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Eat With Experience: Rick Maynard, Tempur Sealy

Grehan Building

Eat With Experience: Rick Maynard, Tempur Sealy

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the Global Headquarters of mattress giant Tempur Sealy for a networking event hosted by the College of Communication and Information at UK.

Eat With Experience is modeled after a similar event started at the University of Cincinnati called, Dinner With 12 Strangers, where a professor, mentor or professional in a given field of study or line of work hosts a small, intimate gathering aimed at fostering conversations and building connections. Last night’s event was hosted by Rick Maynard, the Senior Manager of Public Relations and Corporate Communications for Tempur Sealy.

Now, I’m not going to lie – I don’t know much about mattresses and have never thought about pursuing a career in the mattress industry. However, last night was insightful, entertaining and about much more than just learning how to market and promote mattresses.

We started the night off with a quick tour of Tempur Sealy’s facilities. Simply put, this building is beautiful. It’s esthetically pleasing from the outside and even more impressive on the inside. There’s a ton of transparency in the building with full, floor to ceiling glass windows spread throughout. Rather than having an angular, boxy feel, the building looks and feels fluid as you walk through it and is full of rounded edges that are meant to represent the curve of one’s body while lying down on a Tempur mattress (because, duh). Local artwork lines the walls and there is a taste of Kentucky around nearly every corner (including in their “Tempur Café” which serves Kentucky Proud products and made my mouth water just by reading the menu boards).

I’ve always thought of myself as a city girl who will one day be working in some swanky high-rise tower, but if I ever end up in the suburbs, this is the type of building I’d want to be working in.

At the conclusion of the tour, we gathered in Tempur Sealy’s “training room” for the night’s main event.

I’ve been to many different networking events in the past and listened to a slew of PR and Communications professionals, who work both internally (at a company like Tempur Sealy) and externally (at an agency like Cornett), speak. What I’ve learned from these events is that whether you want to work in the food industry, entertainment industry or even in politics, many of the basic PR tactics and skills that professionals use are universal and transferable. And in Rick’s presentation last night titled, “25+ Things I’ve Learned in 25+ Years of PR,” he made that very apparent.

In a career that his taken him from the food service industry to the racing industry, back to food service and now onto mattresses, Rick has seen and done a lot (including a stint on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno). Here are some of my favorite tips that he gave us:

Write every day. This is always a good thing to be reminded of when you have a strong affinity for writing and are a closet novelist-wannabe.

You can do anything if you are a good communicator. If all else fails, at least I can talk to people.

Always tell the truth. A refreshing reminder that mom’s favorite phrase to my five-year-old self (honesty is always the best policy) will still be ringing in my ears at age 50.

It’s not always easy work, but’s always worth it. I’m imagining these words in big, bold, capital letters as I walk across the stage at graduation to retrieve my diploma.

When you work for a company you represent that brand so be mindful of your actions. This is something I’ve heard over and over again, but I don’t think it can be said enough. Because while you may think that this is rather obvious and self-explanatory, some people can make job ending, life changing mistakes with the simple click of a button (see here). 

And of course, the obligatory extra point – enjoy the ride! Rick has been working in this industry for over 25 years. He’s seen successes and failures, overcome obstacles, dealt with many 3 a.m. phone calls and yet, he still loves waking up and going to work every day. The joy and enthusiasm he felt about his job was evident and contagious and I couldn’t help but get excited thinking about where I’ll be in 5, 10, 15 and even 25 years from now (although sometimes thinking that far ahead gives me a headache).

Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing come 2041, hopefully I’ll be enjoying my ride.