Thursday, December 13, 2007

Time for a well-deserved vacation...

Today marks the last day of our first semester together in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program here at Loyalist College.

This year's group of 30 bright and talented individuals haa been a thrill to teach. As they discover their passions and new ways to live out their dreams, I count it an honour to be along for the journey.

In today's teaching environment, the role of the professor truly has become one of the "guide on the side" as opposed to the "sage on the stage".

Each day, I continue to learn new and fascinating things from my students, particularly in this new age of social media. It's what makes me love this career so much, and makes me excited to get up for work each morning.

Thanks for a great first semester, everyone. Enjoy your vacation!


Friday, December 07, 2007

Out of Africa...

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle.
When the sun comes up, you better start running.

-- African Proverb

"Rock Your Career" Doubleheader (Part II)

What better way to cap off "Rock Your Career" week than with a visit from an enthusiastic Loyalist alumnus who has built a successful career in the field of public relations?

Leona Hobbs has spent time on both the agency and the client side of PR, which gives her a broad vision of the PR industry.

Currently the Director of Communications at Tucows, Leona also spent time at and served as a Vice-President at Fleishman Hillard in Toronto.

Leona's engaging presentation led us through the highs and lows of working in the PR industry, including those uncontrollable X factors that can make or break a campaign.

Besides offering a profile of her own career, Leona offered excellent advice to PR students for establishing themselves in the new marketplace, and pitching their unique range of skills to future employers.

Leona, you were worth the wait -- thanks for beaming down to provide a fitting finale to a wonderful week.

"Rock Your Career" Doubleheader (Part I)

This has been an amazing week for the Post-Grad Public Relations program here at Loyalist College.

Our final day together culminated with two great speakers: Karen Passmore, Senior Consultant with Argyle Communications in Toronto in the morning, and Loyalist alumnus Leona Hobbs, Communications Director at Tucows (see Part II of this "doubleheader" blog entry) in the afternoon.

In the AM, Karen walked us through the opportunities and challenges of life in a PR agency. She also presented some of the great work that Argyle has done in recent months, from the Smarties campaign to the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.

Karen's insights and experience provided a great glimpse into the agency world, and her advice helped many better focus their career goals.

Thanks for a great visit, Karen!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Alumni kick off "Rock Your Career!" Week

A great Alumni Panel provided an excellent jump start to "Rock Your Career!" Week here at Loyalist PR on Monday.

An outstanding line-up of Loyalist PR grads joined us (despite the snow and icy road conditions) to reflect on their successes to date, and to inspire current students as they prepare for their own careers in public relations.

Special thanks to Jess Douglas (Cake Beauty, Toronto), Mike Shoreman (Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf, Belleville), Sharon Partridge (Kingston General Hospital) and Melanie Jordan (Albert College, Belleville) who joined us on-site for the alumni panel.

Thanks also to Loyalist PR alumni Lisa Kirbie (Office of Senator Grant Mitchell, Ottawa), Amanda Attard (Hala Events & Communications Inc., Toronto) and MJ Shields (Prfect Communications, Hastings) who joined us via Facebook.

What's truly amazing is that these grads have already seen such great success after being in the field only a few short months since their June 2007 graduation.

We’re proud of you all – thank you for taking the time to give back to Loyalist PR and to help mentor a new group of future alumni rock stars!

PR hockey fans enjoy visit with Aaron Bell

This past week, Post-Grad Public Relations students at Loyalist College scored a visit with Aaron Bell, Director of Media and Information with the Ontario Hockey League/ and the Canadian Hockey League.

Aaron's down-to-earth style and great personal stories kept us engaged and left us motivated to achieve our dreams.

His steps for success (yes, there were four, Aaron!) provided insight into what the working world is all about, and how we can best leave our mark as we strive for excellence.

The quote we're left with: "If you do more than you're paid to do, one day you'll be paid to do more than you do" (Jack Canfield).

Thanks for stopping by, Aaron!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Neither snow, nor sleet...

Twenty-four die-hard Loyalist PR students turned out to the mock disaster session yesterday, despite the disastrous weather conditions (a well-timed natural crisis in itself).

Those who were able to battle their way through the ice and snow to the college campus, had a first-hand glimpse into a true-to-life mock disaster. The disaster, based on real events, took place in the student commons residence.

While the ski chalet-like atmosphere mellowed us nicely (fireplace and all!), students were also on their toes to face the media during a gruelling round of questioning at a mock news conference.

The results were excellent, and I believe I speak for us all when I say, "a fond farewell to crisis week!"

Monday, November 19, 2007

PR students kick off crisis week

Today kicks off Crisis Communications Week for the Post-Grad Public Relations students at Loyalist College.

This morning, we were treated to a great presentation by Captain Ian Stock who has extensive experience in public affairs with CFB Trenton.

From identifying what a crisis is to handling media scrums, we benefited from Captain Stock's experience and insights into the challenges of being a military spokesperson.

Thanks for a wonderful presentation, Ian (we especially enjoyed the Newhart and SNL references).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy National Philanthropy Day!

In recognition of National Philanthropy Day, a group of Post-Graduate Public Relations students from Loyalist College will be attending the National Philanthropy Day conference in Kingston.

The conference, hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), will include a full day of workshops with some of Canada's top fundraisers. A special luncheon will also feature the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon where the AFP will recognize some of the key philanthropic players in southeastern Ontario.

The year 2007 marks the 22nd anniversary of National Philanthropy Day. The day will be marked by more than 125 communities and 50,000 people around the world.

We look forward to the feedback of our students as they take part in this exciting event.

P.S. Thanks to Wendy Warner of Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation for helping connect out students with AFP!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Freeze Frame with Mike Shoreman (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Mike Shoreman (Loyalist PR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Mike earned an Advertising diploma from Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame: Where are you working these days, Mike?

Mike Shoreman: I am currently employed by the Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf in Belleville. My official position title is Marketing and Public Relations Co-ordinator.The SJWSTD not only offers learning programs to people who are hearing impaired, but also has developed a few other programs to assist in all educational environments.

My responsibilities include writing press and marketing materials, research, database entry and maintenance, mail-outs, meetings and handling general inquiries.

FF: Tell us about the top three lessons you learned in Loyalist PR.

MS: Ohhh that's a goody! First, people make mistakes. It is not necessarily what the mistake is or how bad it looks, but how you deal with it. At the end of the day everyone makes mistakes, but those who take responsibility and show some dignity are left more credible than the ones who choose not to.

Second, Proofread your work and take constructive criticism for what it is.

Never be late for anything. It's disrespectful and people will remember.

FF: What does it take to find a job in PR?

MS: Hard work, persistance (not to be confused with annoyance), drive, talent, a good portfolio and a great attitude.

MS: Any words of advice for our current or future Loyalist PR students?

