Friday, December 12, 2008

Freeze Frame with Phil Jolicoeur (Loyalist PR 05/06)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Phil Jolicoeur (Loyalist PR 05/06) who now works as the Marketing and Special Events Co-ordinator for the Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough.

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

A comedian in his own right, Phil did his Loyalist PR internship with the Funnyfest Calgary Comedy Festival.

Freeze Frame: What are you up to these days, Phil?

Phil Jolicoeur: As the Marketing & Special Events Co-ordinator for the Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough, I have a lot of duties. Every day is different.

Last month I began organizing a “Laugh out Loud” Comedy for a Cause fundraiser which will be held in Cobourg in January. This month I’ve started researching Canadian foundations for grant eligibility. I have also have been known to vacuum the floors and do some dishes, but I don’t get a professional title for those jobs.

FF: What do you enjoy most about your job?

PJ: I enjoy coming to work for something more than just a pay check. Everything I do is for a reason and for a worthy cause. By the end of each work day I feel like I’ve just given a quarter to one of those people outside the grocery store raising money for Lupus!

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

PJ: There are so many things I learned in the Loyalist PR program that I put to use on a daily basis to list. The tools I never stop using are PR writing (media releases, support request letters, donor thank you letters, etc.), networking, networking, and networking! Never stop meeting new people; they could be helpful in your future!

FF: What's your best memory of Loyalist PR?

PJ: My best memory would have been doing the PR presentation on Mr. Floatie. The PR campaign was for POOP (People Opposed to Outfall Pollution) in Victoria, B.C. Let’s face it, what better way to get your word out than a guy called Mr. Floatie dressed as a piece of poop! The word poop is funny!

FF: OK, you’re a funny guy -- so who's your favourite comedian and why?

PJ: I’m a huge stand-up fan. Jerry Seinfeld would be my favourite mainstream comedian, because he takes the simple things in life and makes very clever jokes out of them. I always find myself in real-life situations relating back to an episode of Seinfeld or a joke he said on stage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Language takes an unnatural turn

One of the things we frequently discuss in our Post-Graduate Public Relations program here at Loyalist is language, its uses and impact on human behaviour.

So needless to say, two front section articles in today's Toronto Star and Globe and Mail caught my eye, and prompted a heated in-class discussion.

The latest news is that the Oxford University Press is removing a number of nature words from its Oxford Junior Dictionary --words like beaver, dandelion, heron, magpie, otter, acorn, ivy and clover. (A number of Christian terms are also being deleted, including nun, monk and psalm.)

In their place, Oxford is inserting more technological terms such as Blackberry, MP3 player, voice mail and broadband into its Junior Dictionary.

Are you kidding me? As if our kids weren't already far enough removed from the natural environment, we are now actually removing words from their vocabulary that will allow them to discuss the ecosystem using specifics?

Anyone remember Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods (2005) where the author discusses the concept of Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)? If Oxford's latest move is any indication, we are apparently headed toward a world where there are no woods at all (or beavers or heron for that matter), let alone any children with first-hand knowledge of them.

What worries me is not only the removal of these "nature words" but their replacement with more technological terms. While I'm clearly in favour of new technology (I'm blogging, aren't I?), there is something intrinsically perverse about saying one can replace the other.

If language is a tool that helps shape our understanding of the world around us, then let's hope publishers like Oxford come to their senses before it's too late. Otherwise we can blow good-bye kisses to the natural world as we know it, along with the life-altering richness that comes from experiencing the great outdoors... unplugged.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Freeze Frame with Warren Bonnell (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Warren Bonnell (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is now working as Regional Manager for CanAm Physician Recruiting in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Prior to applying to the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Warren worked for 15 years in the medical sales industry.

Freeze Frame:
Tell us a little bit about your current position.

Warren Bonnell: I work directly with the four health boards in the province matching their physician vacancies with the doctors that are in our data base. This involves having a knowledge of the licensing requirements/procedures for this province and guiding the physicians interested in specific positions through the entire process.

Each week I have regular conference calls/meetings with health boards as well as numerous physicians, of whom the majority are International Medical Grads (IMG's) looking to come to Canada.

FF: How did you come to apply for the Post-Grad PR program at Loyalist?

WB: After having extensive experience in medical sales, I felt a need to step back and return to school to further develop my overall communication skills and possibly pursue a different career path.

FF: What did Loyalist PR do for you?

WB: Loyalist PR helped improve my analytical skills. It helped me to take the complexities of a given situation and be able to present the analysis of it in an organized, well-thought out, well-written format.

As well, I was able to enhance my presentation skills. I present regularly to the health boards, and am an active member of Toastmasters. The Program gave me even more exposure to public speaking and presenting.

FF: What did you enjoy most about Loyalist PR?

WB: My favourite memories would be the fun we had in class playing Kerry's “creative" games. Of course they ALWAYS related to Public Relations in one way or another. From dancing like frogs, playing Balderdash, to building a kingdom/castle with toothpicks, it all had undercurrents of the communications business. Actually, I smile now as I think of those moments.

FF: Do you have any words of advice for this year’s Loyalist PR students?

WB: Start the projects close to the date they're assigned and be on time in submitting them. Be on time for class and if you’re not there let Kerry know why!

FF: Since you’re working in the medical field, do you have any favourite medical TV dramas?

WB: My favourite medical drama has to be Grey's Anatomy for all the obvious reasons: they have the prettiest girls of any medical drama!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

"Rock Your Career!" Week

As we near the end of the semester, Loyalist PR students are beginning to turn their focus to the internship hunt, and the career that awaits them beyond graduation.

To help prepare for the job hunt, students were challenged to "rock their career" this past week.

Among the outstanding keynote speakers who joined us here at Loyalist PR were:

Leslie Hetherington, President of the Toronto chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), an organization to which all Loyalist PR students belong

Sue Dafoe, Account Manager of Charity Village, who provided great insights on job-finding in the not-for-profit sector

Lyndsay Kerik, the "world famous" Career & Employment Services Manager at Loyalist College

Laurie Pratt, Counsellor who provided Loyalist PR students with helpful tips on managing stress both in school and in the workplace

Stewart Hood of Stewart Hood Creative Inc. who brought us all up to speed on personal branding

Pat Bradley of Job Connect who provided valuable, real-world tips on leaving a lasting impression and landing your dream job

Finally, we wrapped up the week with a great Business Etiquette Luncheon today at Club 213 here at Loyalist College.

A great week with limitless possibilities ahead... so glad I've been along for the journey.