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.

My Summer Internship

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 12.14.33 PMHaving a niche as a college student can seem a little limiting. I mean, how many nonprofits or environmental organizations are looking for PR help from a twenty-something student? But I think knowing what I want to do has its advantages. For starters, it helped me land a summer internship working for the local nonprofit FOOD for Lane County.

Companies and organizations are looking for passionate individuals. Period. Or at least that’s what my boss said when she hired me last May. Because I was so focused, I had a lot of relevant experience, which gave me a leg up. Well, that and my video skills.

I spent the summer chasing stories with a Canon EOS 7d strapped around my neck and a tripod strung over my shoulder. Is it a conventional PR job? Maybe not. But the lines between PR and advertising and marketing are all blurring together nowadays. In the end, I produced numerous videos for the organization – but there’s one that sticks out the most.

One of my tasks this summer was to create a call-to-action, or “ask,” video for our annual auction fundraiser. Here was where my niche really came into play. I want to use my PR skills, be that through traditional PR methods or design or video, to help make a difference. Well, with this video I did just that.

By understanding what the organization really did in the community and the difference it made in my area, I was able to use my skills to accurately portray the nonprofit…and pull at a few heartstrings. My video, seen here, brought in $132,400 for the FOOD for Lane County.

I think that’s what it comes down to – knowing what you want to do, or having a niche, and wanting to use every tool available to make that happen. If I had limited myself to learning the traditional PR methods, I wouldn’t have been able to get this far. So screw traditional – be a sponge. Learn everything you can and that is how you make things happen.