR professionals remain conscious of their personal values throughout their careers and try as much as possible not to let the PR landscape blare those values.

Staying from what you are ‘supposed to be doing’ is OK. The show is a helpful reminder that passions grow and occasionally undergo total transformations. It is totally OK to take a detour from your original plan. No matter what, your focus should be on the joy that doing what you love brings you. Young professionals venturing into the PR industry are often asked to identify the specific industries they want to work with. Through Kate’s journey, the show highlights that those passion industries may change throughout a professional’s career, adding some on and dropping some off.

During one of the episodes, Kate ends up working on a campaign for an industry she had previously chosen not to pursue professionally. When she did decide to take it on, the project proved to be very successful as well as an enjoyable experience for her.

From her feeling of fulfillment, we can learn that we should never allow ingrained beliefs to control our life course. Put your best interests first and ignore all the noise.

Not all PR campaign ideas work for all industries and must be tailored to suit the unique needs of each industry. The creative nature of the Public Relations field is the one quality that people always highlight. Practitioners must continuously tap into their creative minds and present campaign ideas suitable for various industry contexts. A PR campaign that may be a good fit for a beauty and lifestyle brand may only sometimes be ideal for an automobile brand. Factors such as industry dynamics, target audience, and the uniqueness of the brand or organization’s reputation should be considered when developing campaign ideas.

In the show, Kate experiences a Public Relations setback when a campaign concept her team pitched to a client is shot down. In the client’s defence, the idea was out of touch with the company’s reputation and would have made it look like a joke if adopted.

PR campaigns are essential and will only be effective when tailored to the unique needs of the particular industry. Remember, thoughtful planning and execution are key!

Why it matters

It meant a great deal to me to see such a representation. Kate loved her work in PR, which made me so elated because the job of a PR professional is fascinating. I truly am proud to be a part of this industry. Both seasoned professionals well into their careers and young PR professionals trying to start off might find optimism in her experience. Additionally, the show reinforces the idea that true success can only be defined by you, and that definition may look different at every step of the way. Above all, success shouldn’t ever have to come at the expense of your personal well-being.

You may also enjoy...

Read more great articles like this, or return to the main articles page…

All Articles

Mastering the Art of Networking: A Professional Communicator’s Guide

By Tanya Murali Dharan on September 4, 2023

Networking is an invaluable skill for professional communicators. Whether you’re mingling in person or connecting online, the art of networking can unlock doors to opportunities and foster valuable relationships. In…

Mastering the Art of Networking: A Professional Communicator’s Guide - Read Post
A woman smiles as she actively listens to a conversation with two others while at a networking event.

Building Trust Between Journalists and PR Professionals

By Audrey D’Mello on April 8, 2024

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re interested in improving your relationships with journalists or public relations professionals, or perhaps you’re just starting out in the communications industry.  It’s…

Building Trust Between Journalists and PR Professionals - Read Post
A close-up of two people holding out microphones.

Global cities with flourishing PR careers

By Keerthana Suresh on February 5, 2024

Want to experience living in a different city and work as a PR practitioner? Then this is the article for you! Check out these blossoming cities that are exquisite both…

Global cities with flourishing PR careers - Read Post
An aerial view of Dublin, Ireland at night.