Friday, December 18, 2009

Loyalist PR tackles rock climbing challenge!

For those who have found themselves driven to climb the walls during the final weeks of the fall semester, yesterday's Loyalist PR trek to the The Boiler Room Climbing Gym in Kingston provided the perfect outlet for all our pent-up energies.

A motley crew of climbing amateurs and experts, we took to the walls at The Boiler Room with great enthusiasm.

Some among us overcame their fear of heights, others discovered new strength and agility, while all of us enjoyed the chance to be together, have some laughs and share in a great experience.

It was especially rewarding to see people get out of their comfort zone and go beyond their limits -- some even made it to the top of the 100-foot chimney stack, Canada's highest indoor climb!

Special thanks to Kelly McKinnon of Loyalist PR and Cory Mestre, Co-ordinator of Campus Fitness & Recreation at Loyalist College who organized the trip.

And a final WOW to the great team at The Boiler Room Climbing Gym .

Thanks for being so amazing, guys!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Blink Twice."

As many of you know, our Loyalist PR class had the opportunity to attend a taping of CBC's The Hour this past October.

As a big fan of The Hour (that's me, pictured right, with host George Stroumboulopoulos earlier this month), I was thrilled to share the experience with my students.

Just recently, I was reminded of one of the many off-camera segments of the show, during which George (aka Strombo) told us about one of his motorbike racing adventures this past summer.

The part of the story that stuck with me was where George was talking about racing his bike at break-neck speeds, to the point where he had reached the edge of his fears.

At that point, he says he repeated to himself the words someone had once told him about breaking through the fear barrier: "When you reach the point of your fear, blink twice. And then just do it."

And so he did.

And so should we.

What fears are holding you back from reaching your true potential? Or achieving your wildest dream? Or living your best life?

Whatever that fear may be, I challenge you to look it in the eye. Then blink twice -- and sail right past it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Uuuuuggly Sweater Season!

Loyalist PR students kicked off the last week of the semester today with an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party & Potluck (see some selected beauties above).

Highlights of the party included more incredible food than we could ever eat, the oh-so-Secret Santa gift exchange, not to mention an amazing, original track of ultimate seasonal tunes (featuring everything from the Jackson 5 to Britney Spears and Rick Astley - yes, sad, but true). Please don't judge us. It was rocking good times.

Ahead later this week: a trip to the Boiler Room Climbing Gym in Kingston, followed by lunch at the Copper Penny.

Looking forward to a great last week together, everyone!

PR Alumni Return to Share Experiences

Big thanks to Loyalist PR alumni Sara Hamil, a Project Manager for SPAR Aerospace and Chris Thompson, a Graphic Designer with the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club who recently paid a visit to our Loyalist PR classroom.

Both Sara and Chris delivered excellent presentations on their current places of work, and their experiences since graduating from the Loyalist PR Program.

Thanks for stopping by, guys! You're an inspiration to us all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Loyalist United Way Campaign Exceeds Goal

The 2009 Loyalist College United Way Campaign has set a new level of support for the community campaign.

United Way of Quinte Campaign Chair Mark Philbin, and Executive Director Julia Gosson visited the campus today to celebrate campaign receipts of $15,071. This total includes donations from individuals and groups within the College, as well as proceeds from special events held on campus.

The campaign was launched in October with “Casino Loyale” – an event organized by the Post-Graduate Public Relations students at the College.

Other events included a pancake breakfast supported by Quinte Sunrise Rotary; a book sale organized through the College bookstore, and a Run for United Way organized by students in Police Foundations.

“Loyalist College is pleased to support our community United Way campaign,” said College President Maureen Piercy.

“I want to thank the many individuals who helped in this year’s success; the students, alumni, faculty and staff and our partners in the cafeteria and the bookstore, for their efforts. I would especially like to thank the Student Government, the Alumni Association, and students in Professor Kerry Ramsay’s Public Relations class for “Casino Loyale”, and in Professor Larry Cook’s class for their “Police Run” organized in support of the United Way.”

Note: Special recognition also goes to Dan Truman, a Loyalist PR grad who is now the Alumni Relations Co-ordinator at Loyalist. Dan was instrumental in helping to raise funds for this year's United Way Campaign. Way to go, Dan!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

On Campus Interview with Dan Truman

Check out this recent On Campus TV clip which features an interview with Loyalist PR grad Dan Truman (08/09)!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Loyalist PR welcomes "Students for a Day"

If you're interested in enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College for the fall of 2010, we'd like to invite you to become a "Student for a Day".

In the past, many prospective students have taken advantage of this free opportunity to take part in one of our Loyalist PR classes.

If you're interested in taking part in "Student for a Day", please contact Professor Kerry Ramsay, Program Co-ordinator at or call 1-888-LOYALIST, ext. 2127.

Please note: Loyalist PR is a post-graduate program, so all applicants to the program must already hold a university degree, a college diploma or be coming directly from the workforce (portfolio to be evaluated by the program co-ordinator on a case-by-case basis).

We will begin accepting applications in January 2010 for the fall of 2010 class. This year's program was waitlisted, so avoid disappointment and apply early at
We look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Charity Village speaker visits Loyalist PR

A big thanks to Susan Dafoe, Account Manager at Charity Village who spoke about the realities of the non-profit sector with Loyalist PR students yesterday.

Susan brought many amazing things to our attention, including that:

- Canada's non-profit sector is the second-largest in the world (the first is the UK)

- the non-profit sector accounts for 21% of the Canadian workforce (that's 2 million workers)

- 1/3 of the jobs in today's non-profit sector

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Guest Blog Post: Quinte Tweet-Up Review

Today's blog post comes to us courtesy of Loyalist PR grad Sara Hamil (2008/09) who has graciously allowed us to reprint her review of Monday night's Quinte Tweet-Up. To visit Sara's blog, visit her at They Call It Gumption:

"This past Monday I had the great pleasure of attending the second-ever Quinte Tweet-Up at The Winchester Arms in Belleville.

