Work Life 2015

Last year was filled will many professional milestones, achievements, learning opportunities, and more. It was my first full calendar year of working full time and living in the same apartment. From traveling to a promotion, it was successful to say the least. Here are the highlights:

She Wolf of Wall Street

In July, I got to accompany Texas Governor Greg Abbott and delegation from the state to the New York Stock Exchange. After planning and implementing the visit, we got to watch the ringing of the Opening Bell and a live CNBC interview from the NYSE floor. Since walking down Wall Street every morning on my commute, I finally got to see what was behind the large pillars and security.

Triathlon Champion

Early August, I participated in my second DCI-sponsored race, this time the Central Park Triathlon. I placed first in my age group, winning a nice plastic trophy for my desk. The race consisted of a 400m pool swim, 12mi bike around the park and 3mi run mostly uphill — I clocked in at 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Dutch Dream

Taking a project on the road (or should I say: overseas), I escorted my first press trip — to the Netherlands, nonetheless! We hosted six American medtech journalists on a whirlwind four-day tour of the country. After, I went sightseeing for three days in Amsterdam, with stops including the Rijksmuseum, the Heineken Brewery and Amsterdam ArenA, where I attended the Amsterdam Music Festival (my first EDM event) with the world’s top DJs.

Power Presenter

After a fulfilling year on the PRSA New Professionals Section Executive Committee, I took my first trip to Atlanta to attend PRSA’s International Conference. I spoke on a panel about cross-training in your career, while also managing to attend a large number of sessions, catch up with old PR friends and explore the city.

An New Type of Executive

I can’t think of any better way 2015 could’ve wrapped up than my promotion at DCI to Account Executive. Adios to the ‘assistant’ on my business cards. Here’s to another great year with fulfilling client work and amazing colleagues.

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Who run the world?

Girls.

In the public relations industry women make up nearly 85 percent of the workforce. The New York Magazine article “Why Do We Treat PR Like a Pink Ghetto” examines the work thousands of young women are doing, that many others label as ‘fluff.’

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Publicists are often made fun of for a lack of intelligence, when actually the complete opposite is more accurate. Public relations is a need for any organization, individual or industry, therefore PR pros know a little bit about a lot – and what they don’t know, they’re quick to research. An invisible trade, PR is noticed when it goes bad, but little regard is taken to the hard work when a coveted placement is earned or event pulled off.

Back to the first point, there aren’t many men in public relations. Do they not see the role as tough-enough? Are there gender stereotypes in the profession? Do women in PR have a barrier to overcome seeing as the industry is not gender-diverse?

I would say yes to all.

Labeled as ‘fluff’ here are some of the accomplishments PR girls (and guys) accomplish daily:

  • Top-tier (that means Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, NBC, ABC and more) placements for clients
  • An understanding of news – beyond just theSkimm, we know headlines relevant to the world
  • Juggling hundreds of emails regarding numerous clients

If you’re looking for a good read, don’t forget this article. While you’re at it, read more about women juggling careers here and the future of public relations here.

Explaining My Job in EconDev

In high school I barely knew what public relations was; last summer I didn’t understand economic development. If you asked me what career path I wanted to take when growing up, it ranged from a fashion designer to an actuarial scientist. Needless to say, my studies changed direction a few times, and after several internships I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Working at a “place marketing” agency for three months now, my clients include economic development organizations of all sizes, from international countries, to states, cities and regions in the U.S.

Working in such a nice area of PR, I often get questions about what it is I do, exactly.

Business Dictionary defines economic development as progress in an economy, or the qualitative measure of this. Economic development usually refers to the adoption of new technologies, transition from agriculture-based to industry-based economy, and general improvement in living standards.

Taken with a grain-of-salt, Wikipedia also adds that economic development can be referred to as the quantitative and qualitative changes in the economy.

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Generally, I explain my job as promoting business where my clients are located. Economic development to me means bettering the quality of life for a group of people through creation of jobs. This happens when companies expand or relocate, or when new companies start. Often, large companies can have significant impact on communities through the related jobs. Having a strong source of talent through local higher-education institutions, workforce development programs and quality of infrastructure are many factors corporations consider when deciding where to locate.

As a simple example, let’s say that a brand new-amusement park is opening in Kansas. The park will need employees, creating more than 1,000 jobs. The entertainment company will invest $3 million for property, while the community will add an additional $2 million in incentives to attract them to their region. As a side effect, more hotels and restaurants will open in the area, to accommodate the anticipated tourists. More employees will be needed to staff these establishments and an increase in tourist activity will bring more money into the local economy.

While that is a very top-line example, economic development happens across all industries from manufacturing to aviation, pharmaceuticals and research to logistics and supply chain, financial establishments and information technology.

I’ve been writing daily for economic development clients through pitches, press releases, articles, social media and more. Working for an agency, it’s my team’s job to get favorable stories about clients’ communities into top-tier and trade publications. We also work on projects to strategically market and promote places, through branding, events and more. And that is why I enjoy working in economic development: I feel that it is an area of public relations in which I can make a noticeable difference in the world and make a name for myself in the profession.

