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.)