Another meeting in Chicago but this time with three times the wisdom. Joseph Tateoka (Account Executive at Ruder Finn), Bryan Blaise (Senior Account Executive at Fleishman-Hillard), and Kevin Saghy (Account Executive at Ketchum). Imagine the PR intelligence at one table!
Where do I start?

I'm going to write what comes to my head from the meeting. Straight to the point, intelligent opinions and pieces of advice.

  • Working with different people--clients, bosses, co-workers, audiences--is one of the best qualities in a PR career.
  • Know how to manage your time. The hardest part is working on so many accounts--having different bosses and meeting all their deadlines. It's not the same for interns who can go up to the different managers and tell them you can't handle everything. At first, you're not expected to. When you have the job, your counted on to finish your tasks. It's good to volunteer, but be careful what you accept.
  • Work in at least one agency and one corporate firm for internships. This way, you can understand the differences and similarities of the two and have a versatile background experience for either side.
  • Know when to confront people. Sometimes your bosses or coworkers are just having a bad day--sometimes you just have to find the appropriate time that works with their schedule. Also, know when to implement your ideas. As an intern, it's good to listen. You don't have to come up with a whole new idea/plan and pitch it every time--sometimes there is a time crunch and no room for new ideas. Sometimes bringing new ideas is just what the company is looking for. Along with this piece of advice is knowing where you stand. It's different for an intern compared to a professional who has worked in the industry for awhile and built up a reputation.
  • Don't go overboard when you don't agree with others. Tell them directly but don't approach them as if you're right and they're completely wrong. Hear whey they have to say first; then, place your ideas with reasons/background information/creditable sources. Make the best compromise if possible.
  • Your bosses might have a different plan than you have for yourself. They could be looking for your future and their company's future. They might know what's best right now and have something different down the road for you instead.
  • Writing is the most critical skill to have in PR. Know AP Style. Know how to write as well as know how to be creative with writing.
  • Working at a place for an internship where you get the most hands-on experience could be more beneficial than working at a place where they just have a great (known) name.
  • Get involved with PRSSA as much as posssible--even at a national level when you're outside of college, starting a career in PR.
  • At the end of the day, enjoy where you work and what you do.

Coming out of this meeting was more than I expected--more knowledge that I can use, more experience that I can learn from. Thank you Joseph, Bryan, and Kevin! Please comment if I forgot something.

Also to my readers, please comment and share your experiences as well. Thank you.

(Pictures from Ruder Finn, Fleishman-Hillard, and Ketchum Web sites.)

From the PR binder

For every paper I receive at every meeting I go to, every
interview I schedule, I kept in a blue binder labeled "PRSSA & ImPRessions." Creative title right? No, but it holds my notes, speaker's information, rough drafts, resume examples, and interview Q & A's from the last year.

Through three pounds of endless information, I will share what I feel is most important. This may take a few posts though. Here is what I will start with:
  • "The idea is Boss." No matter who comes up with it, if it is a good idea, it works. -Matt Dickman (Digital Marketing Strategist for Fleishman-Hillard)
  • Lessons learned from Mary Garrick (Account Coordinator at SBC Advertising) and Hartley Mikus (Account Executive at Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations):
  1. Everyone makes mistakes
  2. Get advice from people you trust at work
  3. Not done learning
  5. Paid to be detailed
  6. Don't make mistakes twice
  7. Be flexible
  • On a hand-out labeled "What We Learned in the 'Real World': Lesson from the FD Team," Shannon Stucky (Assistant Vice President at Financial Dynamics in NY City) stressed the point of being authentic. "Let people get to know the real you and really get to know them, as well."
  • Out of the many bullet points of Mary Cusick's speech (Senior Vice President of Restaurant Marketing for Bob Evans Farms), "developing leadership as you develop" is one that I found most interesting, especially asking someone to be your mentor while looking for opportunities.
  • "Always assume you are responsible for everything. Get everything. Bring everything," says Jamie Heberling (Communications Director for Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray)
  • Sarah Irvin Clark (Irvin Public Relations) says to use creative pitch ideas by "rising above other PR people, building relations and creating fun packages."
  • Find out who you want to talk to get your best opportunity. "The best person may not be the VP of PR," says Todd Sharrock (VP of Public Relations for the Columbus Blue Jackets); it may be someone less in the rankings.
  • Do something you want to do. Alexandra Barkulis (Assistant Account Executive for Finical Dynamics in Chicago) told me in an informational interview, "I feel like I'm actually doing something meaningful and valuable."

