Freeze Frame with Sylvia Draaistra (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Sylvia Draaistra (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is now working as Marketing Director for Teach Your Children Well in Belleville, Ontario.

Freeze Frame: Tell us a little bit about what you’re up to these days.

Sylvia Draaistra: My job consists of several tasks including writing a newsletter for QLC Educational Services to help inform the parents of the students and to promote the materials we use to the greater community. I also spend time teaching students who struggle in school how to read and write (one of my favourite things).

FF: Tell us about your recent trip to Los Angeles.

SD: As a volunteer for the Belleville Rotary Club, I have been involved in organizing a reading program for kids this summer at the Belleville Public Library. Literacy is one of Rotary International’s main focuses which is why we were invited to hold a booth promoting literacy at the Rotary International conference in Los Angeles.

We spoke with people from all over the world offering solutions for their education problems. It was amazing to see how people everywhere are challenged with the same issues, and it felt good to be able to offer a solution.

FF: How would you say the Loyalist PR program helped prepare you for your current job?

SD: One of the guest speakers at the Rotary International convention in LA was Premier Dalton McGuinty. He spoke on the topic of literacy and happened to be on my flight home -- the one that flew in circles for three hours and landed in Las Vegas because of an air compression problem.

Our trip back to Canada was very late but very interesting for me since I was seated next to Ben Chin, Premier McGunity's Media Relations Specialist. We discussed education in Canada at length and he introduced me to the Honourable McGuinty after we landed safely in Toronto. As Professor Ramsay said (a million times or so) you just never know who you will meet so be at your best and be careful what you say and to whom you say it. Good advice!

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

SD: Be organized, be flexible and be honest. I learned that these three things are crucial in public relations.

The course involved many hands-on activities and real-life situations where I learned how to juggle many things at once, while having a crisis thrown at me, and remain positive even when others are not.

I appreciate the way that we were encouraged to be truthful and honest at all times since this coincides with my own personal values. It makes relating to the public a pleasure.

FF: Finally, we know you love literacy – so what's your all-time favourite children's book?

SD: Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman is my favourite children's book. It has beautiful illustrations and a heart warming story with a positive message for all ages.