MS: Well I am feeling wise today, so I have two pieces of advice to give. The first is to network as much as you can. PR is a very busy industry no matter what sector you are in and people move around a lot. Keep in touch. It's not always just what you know or who you know, but sometimes a combination of the two.

Also, don't limit yourself to one thing. You have been taught many things from this program and are capable of a lot. Sometimes things don't work out according to plan. I thought I was destined for agency work, but learned while being in an agency that I wanted to do something cause-related while doing my job. There was a lot of disapointment and frustration for awhile, but moving on made me a lot happier!

FF: Finally, an important question: what was your worst haircut ever?

MS: OMG I had a mushroom cut when I was 10 years old. All the boys had them. Don't judge me!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Loyalist PR cheers on the Belleville Bulls!

A great night out for the Loyalist PR students (despite a disappointing loss by the Bulls to the Kingston Frontenacs).

The more time we spend together, the more we learn about each other -- and the closer our family becomes!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

P.S. Loyalist PR loves the cymbal guy!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

PR students make their mark in Ottawa

A perfect fall day welcomed Post-Grad Public Relations students to the capital city last Thursday.

Despite the early morning departure from Loyalist College in Belleville, everyone was keen to meet up with a number of the city's PR professionals.

Students with an interest in public affairs enjoyed a morning on Parliament Hill with Loyalist PR alumnus Lisa Kirbie in Senator Grant Mitchell's offices. They also met with Michael Ignatieff and members of the Hill's communications staff. Lunch at a popular parliamentary hang-out was followed up by a trip to the Privy Council (amidst tight security).

Meanwhile, students with more of an interest in the private sector met with Deneen Perrin, Public Relations Director at the Chateau Laurier, a visit which included a tour of one of the country's most historic hotels. Lunch followed at the nearby Elephant and Castle, after which students made their way to Sparks Street where they met with the president of Delta Media, Sheena Pennie.

A fantastic day of getting to know one another better (especially during the long detour home on the 401) and engaging with professionals in our field.

Great to have you along for the ride, everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

College open house a sweet success

Thanks to all the Post-Grad PR students who helped host the huge Loyalist College Open House today .

As more than 1,500 high school students from across Ontario descended on the college, Loyalist PR students helped out with everything from greeting and guiding to handing out college-branded swag.

Your enthusiasm and self-directed work ethic helped make this day a great success.

Bouquets for everyone!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Freeze Frame with Melanie Jordan (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Melanie Jordan (Loyalist PR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Melanie earned a Social Science degree (concentration in sociology) from the University of Ottawa.

Freeze Frame: So, what’s up with you these days, Melanie?

Melanie Jordan: I am currently employed at Albert College, a non-profit private school in Belleville. My official title is Communications and Development Coordinator, and I work out of the Development Office at the school's main campus.

My responsibilities include communication and development tasks as well as some admissions requirements.

What’s a typical work day like for Melanie Jordan?

MJ: A typical day for me usually includes: alumni relations (answering e-mails and updated database), newsletter and magazine preparation, an admissions task or two, a few phone calls, maybe a meeting or two, updating the website and a press release (if I’m lucky).

FF: What are the three most important lessons you learned from Loyalist PR?

MJ: Coming to PR at Loyalist directly from university was a big
change. The assignments were hands-on and I had to change my writing style from university essay and research papers to short and sweet news release-style!

The most important lesson I learned in Loyalist PR was how
to write for a specific audience (ie. press releases, slogans and promotion tools).

The second lesson I learned in PR was to think up the craziest ideas, because they're the once that attract the most attention, and that's what we want.

The third lesson was that after thinking up the craziest of ideas, you need to speak up about them. Tell others what your thinking, share ideas and talk to others about them. That's the best way to make them great!

FF: What does it take find a job in PR these days?

MJ: To break into the current job market the number one thing you must have is an amazing portfolio! Definitely! It's hard to explain to
employers in a resume or an interview exactly what you have done and what you’re capable of. A portfolio does this for you.

The hardest part of getting a good job in this field right out of school is that you don't have any practical experience. PR at Loyalist will give this to you; you just have to show it off.

FF: Any words of advice for current or future Loyalist PR students?

MJ: The opposite of knowledge is ignorance. The more you learn, absorb and take in, the better off you'll be.

A little story of experience from my internship. When I began my
internship at Albert College they were in the middle of redesigning the website. This was one of my main objectives while I was here and I am very proud of it. We changed the payout of the site numerous times and it took about six months to get the whole thing, layout, design, text and photos, organized and put up on the website.

The main objective of the website was to make it appealing to all our diverse audiences, parents, current and prospective students, donors and past alumni.

I had a crazy idea and I mentioned it to my boss and the assistant head of school. I wanted to put a painting easel on the home page of the website as a display board for upcoming events. They didn't like this idea initially, but heard me out. I completed my internship and didn't hear the outcome until I returned to work at the end of August.

A focus group of parents, board members, students, alumni, sponsors, etc. was held to get their feedback on the site. They all loved my idea and my crazy easel idea now works well on the site.

FF: Any other interesting stories?

MJ: I was reading the CPRS [Canadian Public Relations Society] newsletter about websites and what should be included for the best media results. I brought this into my boss and a media page was added to the home page of the website.

Learning points here:

1. Speak up, share stories and experiences with others about what works and what doesn't.

2. Networking is important in this line of work so make sure you take advantage of every opportunity to network yourself and you
abilities. Take time to learn peoples names and remember them; it will pay off.

FF: Finally, have you downloaded any good YouTube clips lately?

MJ: I don't really have time to visit YouTube or Facebook but the last
time I was on Youtube I was looking for the MTV clip of Britney Spears' performance at this year's awards.

Friday, October 19, 2007

PR students raise $2,000+ for United Way

Post-Grad Public Relations students at Loyalist College came together yesterday to raise just over $2,000 for United Way in a high-energy six-hour event.

The “Way or No Way” take-off of the popular TV game show “Deal or No Deal” saw more than 1,000 briefcases sold for charity across the Loyalist campus.

Besides raising much-needed funds for the United Way, PR students also earned 20% of their grade for their Fundraising Fundamentals course.

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the event, and those who donated their hard-earned twoonies.

Without you there would be no Way!

To learn more about the United Way of Quinte, please visit

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Word on the wire

A big thanks to Lisa Davis of Marketwire (Toronto) who came down to spend the morning with the Post-Grad Public Relations students yesterday here at Loyalist College.

Besides providing a great overview of the purpose and possibilities of newswire services in Canada, Lisa also touched on the changing world of media relations, including the emergence of the social media news release.

One important lesson from Lisa’s visit: if it’s not newsworthy to begin with, your story’s dead in the water. No amount of fancy window dressing – including video, audio and/or embedded photos - can disguise the fact if there’s no solid news at the core of the release.

Thanks for the visit, Lisa! Your experiences and insights have allowed us to examine yet another side of this fascinating field of public relations.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Professional panel offers reality check

An outstanding panel of professional communicators from across the province joined Loyalist PR students yesterday for a frank discussion on industry standards and ethics, employment prospects and more.

