Freeze Frame with Jeannie Maidens (LoyalistPR 08/09)

Today's Freeze Frame features Jeannie Maidens (Loyalist PR 08/09) who is now working as the Events Co-ordinator for the Municipality of Port Hope.

Before enrolling in Post-Graduate Public Relations at Loyalist College, Jeannie studied Tourism Marketing and Promotions.

Freeze Frame: Tell us a little bit about what you do as Events Co-ordinator for the Municipality of Port Hope.

Jeannie Maidens: My role as Events Coordinator is both exciting and challenging. I have an interesting mix of duties, from reporting directly to Municipal Council, scheduling and chairing cross-departmental meetings, handling media relations, implementing a filing system, researching government funding opportunities, writing and designing all kinds of materials, overseeing as well as developing events of varying sizes, collaborating with many volunteers groups and service clubs, managing event promotion, entertaining visitors in our Visitor’s Centre to building floats for a parade; it’s endless.

I enjoy the changing environment and the diverse groups of people that I have the privilege of working with. My days are a-typical and it suits me just fine.

FF: What made you decided to take Loyalist PR?

JM: I loved Loyalist College and when two PR students came into my Tourism class to promote the program, I was instantly hooked into another year on campus. I was intrigued by the curriculum and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience it.

If you can imagine my resume as a burger, before enrolling in the PR program, I had a bun, a patty and a few squirts of ketchup; not bad considering before I came to Loyalist to take the Tourism Program I had an empty plate. Now to my burger add the PR program, and all of a sudden I have two barbequed all-beef patties, double-stacked, topped with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, hot peppers, onion, pickles and mayonnaise. Things that make you go mmmmmm.

What I am trying to say is I knew the PR course would beef up my resume, making me that much more prepared and appealing to employers; it offers a whole lot of something extra.

FF: Ok, now we're HUNGRY! So, how has Loyalist PR helped you in your current position?

JM: How hasn’t it? Thanks to Loyalist PR I am a loaded weapon, with a packed arsenal of skills! Through all the hands-on real-time projects we executed, I can confidently say, “oh, I’ve done that”, and if I haven’t, I have the confidence to say, “I can handle it”.

As a student you have a crazy amount of projects on the go at once, as well as life’s twists and turns to balance. As a professional you have the same balance to maintain, only there isn’t a classroom full of support and there is no such thing as deadline extensions.

If you choose not to do something, it’s not grades on the line but a paycheck and job security. Loyalist PR provided me with the opportunity to figure out a little thing called time-management.

FF: What were the highlights of Loyalist PR for you?

JM: The people, my peers and instructors, without these folk it would not have been the same.

The PR class is a mixed bag, people from all kinds of backgrounds who are following their passions and discovering their potential.

Our classroom setting was a really creative place to be; it was so conducive to brainstorming and collaboration. When we all got geared up and inspired, the ideas that filled the room were truly priceless.

The professors were all originals too; it was great to have such fearless leaders. The year for me was a journey and my peers surrounded me with some interesting scenery. (Insert a toast to my classmates here – what a fine group of characters.)

FF: Any words of advice for students who have entered the program this fall?

JM: During my time at Loyalist I never thought I would be working in the events field, I never thought I would be doing a lot of things. I suppose my advice would be, never say never because you never know!

Keep your options open and pay attention to the skills you are learning. Hold onto your resources and keep tabs on your developing network – you may not know when all this stuff is going to come in handy – but it will. Make the best of your time, keep an open mind and don’t throw anything out (opportunities, contacts or materials).

FF: Any last thoughts?

JM: Three things come to mind. 1) Be yourself and allow yourself to shine. 2) Apply for jobs, any job you think you are interested in…I got my job because my resume was out there, I had applied for a different position then received a call for the one I hold know. Companies won’t be able to find you if you don’t make the first step. 3) Work hard and play hard – you only live once!