Hope Hicks, the 29-year-old White House Communications director recently resigned to “pursue other opportunities,” receiving the President’s blessing in leaving. Hicks is the youngest person ever to fill this position, she did excellent work (clearly in a very hard role, for a very hard boss), and by all accounts was well-liked within the White House.
Does Age Matter?
While there’s been reports the veteran of multiple Public Relations agencies, including Zeno Group & Hiltzik Strategies is considering crisis communications gigs, I think she’d do great at this (or any other role) she takes on. Can she possibly have any more pressure than the role she has already filled at such a young age?
Hicks has already proven her worth in dealing with crises in her job at the White House – multiple times a day often on completely different fronts. Beyond the professional challenges, the lifestyle takes a toll. You’re always on, traveling frequently, often with the President, on trips around the world. While in the position, she proved herself to be candid and even-keeled, character traits that allowed her to relationships with reporters and amongst her counterparts, by going well beyond what anyone would have asked or required of her.
As a model for both Ralph Lauren and Ivanka Trump, Hicks is no stranger to the limelight, yet possesses the keen ability to blend in while not being ignored, a necessary skill for a PR pro or a crisis communications expert. Beyond that, it’s in her DNA as a third-generation PR pro representing powerful figures and organizations. Her father represented the NFL and Big Tobacco and her grandfather repped Texaco during the energy crisis of the ‘70s. While she has impressed in her role, it’s clear that this is in her bones. It has to be. Combined with the demands both personally and professionally of the job, one has to believe she has the mettle to succeed in any future endeavor in the field.
Trump is a Difficult Client
Her time working for President Trump – undoubtedly one of the world’s most difficult PR clients – positions her well for whichever work she may choose to do in the private sector. By the way, let’s remember that Ms. Hicks is still shy of her 30th birthday and has the experience of working in what many would agree to be possibly the most chaotic White House environments of any President in recent memory, perhaps ever.
The lessons she has learned while working in the face of such controversy equip her with a deep and wide-ranging PR toolkit. Of course, this also means she still has plenty of time to learn from past mistakes and missed opportunities. Very few people at her age have learned everything they need to do to reach their pinnacle. She still has time.
Hicks clearly has the pedigree, the experience, and the drive. According to a report released by the White House in July 2017, while working for the Trump White House, Hicks’ income was the max for a White House aide at $179,000 a year, This PR agency CEO suspects she will earn considerably more in the private sector PR world. Count me among those who’d be happy to interview her.