Special thanks to Doug Mepham (MacDonald & Company), Larry Futers (Mitsubishi Canada), Paul Chaters (Marshall Fenn Communications), Brenda Pergantes (PR Communication), Aaron Bell (Ontario Hockey League), Beja Rodeck (Royal Bank of Canada), Catherine Campbell (Loyalist College) and Glenn Rainbird (Imperial Oil).

Your insights and experience have left us with much to consider.

Thank you for making room for us in your busy week!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Freeze Frame with Sundeep Shahani (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Sundeep Shahani (Loyalist PR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Sundeep lived in India where he earned his Masters degree in Spanish and a degree in Radio Broadcasting.

Freeze Frame: What are you up to these days, Sundeep?

Sundeep Shahani: Since graduating from Loyalist, I’ve worked as a Pride and Recognition Officer with Service Canada in Ottawa. Recently, I was hired as a Trade Advocacy Officer with Western Hemisphere Trade Division, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. It’s interesting to know how agri-based products have a meaningful impact on bilateral trade between US & Canada.

My new responsibilities involve helping already motivated US buyers to further recognize the true potential of Canadian Agri based market.

FF: What are the three most important lessons you learned in Loyalist PR?

SS: Relationship building is a key to success. Kerry’s interactive teaching method helped me recognize my true potential since I was fairly new to Canada at that point of time. I also learned that ethics play vital role.

FF: Do you have any advice for current or future LoyalistPR students?

SS: Manage your time as you manage your money. Additionally, I believe LoyalistPR students have the opportunity to be with one of the best professors in Canada, so make the best possible use of it...

FF: What is the one of your favourite things about living in Canada, now that you are living here full-time?

SS: Canada has treated me so well since the day I showed up; starting from my landlord in Belleville, to my friends and professors at Loyalist College. I am proud to be a part of the Loyalist family!

Friday, October 05, 2007

L-O-Y-A-LIST hearts Ritallin!

Not the drug, people. I'm talking about Ritallin, aka Greg Frankson of Ottawa, who blew away Loyalist’s Post-Grad PR students this past Wednesday with an unbelievable spoken word poetry performance.

From “Play” to “Untouchable,” Ritallin’s urban style of poetry struck a chord with audience members from all walks of life, and left us in awe of the energy and creativity all rolled up inside this one talented individual.

As if the outstanding performance in Alumni Hall wasn’t enough, Post-Grad PR students were also treated to an afternoon slam poetry writing workshop with Ritallin – the perfect remedy for those mid-semester writing block blues.

Thanks, Greg (and Quinte Arts Council), for an experience we’ll never forget.

Cut, copy and paste that…

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

PR maven shares trade secrets

This morning the Post-Grad PR students at Loyalist College enjoyed an excellent presentation by Diana Robinson of Diana Robinson & Associates.

Diana shared her secret (well, not-so-secret anymore!) formula for her success working alongside clients like P.Diddy and Beyonce, which amounts to the following: Listen. Think. Plan. Watch. See. Hear. Think. Adapt. Respond.

Diana’s insights and personal experiences were a great reality check for anyone considering the field of high-profile event management.

Her observation that “the business of living is life, not business” is perhaps one of the most important lessons of all.

Thanks for stopping by, Diana!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Freeze Frame with MJ Shields (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features MJ Shields (Loyalist PR 06/07).

Freeze Frame: So, what are you up to these days, MJ?

MJ Shields: These days I'm busy developing my business PRfect Communications, marketing a broad range of PR service to business and non-profits in small communities between Belleville and Peterborough. I'm also a board member with Volunteer & Information Quinte, thanks to my internship.

FF: What are the top three lessons you've learned in LoyalistPR?

MJS: There were so many, but here are my top three:

1. Edit and polish your work. Clients are unaware of the theory and
strategic planning behind good PR (and professors expect it). Your
abilities are judged by the finished product.

2. Avoid tunnel vision. Don't get so focused on one idea, method or end result that you miss new possibilities. And always support creativity with function and logistics.

3. Learn it all. PR is so diverse it could never be covered in a year, but the program provides perspective, knowledge, and skills that are essential as a foundation to develop your abilities.

FF: What would you say is the key to finding employment in the PR field?

MJS: Determination. Many employers or clients don't realize PR is what they need. Those who do recognize the power of PR have a grueling interview process. Either way the jobs are out there so just keep trying. I created my own job in response to an under-serviced niche market.

FF: Any words of advice for current or future PR students?

MJS: Understand that good relationships with people will connect you everywhere those people go. To connect to a particular field or organization, make more than one contact.

FF: Finally, tell us about some of your favourite blogs.

MJS: I get warm fuzzies reading Loyalist PR. Besides that, I like The New PR because it makes me laugh, Fleet Street gives me useful information, and Globe & Mail's Ingram 2.0 inspires me.

For more information, contact MJ Shields at PRfect Communication, (705) 772.0232.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

PR reunion this weekend!

If you're a current Post-Graduate Public Relations student at Loyalist College, or an alumni, you're invited to join us for a special PR Reunion this Saturday, September 29th.

We'll kick off the fun with a baseball game at the Loyalist field at 2 p.m., then follow it up with dinner at East Side Mario's at the Quinte Mall.

More fun is planned following the dinner, so talk to organizers on Saturday to find out where the after-party will be...

Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Never at a loss for words...

The Post-Grad PR students at Loyalist College recently got to know a new side of public relations thanks to a visit from Julianne McCaffrey, Senior Speechwriter for Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia.

A former Print Journalism graduate of Loyalist College, Julianne completed a post-graduate certificate in public relations from the University of Victoria (before the Loyalist program was even born).

Julianne hit on some excellent points when it comes to general speechwriting tips, including hints on writing for the ear (not the eye).

We all appreciated Julianne’s love of language and the reminder that there is always room for improvement when it comes to the cadence, rhythm and rhyme of writing.

As an ambassador for the BC government, Julianne made us all long for the Pacific coast (minus the wildfires) and opened our eyes to the limitless opportunities in this exciting career field.

Thanks for stopping by, Julianne! We are all richer for having met you.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Freeze Frame with Melissa Gruber (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Melissa Gruber (Loyalist PR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Melissa completed a Fine Arts (Theatre) degree Concordia University in Montreal.

Freeze Frame: So what are you up to these days, Melissa?

Melissa Gruber: I work in Ottawa at the Canada Council for the Arts as a Public Relations Assistant. I take care of a bunch of details for the Head of Communications such as media monitoring and maintaining our media lists. I format and send off news releases that my colleagues write and moderate our Facebook group.

I've also written public service announcements, community newspaper articles and a news release about the 50 for 50 Arts Challenge.

I just finished a special project for which I developed an education package to promote the use of our 50 for 50 Arts Challenge website (

FF: What are the three most valuable lessons you learned in Loyalist PR?

