Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is L.A. Sokolowski, and I’m an award-winning equestrian sports journalist and publicist, who is also on the organizing committee for the annual Equus International Film Festival at The Roxy Theater in Missoula.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
Follow up. Send a personal handwritten note saying it was nice to meet someone. Making connections is what makes opportunities.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
Procrastination. Thinking I have “enough time” to meet a deadline when I will absolutely learn that such a lax assumption rarely if ever factors in the legwork necessary behind the scenes to bring an effort to culmination.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
3-D news reporting. More live drone coverage. Holograms will become more commonplace in the film and news industries.
While the current majority in my field despise the approach of technology (heck they wish it would remain the Age of Xenophon…) the horse industry will continue to fundamentally change from an agrarian partnership to a lifestyle choice.
How content is disseminated will change but the need for quality content, and the talent to identify and develop a good story, will remain the same.
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Sweep bad news under the rug. Never publish an uncomplimentary photograph/image. Lack of transparency that supports the perception of ‘horse dealing’ as nefarious business.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
Potential clients whose red flags show early. If you suspect a client will be high maintenance, a slow payer, or both, walk away immediately.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War.’
Learning to become a more strategic tactician is a benefit professionally, and personally.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Don’t be afraid to invest in sweat equity. While you still have parents/a home as a safety net, don’t be afraid to risk working for free for 6 months with a company or individual you really admire and want to learn from/network with, as opposed to a paying job that doesn’t keep you inspired about moving forward.
Don’t work for free forever, and learn to know and defend your worth. But if you’re ambitious and fresh out of school, that’s your prime time to offer yourself to your heroes and learn from them.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
Do it now. There is only now. ~ George Balanchine
Full disclosure my only Montana connection per se is with the film festival but if a recent grad wants to reach out and talk about how to expand their horizons beyond their college town, and create not just a job but an avocation, I’m certainly available. You can certainly learn more about me via my LI account.