Saturday, December 15, 2012

Merry Christmas to all...

... and to all a happy holiday!

From the Loyalist PR crew to the rest of you -- have a wonderful vacation, everyone!

P.S. That's our very own student Alex Pilon dressed as Santa (sssshhh, don't tell the kiddies)!

Photo by Linda Horn

Friday, November 30, 2012

Loyalist PR students partner with community

Loyalist PR students were on hand yesterday for the presentation of a cheque for $23,568 to the United Way of Quinte.

Back in October, the Post-Graduate Public Relations students raised more than $14,000 for the United Way through their Campus Truckload Sale.

What a great opportunity to give to such a worthy community cause!

Way to go, everyone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alumni panel offers advice to Class of 2013

Yesterday afternoon, Loyalist PR students welcomed back 11 graduates of the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program.

In a lively discussion on everything from rural vs. big city living to internships and networking, this year's panel generously shared their time, insights and experiences.

Big thanks to this year's Loyalist PR alumni panel participants: Logan Morrison (Marketing Communications Coordinator for Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve), Luc Fournier (Membership Coordinator, Belleville Chamber of Commerce), Sean Ashbridge (Account Coordinator, Immersion Media - Toronto), Alex Sancton (Internal Communications Manager, World Vision - Mississauga), Bryna Jones (Communications Manager, Save the Children - Toronto), Kasey Pollard (Destination Development Coordinator, Hastings County), Sara Hamil (Social Media Manager, Quinte Pediatrics), Devon Taylor (Communications Intern, Sick Kids Foundation - Toronto), Adrienne Barrie (Development Officer, Northumberland Hills Hospital - Cobourg), Gloria Fletcher (Project Coordinator, Comfort Country) and Colleen Vickers (Special Events Coordinator, City of Quinte West).

It was wonderful to see you all again - thanks once more for participating in this year's alumni panel!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Meet downtown's new promotor

The following article about Loyalist PR grad Sarah Tummon (2007/08) appeared in The Intelligencer (by Jerome Lessard) on November 14, 2012:

Former special events coordinator for the city of Quinte West, Sarah Tummon, has moved home.

Belleville Downtown Improvement Area (BDIA) hired the Belleville resident as its executive director, a new position within the organization that aims to provide business promotion and improvement functions for business owners in downtown Belleville.

The BDIA has as its mandate to improve, beautify and maintain public lands and buildings within the city's downtown area and promote the area as a business and shopping area.

Since reporting Monday, Tummon is responsible for overall management and operations of the organization and directly reports to BDIA's chairman Edie Haslauer.

Thanks to her two years as special events coordinator at the city of Quinte West, Tummon brings with her extensive experience in event management, public and media relations as well as marketing.

"The position I had with the city of Quinte West fell under the umbrella of economic development and brought me to coordinate events in the downtown and other development projects for the downtown in Trenton," she said.

"I am thrilled to join the BDIA and be working on many exciting initiatives that are underway. As a Belleville resident, I am honoured to be part of the ongoing revitalization of downtown Belleville."

In addition to hiring Tummon as executive director this week, the BDIA welcomed coordinator Kathryn Di Donato back, following a year maternity leave.

"I am looking forward to working with Sarah and am excited about what the future holds for the BDIA," said Di Donato.

Among her first assignments, Tummon will oversee the BDIA's annual general meeting at Belleville Club this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. She said a review of annual reports and filing positions that are current vacant on BDIA's board of director will be on the menu of this year's meeting.

"Also, Crowe Productions Inc. will be launching the new Virtual Downtown Walk Through on our web site ( We encourage our BDIA members and members of the public to attend Thursday's meeting," said Tummon.

Loyalist PR students at Kingston event

Wuan Yoon of beanstalk & co. teaches Loyalist PR students (and other conference attendees) about leadership.
Many thanks to the organizers of this year's National Philanthropy Day which took place last Thursday, November 15th in downtown Kingston.

At the invitation of the location chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), students of the Post-Graduate Public Relations program took part in excellent learning sessions alongside fundraising executives, and volunteered their time in a wide range of capacities.

It was also great to see some of our past graduates at the event, in their new, professional roles.

Well done, everyone!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Grad Profile: Sean Ashbridge (2011/12)

Today's Loyalist PR graduate profile features Sean Ashbridge (2011/12) who is now employed as Account Coordinator at Immersion Media in Toronto.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Sean completed a degree in Geography (minor in Political Science) from the University of Guelph.

Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist?

Sean Ashbridge: I decided to enroll in Loyalist PR because I saw the course calendar sitting on my bed. After leaving another post-grad program I didn't enjoy because I was sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, I wanted something else.

Knowing that a liberal arts degree wasn't enough for today's workforce, I decided to go to the open house, and could really see myself enjoying the many diverse jobs that grads of the program had.

Loyalist PR: Can you tell us about your duties in your current position with Immersion Media?

Sean: My current duties include a bit of everything, from researching element costs for a client estimate to planning and executing events throughout Canada, and doing the payroll for reps working events for our company.

Loyalist PR: How did the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program help prepare you for your current position?

Sean: Starting this position, I felt fully prepared because of the client projects we worked on in class. During the client projects, I learned to deal with clients in terms of speaking with them professionally, and managing their expectations which heps me on a daily basis, as my whole job is client projects and events.

Loyalist PR: What was the highlight of your year in Loyalist PR?

