To finish off the week of Living Room Airlines, we took a virtual trip to the West coast to speak with some professionals from California.
For the first session, we heard from Devin Getz from True Public Relations and Allison Champion from TenOneTen Ventures. Despite Devin and Allison working in different industries of PR, they both provided some valuable insight into communications and marketing for agencies and companies.
Devin started off the session by emphasizing the value of having strong writing skills because an agency’s writing represents the face of the brand. To improve your writing skills, Devin suggests focusing on a specific style of writing through reading news articles, social media posts, and more. For example, Devin says he starts his day by scrolling through pop culture news to stay in-tune with the entertainment industry. Next, Devin discussed the importance of stepping outside of your assigned position and going the extra mile. Even if a skill does not seem valuable to the PR industry, it could come in handy at a future job or internship. Finally, Devin talked about his mindset for dealing with crises in the media. He said that one of the best ways to avoid crises is by setting expectations with a client and guiding them on how to navigate their messaging.
After Devin spoke, Allison told her story on how she took the professional journey from Ohio State to California. First, she said she grew her network and gained experience through internships and experiential learn experiences. After graduation, she applied to hundreds of jobs but did not receive any offers, so she pursued a Master’s Degree at University of Southern California (USC) in strategic communication. Through USC, she created lots of connections with PR professionals and stated the importance of maintaining active connections with professionals and peers. “You will never know when you cross paths with someone,” so keep the connection alive through Linkedin messages, emails, and other forms of communication. She then discussed the emergence of data-driven storytelling and how learning how to utilize analytics and numbers to communicate a message can be a powerful tool. Allison finished her discussion by talking about graduate school. She recommends getting professional experience through a job or internship and then pursuing a graduate degree, so you can bring both academic and professional experience to the program.
For the second session, we heard from Clay Helm who is the Vice-President of Communications at IBM in San Francisco. She started her experience in the communications field through internships and other professional experiences. During her senior year of her undergraduate degree, she said that she networked as much as she could through informational interviews and networking events. When interviewing for her position at IBM she said that making meaningful connections with higher-ups helped her achieve success. She said her mission at IBM is to build trust and grow the brand’s community through media relations, internal communication, crisis communication, reputation communication, and much more. She said that the mix of diverse tasks along with the intellectually stimulating of a technology company creates an exciting environment. Next, Clay discussed how her team stays connected and lightens the mood at meetings. One way her team keeps a positive environment is by starting a meeting with a song of the day. To wrap up her session, Clay expressed that having samples of your work can help you stand out in an interview. Making a portfolio website, sending a letter, or creating a powerpoint can help make yourself more competitive for jobs or internships.