Thank you to all the speakers, mentors, pros, peers, and friends that gave me the advice that I can use not only through my academic career, but also my professional career. There is much more information that I have not mentioned in this post as well as much more information I still have to learn. Add your own advice here; I appreciate any comments. Thank you!

(Pictures in this post are from PRSSA and ImPRession's Web sites.)

Advice from a PR Pro

The best way to get on the right track is to find a mentor. Everyone needs a little advice, criticisms/praises, and help along the way. Thankfully, I have found a great mentor already.
Joseph Tateoka is an Account Executive at Ruder Finn in Chicago. I met him on the networking trip with my Ohio University PRSSA chapter in March and have kept in touch with him since. We planned to met for lunch and coincidentally, his office was holding a meeting titled "How to make the most of your internship" the same morning. Joseph was kind enough to ask Adrienne McGarr, the Vice President of RF in Chicago, if I could attend the presentation. So last Wednesday, I caught the 9:04 train to Union Station and was in the office to take my two pages of notes on what they want in their interns.
This is the information that I found most useful:
  • Volunteer--ask to help and offer proactive ideas
  • "Don't know? Just Ask"--no one expects interns to know everything, but RF says their interns should want to know everything
  • "Learn to manage your time"--know your priorities; when you have a lot on your plate, go to your manager (boss) and tell them "these are my priorities; what do you think?" This might help make that plate a little lighter--once they know you are swamped, they may tend to give you later deadlines or take something completely off your to-do
  • "Fail Gracefully"--everyone makes mistakes and if you do, first admit to it and then tell your boss/team how you think you can fix it
  • Have FUN!
At the end of the presentation, Adrienne McGarr added some "last minute tips," which were interesting and now, have found myself doing:
  • "Always be the last to respond in an e-mail chain." For example, if you are talking with a client over e-mails and the last e-mail that he/she sends is not something you need to respond (such as no questions/corrections), you should still respond with at least a conformation or a conclusion so they know that you received their message.
  • "Respond to e-mails within a day--or least by the end of the day before you leave work." I know this may be time consuming, but if a client e-mails you and even though you might not know the answer by the end of the day, at least respond back saying you will get back to them with their answers soon; this way, (again) they'll know you received their message.
  • "Think of your manager as your 1st client." Your manager is your top priority; as a result, hand in project on-time, accept projects with a good attitude, and check-in even if assignment is not due for awhile.
After all the information from the presentation that I consumed, I still had to go to lunch with Joseph Tateoka. Much of the talk from our lunch consisted of our busy schedules and his advice for a PR college career.

The one thing that I remember us talking about was this blog. Apparently RF was impressed that I had kept a blog, which gave me momentum to keep posting to it.

PR is an around-the-clock job, I understand that. However, Joseph reiterated the fact that he can always be reached by his coworkers 24/7 (only if needed), and the amount of contact outside the office depends on the person. For Joseph, he is not constantly on his phone, but he is considering getting a Blackberry for its e-mail access. On the other hand, he mentioned that some coworkers can be reached 24/7 no matter where they are, what they are doing, or how small the problem--they have that reputation. The job sometimes requires it of course when you have international clients that are on the opposite time schedule as you.

Joseph also mentioned that PRSSA and PRSA are two a great organizations for the PR world, and every PR student should utilize its resources--he found some of his closest friends in Chicago from networking with PRSA.

"Volunteer and take every PR opportunity you can." Joseph regrets not accepting a PR offer in college. He suggests that as a student, I should get involved as much as possible to gain experience (it's also a great resume builder).

I asked about the internship program at RF of course--it is a great program (unpaid unfortunity, but at OU, students need internship credit). I even met a few of the interns before lunch and Ruder Finn defiantly gives their interns a good experience--they do hands-on work everyday for real clients (keep in mind, their top client is their manager).

I also learned the best restaurant to find French crepes, right next door to RF off East Ontario Street called Momis Cafe.

By one o'clock, I was full of advice and my delicious lunch. Of course, there is always room for more. Comment on here or send me an e-mail--I love feedback. Thanks for reading!

(Compliments of picture from Ruder Finn Web site)

Media Overload

While I am getting ready in the morning before my first class, I check my mail. Messages from CNN, The New York Times, NBC Chicago, PRSA, PRSSA,, Twitter, Facebook, and numerous blogs all fill up my inbox. Occasionally I will turn on the TV and switch between different news channels; however, lately that has been less and less the more and more I try to sleep-in. 