One of my favourite things about social media is the way that it brings people together, and not just online. There’s something truly exciting about finally being able to put a face to that Twitter handle you’ve chatting and sharing ideas with. There’s something even more exciting, even satisfying, when you are able to get together with a group of people that probably never would have found each other any other way.

The first official Quinte Tweet-up was organized by @charlottehrb and her friends at @theyinspire. I was living in Toronto at the time so was unable to attend but from the sounds of things, it was a major success! On one hand I was bitter – I hate feeling cut-off from my communities (even when I’m only attached to them by a thread) and having to miss chances to get invovled. But on the other hand I was really impressed – You always hear about tweet-ups happening in bigger urban centres, but I don’t think many people give much thought to pulling together people from smaller areas.

Needless to say, I was excited when @QuintePR (see photo above, pictured with @kerryramsay) decided to pull together a second informal get-together before the holiday rush set in. Having just moved back to the area, it was a great way to meet new friends and catch up with old ones. The turn out was excellent, far better than I would have imagined (a very welcome wake-up call) and included a wide array of incredible people from diverse backgrounds.

Because it lacked any specific theme or agenda, and because the only requirement for entry was that you were a Twitter user from in or around the Quinte area, the floor was open to a variety of topics of conversation – from social media to local politics and everything in between. I think everyone felt very comfortable, learned a lot about each other, had a lot to say and contribute and left with a few more friends by the end of the night.

We had past and present students of Loyalist College’s Public Relations program come out, communications professionals, designers, local advocates, people who were new to the community and people who had traveled pretty far just to be there. It was an inspiring crossing of worlds that brought out lively discussions about the things we’re passionate about and provided a venue to share ideas about our community.

And that’s what it was, really: A community. I haven’t felt that close to my local community in a while and I enjoyed every minute of it! Hopefully we can follow this trend and continue to build upon the solid foundations we’re laying. Can’t wait for the next one!"

Thanks for the guest blog post, Sara! We'll see you at the next Quinte Tweet-Up!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Remembering Brant Bardy (1963-2009)

I was saddened to learn just recently of the sudden passing of Brant Bardy, Communications Officer and Director of Nation Building for the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (Tyendinaga-Mohawk Territory).

Brant spoke to our Loyalist PR students just a few months ago (see earlier post).

In fact, I was about to contact him to visit our classroom again for the winter semester when I learned of his passing.

For more on Brant Bardy's career and legacy, please click here.

We'll miss you, Brant. Your passion and quiet dignity will never be forgotten.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Hutchison of the Online Pioneer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crisis Communications Week Kicks Off

Loyalist PR students kicked off Crisis Communications Week today with a visit from Retired Captain Ian Stock (now an investment advisor with RBC Dominion Securities).

With plenty of war stories (literally) from the field of crisis comms, Ian delivered a comprehensive presentation filled with excellent tips, guidelines and personal anecdotes.

Thanks for stopping by, Ian - it's always great to have you back in the classroom with us!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

PR students enjoy trio of guest speakers

A big thanks to three wonderful guest speakers who helped wrap up the week for us here at Loyalist PR.

Yesterday afternoon, students enjoyed an excellent presentation on crisis communications made by Doug Mepham of the Toronto-based MacDonald & Company.

As chair of the Post-Graduate Public Relations Advisory Committee, Doug is considered family around here. His talk about the "unfortunate, unfamiliar and unavoidable" assignments often facing PR professionals gave us all a lot to think about.

Today, we were treated to two more excellent guest appearances.

In the morning, Rhonda Cunningham (see photo above), a Certified Fund Raising Executive (and the Executive Director) with the Northumberland Hills Hospital delivered an outstanding presentation on Major Gifts.

Rhonda's authentic approach to dealing with donors and the general public makes her a wonderful speaker and an ideal mentor.

Finally, Loyalist PR students welcomed Lisa Davis, Marketing Director for Marketwire in our afternoon class.

Lisa's presentation covered everything from how to create meaningful news releases and media lists, to SEO and digital communications. In this PR 2.0 age, Lisa's talk was both informative and timely.

Thanks, Doug, Rhonda and Lisa for taking the time to invest in the PR professionals of tomorrow!

Quinte Tweet-Up: November 23rd

Loyalist PR students and faculty are invited to join the next Quinte Tweet-Up on Monday, November 23rd at 5 p.m. at the Winchester Arms in Belleville.

Come out to meet local tweeters, and to network with Loyalist PR alumni and other area communications professionals and business people.

We hope to see you there!

P.S. Don't forget to follow Loyalist PR on Twitter at @loyalistpr!

Loyalist PR Indoor Climb: December 17th

Hey, Loyalist PR students! Join us for an indoor rock climbing event at the Boiler Room in Kingston on Thursday, December 17th to finish off the semester in style!

We'll be leaving Loyalist at 10 a.m., spending a few hours climbing, then wrapping up the day with dinner at The Coppper Penny (mmmm, cheesecake!).

The cost of the trip is $10 (no fee for transportation - what a great deal!). You need to pay in advance, so please get your money to Kelly or Kelly as soon as you can.

We will be taking the school vans, but students are free to take their own vehicles if they're staying over in Kingston or travelling home after the event.

Be sure to bring comfortable clothing for climbing (there are changerooms there), e.g. shorts, track pants, work-out pants (no jeans) and a t-shirt. The $10 you're paying includes the cost of renting climbing shoes.

Even if you don't plan to climb, we can use all the belayers and cheerleaders we can get. It's sure to be a super fun time, so be a part of it!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Kelly or Kerry.