MG: PR is still a relatively young field. There is no one definitive way of doing things but there are a few standards that are helpful to know. At the Canada Council they take style very seriously. When Kerry edited my writing assignments, I didn't understand the logic behind her comments. For me the overall message is more important than little details like hyphens, but I'm asked regularly to proof for tiny things like that. Having a background in creative writing, not journalism, I had never had to work in CP style before but it's what journalists use so it's important to be familiar with it.

FF: What does it take to find a job in the field of public relations?

MG: My goal was to get into arts promotion. I had a degree in theatre and some experience in PR, but nothing that looked concrete on a resume and I was having trouble peaking employers' interests.

Once I had the [Post-Graduate Public Relations] certificate, all sorts of arts organizations wanted me. The combination of education and experience both in PR and their field of operation is what made me valuable.

FF: Any words of wisdom for current or future Loyalist PR students?

MG: Volunteering is a great way to gain experience, build your portfolio and make contacts, especially if you volunteer in the area you're interested in working in.

Name the best alterative film you've seen lately.

MG: Manufactured Landscapes!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ethics, anyone?

Post-Grad PR students at Loyalist College enjoyed a visit yesterday from Karen Dalton, National Executive Director of the Canadian Public Relations Society based in Toronto.

A special thanks to Karen for sharing with us the ethical foundations on which students will begin building their careers in the future.

The CPRS’s new Social Media Statement sparked particular interest among students.

As public relations professionals, we were reminded that emerging technologies will continue to challenge us as we progress in our careers.

Today it’s Facebook, YouTube and wikis. Tomorrow – who knows?

One thing is certain, though: with a strong set of core personal and professional values, the choices we make throughout our careers will be that much easier.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Anita's legacy

Body Shop founder Anita Roddick passed away this week of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 64.

Despite her early passing, this pioneer of corporate social responsibility (CSR) left an indelible mark on the retail landscape.

Thirty years ago when Anita first started out in business, CSR reporting by major companies was unheard of. Sustainable development was still an emerging concept. And consumers were far less inclined to make ethically sound purchases.

Critics say Anita’s Body Shop policies went too far, eventually leading to economic crisis within the company.

These days, it’s a watered-down version of the Body Shop that greets consumers as they shop for scented soaps and body scrubs in the local mall. The company has since changed hands, and has become a mere shadow of its former self.

Nevertheless, Anita’s legacy will be a lasting one.

I, for one, will remember her as a woman who brought issues like animal welfare, social justice and sustainability to the public consciousness at a time when few dared to believe that change was even possible.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What sticks

There’s a new(ish) book on the market called What Sticks: Why Most Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Succeeds (by Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart).

I’ll admit it was the title of the book that caught my eye and not the subhead. Because after 12 years in the business, I’ve learned exactly what sticks. The answer is public relations.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of catchy ad jingles and slogans (“Just do it!” and “I’m lovin’ it!” immediately come to mind) out there that definitely attach themselves to the sticky part of our brains.

But quite honesty, most of these jingles tend to affix themselves the way gum sticks to the bottom of an unsuspecting shoe; sure it’s sticky, but it’s also really annoying.

When it comes to making brands stick in a meaningful way, I’ve found it’s public relations that has the staying power to make a difference. When it’s done right, PR has superglue power to form long-lasting relationships with consumers, donors, employees, investors and the general public.

So a respectful note to authors Briggs and Stuarts: PR sticks, guys. You should give it a try.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Welcome to the fish bowl!

A warm welcome to all our new Post-Grad PR students!

As we begin to wade into this new school year, we hope you'll be inspired to do your best work and to advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.

As a faculty team, we're here to help. Let us know what we can do to make your first week as Post-Grad PR students as comfortable as possible (we'll even fluff your pillows!).

Best fishes,
Kerry, Liz and Lisa

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Freeze Frame with Sharon Partridge (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today's Freeze Frame features Sharon Partridge (LoyalistPR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Sharon completed a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University in Halifax, and a Bachelor’s of Education from the University of Prince Edward Island.

Freeze Frame: So what are you up to these days, Sharon?

Sharon Partridge:
I am working at Kingston General Hospital as a public affairs specialist, internal communications. I am mainly responsible for the internal newspaper, The Spectrum. I get to tell the “good news!”

FF: What are the three most important lessons you learned in LoyalistPR?

SP: First, your reputation is everything. To be respected in the industry you have to stick to your principles and stand by what you believe in.

Second, writing skills are essential. Edit, edit, edit!

Third, always tell the truth, even if it is bad news. You’ll keep your credibility and people tend to be more forgiving if you have been up front and honest.

FF: What does it take to find a job in PR?

SP: In my case you have to “wow” them during your internship! I think you have to find what you are passionate about and go for it. Always network and build your portfolio.

FF: Any advice for future LoyalistPR students?

SP: PR is an exciting field and there is so much you can do within it. Identify your strengths and build on them to find your niche. Make sure your internship is a great one, it could jump start your career. Learn from every experience, be creative and have fun!

FF: Now that you’re living in 1,000 Island country, we have to ask: what’s your favourite salad dressing?

SP: Hmmmmm…. I’d have to say it’s a “toss-up” between ranch and poppy seed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gearing up!

It's almost that time, everyone! Here at the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College we're gearing up for the beginning of fall classes, and our best year ever.

This year the Post-Grad PR Program is completely full (35 students strong), with a waiting list to boot.

For those who are guaranteed a spot for the fall, we can't wait to begin this new adventure with you!

Enjoy your last week of summer holidays, and we'll see you next Tuesday, September 4th at 9 a.m. in the Gymnasium (Kente Building) for Orientation Day.

We're looking forward to meeting you all in person really soon.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Freeze Frame with James Lewis (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today's Freeze Frame features James Lewis (LoyalistPR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, James completed a diploma in Advertising and a post-graduate certificate in Media, Marketing & Sales at Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame:
What are you up to these days (work wise)?

James Lewis: I am working on a contract as a College Advancement and External Relations Officer at Loyalist College. I was given the job after completing my internship. My main role is to plan and ensure that the celebrations for Loyalist's 40th Anniversary are carried out without a hitch. So far we've created a unique 40th anniversary visual identity and planned the events for the following year. I also get to put my skills learned from the PR program into play by helping write media advisories for local papers, among many other tasks.

FF: What are your plans for the fall?

JL: I am planning on heading to Australia this fall. I have been offered a seat in Griffith University's Masters of Marketing program and have the choice of which field I want to study in. I have the choice between Communications, Business, and Criminal Law. I think I may choose the Criminal Law program and study for the BAR exam as well. It's been a dream of mine since I was a young boy to become a lawyer, and a professional hockey player. I am also getting the chance to play on a professional Australian hockey team while I am there. So it looks like both dreams may come true.

FF: What are the three most important lessons you learned in LoyalistPR?