Sean: For me, the highlight of the year was sitting down and having a beer with many people in the class. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it's the simple things I look back on with the most fondness.

Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for current or future Loyalist PR students?

Sean: This job is not all about what you know, and what you can do; you have to have the right personality. You need to be able to be flexible, because things can and will change. You need to be able to laugh (at times at wildly inappropriate things) and realize that if you're going to spend 40-50 hours/week working, you might as well have fun with the people you are working with.

Loyalist PR: Thanks for the insights, Sean! And all the best in your career with Immersion Media.

Loyalist PR students enjoy a morning with

Thanks to Mitchell Praw for stopping by yesterday to talk to Loyalist PR students about Infomart, a media intelligence company based in Toronto whose goal is to "inform brand strategies to help drive awesome results."

Mitch provided a great presentation to students on everything from media measurement to research and analysis.

Thanks for the visit, Mitch!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grad Profile: Jerika Bradford (2011/12)

Today's Loyalist PR Grad Profile features Jerika Bradford (Loyalist PR 2011/12) who is now employed as the Public Relations Officer at Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF).
Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Jerika completed a diploma in Advertising at Loyalist.
Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in the Post-Grad PR Program at Loyalist?

Jerika Bradford: I knew I wanted to enrol in Loyalist PR the moment I graduated from Advertising. To me, public relations and advertising complement each other perfectly, and would give me a better chance at getting a job. And it did!

Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?

Jerika: I always knew I wanted to work for a wildlife conservation organization, and since most of these types of organizations are non-profit, Loyalist PR gave me the essential skills to use in a non-profit setting. With the hands-on projects, reports, organizing fundraising events, etc., the program was exactly what I needed to set me apart when I went on internship.

Loyalist PR: What are some of your current duties as a Public Relations Office at the Canadian Wildlife Federation?

Jerika: Among my duties at CWF is organizing, planning and coordinating CWF's 2013 Walk for Wildlife (W4W) event. This involves communicating and planning with sponsors, media, hiking groups, provincial parks, etc. throughout Canada. I am also creating content for the W4W web site, and building W4W on-line presence using social media.

Loyalist PR: Sounds cool! Can you share any highlights of your year in the Post-Grad PR Program at Loyalist?

Jerika: I really enjoyed volunteering in all the fundraising projects that took place throughout the year; it's amazing what everyone was able to pull off!

Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for current or future Loyalist PR students?

Jerika: Give 110% during your internship, even if it turns out you're not exactly doing anything glamorous. This is easier said than done, but it could be something as simple as being stuck researching -- if they ask you for five media contacts, give them 10! Always go above and beyond expectations, because someone is always noticing. And they will remember you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Loyalist PR crew helps host Open House

Bravo to the Loyalist PR students (also known as the "Green Shirts") who helped host the Loyalist College Open House today!

As a hurricane of high school students descended on campus, Loyalist PR was there to meet, greet, guide and act as brand ambassadors for the college, both indoors and out (see photo below).

Thanks to everyone for their hard work, and for making a positive first impression on future Loyalist students!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grad Profile: Rachel Pearsall (2011/12)

Today's Loyalist PR graduate profile features Rachel Pearsall (2011/12) who is now employed as the paid Public Relations Intern for Project Sunshine Canada.

Prior to enrolling the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Rachel completed a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Ottawa.

Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in Loyalist PR?

Rachel Pearsall: It was my third year of university and I realized that I didn't actually want to pursue anything in the history field. I was becoming really discouraged with the limitations of just a degree. I researched post-grad degrees and diplomas, and found the Loyalist Public Relations Program. I liked that it would complement my degree, centred around practical experiences and was in my hometown.

Loyalist PR: How did the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program help prepare you for your current position?

Rachel: My first day on the job, I wasn't nervous at all. I knew I had all the skills I needed to be successful. The two events where I was a leader, as well as my two internships, were great in helping me prepare for this job. The practical experience and knowledge I've gained from this program are invaluable.

Loyalist PR: What do some of your current duties include?

Rachel: Project Sunshine Canada is a hospital charity that runs children's programming in eight hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Montreal. Every week, I work with volunteers to ensure they have everything they need to run the programming. But currently, I'm focusing on the two major fundraising events for Project Sunshine. Recently, I helped run the 2nd Annual Shine On! fundraiser, and in November I will help run the Sunshine Ball.

Preparing for these two events and running the day-of activities is a lot of work, but very exhilarating. Dealing with vendors, ticket sales, the venue, decor, seating plans as well as set-up and take-down is all a part of events planning.

Loyalist PR: Can you share with us some of the highlights of your year in Loyalist PR?

Rachel: The people and friendships made the year that much more enjoyable. Going out into the workforce and living in different cities, it's nice that I have friends to call in many of them. Another aspect would be fundraising for the Humane Society [during my time with Loyalist]. So much work was put into the event by my team, and to have it be so successful was really gratifying.

Loyalist PR: Finally, any words of wisdom for current or future Loyalist PR students?

Rachel: Take every opportunity that comes your way, and try to be open to all aspects of PR, like events, fundraising, etc. Just enjoy the year and know that the right opportunity will come your way!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest speaker from Meltwater Group

Big thanks to Steve Harrington, Senior Account Manager, Client Relations who dropped by yesterday to speak to Post-Grad Public Relations students here at Loyalist about Meltwater Group.

Besides introducing us to Meltwater News, Meltwater Press and Meltwater Buzz, Steve answered a wide range of questions about media monitoring, media list creation and media relations in general.

