Freeze Frame with Jess Stevens (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 is with Jess Stevens (LoyalistPR 05/06).

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Jess completed a diploma in Radio Broadcasting at Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame: What’s keeping you busy these days, Jess?

Jess Stevens: I’m working full time at News Canada Inc. in downtown Toronto. I am heading Customer Service for Media Relations Ratings Points (MRPs), the new industry standard for measuring media coverage in Canada.

This is a growing position and I am learning so much every day and loving work! Such an exciting industry to be a part of, and especially with MRPs since I have been with this tool since its launch one year ago in April 2006.

FF: What are the three most vital things you learned in LoyalistPR?

JS: Number one – staying organized. Kerry, you certainly gave the best tips and lessons when it came to learning how to prioritize and be organized, even if it was just an example on how to structure my essays. You wouldn’t believe how organized I am these days and how much I am in love with PowerPoint!

Second, crisis communications. I have been faced with some situations here where it was truly valuable to have a contingency plan. I can’t stress that enough.

Finally, the last lesson would be the reward of volunteering and taking part in as many selfless acts as possible. Whether it was selling wristbands for United Way at Loyalist or attending charity events on behalf of my company now, it just feels good and shows me how the little things can make the biggest difference!

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

Networking and the ability to make/keep contacts close to you and make them remember your name. I think you can’t be shy or scared in this industry, and you need to have the utmost confidence.

You have to make sure you never get a big head and are always thinking about the most important thing, which is how to stand out and be creative for your clients and customers.

Being creative and speaking your mind about ideas is always a good idea in this industry as everyone’s opinions are taken into account (at least around here). I love News Canada!

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

JS: Yes, of course! I would advise everyone to strongly consider staying with the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) as a member after graduation [all Loyalist PR students are automatically members of the CPRS and IABC], or making sure they attend CPRS events while at school like I did. I know this doesn’t seem like much, but when it comes to being able to network and experience PR life before you hit the corporate world, CPRS is there to help you along the way to get that experience.

OK, so I totally sound like an advertisement for them, but I don’t work there and only know that attending CPRS events to better myself in PR has made a big impact on the skills I have today.

I would also make the suggestion that classmates keep in touch with not only each other, but their profs. I have learned so much from everyone!

One more thing would be to have confidence in your current skills, and always be open to obtaining more! Working in the PR industry is not always as sexy as you might think, but continuously finding ways to better your skills and learn more will be the most beneficial thing you can do!

FF: Finally, what’s playing on your iPod today?

Hmmmmm, well I’m not gonna lie. My iPod is turned off as I’m on a low battery right now and need the rest for when I hit the gym after work. So right now I’m listening to the radio on my work phone, which is Purple Rain by Prince. Nice! If I were to turn my iPod back on, though, it would be to hear Daft Punk – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Such a good song!