River City Six: Brian Pickering
Established in 1958, Madonna (Madonna.org) is a national leader in specialized rehabilitation programs for adults and children, with campuses in Lincoln and Omaha. Brian Pickering, APR, is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals.
Tell us a little about your business.
Our areas of specialty include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, pulmonary conditions, stroke and neurological diseases. As a newcomer to Madonna, I continue to be amazed daily by the commitment of our team to offer hope and healing to the patients who entrust us with their care.
How did you get started in the business?
I began my career in communications right out of college. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for public relations graduates in the early ‘90s where I lived. Fortunately, I landed a temporary internal communications role that grew into a full-time position at a large for-profit organization. From there, I had the opportunity to move on to other organizations – both large and small – which allowed me to further develop my marketing and communication skills.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Like many people over the course of their careers, finding myself without a job. Looking back, it was also a blessing to have the time to reevaluate what I wanted out of my career and where I wanted to focus my talents and energy. As a result, I’m happier now than ever before.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
I was fortunate early in my career to have an outstanding mentor who helped guide me to be the professional I am today. I’ve relied on her example to build a number of successful teams throughout my career. There’s great satisfaction in knowing you’ve helped others grow both personally and professionally.
Tell us a little about your family.
My wife, Amy, and I have three children ages 13, 16 and 19. Like all teenagers, they’re busy with school, sports, and friends. It’s a crazy time in our lives, but we love every minute of it!
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Go out to breakfast by myself and read the morning paper over several cups of coffee. After that I enjoy taking the day as it comes without anything scheduled.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be able to sit down and play the piano. I took lessons as a child but never wanted to practice. Needless to say, my parents weren’t fans of paying for lessons with nothing to show for it. I guess it’s never too late to try again!
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
I’ve always had an interest in drawing. As a child I wanted to be an architect. Not sure what happed to that dream along the way, but if I were going to make a change now, I’d give it a shot.
What is your favorite movie?
I’m dating myself here, but I’d have to say one of my favorite movies is The Breakfast Club. Whenever I’m flipping through channels and come across it, I have to stop and watch.
What is your favorite TV show?
The Big Bang Theory, with The Blacklist as a close second.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
I’m a pizza guy. Our oldest daughter got us all hooked on Mellow Mushroom when she was a freshman at UNL, and it’s become a go-to spot for the whole family.