Hi! Let’s start with some quick stats – who are you, what do you do and where?
My name is Amanda Whitcroft I own Panda PR and Marketing and live and work out of Jersey City, New Jersey. My business was a bit of an accident, but I’ve always been the connecting piece to many people’s goals and visions without realizing it, so I started my business a little over 2 years ago.
Before that, I went to college at Adelphi University in Long Island and after school I moved to Los Angeles where I worked in the entertainment industry. I started in the mail room at a talent agency and worked my way up to a desk, then I went on to work for the famous director Luc Besson who directed Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element. I started as his assistant and went on to become his creative executive, so I was on the path to becoming a film producer. I was in Los Angeles for about 5 years, then my dad fell really sick, so I flew back to my home– New York.
After moving back I got involved in talent management, where I was representing actors and I was doing the same type of work I am now because actors are essentially brands, just in a different scope. I was also raising money and celebrity awareness for various cancer foundations and that’s when I was told, “you should start your own PR firm.” So, that’s what I did. Venturing out on my own was hard. Especially being a startup, it’s very volatile in the beginning, but at the same time very rewarding.
I originally moved to LA with the intention of becoming an actress and I had two parents that said, “if you move out there you’re on your own!” So, I did the whole thing of living in a car. I mean, I did everything I could to make that dream a reality, but at the end of the day I could not sustain that lifestyle, so I had to find a new way.
I had IMDB Pro and Facebook at the time and I actually use Facebook much like LinkedIn. I actually have gotten a lot of my clients through Facebook, I always say it’s because there’s a more personal touch. People are going through your photos and getting to know all these different things about you. I just think it’s a better connection to approach someone through a personal platform like Facebook instead of LinkedIn, which is originally intended to be a business platform, but it almost limits you because of that. So, I took these two accounts and I started looking up 15-20 people a day that I would just message “Hey, do you need an assistant?” and this one agent at ICM, a talent agency, took a chance on my little tiny resume at the time, which had maybe two things, one which was a college job! So, he took it to HR and the next day I had an interview to work in the mail room. Being in the mail room at one of the top 4 talent agencies showed me that I was the only kid there that didn’t have a connection. Everyone was connected in the industry, so it was a very interesting experience. I had no idea what that opportunity meant at the time, but it was something I stuck with and enjoyed.
Even then on my journey to being a film producer, I was always connecting dots and trying to see what script goes well with what talent and what kind of elements to bring in, so I always like to say I’m the creative engineer of people’s visions.
Many entrepreneurs stumble into what they’re doing because it finds them in some weird way. You’re always putting in the effort, but it really comes down to you investing yourself fully to find your way. People think of being an entrepreneur as a glorious life, but it’s scary and fluctuating. You have to use your own resources because you’re on your own and you’ve gotta make it.
I think a lot of people criticize the millennial generation, but we’re the most studied. We introduced all of these platforms and really bettered our own situation. I think back at what people used to have to do to do just about anything and I don’t know how they did it. Now it’s just at our disposal, so I think that’s where you get that cliche statement of “it’s not about working hard it’s about working smart” and I agree with it because now with all the resources you don’t have to work as hard, it’s right in front of you, but you do have to learn how to use it.
Quick Professional Tidbit: “Be careful whose advice you buy and who you listen to. It’s amazing to be inspired, it’s a different thing to mock or try to replicate what others have done. The whole point of innovation and entrepreneurship is to step outside of the box and create something different. It’s your journey, so find your own voice in this world. I’m not opposed to being inspired, I am opposed to bad advice.”
I’m currently reading the Anthony Bourdain book. I just started it, but it has a forward by Eric Ripert, he’s a chef I really look up to. It’s both sad and very telling of the hustle and what it takes. Having that edge but with humility.
Let’s dig into your persona!
Three adjectives you would use to describe you.
What kind of music do you listen to/what’s currently on your playlist?
Jesse J, Dua Lipa, Chainsmokers, Rickie Lee, Queen Sam Smith, David Bowie!
What is important to you (values-wise)?
The people you surround yourself with are extremely important. That influences your decision making and how you see yourself which is the most important. It influences your career and how you pay it forward. It’s not just about getting, but also paying it back.
It’s 9pm on a Tuesday night, what are you up to?
What is your ‘why?’ (Your reason for everything you do!)
