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!