Thanks for stopping by, Steve!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Loyalist PR spends the day in Toronto...

Loyalist PR students enjoyed a fun-filled day in Toronto yesterday, visiting Steam Whistle Brewing, Hill & Knowlton Strategies Canada and the Strombo Show at CBC Studios (see photo above).

Among the great themes we learned about were branding, corporate social responsibility and what it's like to work in a high-profile PR agency.

Great trip, everyone!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Campus truckload sale is back!

We're excited to announce that the 3rd annual United Way Campus Truckload Sale is set to take place on Thursday, October 18th from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the cafeteria at Loyalist College.

Once again, shoppers can take advantage of the low, low prices offered by Procter & Gamble on everything from hygiene items to household cleaning products.

The MAJOR DIFFERENCE this year is that all items must be PRE-ORDERED.

Post-Grad Public Relations students will be circulating order forms to members of the college community over the next couple of weeks.

Once you receive your order form, please complete and return to Room 1N1 (classroom) or Room 1N2 (office) during regular business hours. If we are not in, please slide your order form under the door. Due date for receipt of order forms is noon on October 16th.

Orders may be picked up on October 18th from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the cafeteria. 

Student ID cards (and photo ID for staff and faculty) must be shown when picking up product this year (requirement of Procter & Gamble).

Please note this is a CASH ONLY sale.

All proceeds will be donated to the United Way of Quinte.

If you have any questions, please email

Thank you!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Loyalist PR welcomes Stephen Paul

Loyalist PR students had the pleasure of welcoming Stephen Paul, Manager of Economic Development for the County of Lennox & Addington in class this afternoon.

Besides being a powerful, creative force behind some of L&A's recent marketing initiatives, Stephen is also known as the "Moose Guy" who helped build the now-famous Toronto "Moose" campaign in the early 2000s.

Students enjoyed the opportunity to learn from and interact with Stephen this afternoon, as he spoke about event marketing, city branding and leveraging media partnerships.

Thanks for stopping by, Stephen. We had a great time!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Grad Profile: Devon Taylor (2011/12)

Today's Loyalist PR grad profile features Devon Taylor (2011/12) who is now employed as a paid Communications Intern with the SickKids Foundation in Toronto.

Before enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Devon completed a double-major Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Political Science at the University of Ottawa.

Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in the Post-Grad PR Program at Loyalist?

Devon Taylor: After my undergrad, I worked for a pub/bar in Ottawa and then moved to Mississauga to work for a major bank call centre. I wasn't enjoying my job with the bank, and, based on what I had heard about the benefits of taking a post-grad certificate (rather than a Masters), I looked at what Loyalist had to offer.

I knew I wanted to expand on my education in communications, and PR seemed to be a great fit.

Loyalist PR: What are some of your duties in your new role?

Devon: In this role, I have taken on a number of duties, from writing speeches, to helping organize learning seminars for our communications team. My duties also include: writing speaking notes, writing posts for the Foundation Intranet, media monitoring, updating metrics for our e-newsletter, interviewing and writing profiles for our patient ambassadors, distributing posters and brochures around the hospital, and assisting with setting up internal communication programs (i.e. Lunch & Learn, Think Tank Thursdays, etc.).

Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?

Devon: Loyalist PR expanded my knowledge of communications and PR, and gave me hands-on experience. By working on projects from start to finish (planning, writing, group meetings, editing, executing), I was able to develop new skills and learn how I work on projects (individually and with a team). Through the different courses and projects, I was also able to learn what specific aspects of PR I enjoy doing the most. Loyalist PR helped me become a better professional.

Loyalist PR: Can you share with us any highlights from your year in Loyalist PR?

Devon: Our group was wonderful. Class was always fun, no matter what the subject.

While I enjoyed the class trip (Steam Whistle and Strombo), my favourite parts of the year were the hands-on projects. The crisis communications day was fun and informative -- a great alternative to regular classroom discussion.

The biggest highlight for me, though, was the Work Your Wardrobe Fashion Show that I worked on with another classmate. It was great to see the results of our hard work, together with the support of our classmates, come together in a successful event.

Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for current or future PR students here at Loyalist?

Devon: Network. Take advantage of all learning opportunities. And smile!

Networking is huge, and you will hear that a lot going forward. Set up informational meetings with people working in the industry or for the company you're interested in.

Learning doesn't just happen in the classroom. Volunteering, taking advantage of seminars/webinars, and getting active in the industry (even on different social media platforms), will give you a chance to learn something new and valuable.

Smile. Smiling and being friendly, along with a positive attitude, goes  along way in any situation.

And one more thing... try not to procrastinate! Especially on setting up your internship.

Loyalist PR: Thanks for your thoughts and insights, Devon. And good luck in your future endeavours!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Grad Profile: Ashley Matheson (2009/10)

Today's Loyalist PR grad profile features Ashley Matheson (2009/10) who is now employed as Fund Development Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Belleville-Hastings-Quinte.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations program at Loyalist College, Ashley completed a diploma in Advertising at Loyalist.

Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in Loyalist PR?

Ashley Matheson: Ever since I can remember, I was always interested in pursuing a career in public relations, and felt that it was the best fit for my personality and attributes. My ambition was to find employment in the Belleville area, so I felt that by doing my studies at Loyalist College's Belleville campus, I would make crucial connections for future employment.

Loyalist PR: Can you tell us about some of your duties as Fund Development Coordinator?