JL: The first is a no-brainer. LoyalistPR taught me to be up front, open and honest, and never hide the truth. The public, and your audience, will appreciate your honesty and forgive you, and your misdeeds far more if you are honest. History shows that brands/companies/organizations that are upfront recover more quickly than those that aren’t honest.

The second is that you must stick to your code of ethics, not those laid out for you. Look into the future and see if there is a possibility that you may be asked by your company to do something that you really aren’t comfortable with. If you feel that you may be asked to do something that your personal code of ethics won’t allow, make it known ahead of time. If you are against doing something, you will never succeed.

The final thing that I learned in LoyalistPR was that writing skills can ALWAYS be improved. I came into the course wanting to polish my English writing skill-set and realized that I have only begun to scratch the surface. Never lose the passion for writing; as a PR practitioner, you will be required to write. A lot. It doesn’t matter if it is an internal memo or a multi-national, cross-media, product launch. You will be judged on how well you communicate. Ensure that you edit, edit, edit, and then get someone else to edit. Your words represent you and your company so you must make them the best that you can.

FF: Any words of wisdom for up-and-coming PR students at Loyalist?

JL: Don’t be afraid to get your paws a little dirty. You have to be willing to do what no one else will to get ahead in this industry. You will have long hours, hard work, maybe a bad boss or two, and probably more than a few missed parties/weekends but it will be worth it.

Make yourself valuable, but not un-replaceable; because if you are un-replaceable you will never move up. Do the jobs you’re assigned to, and enjoy them. Show initiative to do the jobs you weren’t asked to do, and reap the rewards.

Don’t give up if you don’t get your pie-in-the-sky job straight out of college. You’ve got a lot of time to become a PR guru, so use it to your advantage. Everyone in the PR industry knows one another. The sky is the limit with PR, and the industry is only going to grow.

FF: Ok, so who's your favourite Australian actor or actress and what's the best flick they ever starred in?

JL: Everyone probably wants me to say Mel Gibson in Braveheart or Nicole Kidman in Batman. Although I like both actors, and most of the movies they play in, I have to go with another Aussie on this one. Eric Banna in Chopper. You’ve never heard of it have you? Well then, you’ve got something to rent for next week. I don’t suggest that you let the kiddies watch it though. It’s about Australia’s baddest Gangster and his rise to infamy. It’s based on a true story and the New York Time’s best-selling book, written by the illiterate Mark Brandon “Chopper” Reid. It’s a pretty killer movie, and Banna plays an amazing role. You’d actually believe that he was the real Chopper.

FF: Any final words?

JL: G’day, mate -- time to throw another shrimp on the barby...

Monday, August 06, 2007

PR vs. advertising at 36,000 feet

My husband and I flew on a discount airline to Atlanta last week – and even though I had never even heard of AirTran before, assured us they were legit!

An hour or so into our flight, we were served the traditional discount airline fare: pretzels.

Only these were pretzels with, well, a twist.

As I read the pretzel package (because, after all, what better way is there to pass the time on a two-hour flight?), I actually smiled. The front of the package read:

"How to eat gourmet pretzels on a low-fare airline."

When I flipped the package over, the words continued:

1. Think about our wonderful low fares at as you open packet.
2. Place a pretzel in mouth. With each crunch, be reminded of our low fares.
3. As you swallow, remember again just how low the fares are.
4. Repeat until pretzel packet is empty.
5. Keep empty packet to remind yourself to book at for our lowest fares and no booking fees.

Like I said, I was bored enough that the cute attempt at airline humour actually made me crack a smile.

Pan now to the cocktail napkin on my seat tray. Actually, it wasn’t so much a napkin as a 4x4 ad for the latest brown cola to hit the U.S.

Sitting there in my seat at 36,000 feet, I read the ad pitch. But this time, I did not smile.

For some reason, the ad seemed invasive to me. As if I couldn’t escape the pitchman even here, a mile high above the earth’s surface.

Which made me wonder to myself: what was the difference between the pretzels and the cocktail napkin? Both were clearly attempts to gain my support and (ultimately) consumer dollars.

Why had AirTran succeeded when the brown cola company had so utterly failed?

Then I faintly remembered a passage from brand guru Lynn Upshaw’s new book, Nothing But the Truth. I looked it up later and here’s what Upshaw writes:

“Promoting honestly, and not invasively, is a big issue now. The customer is saying you’re not invited to my party, and we’re surprising them in the shower. There are so many instances with people seeing commercial messages when they don’t want to. You have to respect your consumer’s privacy.”

What it came down to, at least the way I see it, is that I had already invited AirTran to my party. I mean, there I was, sitting in the seat, wasn’t I?

So when I read a little joke about discount airlines, I got it. I laughed. I bought in. Because AirTran and I had already struck up a relationship.

Cola company XYZ, on the other hand, had not been invited to my party, and I was annoyed at the invasion of my privacy.

The experience reminded me how important public relations has become in the world of branding, and how skeptical we’ve become as a culture to commercial over-messaging.

So, kudos to Air Tran, and as for Cola Company XYA – give it a rest, would you?

Here’s to clear skies!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Freeze Frame with Lisa Kirbie (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame
is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today's Freeze Frame features Lisa Kirbie (LoyalistPR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Lisa completed a B.A. in Sociology from the University of British Columbia (Okanagan).

We reached Lisa at her new home in Ottawa (no doubt munching on a tasty Beaver Tail).

Freeze Frame: What are you up to these days, Lisa?

Lisa Kirbie: I am the Chief of Staff to Senator Grant Mitchell on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. I manage the budget and the staff; advise the Senator on all political matters; write communications pieces, such as our electronic newsletter, and am responsible for media relations. I also handle the big legislative issues: this past session the Senator was the Senate sponsor of Bill C-288, Kyoto Protocol Implementation. This was a feat unto itself because private members bills rarely make it through the House of Commons much less receive Royal Assent, particularly when your Party is in opposition (not government). Right now we are in the process of writing two bills to be introduced in the Senate this fall.

FF: So, what are the three most important lessons you learned in LoyalistPR?

LK: First, the importance of seeing the “big picture” – too many times people get paralyzed by the details (although they are important!) and fail to see the end goal. I now determine the end goal first and work backwards to figure out my plan of action.

Second, the value of networking. PR is all about building relationships and you never know when a contact is going to come in handy in this business. Also, because of the nature of PR, your reputation is one of your most valuable tools – relationship building helps develop your social capital.

Finally, always give your best effort. It reflects poorly on your abilities and you lose a valuable learning tool when you don’t – and it doesn’t cut it in the real world either.

FF: In your opinion, what does it take to find a job in PR these days?

LK: You need to know where you want to go – have a plan. Be confident in your abilities and don’t be afraid to highlight them – showcase your strengths because no one is going to do it for you. Be passionate about what you believe in and what you want to do. And choose your attitude (yes, Kerry’s FISH! Philosophy has rubbed off on me) – it takes just as much energy to be miserable as it does to be happy. And happy is way more fun!