We hope to see everyone there!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

APEX Public Relations President Visits Loyalist

Loyalist PR students were inspired today by a visit by Pat McNamara, President of the Toronto-based PR firm of APEX Public Relations Inc.

Pat made an excellent presentation to students on life inside a PR agency, as well as offering great job searching tips, and opening students' eyes to the many options they have in the field.

"PR firms are a great launching pad for your career," Pat told Loyalist PR students, adding that since most people spend 2/3 of their adult lifetime working, "why not love what you do?"

With clients like Nike, Kellogs and the Bank of Montreal, APEX provides a wide range of public relations services, from corporate communications and brand marketing to government relations and issues/crisis management.

Pat's presentation included a great recent case study demonstrating agency work in action.

A group scenario challenge also allowed students to stretch their imaginations and focus in on a real-world challenge.

Thank you for a wonderful visit, Pat - we look forward to keeping in touch!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

PR interns available for spring 2010

At Loyalist PR, we're proud to send some of the province's most highly skilled students out on internship each spring.

This year, students are seeking four-week, unpaid internships to take place in April or May 2010.

For those of you who aren't familiar with us, the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario is a one-year (two-semester) course of studies covering all aspects of the public relations industry.

All students come to the program with a university degree, college diploma, or related years of work experience.

Most students seek internship opportunities in major urban centres, although some prefer to remain based at the local level.

While students are interning with an organization, they are fully covered either by college insurance or by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

If you have further questions about providing an internship opportunity for one of our students, please feel free to contact Professor Kerry Ramsay, Co-ordinator of the Loyalist PR Program at (613) 969-1913, ext. 2127 or at

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Loyalist PR helps host College Open House

A big thanks to the Loyalist PR students who helped host today's Loyalist College Fall Open House.

More than 1,500 high school students took part in the open house, with our students directing traffic, answering questions, guiding tours and getting school buses where they needed to go on time.

Great job, everyone -- you were outstanding ambassadors for the college today!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Toronto Trip 2009

This past week, Loyalist PR students grabbed their early morning java and headed to catch the Foley coach bus at a startling 6:30 a.m.

Once we were all assembled, we pulled out onto the 401 highway amidst hoots and hollers, our own personal bus tour guide (thank you, Alanna!) and a few chick flicks to boot (sorry, guys!).

Our destination: Toronto.

Thanks to our trusty bus driver, Dave Foley (not the actor), we arrived right on time at the Steam Whistle Brewery where we were welcomed by Sybil Taylor, Director of Marketing and Jiv, Director of Awesome Brewery Tours.
Both Sybil and Jiv made our visit to the brewery a fun and interesting event. One of the most impressive aspects of the brewery's brand, we learned, was its commitment to green initiatives. Once students learned more about what the brand stood for, Sybil had her work cut out for her, but fielded our rapid-fire questions like the pro that she is.

Following our brewery visit and a quick lunch at CBC Studios, we headed through security clearance in preparation for our visit with Elizabeth Lea, Public Relations Director for the CBC.

Elizabeth's presentation on what it means to be an effective communicator provided much food for thought, and challenged us to think about this traditional Canadian brand in a new light.

Once our visit with Elizabeth was complete, we hustled down to The Hour studios where (after a few minor delays, ahem!), we found ourselves enjoying a musical performance by the indie band, Metric, and the Hamilton Children's Choir.

Following a brief intermission, we ended up in the studio again for an hour taping with the ever-charming George Stroumboulopoulos.

A huge thanks to George for not only showing us what it's like behind-the-scenes of a great show like The Hour, but also for taking the time to make this visit personal and meaningful for each and every one of our Loyalist PR students.

Flying high on our experiences of the day, we grabbed dinner and headed back to the bus for an entertaining ride home.

Everyone agreed the day was one of the highlights of the semester so far -- cheers, all!

Loyalist PR hosts Media Mash-Up 2009!

The 2nd annual Media Mash-Up presented by Marketwire took place on Wednesday, October 21st, bringing together more than 300 media students, staff and faculty from Loyalist's School of Media Studies.

Front and centre at this sold out event were Loyalist PR students who helped sell tickets and host the evening.

From getting people to "mash" and mingle to handing out door prizes, performing, co-ordinating musical acts and generally ensuring everyone had a good time, Loyalist PR students came through in a big way.

Way to go, everyone! Thanks to you, this was one fantastic night!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Casino Loyale Raises $1,800+ for United Way

Congratulations to the Loyalist PR students who worked so hard to raise more than $1,800 with today's "Casino Loyale" event.

From the crowd-pleasing Plinko to the Crown and Anchor, the Wheel of Way and multiple on-campus Blackjack games, Casino Loyale got everyone pumped up about raising funds for this worthy cause.

Over the past five years, Loyalist PR students have raised more than $7,800 locally to benefit their local United Way.

Thanks to everyone who participated in today's event -- "without you, there would be no Way!"

For more information on the United Way of Quinte, please click here.

Friday, October 09, 2009

2nd Annual Media Mash-Up on Oct. 21st

Loyalist College’s School of Media Studies will host its second annual Media Mash-Up presented by Marketwire on Wednesday, October 21st from 6 – 9 p.m. in the Shark Tank Pub.

Tickets are being sold for $5 and are available to staff, student and faculty of the School of Media Studies.

The event is a follow-up to last year’s sold-out Media Mash-Up. This year’s version will once again feature live music, door prizes, a cash bar, munchies and a great chance for members of the School of Media Studies to mix and mingle in a fun setting.

“We found out last year that the music was one of the more successful elements of the event,” says Joe Callahan, a journalism professor who sits on the Media mash-Up planning committee. “This year’s show will feature a great variety of student and faculty musicians.”

