Life After Graduation

FrontGradSorry for the time away my friends. Since last writing a few things have changed…to say the least.

I’ve finished university and graduated with concurrent degrees – a Bachelors of Science in Journalism: Public Relations, and a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies. That’s me there, in the green cap! (photo credit: Grace Helen Photography)

I’ve also moved – from rainy Eugene, Oregon, to foggy San Francisco, California. Apparently my pale skin and red hair have a vendetta against sunshine.
Finally, I’ve started a job! I’m the Sustainability Fellow at Ketchum PR in San Francisco. You can check out more in my interview with PR blog Coffee and Cardigans here.

But don’t worry. Just because I’m living the dream doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned the good fight! Every week I report to my PR team the top news and trends in sustainability. I spearheaded the idea actually. It’s called “10 Things to Know by 10 a.m.” I carefully sift through papers and magazines and the web to find the most relevant stories, both for my clients and my team. All before 10 a.m. on Mondays.

I’ve decided that you too should be benefitting from these lists! So, starting next week, I’ll be posting far more regularly – once a week actually – to keep you up to date. The opinions are my own, and though I try to maintain some sense of objectivity, please feel free to spark debate. You’ll be hearing from me again very soon.

Goldilocks of Portland PR Agencies

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I am over-the-moon about studying public relations, but that’s not to say that the field isn’t intimidating. PR isn’t a nine to five job, it’s a round the clock commitment. That’s probably why, according to CareerCast, PR was ranked the fifth most stressful career path for 2013. It’s a rapidly evolving field – a field of constantly being on the top of your game.

Last week I was lucky enough to head up to Portland with a small group from UO’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and tour three different PR agencies: AM:PM PR, CMD and R/West. I loved learning about each agency, but moreover I loved learning more about myself with each agency tour.

Though I couldn’t see myself at such a small, specialized agency as AM:PM PR, a 5-man, father-daughter start up, I appreciated the long-term relationships they had with each of their clients.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, CMD is a large “full service” agency with over 180 employees and multiple locations. Though I couldn’t relate to most of their clients (digital software companies), I fell in love with the integrated agency style.

Finally there is R/West.

If I were some-sort of PR Goldilocks, this would have been the agency that was “just right.” R/West is a mid-size integrated agency large enough to have big clients and big budgets, but still small enough maintain close relationships with their clients. Their up-tempo feel and embrace of multi-media appealed to me professionally, and their industrial, modern environment appealed to me personally.

I’ll be honest, before last week I had never really pictured myself in an agency setting. But something like R/West? It might not be my niche, but it’s the kind of place I could see my future self – biking to work with my hypothetical Bernese mountain dog and taking over the Portland PR market.

Maybe I’ll end up at an agency, maybe I’ll end up in corporate communications for a nonprofit. Who knows. The field might be labeled as intimidating or “stressful” but after going to Portland I’m not scared – I’m excited!