End of an era

This week I want to discuss my internship experience and what an amazing impact it had on me as a student and young PR professional. I was fortunate to be an intern this semester at The Eisen Agency, a fully integrated public relations and investor relations firm in Cincinnati, OH. This was my first experience in a “real world” agency, if you will. I had been an account executive in Miami’s student-run PR firm and had a great experience serving non-profits in the Oxford area, but this was my first experience with a true professional firm.

It was truly eye opening to take the lessons and concepts I had learned the past several years in class and see them play out in the real world for real clients. You can practice hypothetical cases and situations til you’re blue in the face, but it’s a new ball game when you’re working with a real client, real money, and a real reputation on the line. Since Eisen was a small agency, I was lucky to be able to take on projects head first and have real responsibilities beyond your run of the mill internship. During my first week, I was given the task of conducting follow up calls on a release that had been sent out. After advice from my patient mentor about what I should say I set out for the task heart beating quickly not knowing exactly what to expect when an editor in chief answered on the other end of the phone. After lots of voicemails and several rejections I connected with a friendly editor in a national publication who agreed to do an interview with the client. It was one of the most proud moments of my young PR career, second to when the article was produced and printed.

The rest of the semester was filled with more media relations including writing press releases, conducting email and phone pitches, producing media kits and conducting follow up calls after each of these. Although I know I still have some work to do and much more experience to gain, I no longer fear the individuals on the other end of the phone as much as I used to, and have realized rejection is just part of the game. With media relations, you must be persistent and confident in the face of rejection and move forward to try to gain coverage for your client. The reward will definitely be worth it when you do!

Another one of the biggest lessons I learned during my internship was the importance of networking. This came from not only my day to day life in the office, but from several events I had the pleasure of attending. Putting yourself out there and meeting professionals is  great way to learn about different jobs in the industry, and most people love to share stories! It’s also a great way to put yourself in the back of their mind should a future job opening come up. People are much more likely to call upon someone they have had face to face contact with and made a good first impression.

Overall, doing an internship during my last semester of college was a great way to bring things full circle from the class room to the real world. I am thankful to all my mentors at The Eisen Agency and all those professionals I met throughout my time during the internship, and can’t wait to begin my career as a PR professional!

Lots of Love for PRSA Pro-Am Day!

I am so excited to tell you about my experiences yesterday at PRSA Pro-Am Day! The day consisted of a luncheon at the Cincinnatian hotel, an afternoon of job shadowing and finally a cocktail hour back at the Cincinnatian’s Cricket Lounge.

Aside from the amazing food and gorgeous atmosphere, my favorite part of the luncheon was definitely the panel discussion by three PR pros. Maureen Richmond, Director of Media Relations at FirstGroup America, Christine Demeropolis, Senior Account Executive at Wordsworth Communications, and Mike Boehmer, Media Manager at Catholic Health Partners shared insights on their personal career paths and advice for young professionals looking to enter the PR field. All three pros stressed the importance of work life balance, and avoiding burnout in a high stress industry. They are also proponents of continuing education in a field that is constantly evolving. This doesn’t necessarily mean going back to school for an advanced degree, but even small steps such as reading books, articles and blogs can work wonders on your ability to keep up with trends and industry news to keep you on top of your game.

After the luncheon, I went on to shadow with Maureen and get an inside look into her daily life at FirstGroup. Maureen was so accomodating and I really enjoyed excellent conversations about her current job, past experiences and advice for networking and preparing for a career in PR. There was lots of excitement at the office, and it was great to experience a day in the life of corporate PR to get a new perspective. Maureen is a highly respected pro in Cincinnati and I am honored to have had the opportunity to share the day with her!

At the cocktail hour I talked with more PR pros like Andrew Shipp & Lauren Doyle, two active members of PRSA that did a fantastic job of putting on the whole event! The number one takeaway I got from these conversations, and also the day in its entirety, was the importance of networking. Not only is this an essential skill as an upcoming college grad on the job hunt, but also for a PR professional in the long run. Even though the thought of asking a professional out for coffee still makes my stomach churn like a 13 year old girl talking to her crush, it’s something I’m going to have to just take the leap one day and do. All of the pros I spoke with at Pro-Am day gave me more confidence about networking, and were great in assuring me that the best thing I can do is just put myself out there and start opening doors!

Another plus of Pro-Am day was finding out about an exciting opportunity for this summer to get more experience with marketing and event promotion at the World Choir Games. Mike Perry, Director of Marketing & Promotions for the choir games and Counselor at Vehr Communications, was on hand to get the word out for a wonderful internship or volunteer opportunity for eager PR pros. He is currently in search of volunteers to work as press, content and social media managers for the various sites of the World Choir Games (The Aronoff Center for example).  I am definitely going to be signing up to volunteer for a few days at the games and am excited about the opportunity to get more experience with social media and content management! Any college students or recent grads that will be in the Cincinnati area this summer should definitely check out this opportunity!

On a final note, for any college students or PRSSA members reading this, I HIGHLY encourage getting involved in events like Pro-Am day or any similar event that gets you active in the community you want to work in. I am so happy I attended Pro-Am day and I hope my lessons can help some of you and encourage you to get involved in the future!

Pre-PRSA pro-am day thoughts

Tomorrow marks my first professional networking event, and I’m both excited and nervous! I’ll be attending the Cincinnati chapter of Public Relations Society of America’s Pro-Am day. First I’ll have the opportunity to attend a luncheon at one of Cincinnati’s best hotels, the Cincinnatian. The luncheon will feature panel discussions from young professionals in the industry, and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say! As an upcoming college grad, I love to soak up as much information as possible from young professionals in the industry I want to work in.

The second part of my day will consist of job shadowing with a local industry professional. I’ll be shadowing an experienced public relations pro from First Group America. Having an internship at an agency this semester has been an amazing experience, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to see a public relations professional’s perspective from the corporate side of the industry.

I’ll be sure to come back with an update after Pro-Am day with lots of inspiration and lessons learned!