FF: Any words of wisdom for current or future LoyalistPR students?

LK: Surrender yourself to the program and open your mind to new experiences and fresh ideas. Realize that the people around you are your best resouces (and many will become your best friends!)

FF: And finally, if you could have lunch with any major political figure in history (dead or alive), who would it be and where would you book your lunch reservations?

LK: As a PR graduate skilled in event planning, I would prefer to organize a lunch “gathering”... My guest list would include former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, former President Bill Clinton, Ms. Nellie McClung (one of the "famous five" who battled in the Canadian courts and parliament to have women declared "persons" under the law), Martin Luther King Jr. and Michaelle Jean, our current Governor General. (Seriously, did you think I could pick just one!!) I would take them to some dive in Quebec – where we could sit in the smoky haze of live blues and great jazz, where aged whiskey, and secrets, flow freely.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Honey, we shrunk the logo

I found myself in Kingston's lululemon athletica this afternoon while shopping on Princess Street.

As the shop’s ebullient staff (excuse me, ambassadors) waxed poetic about the seaweed-woven t-shirts (I kid you not) and odour-free workout gear I was trying on, I found myself struck by something quite odd. The lululemon logo, it turned out, was barely visible on any of the items inside my fitting room.

For someone who grew up in an era of Ralph Lauren polo ponies and Benetton rugby shirts, I was somewhat taken aback. After all, here was a brand built almost entirely on lifestyle and the customer experience rather than logo and media hype. Mystifying.

In our logo-crazed culture (for a detailed history of the phenomenon, check out a great read by Naomi Klein, No Logo), lululemon offers a refreshing alternative to mob aesthetics.

And while I walked out of the store without making a purchase (seriously, $59 for a t-shirt?), I found myself faintly impressed that a company would take such a calculated marketing risk.

In historical terms, I believe such companies are known as “trailblazers”.

P.S. For more on lululemon athletica, stay tuned for the fall launch of our Podcast CafĂ©, a collection of Canadian case studies that’ll give you something to talk about…

Monday, July 16, 2007

Freeze Frame with Angel Laming (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Angel Laming (LoyalistPR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Angel earned her diploma in Print Journalism from Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame: So what are you up to these days, Angel?

Angel Laming: These days I am working with Big Brothers and Big Sisters to ensure that every child in Leeds and Grenville who is in need of a friend finds one. I am pretty much a "friend finder." There is a lot of children who eat alone at lunch or who play alone at recess and these children deserve to have fun just like the rest of the kids. So I send in a teen or adult mentor for one hour a week for the whole school year to play with a child and make them feel just as special as the other children.

FF: What would you say are the three most important lessons you’ve learned in LoyalistPR?

AL: The three most important lessons would be: to say
thanks, the FISH principles and not to eat KFC!

FF: What does it take to find a job in public relations?

AL: I found a job right out of school. I was only finished my internship [at Big Brothers and Big Sisters] about three weeks before I started here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Leeds and Grenville. You need to have that portfolio as well… remember to always use your portfolio.

FF: What’s your advice for current or future LoyalistPR students?

AL: The advice that I would offer is in order for others to respect you, you have to respect yourself. If you want a friend, you have to be a friend.

FF: What was the latest movie you saw and how would you rate it?

AL: The latest movie I saw was Ghost Rider (last night) and I would rate it a 5/10... it kind of sucked.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Confessions of a newsprint junkie

I have a confession to make: I hate online newspapers.

Reading screen after screen of digital news items, my vision gets blurry and my brain starts to hurt.

But give me a bulging Saturday edition of the Toronto Star that leaves my fingers stained with black ink and I am one happy gal.

Any bona fide newspaper reader knows the true joy of the print experience extends beyond the simple act of catching up on the news of the day.

There’s the clipping of great articles for (in my case) sharing with my students; the daily crossword or suduko puzzle to challenge the mind; the occasional water park coupon or new theatre production announcement; and of course, the scanning of the latest Dilbert cartoon for a bit of a laugh.

Granted, online newspapers do have their perks. Like the video footage that’s available at the click of a mouse. Or the audio interviews with key figures in current affairs.

Ah, but can you do the “commuter fold” while riding the VIA with I think not.

Friends and colleagues send me great links to online articles all the time. And I appreciate that, don’t get me wrong. But I have been known (with apologies to the environmentalists) to print the articles and read them that way.

My friends point out that I’m killing trees. I fire back that their obsession with online newspapers places more stress on our already over-extended power grids (a bit of a reach, I know, but so far it’s the best I can come up with).

And let's not forget that most newsprint these days is completely recyclable, and also finds multiple after-uses for children’s art projects, hamster cage carpeting and papier mache construction.

At the end of the day, I suppose the most important thing is not so much where we get our news, but that we’re sure to stay informed about what’s taking place in our world.

Whatever your preference, make every effort to stay current: read all about it!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Freeze Frame with Jess Douglas (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Jessica Douglas (Loyalist PR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Jess completed a diploma in Radio Broadcasting at Loyalist.

Freeze Frame: What are you up to these days?

Jessica Douglas: I’m currently working as the Operations Co-ordinator with PR duties at Cake Beauty in Toronto.

In the beauty retail biz, the holiday season is fast approaching, so new holiday products will be launching soon. Getting hits in magazines and other print is something we always work on, but especially for the big shopping seasons!

FF: What are the three most valuable lessons you took with you from the Loyalist PR program?

JD: Number one, keep a positive attitude. Number two, manage and prioritize your time (tres important!). And number three, someone body is always watching, so try to be professional all the time. (A potential client/employer could see you acting like a dufus and not want any part of you or your organization.) Word of mouth is NUTS in this industry!

FF: What does it take to find a job in the field of public relations?

JD: Persistence, almost flirting with the line of being irritating. Make it known that you want to be there and will keep trying until you give you the time to ROCK the interview. Also, a positive attitude is important.

FF: Any words of wisdom for current and/or future Loyalist PR students?

JD: Be persistent, make the call/email, follow up! While on internship, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It shows that you care enough to ask (and if you don’t care, get an internship where you do!).

FF: Finally, and most importantly, what’s your favourite flavour of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?

JD: Old reliable Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough… but when I’m feeling like a party…. Bananas on the Rum!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Walkin' on sunshine...

It's that time of year that we teachers come to relish almost as much as the start of a fresh, new semester... summer vacation!

Now before you get all bitter on me, remember we do put in a lot of extra time during the year grading, nurturing, mentoring, seeking therapy (just kidding on that last point... barely).

And though we're technically on holidays, there really is actually no easy way to turn off a teacher's brain. It seems we're always gathering new ideas, techniques and cases to incorporate into our next semester. Or else we're honing new skills ourselves. Or else... well, OK, the rest of the time we really are just lounging on some beach somewhere.