Ashley: In a nutshell, my duties include being responsible for all the society's fundraising activities, donor cultivation and solicitation (individually, community-wise and corporately). Generally speaking, I'm responsible for community engagement, event management and donor development.

Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?

Ashley: Loyalist PR gave me the solid, well-rounded background I needed to be prepared for my position as a Fund Development Coordinator. Through assignments within the community, to my four-week work placement, I developed an awareness of the needs along with the tools necessary to be successful.

I can confidently say that through all the courses I studied in the Post-Graduate Public Relations program, I have certainly used all the skills I obtained -- both in my previous positions and in my current role with the Alzheimer Society of Belleville-Hastings-Quinte today.

Loyalist PR: Any highlights of your year in Loyalist PR that you'd like to share with us?

Ashley: There were many highlights -- some of them included getting the opportunity to meet many PR professionals that work in multiple sectors (non-profit, government, private, etc.); the Toronto trip where we got to visit the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto and had the opportunity to speak with their PR director; and also our trip to the taping of the George Stombolopolous show, among many other highlights!

But I would have to say one of the biggest highlights from my year was receiving the Kay Staib Memorial Scholarship award (from the International Association of Business Communicators), as well as the Community Service Award and Spirit Award during our PRISM awards at the end of the year.

Loyalist PR: Finally, do you have any words of advice for current or future students of Loyalist PR?

Ashley: I know it sounds cliche, but follow your dreams, and you can achieve what you strive for.

A motto I have made my life's mantra is "Do not follow where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" (Muriel Strode). And whatever you do, don't get discouraged.

I know it can be so hard in today's unsettled economy, and I also felt discouraged when I didn't get a full-time job immediately. But remember, everything truly does happen for a reason. If I didn't work at the term, casual and part-time positions that I did, I wouldn't have made the connections I did either, and I wouldn't have gained the experience I have which made me the most qualified candidate for my current position.

Nobody knows what the future holds -- but as you grow and learn from your experiences, you will further develop your path. You just never know where you will find yourself one day!

Loyalist PR: Thanks so much, Ashley -- and we wish you the best of luck on your career path!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mature student Ken MacPherson returns to Loyalist College... and tells us why

It has been nearly 25 years since Ken MacPherson last stepped inside a college classroom as a student.

After a corporate downsizing recently cost him his journalism job, he decided to return to Loyalist College's Post-Graduate Public Relations program to broaden his skill set and make himself more employable in an ever-changing workforce.

Following his first graduation from Loyalist in the late 1980s, Ken spent a number of years managing community television operations in Prince Rupert, BC and Medicine Hat, AB before moving into print journalism with a newspaper in the Annapolis Valley, NS.

There, he performed a number of job functions, from writing and photography to editing and page design. In the intervening years, Ken watched page design and photography develop from cut-and-paste and the dark room to the entire process being manipulated through a computer.

When he began his career, there was no Facebook or Twitter. Social media was an unformed term. Email was the rage, and was not considered the essential tool to which it eventually evolved. Most thought it quaint and interesting, but were unsure if it would ever replace telephones and fax machines.

Most were wrong.

Ken was one of those individuals who adapted to new technology. But, like others at the time, his change was mostly reactionary. He changed when the technology forced him to change, in order to keep up. Adapting was difficult, frustrating, fun and enlightening.

With his return to Loyalist College, Ken has decided to take change into his own hands. He has decided to position himself ahead of the curve, and perhaps the next technology revolution, by taking advantage of what Loyalist College has to offer (for the second time).

Public relations, more so than most other career paths, will rely almost exclusively on new media and new ways that people have not yet conceived, to advance their ideas.

Ken doesn't want to be just a follower in this new media world; he wants to lead it.

It all begins here.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Class of 2013 takes off... and aims high!

The new crew of Loyalist PR students got off to a great start this week... culminating in a vigorous game of beach volleyball (with apologies to Devin, who seemed to take all the hits!).

Kudos to all the participants and members of the cheering squad. Let's keep up the energy and enthusiasm as the months progress -- it's going to be a great year!

Photo by: Linda Horn  (2012)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Grad Profile: Lise Rouleau (PR 2011/12)

Today's graduate profile features Lise Rouleau (Loyalist PR 2011/12) who is now employed as the Special Events & Operations Manager at Taste the County in Prince Edward County.
Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Lise completed her diploma in Business Administration and Human Resources at Loyalist College.
Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in Loyalist PR?

Lise Rouleau: Loyalist College was a perfect fit for me as a mature student, because it is small and has a supportive environment. I felt that even though the business program was excellent, I needed an edge that would put me above the competition, and give me a better chance of getting a job that not only supported me, but that I could be passionate about. It did all that and more!

Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?

Lise: Loyalist gave me 100% what I needed. It built my confidence and taught me how to work in a group, deal with challenges, understand different personalities and think critically. I learned leadership qualities and it gave me a strong foundation in a multitude of areas that differentiated me from the competition. It gave me many opportunities to work with community partners and network, which is vital to finding a job.
Loyalist PR: Can you discuss some of your current duties on the job?

Lise: When I first came to Taste the County [as an intern five months ago], my job was to run a new event from the ground up. That included getting participants, communicating with partners, meeting with a committee and organizing the structure the event would take. I had to find and set up speakers, venues, volunteers, social media, sponsors and advertising for the event as well.

