Monday, September 15, 2008

Freeze Frame with Ashley MacCormack (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Ashley MacCormack (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is now working in Events and Special Projects with the Ottawa Humane Society.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Ashley earned a B.A. (Honours) in Political Studies from Queen’s University.

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

Ashley MacCormack: I have several major projects that I am responsible for. Half of my time is spent making our monthly PAW (pre-authorized withdrawal) donors happy. I take care of everything and anything from sending welcome packages, to dealing with expired credit card information, to making thank you calls to each of our 3,000 donors.

The second half of my jobs involves all of our events. I am currently attending United Way events across the city encouraging employees to direct their contributions to the OHS, as well as, promoting all of the services that we offer to the community.

I am also in charge of third party events, which could mean anything from accepting money from Timmy’s birthday, to being the OHS contact for a charity country jamboree, to helping with the details of our largest event of the year, the FurBall.

Finally, I actually get the opportunity to take ownership of two events - Santa Pet Pics and Bunny Snaps. Held in conjunction with Christmas and Easter, we organize photo ops with Santa or the Easter Bunny and your little furry friend. I have already started planning for SPP 08 and am super excited to have the opportunity to plan such a creative event!

FF: What’s the best thing about your job?

AM: Feeling like I am making a difference! I was lucky enough to intern with Disney Canada in Toronto last May, and loved every minute of it, but came out realizing that the corporate environment might not be for me.

After applying with multiple non-profit agencies in Ottawa, the OHS came along and just seemed like the perfect fit. With thousands of non-profit agencies in Canada promoting multiple causes, I think animals sometimes get forgotten. They have no voice and are unable to justify their cause, so it is great to be able to be that voice for them and really help people understand why donating to such a worthwhile cause is important.

Being around cute and cuddly animals everyday, is a pretty cool perk too!

FF: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?

AM: The one thing that I loved about the Loyalist PR course is the multiple areas that you get to cover. I really feel like I am getting the opportunity to use them all (even digital media).

This course really gives you a hands-on learning experience. I felt like I had a great background coming from university, but really had no marketable skills.

I was able to come into my current job with a very diverse background and the confidence to attempt any task that was given to me. Kerry really gives you a great foundation, making anything else a piece of cake to tackle!

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

AM: Learn, learn, learn, and when you think you’ve got it all, learn more! You never know the direction your life might take you, and after this year you really will want to have as many marketable skills as possible. I really thought I would be moving to Toronto at the end of the year to attempt getting into Sports Entertainment. Oh how our dreams change! So, take in as much as you possibly can.

Second, don’t box yourself in. I think one of the coolest things that I learned from Kerry last year is that an adult will think of maybe 3-5 ways to tackle a problem, pick one and go for it; a child will think of 60 or more. Be creative. Think of wacky solutions and different ways to approach problems. The one thing I am hearing a lot at work right now is, “this is a new position, make it Ashley”. I am getting the opportunity to flex my creative muscles and find ways to reach as many people as I can with our messages.

Lastly, get to know your fellow students! You really will be like a family in no time. Enjoy this experience, because you will long for it when it’s over.

FF: Finally, you work for the Humane Society now – so, do you have any pets of your own?

AM: Mac “Mackie” MacCormack was born on a cold day in March 2007. On May 9, 2007 he officially became a part of my family, and has brightened up my life every day since then. He enjoys long walks in the park, organic peanut butter treats, and visiting his “glamma” (my mother).

I’m not sure who was more excited about me working for the OHS. The 20th annual Wiggle Waggle Walk-a-thon was on September 7th and Mackie is still investigating all of his free “swag”. Once he is able to sit still for more than three seconds, he will actually be able to come with me to work.

For someone like me, who is an avid animal lover, this really is the perfect place to start my PR career!

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