In any case, I do wish everyone a happy summer. I promise I will do my best to maintain this blog with some semblance of consistency during the next two months. But in between, just hum your favourite summertime tune and think of me!

Happy BBQ season!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Freeze Frame with Lindsay Conboy (LoyalistPR 06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today’s Freeze Frame features Lindsay Conboy (LoyalistPR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Lindsay earned her B.A. in Communications from the University of Ottawa.

Freeze Frame: So what have you been up to lately, Lindsay?

Lindsay Conboy: I'm working as a Communications Officer at Well Wise, a new non-profit organization which helps private well owners and water professionals make wise decisions about wells and groundwater.

So far I've been involved in a lot of media relations, event organization, and day-to-day tasks in our resource centre.

FF: What are the three most valuable lessons you learned in

LC: First on the list: how to write - I've only been here a few weeks but I've already written a ton of material. It's not always 'official'
communication, but regardless of the purpose, it's always important to be professional, timely and most importantly - communicate the message of your organization.

Secondly, knowing your organization/industry (and be willing to learn more). The subject of wells was new to me so I've had to work on learning the ins and outs of the field so I can be a good Well Wise ambassador. This step is so important in being a good representative of the organization, but it also makes the work day incredibly interesting since I'm learning so much in the process.

Finally, multitasking. I knew PR was a dynamic field, but I never thought I'd be involved in such a wide range of activities from day one. Activities can range from producing a media kit and talking with reporters, to taking care of event details, to doing research and sometimes even ordering supplies or making coffee for your guests. I'm learning there's basically nothing off limits when it comes to PR!

FF: What does it take to find a job in the field of public relations?

LC: Perseverance, patience, and an understanding of what you want to achieve. You might not achieve instant success but if you have - and believe in - your long-term goals, success won't be long coming!

FF: Any words of wisdom for current or future Loyalist PR students?

LC: Be passionate about what you do. There are endless options when it comes to PR work so choose something you love. Also, keep striving to learn even after you are out of school. Things are always changing in this field and staying interested means staying informed (and excited) about your work!

FF: And lastly, if you could trade lives with any cartoon character, who would it be?

LC: I think I'd like to be a little more like Lisa Simpson, because she's always trying to make a positive difference in the world - plus she's
already got loads of interesting stories to tell and she's only in grade two. It's probably not a good comparison though since I'm not a vegetarian and I rarely wear a red dress or pearls...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Get outta town!

One of the most valuable experiences any college student can have is viewing the world from another human being’s vantage point.

Having had the opportunity to teach English in Finland between my second and third years of university as part of SWAP (Students Working Abroad Program), I can safely say that international travel is a life-altering experience.

Besides my stint in Finland, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to various points around the globe, including France, Switzerland, Spain, England, Scotland, Wales, Russia, Estonia, Sweden, the Caribbean, the U.S. and others.

The linguistic challenges alone are a wake-up call. Even with a high school concentration in French immersion tucked in my back pocket, I've been forced to rely, more than once, on frantic hand signals and the kindness of strangers.

The awakening continues with each new culture I encounter.

It’s hard to forget experiences like standing outside a museum in Vyborg, Russia, purchasing toilet paper BY THE SQUARE from a tiny, old grandmother with wrinkled hands and empty eyes.

Or squeezing into a crowded Barcelona-bound train filled with screaming soccer – excuse me – football fans.

Not to mention visiting cultures so ancient, you could cut the history with a knife.

From the poverty-stricken rural villages of the Dominican Republic to the affluent neighbourhoods of Swiss aristocrats, foreign travel reveals a world out of balance that causes us to question our own place and purpose within it.

Each voyage I’ve taken has altered my world view, convincing me that we are among the most blessed people in the world to live in this great nation of Canada.

As part of a global village, I feel we have an obligation to visit with our neighbours, and hopefully become better equipped communicators, professionals and human beings in the process.

So, my advice to any college grad in limbo is simply this: get outta town!

It might just be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Freeze Frame with Ashley Edwards Scott (LoyalistPR 05/06)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they're making these days (just kidding!).

Today's Freeze Frame features Ashley Edwards Scott (LoyalistPR
05/06). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario, Ashley completed a diploma in Advertising at Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame:
So what are you up to these days, Ashley?

Ashley Edwards Scott: I am the Communications Coordinator for Westcan in Edmonton, Alberta. My role includes: website development /content management, writing for company publications, media relations, speech writing, employee relations, promotional materials, trade show displays, advertising and special events. Right now I'm in the early stages of producing a mulitmedia employee orientation program. I am constantly learning and loving every minute of it!

FF: What are the three most valuable lessons you learned in

AES: First, Kerry's famous PR mantra: "You have to get the inside onside before you go outside." I have found this to be one of the truest and most valuable PR lessons I have learned.

Second, write everything down. Even the worst ideas can lead to something brilliant.

And finally, PR is a process. You have to be patient and realize that nothing worth trying for happens over night. Keep trying until you get it , because there is no better feeling than when it all comes together.

FF: What does it take to find a job in the field of public relations?

AES: It takes research, networking skills, confidence and an understanding of what the company's needs are. It's all about how you convey your ability to take on the role and bring something unique to it.

FF: Any words of wisdom for current or future Loyalist PR students?

AES: Move to Alberta - you will make lots of money! Just kidding. Seriously though, Alberta's economy is booming and companies are constantly seeking individuals with the skill sets Loyalist PR grads possess. Packing up and moving out west is not for everyone, but it is definitely a great place to start your career.

What are my words of wisdom? Seek out career opportunities that will allow you to develop your skills in positive, challenging and rewarding environment. Be one of those people who say they "love their job" and know that it's true!

FF: Final question: what's your favourite cowboy western movie ever?

AES: Dances with Wolves. I'm not going to lie, I've had thing for Kevin Costner since I was little.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Latest issue of college magazine features work of LoyalistPR students

Loyalist College has just released its spring 2007 issue of Lasting Connections, a regular publication for alumni, donors and friends of the college.

This recent issue is particularly close to the hearts of our Post-Graduate Public Relations students, since they were responsible for the content and concept of the magazine.

The latest issue of Lasting Connections magazine is also significant, because it marks the 40th anniversary of Loyalist College.

Throughout the magazine, LoyalistPR have written an impressive collection of articles paying tribute to successful graduates, outstanding athletes and college leaders.

Written as a class assignment for Public Relations Writing II, LoyalistPR students were responsible for creating a storyboard of original article ideas for the project, then interviewing and photographing their subjects and, finally, writing the resulting feature articles. We could not be more are proud of the results of their efforts!

The unique flip-design of the magazine (thanks, Amanda!) also reminds us that while we’ve experienced 40 years of excellence, the best is yet to come.