As the summer progressed (I was hired on after internship), I had to deal with printers, graphic designers, as well as partners of Taste the County. I am also the one who edits and controls the organization's many web sites, blogs and social media properties.

Now that I am the Operations Manager as well, I will be organizing the office, including answering questions from partners as well as tourists. I also design the critical paths for our events and publications. It has been a fantastic learning experience, and I could not have done it without learning as much as I did from Loyalist PR!

Loyalist PR: What was the highlight of your experience in Loyalist PR?

Lise: I loved every minute. Having one classroom and working with the same, small group all year was fantastic. The highlight of my experience was applying what we were learning in a community project that had real results.

Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for current or future students of the program?

Lise: Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the experience of Loyalist PR. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and better yourself. Do not sit back and watch the year go by. Get involved and participate in it all to the best of your ability. And NETWORK which you will hear repeatedly throughout the year. I would do it all over again... that is how amazing the experience was!

Loyalist PR: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us today, Lise -- we wish you great success in all that you do in the future.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grad Profile: Carlie McCann (2011/12)

Today’s grad profile features Carlie McCann (Loyalist PR 2011/12) who is now employed as the Communications Coordinator at Ottawa Tourism.
Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Carlie completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Queen’s University in English Literature and French Studies, and a Bachelor of Education (Queen’s).
Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in Loyalist PR?
Carlie McCann: I decided to enroll in the Loyalist PR program because, after a bit of job hunting, I realized that my undergraduate education wasn’t enough to get a job in the field that I wanted. I hoped to get a job related to communications and I knew that I needed to have more hands-on experience in the hard skills required on the job.
Reading over the descriptions for the Loyalist PR courses, I saw that I would have the opportunity to work on real projects and complete an internship in addition to learning the skills in a classroom setting.

I was also really excited about doing a one-year program. I felt that a busy, action-packed year would compliment the education and employment experience that I already had. 

Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position? 

Carlie: I can't think of any ways that Loyalist PR didn't prepare me for my current job. Almost everything I'm doing at work was covered in class in some way or another.

I learned about a lot of hard skills that I'm using on a daily basis, like event planning, professional writing, and long-term project planning. We had a guest speaker who talked about media monitoring, one of my big duties at work right now.

The opportunities to work with people outside of the classroom for the many client projects helped me to learn about interacting with professionals in other fields, like journalists. During my interview for this position, I had an answer and an example for every question that they asked, based on my experiences in the program. 

I also got to work more on honing my soft skills in a lot of areas. I felt that I had to be a lot more organized at school this year than I was in undergrad, because many of the projects required so much planning and effort. I also feel that I developed better leadership and teamwork skills in Loyalist PR, both skills that I use in the workplace everyday.

The hands-on nature of the program really lets students see what areas they are good at, and helps everyone to shine in some way or another! 

Finally, the required internship was a great opportunity to get more hands-on experience. I loved that we were all encouraged to find an internship in an area that really interested us, doing work that would benefit us in the long-term. The support that we all received in the months leading up to internships (advice on where to go, résumé assistance, lots of early planning) was priceless! 

Loyalist PR: What are some of your current duties as Communications Coordinator at Ottawa Tourism?

Carlie: At this job, I work with journalists who are coming to Ottawa to write about tourism in the area. After we have found out about goals for the trip and the stories that will come from it, my coworkers and I create an itinerary that they can follow while they're in the city to make sure that they get the most out of their experience. I also prepare their press kits and make sure that they are tailored specifically for the journalists' upcoming adventures. 

After the trips, we follow up with the journalists to learn about the coverage that their visit will generate. I keep records of what they did and what industry partners participated in their visit, then help with any follow up information that they may need, like backgrounders and photos. 

I also do media monitoring to track information about Ottawa in different regional, national and international media outlets and how it will benefit tourism in Ottawa.  

Loyalist PR: Can you share any of your highlights during your year with Loyalist PR?

Carlie: The fact that Loyalist PR is a small program is a huge advantage and a highlight in and of itself. I had the opportunity to become close friends with many of my classmates, and the friendships really helped to make the whole experience really special. 

One special moment in particular, though, was when I was chosen by my classmates to be valedictorian at the end of the year. It was such a special honour to be asked to speak at the ceremony, and I was overjoyed at the opportunity! I enjoyed sitting down and reflecting on everything that had happened throughout the year, and the fact that I was chosen by my friends and classmates was really something special. 

Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for current or future Loyalist PR students?

Carlie: The best way to learn something is by doing it, and Loyalist PR will give you a million opportunities to do whatever it is that you're interested, be it writing, speaking, planning events or fundraising. So take advantage of everything during your year of Loyalist PR! But don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something really new, too. You will hopefully learn something about yourself and what you're capable of! 

Loyalist PR: Thanks, Carlie – great to catch up with you. All the best in your new position!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grad Profile: Tara MacKinnon (2011/12)

Today's Loyalist PR graduate profile features Tara MacKinnon (2011/12) who is now employed as a Communications Assistant with the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) in Ottawa.

Prior to enrolling the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Tara completed a diploma in Recreation and Leisure Services at Loyalist College (2005), and a diploma in Health and Fitness Promotion at Loyalist College (2006).

Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College?

Tara MacKinnon: I decided to take the Loyalist PR program after I spent over a year looking for a job in my field with no luck. A good friend of mine recommended the program, and it was a perfect match.

The Loyalist PR program offered the unique skills and experience I needed to have a door open for me. Knowing there were no tests/exams in the program [the program is completely project-based] and a one-year, action-packed program made the decision easier as I was returning to school.

Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position as Communications Assistant with the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) in Ottawa?

Tara: There are more ways than I can remember that the Loyalist PR program helped me in my career. Almost every day of my internship with the CPC (which led me to my job today) I had to smile. Almost everything we studied in the program has happened, and I've had a hand in it all.

Let me name a few things I studied that I've now used on the job: crisis management skills, the pleasures of media monitoring, using and understanding social media, setting up focus groups and research, creating presentations and PowerPoints. My employer is currently paying for my co-workers to learn the EXACT same techniques and programs as I learned in my Digital Media classes in Loyalist PR.

I also use my confident writing skills every day, and was a part of a national media conference to release a new campaign in Montreal. This was neat; it was the first time the CPC ever had a campaign of this size and impact.

Those are just a few of the skills I've used, and I smile to myself every day. Loyalist PR taught me exactly what I needed to know to get a job on one of the best sports communications teams in Canada.

Loyalist PR: What are some of the highlights of your year in Loyalist PR?

Tara: I think my favourite day of the year was our trip to Toronto in early October. Seeing Strombo [CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos] was great. Kerry [Professor/Program Coordinator] has  great relationship with him and his team. They really made us feel like we were at home.

The second annual United Way Truckload sale was brilliant too. It was the first time we were able to see everyone's "true colours" and how their personality works as part of a 30-person team.

Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for future Loyalist PR students?

Tara: If you know what you want, go for it. I went into the program with the goal of interning with either the Canadian Olympic Committee or the Canadian Paralympic Committee. That was it, nothing else would do. It was my passion, and I went for it. I just kept going for it; it took time, but it happened. Remember: never lose sight of your goals!

Being a student opens doors that may not open for you otherwise. Keep that in mind, try to get involved with the different areas of the college, and out in the community.  I didn't realize this until near the end of the program, but take a look at the other programs Loyalist has to offer. Now think, "How will they relate to me in my career path?" Then go network with them. You never know where a connection with a fellow student or faculty member may take you.

Also, get a tutor for the Digital Design classes if you need one; it will help take some of the stress out of your life!

Loyalist PR: Thanks, Tara - we wish you all the best as you continue along your exciting career path!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Grad Profile: Lucas Wales (2011/12)

Today's Loyalist PR graduate profile features Lucas Wales (2011/12) who is now working for the Municipality of Marmora & Lake as a paid Economic Development Intern. 

Before enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Lucas graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa with a degree in Political Science and Canadian Studies.

Loyalist PR: What made you decide to apply to the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College?

Lucas Wales: After graduating from Carleton, I felt like I needed to specialize in a field that I was both interested in and that would broaden my career search.  I happened to stumble upon the Loyalist PR blog, and that took me to the Loyalist PR course outline. 

I knew after graduating from university that I needed to do something else to prepare myself for the workforce, and Loyalist PR was an excellent choice.

Loyalist PR: How did this program help prepare you for your current job role?

Lucas: Coming into Loyalist PR, I was trapped in a student mindset, and I was not fully ready to enter the force in a full time position. 

Loyalist PR, through all the opportunities, events, organizing, and courses, has altered this student mindset to a professional employee mindset. 

It is hard to put into words, but university doesn’t always polish people enough to be prepared to enter the workforce; it’s missing a crucial element and personal touch.  If you are looking for that competitive advantage then Loyalist PR is for you.        

Loyalist PR: Can you tell us about one of the highlights of your year in Loyalist PR?

Lucas: The biggest highlight of the year for me was seeing how successful a group of people can be after they come together and buy into ideas.  Seeing all the team events and fundraisers come together, and seeing everyone help each other out was pretty remarkable.    

Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for students entering the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist this fall?

Lucas: This program is not university, and that is what graduates need to experience.  Coming from a university environment students will probably find the transition a bit tough at first, but hang in there and this program will be worth your time.  Sitting in the same classroom, with the same people, everyday is a foreign concept at first, but it is the best choice a young professional can make. 

Loyalist PR is an investment in your career, but remember you only get out of it what you put in.

Loyalist PR: Thanks for sharing, Lucas -- and good luck in your future endeavours!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Loyalist PR celebrates 100% retention!

It's been a wonderful year for so many reasons -- but this year, we're especially proud to have enjoyed 100% retention among our students.

Congratulations to the 30 Loyalist PR students who started with us last September, and who recently convocated here at Loyalist College.

We're proud of you all!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Convocation behind us... great things ahead!

"What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Congratulations, Class of 2012!

Today is Convocation Day for the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College.

We're so proud of each and every one of you -- particularly of the fact that all 30 of you who began this program last fall are graduating today!

It's been an amazing journey, and we're grateful to have shared it with you all.

We wish you all the best as you streeeeeeetch yourselves, and reach for all that life has to offer.

Good luck in your future endeavours!

~ Kerry, Aaron & Rob


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This is what a PR internship looks like...

While our Post-Graduate Public Relations students are on internship this month, we miss them a lot!

But it's nice to get "postcards from the field" every now and then -- including this one, featuring current Loyalist PR student Sean Ashbridge, shown here with internship supervisor Bryna Jones, Director of Communications (and Loyalist PR alumna!) for Hardy Stevenson & Associates in Toronto.

In this photo, Sean and Bryna are touring the Portlands Energy Centre in preparation for Doors Open Toronto on May 26th.

