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 kramsay@loyalistc.on.ca.

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!