She was fortunate enough to discover in high school something she loved to do: writing, and was determined to find a job that involved written communication. Linda Costa’s career began as a high school English teacher. She recalled, “Although I enjoyed it, I knew I wanted to do more. A traumatic personal event forced me to rethink my future, so I quit my teaching job and changed careers. That decision was life-changing.” She became a newspaper writer and editor, and then transitioned those skills into the public relations field.
Her biggest surprise? “Perhaps is that I still really love what I do…even after all these years,” Costa, the president of Costa Communications said.
The 22-person, full-service marketing communication and public relations firm she founded 30 years ago, is something she is still very hands-on in leading. “I’m responsible for everything from maintaining a profitable bottom line, to business retention and development, and pretty much everything in-between. I still handle a number of accounts myself, some of which have been with me since the beginning.”
Costa credits her mother as her most inspirational example, teaching her both kindness and resilience. She reflected, “She, and my father too, instilled in me the value of working hard and never being content with anything less than perfection. Also – even though I was raised in the 1950s and my mom did not work outside the home – I was taught to be my own person, to be self-reliant and not to be dependent on anyone else.”
She started the agency out of the spare bedroom in her house and used the knowledge she gained through the years in related careers. As she put it, “I just figured things out as I went along – course correcting, as needed.” Her husband of 45 years, who was a corporate executive with a background in marketing, was always a good sounding board when it came to business and management issues – providing honest, practical, common sense advice.
“He taught me that the challenges facing a large company – while they differ in magnitude – are not that different from the issues facing small businesses. ‘Just more zeroes on the bottom line,’ he always says. So, from personnel problems, to new business strategies, there are always commonalities between his work and mine. He remains an excellent mentor to this day.”
Weathering storms like the great recession of 2008, she beamed, “Thanks to the best clients and team members on the planet, 2015 is set to be a record-breaking year!” At work, she loves teaching, strategy development, problem solving, winning new business, being creative, and, of course, writing and editing. “My staff will also tell you that I’m a grammar fanatic – so I guess I’m passionate about subject-verb agreement, dangling participles and things like that,” she said.
Her advice to others: “Discover what you’re truly passionate about – and find a way to make it your life’s work. There is nothing more motivating or fulfilling than doing what you love to do…and getting paid for it.”