My top reads for industry news? Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Atlantic CityLabs and Area Development. Are you in economic development? How do you explain it? I’d love to hear your favorite parts about the job and how you got into the field.

Recognizing Life’s Pace

T I M E /tīm/ noun
the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

It just hit me that time has been a common theme this summer. First, it’s been a long time since I blogged (more details on why, to come).  Second, time has flown by as it’s already the “end” of summer, with August right around the corner. Third, now that I’m in my first full-time job, time is of the essence, whether it’s remembering to do your time sheets or analyzing work-life balance.

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Honestly more as a reflection post, I’ve realized that I miss blogging and have been struggling to figure out when to fit in time to write (and read) more, for leisure.  Whatever your passions are and you enjoy doing, you need to make a priority. I love writing: I’m fortunate to write most days at work and continue to learn a lot. With that, many days I become either: burnt out and need a break of writing when I get home, so my personal projects get cut; or simply busy with plans to meet friends, head to the gym or climb into bed.

One of the most common questions that come up when strangers engage in conversation is, “What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?” While this should be a simple question, it is often broad and hard to respond – yet the answer can uncover similarities between two friends and help anyone get to know each other. I don’t know how many times I’ve answered something along the lines of being so busy that I don’t have “down” time and that when I do, I’m trying to make time for friends.  Reality check: something’s got to give and I need to make time for me, doing things I enjoy – regularly. It’s not healthy to not have a hobby or something you enjoy doing.

Public Relations is a career that almost always requires a lot of hours of work and for less pay than those working similar hours on Wall Street. Other careers aren’t the same.  Whatever your field, I’ve realized that if you enjoy what you’re doing you cannot compare hours, workload or anything office related with others. Whether it’s you or your roommate who work the 9-5 job, and the other whose hours are always changing, it’s a waste of time to play the “my day was so long” card at home. No matter how many hours you work, someone will always say they had a rough day when you think yours was so much worse. When it comes to talking hours, I’d advise keeping quiet, just as is frequently the case with religion and politics.

Time moves quickly. Don’t let it pass you by. Make the most of every moment starting now; after all, your life is the indefinite progress of existence.

Reflection: Real World

Alumna. Wow, that’s what I am now. It’s only two days short of a month since I’ve graduated college and I’m off in the “real world.”

In four weeks: I’ve moved out of my college house, into my parents house (for less than a dozen days), and to a new apartment in Manhattan; I’ve gone from having a garage sale in suburbia to frequenting the subway and dodging tourists; I’ve gone from sleeping in and packing during the day to working a lot, loving/learning a new job and making the most of my weekends.

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So, is the “real world” all I thought it’d be? Honestly, who knows. That first credit card bill isn’t due until June and it won’t hit me that I don’t have class again until the fall. I lived last year in the city without a car, so it doesn’t seem strange. I will say, it’s the best feeling not studying or looking for jobs after work; my Netflix account is happily re-activated and books are getting read on my iPad again.

Even though my career has started, one thing that hasn’t wavered is my dedication to the public relations profession and networking. Less than two weeks after moving to New York, I went outside of my comfort zone and attended a PRSA New Professionals networking event – get this – alone. And guess what? I survived, got some business cards and most importantly met some really great people that make me glad to have joined the organization.

Hopefully now that I’m settling in on the East coast (maybe an understatement, since this month holds apartment searching for my next move, within the city) I will catch up on my blogging and make it a priority.

How are you starting your summer?

Take a risk, take initiative

After following Lauren Berger, the ‘Intern Queen,’ on social media for a couple years I finally had the opportunity to meet her.  An incredible entrepreneur, Lauren is the CEO of InternQueen.com, author and networker extraordinaire.

IMG_4236While Lauren’s experiences from 15 internships and stories in her book are great, her personality was even more inclusive and relatable than I expected – we’re friends, she said!  As one of several schools in the Ford College Ambassador Challenge, Michigan State University was fortunate enough to hear firsthand those extra tips Lauren had learned and was passing on.

A common theme of Lauren’s success was her ability to take risks and initiatives that set her apart from her peers.  Following up is the key to relationships – multiple interactions (but remember, three strikes before you’re out), keeping in touch throughout the year and handwritten thank you notes prove that you’re serious about a job or getting to know the person you’re talking to.

IMG_4237My favorite quote of the night was “Show the passion you have, for the position you want.”

Lauren’s drive and goals are such a motivator, especially since I’m going into public relations, as she’s familiar with.  As I finish up my own internships and move on to a career, I can’t wait to stay in touch with Lauren professionally.  Coming soon this spring, we can all read her next book, Welcome to the Real World, coming at a perfect time for those of us graduating in the spring.

“You go to Michigan State University,” said Lauren Berger. “So clearly, anything is possible.”