Looks like fun, guys --- you just never know where your PR internship will take you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

As internships continue... be excellent!

Thought of the day:

"Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do." ~ Artistotle

Friday, March 30, 2012

Loyalist PR student is Male Athlete of Year

Congratulations to Loyalist PR student Matt Woods who earned the title of Male Athlete of the Year at this week's Loyalist College Athletics Banquet.

Matt (originally from Pickering) told the Intelligencer newspaper this week, "As a small, family-oriented college, Loyalist has afforded me opportunities to develop and excel as a volleyball player which I might not have received elsewhere."

Way to go, Matt - we're proud of you!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's your definition of success?

We love this definition of success by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;

To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Emerson!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PRISM Awards celebrate student excellence

Yesterday the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program celebrated the 7th annual PRISM Awards at Occasions by the Bay in Trenton.

The Old Hollywood-themed awards event was planned by a team of five creative students (Chris Barnim, Amanda Oliver, Stephanie Mole, Elysia Geena and Ali Mir). Thanks to the whole planning team!

The recipients of this year's PRISM awards include the following:

2012 PRISM Award for Service
Winner: Lise Rouleau
Honourable Mention: Chris Barnim

2012 PRISM Award for Leadership
Winner: Stacey Wickens
Honourable Mention: Carlie McCann

2012 PRISM Award for Innovation
Winner: Kodie Trahan-Guay
Honourable Mention: Jenn Emon

2012 PRISM Award for Teamwork
Winner: Lucas Wales
Honourable Mention: Kodie Trahan-Guay

2012 PRISM Award for Spirit
Winner: Chris Barnim
Honourable Mentions: Doug Holt and Sean Ashbridge

2012 PRISM Award for New Media
Winner: Casey Telford
Honourable Mention: Jenn Emon

2012 PRISM Award for Professionalism
Winner: Lucie Stuart-Burton
Honourable Mention: Stacey Wickens

2012 PRISM Award for Mentorship
Wilf Wilkinson

2012 Campaign of the Year (Individual)
Winner: Lucie Stuart-Burton
Honourable Mention: Devon Taylor

2012 Campaign of the Year Award (Team)
Winners: Tara MacKinnon, Shannon Burke, Lucie Stuart-Burton
Honourable Mentions: Melissa Semenuk, Stephanie Mole, Chris Barnim, Garrett Coles

Kay Staib Memorial Scholarship
Winner: Stacey Wickens

Congratulations to all students, and thank you for an exceptional year!

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's March madness in Loyalist PR!

What a busy (but fun!) time we've had lately.

Last week, Loyalist PR students pulled off no fewer than FIVE outstanding events, raising money for a variety of worthy causes and holding a number of client events (including the "Work Your Wardrobe" fashion event, pictured at right).

Thanks to all teams for working so hard -- your success is evident as we pick up the newspaper or listen to the radio. You are everywhere!

Keep up the great work, guys -- two more major events this week before internships begin!

You'll do great!

Photo credit: Casey Telford, Loyalist PR

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Speed networking event a success!

Thanks to the communications professionals who turned out for this year's Speed Networking event -- a great morning to meet and mingle for our Loyalist PR students.

This year's speed networking professionals included:

Colleen Vickers (Loyalist PR alumna), Special Events Coordinator at City of Quinte West

Carol Snell, Media Relations Consultant with the Prince Edward Hastings Health Unit

Kasey Pollard (Loyalist PR alumna), Destination Development Coordinator at Hastings County

Katie Young, Communications Officer at Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation

Dan Orr, Communications & Education Technician at Lower Trent Conservation

Brenda Stonehouse, Communications & Strategic Planning Officer at City of Kawartha Lakes

Pam Sylvan, CEO of Pam Sylvan PR

Kerry Lorimer, Media Relations Specialist at Loyalist College

Thanks to everyone who took part, and those who planned the event.

Great job, everyone!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Grad Profile: Erica Holgate (2010/11)

Today's Grad Profile features Erica Holgate (Loyalist PR 10/11) who is now employed as the Community Relations & Fundraising Coordinator at Hospice Quinte. She is also the Community Relations Coordinator for Boston Pizza (Belleville) and does freelance PR work on the side.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Erica completed her bachelor's degree in music (minor in drama) from Queen's University.

Loyalist PR: Tell us what you're up to these days, Erica.

Erica Holgate: I hold a couple different positions right now. The majority of my week is spent at Hospice Quinte as the Community Relations and Fundraising Coordinator, and I am also the Community Relations Coordinator for Boston Pizza Belleville. In my spare time I am also heading up my own start-up PR business where I am currently a blogger for The Great Waterway and a social media consultant for a few local organizations.

By holding a few different positions, I believe I am continuing to gain a vast amount of PR experience in a variety of sectors.

Loyalist PR: What are some of your duties in these positions?

EH: A large portion of my time is dedicated to special events. Hospice Quinte has several events a year, with most of the focus being on "A Night oat the Prom" gala right now. Whether I am working at Hospice Quinte or Boston Pizza, creating general awareness is an important aspect of the position. I am continually reaching out to the media regarding our latest news, and to gain participation in our many fundraisers.

I also have a serious interest in social media, so I am consistently blogging and tweeting about the work I am up to as well. Social media is an important duty in today's age in every position, especially if you are in the process of setting up your own personal business.

Loyalist PR: What made you decide to take the PR program at Loyalist College?

