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!

2 comments:

Micheal Bernard McCaul said...

Well Put Sarah Hamil, well put! I am one of many students (I'm sure) who should and will take your advice. As for me I signed up for Roteract and will be signing up for SIFE as well. I plan to take my internship at some sort of sports related firm in toronto (fingers crossed for a hockey club). Any specific advice for internships?

Sara Hamil said...

Thanks for your comment and question, Michael! It sounds like you're already well on your way and I'm glad to hear you're involved with Rotaract (that was my thing when I was at Loyalist!)

The best piece of advice I can offer you is to start now. When I started at Loyalist PR I knew I wanted to be in non-profit and had my eye on FTC for a while. I based a number of projects off of the organization, volunteered for them (We Day!) and did an informational interview with the head of communications. Establishing these relationships and showing genuine interest in the organization really helped me get my foot in the door.

Your chosen field is obviously a bit different but there's still a lot you can do. Look for opportunities to lend your skills and talents to events, fundraisers, etc. related to sports in some capacity. That extra initiative goes a long way!

I hope that helped! All the best in your program!