Spotted: Public Relations + Romance

The practice of relations is a lot like dating and dating a public relations professional can be great. Confused? Read on…

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The typical public relations girl – always on her phone, documenting life on social media in between emailing and constant push notifications. Photo: Chuck and Blair in Gossip Girl.

Dating someone who is a public relations professional means they will be consistently on time and alert you if they’re running late.   Public relations is all about deadlines. With sending out releases, determining frequency of newsletters, social media and blog posts, juggling meetings and having their phone on ringer, a PR professional is always aware of the time.  They know time is precious and will not only have their availability window in mind, but your schedule as well.  Throw out the notion that a girl needing ‘5 minutes’ to get ready will need an hour, a PR girl won’t exaggerate.

The conversation doesn’t dull. Public relations pros have mastered talking and communicating all day long.  No matter how dry a conversation becomes or what turn a date takes, they will be able to  achieve a cordial interaction.

Expect out-of-the-ordinary dates. No matter what practice area a PR pro works in, they are always reading the news.  Pertaining to their industry or not, PR pros are trained in knowing what events are going on, the hottest places to be, and the newest things to try.   If you’re lucky, you can be a +1 to a swanky event they’re covering, or at least be wowed by the newest bar or gallery in town.

Know that you’ll be made a priority. Public relations pros balance so many things a day, be it corporate projects or numerous clients, they know how to make everyone happy and divide up their time.  If dating a PR pro, you won’t be an exception to that.

There isn’t much complaining or nagging. Public relations pros know how to stay optimistic and find a solution to anything. Having confidence and being positive is the key to getting through their hectic day, this mentality stays the same when they leave work.

Little things count. While a PR pro may be so busy answering emails all day that they don’t have a chance to call you on their lunch break, a simple text will put a smile on their face.

We’re fabulous entertainers. Public relations pros live off coffee during the day and may indulge in a cocktail some nights. With all this caffeine to fuel through meetings and drinks for networking at happy hours, they probably are well versed in many beverages. Voila, you have an at-home barista and bartender, as well as connoisseur when out on the town.

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A public relations girl – driven and ambitious.

How else does public relations play a role in your relationship?

Opinions are my own and generalized. Not all claims are true for all professionals in the public relations field, but an overarching theme that relates to dating.

Electing Excellence | Regional Conference Recap

We are Electing Excellence in Public Relations!

We are Electing Excellence in Public Relations!

After months of planning (prior to PRSSA National Conference) Michigan State University PRSSA finally pulled off our PRSSA Regional Conference with the theme, Electing Excellence: Public Relations in Government and Politics.

There was an incredible line-up of speakers and we are fortunate they shared their expertise with us rising, young professionals.

Read my Storify recap of all the social media buzz around our conference hashtag, #VotePR.

Alyssa Sherman, Hanna Porterfield, Danielle O'brien, Anita Chitwood, Erica Tackett, Nicole Russell

Conference Committee (left to right): Alyssa Sherman, Hanna Porterfield, Danielle O’brien, Anita Chitwood, Erica Tackett, Nicole Russell

Electing Excellence: Huge names in Michigan government and related communications roles set to present at Michigan State University

Fellow PR Stars- have you signed up for a PRSSA Regional Conference?  Whether you did or didn’t get to attend National Conference last October in Philadelphia, now’s your chance to meet up with old acquaintances and new students and professionals for your networking circle.  With only 10 regional conferences across the country, Michigan State University is so excited to have a bid (I may be biased) and being on the planning committee, I can’t wait to see it all come together!

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We have 8 outstanding professionals lined up to speak on everything from crisis communications, media relations, healthcare, agency, corporate and more, through breakout sessions, a keynote presentation and interactive infographic session.  It doesn’t matter if you want to go into government-related communications or not, this conference will have something for everyone!

As Director of Speaker Outreach I’ve been fortunate enough to start networking with professionals in Lansing, Mich., through featuring them on Electing Excellence’s blog.  Check out my interviews below:

YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY!  For an affordable price that includes networking, lunch and learning from the best, sign up now. Registration closes Jan. 23 and the conference takes place Feb. 7-8 in East Lansing, Mich.

Tweet, talk, chat, #hashtag & retweet

I’ve engaged, connected and chatted with more professionals and peers through Twitter chats, than I probably have through InMail on LinkedIn.  While both are crucial networking resources, Twitter chats offer continuous learning as a student and beyond, in addition to real conversation beyond a stiff email.

There’s some Twitter chats I try to follow regularly and others that I’d like to join in.  Below are a list of my favorites, along with my resolution to actively participate and mark them on my calendar in 2014!

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Sundays

Mondays

  • #TheSMGirl hosted by @CynthiaLive.  Social Media Marketing chats. 4-5pm ET.
  • #InternPro hosted by @YouTern. Young professionals, internships and entry-level, personal branding, career development, etc. 9-10pm ET.

Tuesdays

Wednesdays

Here’s a few other lists of Twitter chats I’ve found (not pretty though):

What are your favorite Twitter chats to participate in?  Let me know, I’d love to join you.