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.]

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