Name: Robin Hull
Hometown: Gladwyne, PA
Company: Energy Transfer
Position: Senior Specialist, Public Affairs
Length of time you have been with you company: 4.5 years
Briefly describe your journey, noting both personal milestones and obstacles you may have faced along the way.After graduating from Penn State with a degree in Public Relations, my career began in Harrisburg, PA, close to where I grew up. I worked for a national franchise company called Soccer Shots, doing PR and communications for both the franchise company and occasionally the franchises themselves around the country. It was an amazing experience! I then began working for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission as Deputy Press Secretary. I not only learned valuable media relations skills here, but I also learned that I enjoyed the energy/utility space. I moved on to Tierney, a PR firm based in Philadelphia and with a Harrisburg office, before moving to Washington, D.C. with my now-husband, when he landed a role with the federal government. I decided to move back into energy and was lucky to be hired by FTI Consulting as part of their Energy & Natural Resources team, doing strategic communications for big-time energy clients. After a couple years, my husband’s career then brought us to the Philadelphia area, where I was fortunate to be hired at Energy Transfer as part of the public affairs team, where my days now consist of a blend of PR, government and regulatory affairs, and community affairs. I didn’t plan to change jobs so often by my mid-30s, but life kept happening and we moved several times! I truly think that the diversity of my career and experience has taught me so much and made me a better employee and leader today.
I’ve faced a lot of challenges throughout my career – some that required crisis communications, some that required “managing up” or having tough conversations with colleagues and direct reports, some that required unexpected travel and late nights, some that made me question my knowledge and capability… and I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything is a learning experience, and as they say, never let a good crisis go to waste!
How did you hear about LDC and why did you sign up to take part in it? Energy Transfer has supported the Delaware County Chamber for years, and I continue to become more involved and better aware of the Chamber’s many great programs. I learned about LDC last year and heard great things from past participants; I knew I wanted to join if possible. I’m grateful for the opportunity.
What inspires you? How does that inspiration play into your professional life? As the mother of a one-year-old, I can now say my daughter inspires me! Specifically, she inspires me to be the best version of myself I can be – on both a personal and professional level – and to set a great example for her. I hope to instill in her that hard work pays off and that she is capable of tackling anything that comes her way (and sometimes that requires asking for help and working as a team). I see everything through a new lens now, and I try to live and work in a way that would make my daughter proud of her mother.
Briefly, describe a transformative moment that helped to shift your approach to your career. One instance that stands out was within my first few weeks at the Public Utility Commission. My boss, the Press Secretary, was out of the office on a Friday, and a major incident involving electric suppliers and skyrocketing power bills was quickly making headlines (does anyone remember the 2014 Polar Vortex?). Long story short, local news stations wanted an on-camera interview with a PUC spokesperson, and my then-boss trusted me – a complete newbie – to handle it in her absence. Not only was I inexperienced on camera, but I had a half hour at most to prep myself on an issue I really wasn’t familiar with. While I was in no way perfect in my interview, it went just fine, and I learned a few things about myself that have shaped my career ever since: 1) I work well (and perhaps best) under pressure; 2) I can rise to just about any challenge, even if it’s brand new – and having the full trust of my manager is a huge motivator; 3) you have to leave your comfort zone in order to grow and build confidence.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most? Why? I admire those who are driven, self-aware and self-assured, and those who lead by example. These people inspire others to be better without even trying, and certainly without preaching. I am drawn to people who aren’t afraid to break the mold and who are constantly seeking personal growth (which certainly impacts professional development).
There is not one person who stands out to me – I admire an amalgamation of many people, from many walks of life, for many reasons! Just a few who come to mind are Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, Kathrine Switzer, Anne Frank… and I have to say it right now: Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey!
What has been the most valuable professional advice and/or lesson you’ve received.“Fake it til you make it” – but hear me out! I take this to mean more about trusting ourselves and being confident than actually “faking” something or taking a shortcut. I’ve found that by being confident in my abilities and trusting that I can learn new skills on the fly, I’ve found the most success. In fact, diving into something completely out of my comfort zone, or that I’ve never done before, has led to the most growth, success and pride throughout my career (and life).