Alison Gaulden is a familiar face in the Truckee Meadows. Long a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood—vice president of public affairs since 1998—and an instructor of journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno for about a decade, there are a few who haven’t met the outgoing and passionate spirit. The lucky ones have received the garden tour at one of her parties. She’s still doing the Planned Parenthood thing, but she’s also launched a new business, My PR Coach, which can be reached at 233-3298.
Planned Parenthood closed one of the health centers. Was that in June?
Yes. We only had two, and we closed the one on Neil and Peckham.
OK, but the other one’s still open and going like crazy. You’ve also started a new business, right?
Yes. I started My PR Coach. We help small businesses learn to do their own marketing and PR when they can’t afford to outsource.
And what does that consist of?
We do an assessment of their current practices, or if they’re launching, we can tell them kind of based on their time allotment, their skills—some people aren’t great writers, what have you—and who their audience is, how to find them. And we coach them through that process.
When did you start that?
We started in January, and it’s going pretty good.
Do you have a bunch of clients?
I have a good number of clients, yes.
And what are your methods for developing public relations for your own business?
I kind of walk the talk. Part of what we want to do is be cognizant of sole proprietors and their lack of time to do extra marketing when they didn’t have the resources to get someone else to do that for them. So I go to the appropriate networking places to find small business owners. I’m on Facebook, we tweet, we’ve got a webpage, we’ve got several blogs—so we do those kinds of things. Some of it’s social media, some of it’s traditional public relations practices.
We use templates. We give people guidelines and how-tos. We help write a plan, and make it easy for people to plunk stuff in to reach their audience.
How long have you been with Planned Parenthood?
I’ve been on staff for 13 years, and I’ve been volunteering since ’89. So I’ve been reproductive freedom fighting for 22 years.
And is there something that made you want to start this business now? You’re a pretty tireless worker; did you just feel like your life wasn’t overfull enough?
Like I didn’t have enough to do? Seriously, the budget cuts have made me look at whether or not there were employment opportunities. They started in California in 2009, and then with the federal cuts, if they had been successful, I needed to look for options. And because I’ve been teaching at the journalism school in one capacity or another for the last 10 years, I figured if I could teach the next generation of professionals, I could teach small-business owners.
So how does your garden grow?
My garden is stunning. The rainy weather made it beautiful. I re-landscaped the south end because my thyme went crazy, so I dug it all up. My diascia came back. It’s an annual, and yet it doesn’t know any better. It’s perennial in my garden.
You don’t do vegetables at all, do you?
No, I don’t grow food.