The challenge of it all. I have a passion for doing things that don’t come easy. I always credit my parents for instilling hard work in me. I just never ever take the easy route.
Where do you go to get inspired?
For me it’s not a physical place as much as it is a headspace. I think about the past and it’s important to remember where you came from and how far you’ve come and that pushes me to want and do more.
Let’s talk about breaking out of the boxes society places us in.
Describe an experience where you had to “live outside the box” professionally.
I like to think I’m doing this everyday now, honestly. In running my company I like to think there are no rules or guidelines to follow. If the key to success is my clients, I need to be a creative engineer and constantly be looking outside of the box trying to find a way to make something press worthy. Sometimes it’s pulling a bunny out of a hat and making something happen. It really comes down to the pitch and how the press will accept it. Personality and emotional intelligence.
What was your first professional cliff jump? (and some deets) ⛰️
After losing my father, with any loss you’re dealing with your own mortality. I wouldn’t call it a silver lining, but the takeaway from loss is perspective and sometimes you have to take a look in the mirror to see where you are. Especially when it’s your dad and he’s the head of a household that’s all women, it’s a really shocking loss.
You understand you’re not going to be there forever. It’s always been in my DNA to do things that are scary and challenging because otherwise fear is just part of being human. If you’re not doing that, you constantly have to push boundaries and push yourself to do more because we’re not here very long in retrospect.
Imagine your “Top 8,” partly referencing MySpace, but i’m also talking about imaginary friends that help you stay bold and motivated. Imaginary friends are bosses you admire most in your life, whether you know them personally or not. So who do you look up to on the daily:
- Fedel Bauccio – Founder of Bon Appetit – He found me when I didn’t know who I was and he mentored me.
- Helmut Koller – world renowned artist known for animal paintings unique in color. I really appreciate his kindness and humility as a client of mine.
- Anna Wintour – I commend her for the business she has built, for her boss journey. I never realized it, but being a boss is very difficult. It has sociopathic tendencies where you have to remove your emotion from work and everything is business. It sounds so strange, but she does such a good job at maintaining that work environment.
- Motti Peer – Co-owner of Blonde 2.0 – Mostly known for working in the block chain/AI/Tech space. We work together, but he’s another guy who has taken a chance on me for whatever reason and taught me a lot. He’s been in my corner if I ever just needed support as a business owner.
- Sarah Tiede – My fiance, she is the inspiration behind why I started this business. When you see someone and see your future, you work a little harder for everything!
- Diana Whitcroft – My sister! She’s always had a way with words, much like my dad. She’s become the rock of my family. If I’m ever in a panic, or something isn’t sitting right, she’s the one I call.
- Cindy Krupp– Founder of Krupp Group one of the leading fashion PR groups in New York. She’s a force to be reckoned with! She offered me a position, but I wanted to continue what I was doing and she’s been there as a mentor and resource the entire way. Not coming from a marketing background and having someone like her in my corner is super inspiring.
- Jeffrey Katzenberg – Founder of Dreamworks – he built his way up becoming an assistant by calling 15-20 people a day asking if they needed an assistant. He is now one of the most inspirational people in Hollywood
If you can be remembered with one quote about the professional world, what would it be?
Do not be afraid of saying, ‘I don’t know.” I hear so many people that are going to this meeting, that meeting and constantly have to share what they’re doing. I think this is all part of the social media culture we’re all growing up in and I just wish more people would say I’m not doing ANYTHING today or I have no idea what I’m doing or I don’t know what I’m going to do next.
I wish there was more honesty because with that comes connection. In any industry, it’s our responsibility to connect with people. If you don’t have empathy or basic emotional intelligence, you will never complete a task to its full potential!
Ready to become your own BOSS? It’s time to take ownership of your professional development. The BYOB Revolt community can help you take the next step in your career.
Our community is the perfect balance of accountability and support. It’s 100% Free! With both desktop and mobile app versions, you have the freedom to Revolt 24/7. Each member has a personalized profile that aligns with our self reflection tools in the book and a place to chart their path. We have groups, live chats, direct messaging and exclusive content. Most importantly, each week, a different element of the method is explained in our Featured Section. Members also have access to exclusive offers from our partners, behind the scenes BossWatch content, community only content and direct access to the BYOB Revolt team, including Jennifer.