Today’s Freeze Frame features Katie Dudley (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is now working with the Marketing & Public Relations Department of the Toronto Zoo.
Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Katie earned a B.A. in Sociology from Western University.
Freeze Frame: So, what are you up to these days, Katie?
Katie Dudley: For the most part my job consists of co-ordinating group events at the Zoo. From speaking with clients one-on-one during the planning process to sending out work orders to various departments at the Zoo to visiting the site throughout the day during the event, I make sure that the group events (mostly corporate picnics and fundraisers ranging from 70 to 1,500 people) run smoothly.
I also assist the rest of my PR team with media filming, VIP tours, exhibit launch events (i.e. our 2008 Stingray Bay), and promotional endeavours.
When I was first hired at the Zoo, people questioned what kind of “PR stuff” would a Zoo do? The answer is LOTS! We have numerous partnerships, including many various popular media outlets. We also hold over 70 corporate events through out the summer and many other cross-promotional and fundraising events. The Zoo is a not-for-profit organization, and, as all PR junkies know, non-profits thrive on PR tools and techniques.
FF: What's the best thing about working at the Toronto Zoo?
KD: I work with an AWESOME team. My co-workers are all from various walks of life (similar to my classmates from the Loyalist PR program). We get along great, have an awesome communication system at play, and continually learn from and support each other.
Second best part is that I get to visit Africa, India, and Australia (to name just a few countries!) on a daily basis. I also get to be outside a lot which will be so much fun once the weather starts to warm up, if it ever does! I plan on hitting up the Loyalist PR Reunion in September with a fabulous tan :)
FF: How did Loyalist PR prepare you for your new position?
KD: The program prepared me on numerous levels. Coming out of university with a degree in sociology I honestly had no idea what to do next. The PR program looked like it would be a lot of fun and great training - which it was and much more!
Through the various courses and hands-on learning opportunities I was able to hone my PR skills and become more confident with myself as an employee and in general.
The PR industry is a great place for someone like me. I love meeting new people, constantly learning new skills and developing my current skills, as well as getting to do fun and interesting work on a daily basis.
The Loyalist PR program prepared me for a successful career and showed me that there are opportunities for me in the industry.
FF: Any words of advice for students entering the Loyalist PR program this fall?
KD: ENJOY IT! The eight months (including internship) flew by. I miss it, but am also really happy to be in this new phase of my life. I would advise the students to get to know their classmates as it is important to develop your social skills throughout the year. Once you enter the workforce these skills will set you apart from the rest of your colleagues.
Also, pay attention and apply yourself to the best of your ability. The program professor and co-ordinator, Kerry Ramsay, offers so much in terms of needed skills and mentorship so take total advantage (in a good way).
FF: What's your favourite zoo exhibit?
KD: Hard to say. Our new Great Barrier Reef Exhibit is gorgeous! Over 1,000 tropical fish in the most colourful aquarium I have ever seen. The moon jellyfish are awesome to watch as well, so calming. I also try to visit the Siberian Tigers and Orangutans as often as I can. Our baby orang is hilarious to watch - such a little monkey!
FF: Good luck, Katie! We know you’ll do grrrrreat (sorry, couldn’t resist).