Stepping out of My Comfort Zone

By Jacob Voss

Beginning my journey into freshman year at Loyola, I had no idea what I wanted to do,what major I wanted to pursue, what job I wanted to have and the list goes on. But then I decided to go the communications route, and I felt like I had narrowed down my interests enough. But as I continued to learn more about the communication industry, I began to learn that under the umbrella of communications, there is so much more: advertising, public relations, media, crisis communications, graphic design, etc.

This past summer, I was a Media Intern at Starcom Mediavest Group in the Chicago Loop. At first, I was very skeptical about if I wanted to accept the internship. It was strategic media planning, and frankly, I didn’t even know what exactly that was at the time. But I accepted the position and have not regretted it since. I do not regret my decision because it was something new; something completely different than anything I had ever learned. I never thought I was good at numbers, evaluating data or thinking strategically about media placement, but this was all new and that intrigued me.

So here is my point. Expose yourself to as many new experiences as you can. Do something that makes you uncomfortable, something that you have never done before. Because when you learn how to do something that you have never done before, that only increases your confidence and your value to future employers and to yourself.

Just because you think you might not like something, or be good at something, taking that leap will set you far above your peers.

This concept really epitomizes what PRSSA is all about. While you may be focusing primarily on public relations right now, just keep in mind that it is important to always step out of your comfort zone and try something new. That will be PRSSA’s main focus this year. We want to expose our members to as much of the communications industry as possible before they graduate, making them a valuable asset to any future employer.

This Summer, I #Healthcared

By Hannah Bailey

*Stream of consciousness the night before I started my internship*

“So, if I leave at 8:06 a.m. I can catch the 8:18 a.m. train, and that leaves time to get coffee before I go in, unless there’s a train delay, then I won’t get coffee.”

“They told me to sign in at the desk and wait for them in the lobby, so don’t try to walk right into the office and make a fool of yourself by assuming you have more authority than you actually do.”

“I hope they don’t ask me questions I don’t know the answer to, but I really hope I learn things because otherwise I’m going to graduate in a year and know nothing.”

“What if my boss turns out to be really mean or doesn’t like me…but she seemed really nice in the interview so I’m sure it will be okay.”

“Alright, settle down, if you don’t stop now you’ll have bags under your eyes tomorrow and everyone will know you as the zombie intern for the rest of the summer.”

“Stop. Stop thinking. It’s time for sleep now. Just count sheep or something. 1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep….”

I had already had three internships before I began my role as marketing intern at Patient Innovation Center, a healthcare startup in the West Loop, this summer. I had been in PRSSA since I was a freshman and interning since I was a sophomore, so I understood the expectations of this kind of work. And most importantly, I knew the first day drill; what to say, who to ask and what to have prepared. However, that didn’t stop my head from spinning in circles the night before I started with the million worries we always have before beginning a new job. Because new will always be scary, and the field of public relations and communications is so vast, every experience you have within it is sure to come with a whole new set of challenges to overcome and skills to learn.

A few of these said challenges and skills include:

  • #1: How to get millennials to care about healthcare
    • Solution: Use Pokémon Go and social media to remind millennials that healthcare is important
  • #2: How to run an organization’s social media
    • Solution: Use a target-directed tone, incorporate a ton of graphics, schedule all your posts through Hootsuite, and try your best to not use puns (even though it’s really hard and you just have to sometimes)
  • #3: How to find the bathroom
    • Solution: Just ask. However, when in doubt, it’s probably down the hall and to the left
  • #4: How to make sure you are learning as much as you can
    • Solution: Always ask if there is more you can do and always do more than you are asked. Your boss will notice, and that is what turns a good intern into a memorable intern

Throughout college, some people will tell you to look for the best and shiniest internship–the one you have your last semester or two at the biggest agency in town. But my communication professors, as well as PRSSA, taught me early that’s just not the case. It’s about learning as much as you can in as many different ways as possible before you graduate. And that means interning at a publicity office for a movie marketing agency, on a communications team for business networking firm, assisting in PR for a mental illness awareness nonprofit and creating marketing material for a small healthcare startup. Seeking variety in your work is what helps you become truly prepared for your next opportunity.

So, the morning of my first day at Patient Innovation Center, when I left my apartment at 8:06 a.m. and caught the 8:18 a.m. train, when the train sat at the Fullerton stop for 10 minutes and I had to skip my coffee run, when I signed in and patiently waited in the lobby for my boss, when they taught me what the acronyms they were saying meant and how to boost Facebook posts, and when my boss kindly answered every question I had, I exited the building at the end of the day not even thinking about the bags under my eyes. I was too busy thinking, “I can’t wait to do this again tomorrow.”


#PRSASCC Information Overload

By Rachel Colonna

The time on my phone switched from 6:59 a.m. to 7 a.m. right as the elevator doors opened to the 16th floor of Lewis Towers. A sweet woman by the name of Judy Voss, the event’s coordinator and PRSA Director of Professional Development, assigned me to check in registrants. For the next two hours, I found myself greeting professionals somehow linked to the PR world, all ready for the Strategic Collaboration Conference. I had no idea about the wealth of knowledge and experience I was about to tap into.

At 1:40 p.m., The founder and CEO of Wax Marketing, Bonnie Harris, declared into the microphone, “Demographics don’t work anymore.” Demographics don’t work? What was she talking about? How else were we supposed to determine target audiences? She further explained that people are able to curate how they receive information. Therefore, people within the same demographics get their information in different ways, making a specific demographic very difficult to reach. Her genius alternative was to focus on consumer behavior.

The second speaker that struck me was Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing CEO. He spoke on content co-creation, which he perfectly illustrated by saying, “If you want to be in the media, become the media.” An example of content co-creation would be to reach out to a food blogger to promote a food brand. Everything he said made absolute sense. Partnering with another person creates authenticity, improves quality of content if an expert is used and increases the consumer interactions with the content.

By the conclusion of this two-day conference, I walked away with excitement. Such excitement bubbled from opposing ideas to similar concepts. Ideas taught in my college classrooms, ideas that much of the PR world followed as guidelines to the industry, were challenged. That variability proved this world is open to adapt toward efficiency. It is not a world stuck in routine outlines but a world constantly trying to break the boundaries and do something great that has never been done before.

Your Daily Dose of PR News

If you haven’t realized it yet, working in public relations is a 24/7 profession, whether you are in or out of the office. As an aspiring PR professional and current student, my mornings in bed consist of scrolling through endless pages of local and worldly news. For a while, I struggled with how to find the right articles with the right content that interests me and that I consider newsworthy. After much research, and trial and error, here are my top three resources (in order from greatest to least) for staying current with news. Continue reading “Your Daily Dose of PR News”