From the darkest moments can come the brightest epiphanies and clearest paths to joy, public relations pro Ruth Furman said recently. The ImageWords principal and founder, who has spent her career helping clients have their moment, recently had her own moment, courtesy of the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Southern Nevada chapter.
In a 13-minute Member Moment video posted this month on YouTube, the chapter, which granted Furman a Women of Distinction Award in the Arts, Entertainment and Media category in 2019, celebrated her personable professionalism.
Two board members from the Southern Nevada chapter, one of 60 such chapters nationwide, appeared on the video and interviewed Furman about her career.
“You are all over the place all the time, representing your clients, showing off their talents, highlighting them everywhere,” Eileen Guilbeault told Furman with an appreciative chuckle during the interview. “I don’t know how you are in as many places as you are.”
Furman explained her core business objective — helping brands and corporations shine brighter and share their stories, externally through the mass media and with their internal audiences.
Furman, who has more than two decades in public relations, explained her origins as a journalist, having earned a journalism degree from Indiana University. Journalism jobs led to managing in-house publications for a corporation, Furman said, and then to starting her own public relations firm once she arrived in Las Vegas in 1999 from Chicago.
Pursuit of stories underpinned every pursuit, she said.
“I was that kid who passed notes,” Furman said. “It wasn’t really gossipy, it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that person just did the coolest thing.’”
Furman said that when the coronavirus pandemic hit, she had to rethink her tactics; some longtime clients, needing to cut costs, closed their accounts. Instead of fretting, Furman poured her energy into helping others.
“I tried to give more than I got,” she said. “I was supergenerous with my media contacts. I was connecting them with people who weren’t even my clients for stories.
“I learned so much about myself and about others,” Furman added. “It was kind of a forgiving time, and because of that, I think I was able to do some things in ways I wouldn’t have been able to prepandemic.”
Just as the pandemic’s pall led her to restructure positively, an earlier setback in 2015 helped her find the association, an important move.
“I was feeling a little lost, I wasn’t in a good place,” Furman said. “I joined and decided, “I’m going to get superinvolved. I’m going to go to as many programs as I could go to.”
Although she found the membership fee initially daunting, she decided she had to join. The involvement paid off in friends, connections and opportunity, she said; clients were a happy byproduct.
“It has been amazing for me, for my mental health, for my business, for my risk tolerance and for my joy,” Furman said of her association membership. “It’s a sisterhood with no mean girls. … My NAWBO sisters are my biggest cheerleaders, second only to my mom.”
ImageWords Communications offers a full spectrum of public relations, communications and marketing, including writing and editing services, marketing consulting services, social media advising and media relations. Follow Ruth Furman on Twitter @imagewords or on LinkedIn at Ruth Furman.