We had the good fortune of connecting with Jon Pushkin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jon, how do you think about risk?
I’ve been taking risks my entire career. I moved from New Jersey to Denver with very little money and no job. I spent the next 15 years as a musician and if anyone knows about taking risks it’s musicians. The band breaks up, you start another. The gig falls through, you find another. You spend your last dollar on gas to get to the gig hoping you make enough money to get to the next one.
After I was done with life on the road I didn’t know much about anything else except baseball, so I walked into the Denver Zephyrs office and asked if they had any jobs open. The guy said, “like what?” And that’s how I started my career in Minor League Baseball.
After working for a few nonprofits I was sick of working for other people. My wife encouraged me to take a leap of faith so I started my own solo PR practice. 25 years later Pushkin PR has grown into a boutique agency that allows me to do good work for great clients who make a difference in their communities.
Running your own business is all about your tolerance for risk. You have to not be afraid to fail. You have to not be afraid of the unknown. You have to be confident that when one door closes, sooner or later another one will open. When my 14 year old Lab was a puppy, I took her swimming for the first time. She followed my other dog right off the cliff into the water and started swimming. That’s how you have to behave as a business owner. You just have to dive in and start swimming.
What should our readers know about your business?
Pushkin PR will celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2022. I’m proud of that accomplishment. I’m grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from a very talented team of professionals who do amazing work on a daily basis. I’m also grateful for the chance to work with an amazing list of clients who have give me the chance to help them make a difference. Doing great work for great clients that I can work for with integrity is extremely rewarding.
It has not been easy. When I first started someone told me that it would take at least five years before I would not freak out if I lost a client. That’s wrong, because that worry never goes away. When you are too slow you are too worried to enjoy the downtime, and when you are too busy you are too stressed to be grateful for the work. That’s just the nature of running your own agency.
I want people to know that I started Pushkin PR because I wanted to build an agency with a little less flash and a lot more substance. We believe in authentic, straightforward communication. We believe that strong, long-lasting brands are built on the core values of respect, trust, ethics, and integrity. That’s how we have operated for the past 25 years, and those are the types of organizations we like to work with.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would start out in Larimer Square and explain that this was where Denver got started. Then I would walk through LoDo to Coors Field and show them where El Chapultapec stands empty now but in my day it was the swingingest jazz club in town. I would take them to 17th and Pearl, site of the original Denver Folklore Center that became my Denver home and family. Then we would head to Boulder and do a Mall Crawl. From there up to Steamboat and from there down to Telluride. Now that would be a nice tour of Colorado.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
PRSA – the Public Relations Society of America. That’s the professional association that provided the professional development resources, mentorship and collegial collaboration and ethical foundation to make me a better professional Becoming active in the Colorado Chapter was a huge boost to my career.
What a great interview! I learned things I never knew about Jon, even though our relationship goes back more than 30 years. And Jon, is that Jaime Brockett with you in the first photo? Keep on, keepin’ on, Jon. Harry