Article by Lizzy Peper | esPResso Committee Chair
The Marist PRSSA Chapter members who attended lunch with guest speaker Scott Tillitt on April 22 were a lucky group. The self-titled “PR yogi and social entrepreneur” had insightful advice to give members regarding finding their passion in the public relations world and using their skills to make an impact in the community.
He began the lecture by writing a quote from Arundhati Roy on the board at the front of the room: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.” This passage shaped the rest of Tillitt’s lecture as he continued to revisit the topic of making an impact in the community and creating meaningful change.
Much of Tillitt’s talk focused on his unusual career path. He explained that he graduated from college with a degree in fashion and said, “You don’t have to do what you study, I certainly didn’t.” We learned that Tillitt didn’t fall into the world of communications until after a few years of holding various jobs in the workforce. His first communication job was at a boutique public relations firm where he learned everything from how to write a press release to the importance of media relations.
However it wasn’t until he was introduced to the activist world in New York after 9/11 that he felt his communication skills could be applied in a way that would make a difference. He shared that the exposure to this new way of thinking “opened my eyes to how I could use my professional background to do something more meaningful to me.”
His experiences exploring Ghandi’s mindset while traveling to India and the “spiritual and social awakening” he feels from the practice of yoga have also influenced his socially conscious work.
Eventually, in 2004 he founded Antidote Collective, an integrated communications firm that works with social causes and nonprofit clients. Tillitt said that the mission statement for the company came to him during a 10-day silent meditation.
In addition, Tillitt is the creator of a collaboration work space in nearby Beacon called Beahive that acts as a shared space for people who work for themselves. He suggested that all of us look to make our own communities “vibrant while looking through an economic lens.” This includes aiming to do business with your neighbors in order to stay strong as a community in the face of potential economic struggles.
At the end of his talk, Tillitt suggested that we ask ourselves these two questions whenever we are trying to evaluate the worth of the work or job we are doing: “Am I making the world a better place, and am I personally doing something meaningful and stretching myself?