TweetDeck is constantly one of my many windows open--more news feeds! I have mentioned this before, but I will start clicking on stories, respond to others, click on a blog post, reply to a follower...  You know how when you are telling a story and moments later you realize you are drifting off? You do not know how you got to this point--it is so far away from what you started with. Well, that is me on the Inernet. I tend to keep wondering and end up in a place having no idea how I got to this website--then, I try to backtrack because I did not finish reading previous stories. Those will then lead me on another path once again. I know I am not the one own that this happens to. 

Walking to class, I will stop to pick up the The Post

Texts via Twitter throughout the day.

In between a break from class, the Facebook fix.

Blogs sent via e-mail. Leads me to check Google Reader. Alltop.

More internet surfing at multiple times. More e-mail updates. Texts. 

Count all the media outlets you go through in one day. It's hard--I bet I am forgetting something above. 

We are told constantly to keep up with current events, blogs, newspapers, news stations... I know I want to read tons of daily feeds but it can be hard. First, how do you sort through it? I found that Google Reader is a good way to keep blogs and news organized. Also, Alltop lets you create your own feed of blogs and websites that you are personally interested in. Tweetdeck is another great tool that lets you organize groups of tweeple you're following. 

Then, how do we comprehend it all? It can become overwhelming--a media overload. Our society is media-crazed! We want to know everything about everyone. We are curious people. I know that I do not have the patience to sit down and read every story. And I especially don't have the time. Sometimes I'll delete e-mails, walk by the newspaper stacks, and ignore the texts. Sometimes I am just too busy at the moment and before I know it, I will have missed many of my main stream media outlets for the day. But I do enjoy reading as much as possible. 

I take for granted how lucky we are to have access to endless information at our fingertips everywhere we go.  

Spice Up Your Life: Jokes and Advice

My dad could have been a comedian in another life. He's jokes are not the most thought-through, but no "knock-knock" ones either. No punch line; just random, and writing them here might not make you laugh as much as if you heard them in person. But read on, because his jokes are not the only message he sends. 

Joke: Clothes hanger on the floor. He says: "We can hang around here for awhile."

Joke: Watching football. Tashard Choice on the Dallas Cowboys tackles someone. He says: "I guess he had no choice but to tackle him." He keeps going: "That was his only choice.

Joke: At my first college visit to Ohio University, my parents and I were testing the dinning halls. We went to Boyd Dinning Hall  and my dad had grabbed some dish with potatoes and peas. When we sat down, surrounded by 100s of my peers, my dad accidentally tips his tray and spills a few of the peas on the table. He then shouts "OH NO, I PEED ON THE TABLE!" As in a movie scene, my face turned bright red and I slowly inched away from his seat. 

That's my dad. And he cracks many more jokes than I can ever remember. Actually, his advice is what I tend to remember the most. 

Advice: "In a business, you always need good customer service--you need real people who know what they are talking about, no computers."

Advice: "Face-to-face is the best way to get some one's attention."

Advice: "Presentation is everything."

Advice: "I'm all about networking. Sometimes it's who you know."

The last advice I mentioned is my favorite, especially since I am in PR. And my dad actually knows what he is talking about--he doesn't just spit out advice like he does jokes--he knows from experience. 
Throughout my dad's life, he has met a lot of people. He's not a shy guy. This will be a great help for his new business. He got his idea with a partner of starting a national packaging and distributing spice company called Spice Guys (a pun on "Spice Girls" the band). I thought he was joking when he first told me. But they have already attended spice conventions and talked with an advertiser, a manufacture, a web designer, and a business attorney. 
This is an exciting time for my dad--he has worked within restaurant businesses for over 30 years but he has never taken on a project such as this. He and his partner need all the help they can get. That is where I come in. I can research other spice companies, spices in general, packaging, distributing, designs, and social media through the Internet, other professionals, and books. I could also help them with their social networking skills on the Internet. Not to mention, the labor in packaging these spices. No matter what I help with, this will be a learning experience. 
Even though my dad's jokes might only create a laugh, if anything a smile and a roll of the eyes, he gives advice that a PR entrepreneur like me need to hear. Later, I will post how his company is going and I will give you a website for it when it's up and running. 
Got any advice for my dad and his partner? Or for my blog? Keep in touch. Leave a comment here or e-mail me at Thanks.