Additional sponsors for the event include Apple, Japan Camera, QuintEssential Credit Union and Loyalist College.

Door prizes will also be provided by a number of corporate donors, including Apple, Japan Camera, Wal-mart, the Belleville Bulls, Cineplex Odeon, CJLX 91.3 FM, CHOM 97, Loyalist College, Boom Marketing, Cool 100.1, Sam the Record Man and more.

More than 50% of tickets have already been sold! Don't be disappointed - get yours TODAY!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Loyalist PR gears up for "Casino Loyale"

Students of Loyalist College’s Post-Graduate Public Relations program invite the campus community to participate in a “Casino Loyale” fundraiser on Thursday, October 15th to benefit the United Way of Quinte.

Staff and students will be able to play casino-themed games located around the college between 7:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.

With a $2 donation, staff and students will get the chance to win a number of great prizes donated by local businesses such as: Salon You, Nutrition House, Mindful Movements, Mark's Work Warehouse, Future Shop, Wal-Mart, The Boathouse, Applebees, Claire de Lune, HMV, Bulk Barn, Harbourview Caf√©, Ananda Wellness Centre, World’s Finest, Fashion’s End, Canadian Tire, Giant Tiger, Proctor & Gamble, Swiss Chalet, Empire Theatre, Chartwells, the Belleville Bulls and many more.

All proceeds raised will be donated directly to the United Way of Quinte.

Over the past four years, Loyalist PR students have raised over $6,000 with their annual fall fundraiser. This year’s goal is $1,500.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Loyalist PR alumni tie the knot!

Congratulations to Alison Holland (Loyalist PR 06/07) and Chris McCullough (Loyalist PR 05/06) who were married this past month in a truly "cheesy" ceremony.

(Both are Green Bay Packers fans, hence the non-traditional headgear...)

Wishing two of my former students all the best in life and love!

Friday, October 02, 2009

It's all about balance...

I had a great chance to try out a new sport this week here on campus. It's called slack-lining, and involves walking a very narrow (wobbly!) rope while holding the hands of two spotters.

Two of my Loyalist PR students work in Campus Rec, so they invited me and Alex Sancton (visiting our class from World Vision), to take part in the activity.

So here are a few lessons we learned from slack-lining:

1. Never be afraid to try something new - even when you're not sure you'll land on your feet.

2. Surround yourself with people you trust; they could just be the ones to get you through a dizzying experience.

3. Trust your instincts; even when you're facing a new challenge, chances are you can do it with the right guidance.

4. Learn to laugh at yourself; it'll keep you humble.

5. Life is wobbly; hang on tight and don't let go.

Thanks for introducing us to slack-lining, Monique and Kelly - we had a great time!

Loyalist PR serves it up for United Way!

Combine one eaaaaarly October morning with a handful of Loyalist PR students and a cafeteria full of hungry staff and faculty, and what do you get? A successful FUNdraising event!

Yesterday morning, a hardy group of Post-Grad Public Relations students showed up voluntarily two hours before class time to help out with the annual United Way Pancake Breakfast here at Loyalist.

Even before the sun had risen, more than $1,000 had been raised for this worthy cause.

A big thank you to those students who showed up to help serve, wrap cutlery (!), blow up balloons, make change, sell bracelets and promote the breakfast in the chilly outdoors: Ashley, Alanna, Jami, Nick, Adam, Kristen, Monique, Jess, Chris, Mark and Kelly, you rock!

Congrats also to Loyalist PR alumnus Dan Truman who headed up this event for the college. Way to go, Dan!

Stay tuned for news of Loyalist PR's own "Casino Loyale" class fundraiser scheduled to take place October 15th. You won't want to miss it!

P.S. See Pioneer news coverage of the United Way Pancake Breakfast by clicking here.

Loyalist PR Alumni Panel makes an impact

Yesterday, Loyalist PR students welcomed a fantastic Loyalist PR Alumni Panel back on campus to discuss current industry issues and job market realities.

The panel consisted of:

- Ashley MacCormack, Events Co-ordinator (Ottawa Humane Society)

- Alex Sancton, Youth Mobilization Co-ordinator, Public Affairs (World Vision Canada)

- Karen Windover, Special Events and Development Co-ordinator (Albert College)

- Catharine Holt, Donor Relations & Special Events Co-ordinator (Campbellford Memorial Hospital Foundation)

- Emily Robson, Co-ordinator, Municpal Cultural Planning Partnership (City of Waterloo)

- Sylvia Draaistra, Marketing Director (Teach Your Children Well)

- Jeremy MacLaine, Marketing Co-ordinator (East Central Ontario Training Board)

- Amy Hoskin, Athletics Events Assistant (Loyalist College)

- Dan Truman, Alumni Relations Assistant (Loyalist College)

- Christine Richard, Donor Relations Assistant (Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation).

Panelists responded to students' questions and discussed topics like volunteering, how to build social capital, the role of social media in PR, sponsorship, skills needed for today's industry, internship opportunities and much more.

A huge thank you to all our panelists - we are so proud of all of you. We appreciate you taking the time from your very busy schedules to share your afternoon with us. We are all richer for it.

P.S. Thanks to those who also joined us for a fun dinner afterward - an amazing 2010 Loyalist PR Reunion is now in the works!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Katie Dudley (08/09) visits Loyalist PR

Loyalist PR enjoyed a great visit today from alumna Katie Dudley (Loyalist PR 08/09), now a Junior Account Manager with Harvey McKinnon Associates in Toronto.

Katie delivered a thorough presentation on Direct Mail Fundraising as a part of our Public Relations for Non-Profits morning class.

Covering topics such as what's important for successful fundraising, how to create a compelling direct mail piece and how to write a persuasive direct mail letter, Katie had us laughing (and crying) and most of all, learning about a vital part of the fundraising field.

Thanks for the visit, Katie -- you're welcome back anytime!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ethics workshop challenges Loyalist PR students

Eric Bergman of Bergman & Associates delivered a thought-provoking, interactive workshop on ethics and values to Loyalist PR students this afternoon.

"We have two roles in public relations," explains Eric, who has been a part of the international accreditation council for the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for more than a decade. "We are both values managers and conscience counsellors."

Referring to the field of ethics as "drawing a black line through a gray area," he explored a number of relevant case studies to the public relations field, including opportunities for students to test their own ethical boundary lines.

The litmus test for ethical decision making, says Eric, should return to the five basic questions asked by Patricia Parsons in her book, Ethics in Public Relations: A Guide to Best Practice:

- Does it do harm?

- Does it do good?

- Is it the truth?

- Does it respect privacy?

- Is it fair and socially responsible?

Thanks for a great seminar, Eric! You've given us a lot to think about.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Freeze Frame with Sara Hamil (Loyalist PR 08/09)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Sara Hamil (Loyalist PR 08/09) who is now employed as the Media Relations and Publicity Co-ordinator for Free the Children, the world’s largest network of children helping children through education.

She is based in Toronto, Ontario.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Sara completed a degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She also minored in Writing, Rhetoric and Critical Analysis and English.

Freeze Frame: What made you decide to enroll in Loyalist PR?

Sara Hamil: There were actually a number of reasons I wound up enrolling in Loyalist PR. Probably the most influential (and relevant) was the fact that I recognized the potential to apply this career to a number of exciting fields.

Being in PR allows me to do something I enjoy (communicating!) and be able to apply those skills to areas I am passionate about (social change!). Gift + Passion = Better world!

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

SH: Honestly, I couldn’t do this job without Loyalist PR. I feel like I’ve used just about every tool we were taught (including things I NEVER thought I’d actually need! Honestly, pay attention during the class about addressing royalty and public figures. Trust me).

Probably the most useful part about the program is the fact that you’re not just learning how to work in PR, you actually get real hands on experience in the industry as you go.

FF: Tell us about a couple of highlights of your work so far with Free the Children.

SH: One of the very first projects I worked on when I got here was a royal visit. To say that writing that press release was a tad intimidating would be an understatement, but the whole thing was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be sure!

I’ve also been able to interact with a lot of the youth who are involved with our programming through various projects. These young leaders are so excited about the organization and so passionate about making a positive difference in the world. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as getting to see the impact that your work is having, especially when it’s so overwhelmingly positive.

FF: Any exciting projects you’re working on currently that you can share with us?

SH: WE DAY 2009! We Day is our signature youth empowerment event that will see 32 000 student leaders and educators coming together in Vancouver (Sept. 29th) and Toronto (Oct. 5th) to celebrate the power of young people to change the world.

Some of the world’s top social issues speakers will hit the stage, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Jason Mraz, Mia Farrow, Dr. Jane Goodall, Hedley, Elie Wiesel and of course, Craig and Marc Kielburger plus SO many more!

These events are going to be incredible and I’m so excited to be a part of the amazing team that’s making it happen!

FF: Any last words of advice for our new crew of Loyalist PR students?

SH: You are going to be presented with countless amazing opportunities this year – TAKE THEM. Honestly, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get yourself out there and try new things.

Jump at the chance to volunteer, join clubs or teams around the school and don’t shy away from the chance to network and meet new people. Obviously these things are good for your portfolio but more importantly, these are things that you’ll always remember and they will help you make the most out of your time in Loyalist PR!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Loyalist PR students get involved!

Krispy Kreme hats off to the Loyalist PR students (and Rotaractors) Jess, Alanna and Ashley who helped sell donuts for the Alzheimer Society of Canada today.

Clearly this was a delicious (and apparently highly fashionable) fundraiser. Great work, ladies!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Loyalist PR Alumni Return to the Classroom

Loyalist PR students enjoyed a visit today from alumna Bryna Jones (08/09), now a Communications Specialist with Engine Communications and alumnus Jeff Lauritsen (08/09), now the Communications Co-ordinator at Quinte Waste Solutions.

Both shared their insights on the program, the local labour market and how Loyalist PR helped get them to where they are today.

Special thanks to Bryna for blogging about her visit on the Engine Communications blog.

Thanks to both Jeff and Bryna for their inspiration and motivation today. We wish them all the best with their careers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sun, sand & school: Loyalist PR kicks it off!

Loyalist PR students jumpstarted a brand new year this week with three full days of orientation, food and fun.

The final event was a beach volleyball challenge (winning team to go nameless, sigh).

Besides letting loose and enjoying the feel of the sand between our toes, here are just a few things we learned from the experience:

1. When the ball's in your court, go for it!

2. Communicate with your team at all times.

3. Cheer on your team mates -- they'll appreciate it.

4. Stay alert - you never know when someone may decide to spike the ball in your direction.

5. Never be afraid to have a little fun -- it'll make the day so much brighter.

It's going to be a great year, everyone. Glad to have you all along for the ride!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Fire it up, Loyalist PR!

It's the first day of Loyalist PR for the class of 2010 -- let's fire it up, people!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Freeze Frame with Sarah Tummon (Loyalist PR 08/09)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Sarah Tummon (Loyalist PR 08/09) who is now employed as the Special Events Co-ordinator for the City of Quinte West.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Sarah studied at the University of Toronto and Athabasca University with a focus on History and Political Science.

Freeze Frame: What motivated you to take the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College?

Sarah Tummon: I recently lived in Los Angeles for a year and a half where I was exposed to public relations and event co-ordination on a very large scale – this sparked my interest in public relations.

After moving home, I researched all the schools I could take PR at. To my surprise, the school in my hometown (Loyalist College) offered it and had a great reputation. It was great to be able to study public relations in my hometown while building valuable relationships in the area.

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

ST: The Public Relations program at Loyalist College helped prepare me for my current job in more ways than one. The public relations program is entirely project-based, which meant throughout the year we focused on projects that we would encounter in the working world. Everything we worked on was practical.

This program provided us with the knowledge that is necessary for a career in public relations but on top of that the skills that are necessary. This program was very hands on, so when it came time to interview for jobs I was able to say YES I have done that, thanks to the PR program.

FF: What’s the best part of your job?

ST: The best thing about my job is the fact that I am planning and coordinating events. I came into the PR program with a desire to find a career in event coordination! To have found a career where this is the main focus has been so exciting. Another great thing about my job is the fact that I am working for the City of Quinte West-which is an awesome corporation.

FF: What can you tell us about the importance of volunteering when looking for a job in the field of public relations?

ST: I cannot say enough about how important it is to volunteer when it comes to landing a job in the PR field. I volunteered the entire time I was at Loyalist College and was able to plan and oversee events through my volunteer work.

This, in turn, helped me so much by providing me with invaluable experience. Volunteer work is looked at just as highly as if you were to have worked somewhere. Experience is experience and as a student, you can never have enough experience.

FF: Any words of advice for students entering the Post-Graduate Public Relations program this year?

ST: 1) Volunteer as much as you can 2) Believe in yourself and what you can accomplish and 3) Have fun -- this program is a blast!

FF: Any final quotes you’d like to leave with us?

ST: My favorite quote to pass along is “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Reputation crisis? It's never too late...

Meet Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.

In 1888, Alfred woke up one morning to read his own obituary which had been mistakenly published by a French newspaper. The article began, “Le marchand de la mort est mort” (“The merchant of death is dead”).

The obituary went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

Imagine being alive to read your own obituary – and then realizing you had left such a terrible legacy.

What makes this story amazing, though, is what happened next.

As it turns out, Alfred used that defining moment in his life to make a monumental decision.

Shortly after reading his “obituary”, he changed his will to establish a peace prize to be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

To this day -– more than a century later -- the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year on the anniversary of Nobel’s (actual) death: December 10th. Among the awards past winners have been Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and Elie Wiesel.

The lasting legacy we remember Alfred Nobel for today? Peace.

What reputation have you earned over the years? Is it one you want to shake?

If so, consider the Nobel Peace Prize and remember: it’s never too late for a new beginning…

Monday, August 31, 2009

Freeze Frame with Bryna Jones (Loyalist PR 08/09)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Bryna Jones (Loyalist PR 08/09) who is now employed as a Communications Specialist with Engine Communications, an integrated marketing firm in Belleville, Ontario.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program, Bryna completed a B.A.A. in Human Services Management at Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame: What made you decide to enroll in Loyalist PR?

Bryna Jones: I knew after my degree that I wasn’t finished with school. I didn’t want to be stuck in the non-profit world without something to boost my skills (be it Masters or post-grad).

I got an email about Loyalist PR from the college, and took a look at the blog. Two of the most recent grads were working in the exact places I wanted to be: international aid and government.

After talking to Kerry, I saw that it would be a perfect way to marry my loves of the non-profit world and the political universe.

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

BJ: It’s almost easier to say how it didn’t help; the list would be shorter. Everything I do, I learned in Loyalist PR! I barely knew what a blog was when I started the program, and I was averse to all things social media. (I’m laughing ironically now.)

Fast forward eight months and a huge part of my job here at Engine is developing their social media strategy, and implementing all SM tools.

I run three blogs, manage three Twitter accounts, and host two Facebook Fan Pages. I just received a “Top 30 Under 30 Tweeter” nod as well.

Without Loyalist PR, I wouldn’t have the job I do.

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

Connecting with people! I love it! I enjoy so much that I get to use my (small) voice to help others.

Another element of my job is to develop our corporate social responsibility model. This is something I’m incredibly passionate about. Using social media to network and connect my business with others, and then to use this forum to give back to my community and the world, is a dream come true.

FF: I know you also support a lot of important causes - tell us about a couple of your latest projects.

BJ: Right now I’m working with Streams of Hope, a local non-profit that connects individual and corporate donors with capital projects in developing nations.

Humanitarian relief work is my personal passion. Through Loyalist PR I was able to work with this group to create a blog that unites voices across organization lines.

Even two of the interviews I’ve done on the blog have been the result of Loyalist PR alumni connections (the ones with Dave Toycen and Ashley Clements).

Kerry was also gracious enough to give me the time to travel to Uganda with SOH to learn about non-profit development in the third world.

I’m also working with the Mully Children’s Family, out of Kenya, right now to organize a promotion/fundraising tour. This is part of the Engine CSR model. We’re also helping some community-based non-profits with branding and marketing – pro bono.

FF: Do you have any words of advice you'd like to share with Loyalist PR students enrolling this fall?

BJ: Be open to connections, and I don’t just mean between people; but between ideas, goals, and organizations. Kerry focuses a lot on creativity, brainstorming, and thinking outside the box. I use these skills every day.

Have fun, be yourself, and bring an open mind to the table. If you do those things, you’ll succeed.

FF: Finally, any favourite quotes you'd like to pass along?

BJ: It may sound clich√©, but as Nike (and I’m using them because of their amazing brand recognition) would say: “Just do it!” Get involved, engaged, and active: in life and in school.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Words to Live By (Summer 2009)

"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is." – Mary Anne Radmacher

Sunday, July 05, 2009

New "Me to We" video features Loyalist PR Grad Sara Hamil (08/09)

Check out this great, new video clip which features Loyalist PR grad Sara Hamil (08/09).

Sara is the new PR and Publicity Coordinator/Social Media Strategist for Free the Children in Toronto, Ontario.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Freeze Frame with Nick DiMarco (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today's Freeze Frame features Nick DiMarco (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is currently working as a Marketing Assistant with MLJ Coaching International in Kingston, Ontario.

Prior to enrolling in Loyalist PR, Nick completed a diploma in Radio Broadcasting at Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame: Tell us about your current position with MLJ Coaching International.

Nick DiMarco: Since I’m still relatively new in the position (mid-May 2009), I’m still working towards my full potential in the job. But as it stands right now I am the direct contact between my boss and our clients. I keep track of our database, take part in trade shows and help with workshops for our clients.

A project I have very recently taken on, along with my Operations Manager, is our annual conference/retreat. For this I will have to create all the promotional material as well as be the one to inform our clients of the conference. I will also be attending to conference to help with the day to day activities.

For now though, my primary focus is on the current program we are running, and keeping the clients happy.

FF: What’s the best part of your job so far?

ND: The most joy I’m getting out of the job right now is knowing that since I’ve been there, the business has progressed extensively. The fact that I’ve been able to relieve my boss of certain tasks, such as the marketing, has helped her be able to focus on what she does best and that’s the business training.

Like my boss says “do what you do best and hire out the rest.” It only makes sense.

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

ND: Taking PR at Loyalist helped me in every way possible. It gave me the professionalism, and the academic background to do what I’m doing today -- everything from client and community relations, to the most basic things like stuffing gift bags for events. It’s funny to see how all the small things we did in class, like the team building exercises and creative thinking projects, have really paid off. Without that basic knowledge of social skills and your own creativity, you can’t succeed in a fast paced career based position.

FF: What’s your best memory of your days in Loyalist PR?

ND: You may ask for one, but I’m going to tell you two, just because I feel the need! My first one was obviously the baby shower that the class threw for me! [Nick is now the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Avery.) To this day I still laugh at the fact that it took me half a minute that the surprise was actually for me.

My second favourite memory was our United Way “Way or No Way” fundraiser – it was classic! And the fact that for the first time I was allowed to be on a mega phone and make a complete fool out of myself and it was perfectly fine!

FF: Do you have any advice for this fall’s Loyalist PR students?

ND: Have an open mind! The PR program at Loyalist has something for everyone, so take as much from it as possible, because you’ll never know where you’ll find yourself after you graduate. You don’t want to be sitting in an interview one day saying, “Darn, I wish I had paid attention to what Kerry said about news releases, it would really help me right about now.”

Finally, I know you’re a huge superhero fan – so who’s your favourite superhero of all time?

ND: YAY! Something for me to go on a little rant about! Right now, I’d have to say my absolute favourite superhero is actually a mercenary called Deadpool. If you’ve seen the new Wolverine movie you’ll somewhat know who I’m talking about, but that movie was wrong from the first minute it started and that’s something I don’t want to bore you with!

But the reason why I enjoy Deadpool is because he’s crazy, literally. He talks to himself. He has three conscious levels that talk: the left side of his brain, the right side of his brain, and than Him. They all think independently to help him do whatever it is he’s doing. Plus he is the only person in the comic book world that knows he’s in a comic. Wiki him, you might get a good laugh.

I knew that last question would get you talking – good luck with your new job, Nick!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thanks for a great year, everyone!

Drink in every day this summer, whether rain or shine. And don't forget to keep in touch! -- Kerry

Friday, June 19, 2009

Freeze Frame with Kyle MacKenzie (Loyalist PR 08/09)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Kyle MacKenzie (Loyalist PR 08/09) who is now the Communications Assistant at the environmental non-governmental organization Earth Day Canada, based out of Toronto.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Kyle completed an Honours B.A. in English with a Fine Arts minor in Theatre at the University of New Brunswick.

Freeze Frame: What are some of your communications-related job duties at EDC?

Kyle MacKenzie: My day starts off with a cruise through a lengthy list of environmental blogs and news sites where I compile up-to-date eco-news, facts and other interesting eco-related items.

Media monitoring is next to see if EDC has been mentioned in the media whether it is online, print or otherwise. I also check for articles that will contribute to professional development here at EDC.

Once I have all this information organized, I put together a morning brief and send it around to all the staff, usually by 10 a.m. EDCer’s say they look forward to the briefs every morning.

I have also developed a social media plan and policy for EDC, and am currently integrating it into their overall communications plan. EDC runs six year-round programs. I work with each manager individually to find ways to increase awareness and outreach for their programs. So far it has been a great success.

I am also an assistant to the graphic designer and web manager. I have been assigned multiple design tasks like posters, brochures, status reports and more.

Finally, I have produced videos, walked to the mailbox quite a few times, and played guitar for some kids at this year's Kids World of Energy Festival. Pretty cool stuff.

FF: What do you enjoy most about your job?

KM: I am doing things at work that I would typically be doing at home for fun; it’s like a hobby. Also, the staff here at EDC is all on the same level, hoping to preserve our deteriorating environment. Working for a cause is pretty amazing, knowing that I am working to improve the lives and future of people around the world.

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

KM: I knew nothing about public relations until I walked into class that first day. Now, I know that many things make up the world of PR, and I feel Loyalist helped me gain the knowledge I need to move forward in the growing industry.

FF: What three skills did you learn in Loyalist PR that you use most often on the job?

KM: Social media, graphic design and a belief that anything can happen, all you need to do is try. Of course the writing, theory, case studies, presentation skills, and event planning were important too.

FF: Do you have any “best memories” of your time in Loyalist PR?

KM: Playing guitar at the Loyalist daycare every Friday, Jams 4 Cans and writing that in-class poem about the ever-increasing amount of gum covering Mexico City’s sidewalks.

FF: Do you have any advice for students entering Loyalist PR in the fall?

KM: Dream big and stay positive. I did, and now I’m living the dream.

FF: Since you’re both an environmentalist and a musician, do you have a favourite eco-tune?

KM: Despite past issues he has had to deal with, the man can write a song. I am definitely going to have to go with Michael Jackson’s Heal the World - “Make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race…”

[Kerry's note: Just days after this interview was conducted, Michael Jackson died at the age of 50; lyrics like these ones are his legacy.]

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sustainable Social Media Ecosystems

This week I had the chance to attend a great IABC Toronto workshop addressing the topic of “How to Achieve a Sustainable Social Media Ecosystem.”

Along with some of my Loyalist PR colleagues (and many others), I had the chance to learn more about integrating current communications tools in a variety of social networking platforms, along with a number of case studies involving blogging, Facebook and Twitter.

Panelists for the evening included Evelyn So, Founder and President of Noesium Consulting Inc., Jeffrey Veffer, Partner with Brandsential and Peter Flaschner, Founder and Creative Director of The Blog Studio.

Thanks to IABC Toronto (along with Chapter President Leslie Hetherington) for putting on this wonderful event addressing such a timely topic.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Convocation Day 2009

"The picture you have in your mind of what you're about will come true." -- Bob Dylan

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Freeze Frame with Amanda Pratt (Loyalist PR 08/09)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Amanda Pratt (Loyalist PR 08/09) who is now the Media Relations Officer/Fundraiser for Long Point Waterfowl/Bird Studies Canada. (“My life has a lot of backslashes to it recently,” says Amanda.)

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Amanda completed a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biology and Psychology from the University of Western Ontario.

Freeze Frame: Tell us a little bit about your current duties at Long Point Waterfowl (LPW) and Bird Studies Canada (BSC).

Amanda Pratt: A lot of what I do for LPW is social media and brand monitoring. The rest of my job tends to break down into two nice categories, as described by my job title: media relations and fundraising. I’ve been working on promotions and getting sponsors for a national conference we’re putting on this summer and just generally building a stronger brand for us to work with. And let’s not forget grant applications. Lots and lots of grant applications.

FF: How do you feel Loyalist PR helped prepare you for your current position?

AP: The program gave me the basic skills to get me started working in the field of PR. Probably the most important thing that I learned was how to make a media kit, followed closely by what social media is and how to use it effectively. The biggest challenge that I’ve encountered so far is how to stay on top of everything that I’ve got going on and still be productive!

FF: What’s the best part of your job?

AP: I guess I’d have to say that the overall job is the best part! I love waking up every morning and knowing that I’m helping my organization to conserve wetland and waterfowl habitat across Canada. It’s definitely a bonus that my boss trusts me and my expertise enough to let me do what I need to without constantly being monitored.

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

AP: How can I possibly pick one? I’ll have to go with the United Way fundraiser that we did at the beginning of the year, if for no other reason than seeing Dan dressed up as Waldo and Jeff wearing a wig was priceless!

FF: Any advice for students enrolling in the fall 2009 Post-Grad PR Program?

AP: Get involved! There are tons of opportunities to experience different things at Loyalist that you won’t necessarily be able to do when you’re juggling a job and “real life.” Plus, the more things you try, the more likely you are to narrow down the aspects of PR that you might want to focus on.

FF: Thanks, Amanda – and happy birding!

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Vision of Students Today

For the participants in my social media presentation this past week in Washington DC, here is the YouTube video entitled "A Vision of Students Today." Enjoy, and feel free to share your feedback!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Freeze Frame with Jeff Lauritsen (Loyalist PR 08/09)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Jeff Lauritsen (Loyalist PR 08/09) who is now the Communications Co-ordinator at Quinte Waste Solutions (QWS) in Trenton, Ontario. QWS handles all the recycling for nine municipalities in Centre and South Hastings, as well as Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Jeff served eight years with the Canadian Armed Forces working in satellite communications, radio and IT networking.

Freeze Frame: Tell us what you’re up to these days at Quinte Waste Solutions.

Jeff Lauritsen: As Communications Co-ordinator, I manage all the promotional materials at QWS, including public service announcements, press releases, radio interviews, paid advertising, design and implementation of various print materials. I am also in the process of developing educational programs on recycling for schools, and when I can, I provide tours of our Material Recycling Facility (MRF) to the public.

FF: How do you feel Loyalist PR helped prepare you for your current position?

JL: The Post-Grad PR Program at Loyalist provided me with the tools I use every day on the job. I notice this most when I am dealing with the local media. It is refreshing for them to have people using the same templates they are familiar with. I find that if you take care of all the formatting issues, and deliver a file to them the way they prefer it, the chances of your articles going to print increase dramatically (not to mention the relationship you are able to build with them).

FF: What’s the best part of your job?

JL: Coming to work every day! In a time when unfortunately many people are without work, I am grateful to Loyalist College, more specifically Kerry [aw, thanks, Jeff!], for giving me the knowledge and tools to market myself effectively in this uncertain economic climate.

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

JL: I really enjoyed all the different people that made up the PR class. Everyone came with their own experiences and skill sets which added to an already excellent learning environment. If I had to narrow it down, I would say Thanksgiving dinner with everyone would be in my Top 3.

FF: Do you have any advice students enrolling in the fall 2009 Post-Grad PR Program?

JL: Do it!

FF: Finally, what is the one thing you think that can help set someone apart in this tough job market?

JL: The one thing that will set you apart from others in this field is really having an understanding of how you will measure the success of the campaign you produce. In a time when money weighs heavily in the decision-making process, being able to identify to your superiors or potential employer how you will measure your success will give you that needed edge.

FF: Thanks, Jeff – congratulations on your success, and good luck in the future!