Monday, January 26, 2009

Freeze Frame with Lizanne Donnelly (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Lizanne Donnelly (Loyalist PR 07/08) who now runs her own communications consulting business in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Prior to applying to the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist, Lizanne obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in Economic Geography & Fine Art History.

Freeze Frame: What made you choose the Loyalist PR Program?

Lizanne Donnelly: JOBS ...when I looked at the interesting jobs available, many required some PR background. This was something I had been doing to some extent in my sales career. PR is about connecting with people in a calculated (and necessary) way.

FF: So, what are you up to these days?

LD: I am fortunate. A U.S. developer is hoping to build in Prince Edward County, and I am doing their PR and Communications. I love what I do and my client is very pleased with the results so far. I've been able to nurture other small clients, but this large project is providing me with a great resume and an income.

I'm also on a local capital campaign committee, and launching the communications plan to raise $1.5 million. I'm nervous because of the visibility and risk. This is a volunteer position, and other volunteers and municipal councilors are on the project. This is very selective volunteering on my part.

To do my job well, I need to be reachable. Radio stations call for interviews and those can't be missed. I was on my way to Europe, and my client called my blackberry about an unplanned media release. I wrote the media release on the plane, and sent it out when I arrived. It could not wait until I got back, so I was able to have a stress-free holiday.

FF: In what ways did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current job?

LD: "Get the inside onside before you go outside" ... how many times have I said that since graduation??? It is so true.

I could not have my business without the program credentials behind me. Fortunately, I'm using just about every module and skill known to PR. My clients are clever and they rely on me for consulting. I listen to their needs, understand their objectives, and provide solutions.

FF: How important is networking in your current position?

LD: Very important. I spend a fair amount of time making friends in many places. Other people have brought opportunities to me, and I finally got on Facebook because of the networking opportunities.

Prince Edward County is a small community, and these are tough times. Networking is a great way to weather the storm and stay positive. There are opportunities out there, but you need to out there too.

FF: Finally, what's the best thing about owning your own business?

LD: Working in my PJ's with my dog next to my desk. I could never do that in a real office.

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