Happy birthday, Loyalist! Here’s looking at the next 40 years…

P.S. Special thanks to Dianne, Connie, Sherry, Catherine and the rest of the Lasting Connections editorial board for their assistance in producing this meaningful class project.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Freeze Frame with Amanda Attard (06/07)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Today's Freeze Frame features Amanda Attard (LoyalistPR 06/07). Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Amanda completed her a diploma in Radio Broadcasting at Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame: So what are you up to these days?

Amanda Attard: I now work for Hala Events and Communications in downtown Toronto as the Events Assistant. We are currently working on two major events. One is the Keg Spirit Foundation Invitational that is held at Angus Glen Golf Course (where the Canadian Open is held) in Markham on June 4th and also the Renoir Exhibition which is held at the National Art Gallery in Ottawa on June 5th.

FF: What are the three most valuable lessons you learned in LoyalistPR?

AA: ONLY three! WOW. First, make yourself available: Always be willing to learn new things and always listen to what your professor is telling you. Also if there are extra things that need to be done in groups or anything DO IT...volunteer. Soak every minute up of your eight months; they will fly by.

Second, network. During your year in Public Relations you will be doing a lot of hands-on things. During these tasks you will meet new people and learn new things. Whether it is one of your fellow classmates or someone new, always remember these people are your future contacts; you never know who you will need one day.

Finally, be careful what you say/always have a paper trail. In the public relations field you will always have to answer to someone, whether it be a peer or someone you are working for. Always stay organized and make sure you have an answer to every question.

FF: What does it take to find a job in the field of public relations?

AA: Overall it takes WANT to find a job in the field of public relations.
Anyone can be taught how to do something and find out if they are good at it or not. If you have no drive or passion for the area you are
working in then you are wasting not only your time, but the time of those around you.

FF: Any words of wisdom for current or future Loyalist PR students?

AA: ENJOY YOURSELF!!! Like I said, the eight months will fly by. You have a great school to represent and a great coordinator to work with. Kerry is a PR genius. You have her at your fingertips for the entire year. Utilize her, I can tell you first off that it is difficult not having her so accessible.

FF: If you could choose to be stranded on a desert island with only one character from Grey's Anatomy, who would it be?

AA: I would have to say Bailey or Sloan. Bailey only for comic relief and Sloan for well... Sloan. LOL

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Congratulations, class of 2007!

It’s cap and gown time, people! And what a great year it’s been for this year’s Post-Graduate Public Relations students here at Loyalist College.

In the second year of our program, we’ve graduated 25 incredible individuals, many of whom have already secured employment in the field of their dreams.

Just a few of the companies and organizations that have recently hired LoyalistPR graduates include:

Queen’s University – Web Editor (Kingston)

Senator Grant Mitchell, Parliament Hill – Executive Assistant and Senior Policy Advisor (Ottawa)

Hala Events and Communications – Events Assistant (Toronto)

Live Tour Artists – Publicist (Oakville)

Canadian Paralympic Committee - PR Assistant (Ottawa)

Cake Beauty - Operations Co-ordinator (Toronto)

Canada Council for the Arts – PR Assistant (Ottawa)

Economic Development Office – Marketing Communications Co-ordinator (Prince Edward County)

Kingston General Hospital - Public Affairs Assistant (Kingston)

Well Wise – Communications Co-ordinator (Bowmanville)

Loyalist College – College Advancement Officer (Belleville)

Service Canada-HRDC – Pride and Recognition Co-ordinator (Ottawa)

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Leeds-Grenville – In-School Mentoring Co-ordinator (Kingston)

Circles Marketing – Events Assistant (Burlington)

Campbellford Memorial Hospital Foundation – Fundraising Assistant (Campbellford)

Westcan Bulk Transport Ltd. – Communications Co-ordinator (Edmonton)

News Canada – Media Ratings Points Co-ordinator (Toronto)

• Elite Marketing - Sales and Customer Relations (Toronto)

Congratulations to each and every one of this year’s graduates – you are at the beginning of an exciting journey, and I count myself privileged to have shared the past year with you.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Life in a fishbowl

People often comment on the “fishy” branding campaign we’ve developed here at LoyalistPR. Some even wonder aloud “What’s with the fish?”

The answer is a simple one, really. As faculty and students of the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, we’re big believers in the FISH! philosophy. In fact, we try to weave the four key principles of the philosophy into everything we do.

So what is FISH exactly?

FISH! is a unique approach to work and play that is specifically designed to inspire fresh and innovative work environments -- or, as in our case, learning centres.

For us, FISH! is all about creating a learning culture that is conducive to creative thought and collaborative learning – the perfect setting for that “next great idea” when it comes to PR campaign planning.

The four principles of FISH! are simple:

1. Play
2. Be there.
3. Make their day.
4. Choose your attitude.

By daily implementing these four principles, we hope to help shape a workforce of problem-solvers who are open-minded and creatively inclined, even under pressure.

As a college educator, adhering to the four principles of FISH! also ensures I remain at the top of my game, making each day a memorable learning experience for the students who walk through my classroom doors.

So what are you waiting for? Go make a splash!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Freeze Frame with Emily Robson (Loyalist PR 05/06)

Freeze Frame is a regular feature of the LoyalistPR blog where we post our findings on what our illustrious alumni are up to and how much they’re making these days (just kidding!).

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Emily Robson completed a B.A. (Honours) in Art History at Queen’s University.

Freeze Frame: So what are you up to these days, Emily?

Emily Robson: I am now working as Marketing Communications Co-ordinator with the Economic Development Office in Prince Edward County to expand and retain business in the agricultural sector. This entails a “buy locally grown” campaign. So I have been doing a lot of market research, project planning, writing and talking!

I also work for an affiliated non-profit destination marketing organization, Taste the County. Again, I do a lot of writing, some media relations, event management and countless other things that seem to crop up in a small office.

FF: What are the three most valuable lessons you learned in Loyalist PR?

ER: In no particular order…

1. Proofread, proofread it again, have someone else proofread and then read it again!

2. Fundraising is friend-raising. Cultivating and maintaining good relationships is essential to almost everything!

3. Reference best practices and case studies when you are planning events, campaigns or promotions.

FF: What does it take to find a job in the field of public relations?

ER: In the non-profit sector, you need to be versatile. In a small office, you have to be game to do smaller jobs, like setting up for events. You must also be willing to take on larger responsibilities, like media familiarization tours and media interviews. A willingness to perform a wide range of tasks with efficiency, enthusiasm and skill is essential. I think you need to be willing to take on anything and learn on your feet!

FF: Any words of wisdom for current and/or future Loyalist PR students?

ER: Almost every business I deal with has a common need: marketing. Public relations are often an ideal fit, as it can be fairly low cost. There is a huge opportunity for public relations practitioners in small business; it is up to us to educate and facilitate the use of public relations tools. We can demonstrate how valuable public relations can be in a variety of industries and sectors.

FF: Finally, what’s the title of the book currently on your nightstand?

ER: The 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon