An exclusive interview with Patricia Baronowski-Schneider, President & CEO of Pristine Advisers.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Patricia Baronowski-Schneider. I was Valedictorian of my High School and then went on to become a single mother of two babies. Life was not always easy, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. As a single mom, I worked at an IR/PR Firm as an Administrative Assistant, while putting myself through college. I worked very hard, working my way up the Corporate Ladder and earning my Master’s Degree in Business Management and Marketing.
I worked at one firm for 16 years until they closed the doors. Then I moved on to another firm and every one of my clients chose to stay with me and followed me there. I stayed at this firm for 6 years until I heard that they were going to be bought by another firm. I then had the option to join another firm or just venture on my own. I made the decision to form Pristine Advisers, and again, every client of mine followed me again to my new firm. Hence, Pristine Advisers was born. This gave me the opportunity to expand upon the services that we were offering, and not charge a fortune for everything – as that seemed to be the mentality of many of my competitors.
I do believe the hard work and low-fees are what has kept my clients alongside me for so many years. To me, it is not about “how rich can I get,” but rather, how can I build long-standing relationships with my clients, while providing them with the best possible services that I can provide. Their success is my success. I see every achievement we get for our clients as a success for us as well. I am very emotionally attached to my clients and as such, their wins make me happy and we are delighted to continuously seek out new ways to help each and every client succeed.
What makes your organization different than your competitors?
We are a fully end-to-end solution. There are companies that specialize in client acquisition; others which focus on client retention…digital marketing…events…webinars….investor relations. We do the lot. Communication and understanding between many different account execs from several different companies can really impact on the success of a sales and marketing strategy. So much can get lost in translation. More than ever a campaign, and ongoing investor relations, must be coherent. It’s got to be completely consistent. Investment companies are busy places. How many times do they want to explain a strategy…have that strategy explained…choose between competing ideas…?
How much potential market share can you achieve in the next 3 years?
Well, market-share has never been of great interest to me. Sure, we can employ more people; capitalize on our on-going successes, but I prefer a more boutique kind of approach. We know our clients personally. We understand how each one works- the good times to phone, the bad times to email. We form a partnership in growth with them. As soon as market-share raises its ugly head, it becomes a matter of figures. Of course, we all want to make more money, but you can do that by working with clients with real knowledge and understanding of their needs. And, you know what? It’s a much better way to work. I don’t dread going to the office- I love it!
What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read?
“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham. Back in the day, I was beginning trading on my own, due to not being looked upon by my broker. It seems unless you had hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, the brokers at that time did not really look out for you, hence my losing a lot of money. I then read this book to become educated so as to manage my own investments. Ironically, it has served me well in the Investor Relations business as now I fully can understand the mentality of your retail investor, and tools they use to trade and such.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
Well, this list can go on and on as I am the Queen of trying everything. I buy and try new things all the time. Some work well for me and others do not. I would say that the best purchase I ever made was an AAD (automatic activation device).
I was a licensed skydiver for 15 years and having an AAD was not mandatory, but I always felt that it was a good investment in my own life. It is an electronic device installed in your parachute container that is set so that if you are falling at a certain speed below a certain altitude, it assumes that something is wrong and will deploy your parachute for you automatically. September 5, 2015, I was hit in the head during freefall and was knocked unconscious. If it wasn’t for my AAD deploying my parachute for me, I would have fallen to my death as I was knocked unconscious in freefall. My AAD saved my life.
While I spent one month in the hospital with no memory of any of it, and still suffer issues today from the accident, it did save my life nonetheless, so that, I would say, is the best purchase I ever made. As far as the worst purchase, I don’t know if I can think of one off the top of my head. I’ve learned something from everything – so even if whatever I purchased was not useful to me, I learned something from it, whether that be why I couldn’t use it and what else I could use, or what else would be a better product or service and why etc.
What takes up too much of your time?
Cooking. Two minutes is too long. I HATE to cook. I don’t know why; my Mom is a fabulous cook. Every time we get together at home, I’ll put on 5 pounds just looking and the wonderful things she makes. For me…the stove is a no-go zone!
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
Firstly, and I know everyone says this, but it’s true. You have to be prepared to work hard. Nothing in this world comes easy. Every billionaire out there has worked his guts out.
Secondly, don’t give up. It takes time. Failure is something you learn from NOT something you die from. (Unless you’re performing open heart surgery when it can be kind of dodgy!)
Thirdly, form a business plan and know that it may need to be adjusted at times. With market changes and new technologies and social media and laws and such, things may need to be tweaked along the way.
Fourth – I will throw in a fourth. KNOW that your competitors are not always your friends. I was actually sued initially for something as silly as “unfair competition.” The firm suing me did not win a law-suit of course as they do not own the IR/PR world, but I assume they were trying to hurt me with legal fees nonetheless. Just beware of your competitors and know what your rights are and know that they probably have eyes and ears all around just trying to knock you down to boost themselves up.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
You know, you see these hugely successful people. They do so much good work for charities; give tons of money; their time; their expertise. Bill Gates….Just…Wow. But sometimes it’s closer to home. Driven ambitious people often have a one-track mind. And that track is work and business and more work. But the only way we can continue- and retain our sanity- with a bit of downtime at home. My husband works very hard…but he makes a house my home- and that is the most valuable accomplishment anyone can make.
Tell us about something you are proud of – about your greatest challenge.
I hate these kinds of questions. It’s like an invitation to shout myself out. So, I’m not going to boast about individual client successes. If you want to read about that stuff, check out my website.
I’ll tell you one thing I am very proud of indeed. It’s business-related, but not around my brilliance at PR and marketing or how lucky my clients are to have me. I’ve been in this business for nearly 35 years. I worked in a number of roles and now am settled at Pristine. But, I think that variety of experience has enabled me to connect at many different levels with many different people- and different kinds of people.
We have a database of over 750,000 contacts. Real contacts. People we have communicated with and continue to communicate with. These weren’t the result of ticking a couple of boxes or not opting-out of a mailing list. They are real contacts. Real people. The result of real communication and understanding.
How people should connect with you?
We are available via our website of course, as well as email (email@example.com) or else via twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. We are always welcome to speak with individuals or Corporations that would like to discuss business opportunities with us.
This Interview is exclusively conducted by “Haris Siddique”
Haris Siddique is an entrepreneur and investor based in Pakistan. He is a co-founder of Artimization (A global branding and marketing company) which already served more than 500 businesses around the world. Haris is one of a board member of Vizaca Media Company and currently serving as a Head of Global Marketing.
You can connect with Haris on the following mediums: