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
LoyalistPR?

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
LoyalistPR?

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