EH: When I was trying to decide what my career path should be, my mother actually introduced me to the idea of taking public relations at Loyalist. Both my parents attended Loyalist as young adults, and when I was looking at taking public relations it just seemed like the right fit.

Loyalist PR: How did the PR program help prepare you for your current position?

EH: My year at Loyalist was all about networking, learning from other people in the business and their path in life. I believe that Loyalist PR gave us the opportunities to reach out to people in the community and the public relations field. From our several guest speakers, I was able to decide what sector of public relations interested me the most, and that is what has prepared me the most for where I am today.

It was also through the planning and execution of our own event that I truly learned what it took to run a successful fundraiser. In fact, it was through my Fill That Bus fundraiser last year that I gained the connections that have truly benefited me where I am today.

The real-life application of college really assisted me in understanding what the public relations field was going to be like, and the importance of building community partnerships and relationships.

Loyalist PR: What are some of the highlights from your year in Loyalist PR?

EH: Meeting a few of my closest friends. I've maintained a couple of really close friendships from my year at Loyalist, and I'm excited that one day I may be able to work with them again once I get my business in full swing!

I was also thrilled that out of Loyalist PR came the annual Fill That Bus event for the Gleaner's Food Bank. What started as a school project turned into a fundraiser in honour of Jim Parkhurst who was a dear friend of mine [the event takes place again this June 8th].

Loyalist PR: Any advice for current or future Post-Grad PR students?

EH: For future students: go into the public relations program for the right reasons. Understand that it is not an easy program and requires a lot of effort! I spent the summer before Loyalist PR reading up on public relations, experimenting with all popular social media tools and knew PR was going to be exactly what I wanted to do. You definitely have to have a passion for it.

For current students: Have fun at your internship! It will be the actual start of your PR career, and you'll learn an absolute TON! Also, never be afraid to shake a hand. Everyone has their strengths and you'll never know when that relationship will help you in the future.

Loyalist PR: Thanks, Erica and good luck in your future projects!

Monday, March 05, 2012

World-class leader speaks to Loyalist PR

The students of Loyalist PR were honoured to welcome Wilf Wilkinson to our class this morning as the keynote speaker for our Leadership Week.

A member of Rotary International since 1962, Mr. Wilkinson served as the organization's international president from 2007-2008.

He was named to the Order of Canada in 2007 and was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II for his service to the Catholic church.

As a chartered accountant, he also founded the local firm of Wilkinson & Company.

As a class, we thoroughly enjoyed listening to Mr. Wilkinson's insights on leadership, and hearing his personal stories of meetings with some of the world's greatest leaders (everyone from presidents and the head of the United Nations to Dolly Parton!).

Thank you for gracing us with your presence today, Mr. Wilkinson. You are truly a leader to look up to.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CNW Group speaker visits Loyalist PR

Many thanks to Tarah Cherwoniak of CNW Group for spending the afternoon with us here in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program.

Tarah made a great presentation on MediaVantage, a media monitoring and management system offered by CNW Group of Toronto.

Thanks for stopping by, Tarah! We enjoyed your visit.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Loyalist PR: one sweet program!

Not only do we have the world's best students in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program, we also have the world's best parents of students.

Thanks for the cookies (again), Ms. Ashbridge -- will you be our valentine?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Loyalist PR welcomes distinguished guest

Many thanks to Graham Murray, government relations specialist with the Government of Ontario who stopped by to spend time with our Post-Graduate Public Relations students this afternoon.

With more than 40 years of experience under his belt, Mr. Murray shared his wit and wisdom with our students today, as we wrapped up Government Relations Week here in Loyalist PR.

Thanks for taking the time to travel from Toronto to spend your day with us, Mr. Murray!

Monday, February 06, 2012

University grads: considering post-grad PR?

"I knew I needed more than my degree in the competitive field of international development.

I saw the Post-Grad Public Relations program as an opportunity to gain hands-on skills and combine them with my university theory.

At Loyalist I’ve gained the confidence to tell employers 'I can,' rather than, 'I think I can.' I could not be happier with my career."

~ Alex Sancton, Internal Communications Manager, World Vision (Canada); Alex is a graduate of Loyalist PR and Dalhousie University's International Development Program.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Loyalist PR students set volleyball records

Congrats to Kyle Donnan (pictured above) and Matt Woods, two Loyalist PR students who recently set records in men's OCAA volleyball.

According to the OCAA, "fifth-year left side Kyle Donnan (Pickering, Ont.) broke the all-time Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) career record for kills last Sunday in a 3-2 (25-27, 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12) victory over Boreal.

Donnan's eight kills now gives him 724 for his career, surpassing the old record of 719 set by Redeemer's Ryan Talsma during the 2009-10 season. Donnan entered this season in third place on the all-time list.

Earlier this season, fifth-year teammate Matt Woods (Pickering, Ont.) set the all-time OCAA record for service aces. Woods now has 157 to his credit, surpassing the old record of 133 set by Trent's Ian Rettie in 2009-10. Woods entered this season in second place on the all-time list.Both Donnan and Woods have eight more games remaining to pad their records. Loyalist is currently in fifth place in the OCAA East region with a record of 8-4. The top six teams earn a post-season berth.The OCAA men's volleyball championship will take place at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ont. from Feb. 23-25."

Way to go, Kyle and Matt!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Focus group training for PR students

Loyalist PR students were honoured to welcome Ellen Cooper, President of Quadra Research to our classroom yesterday.

Ellen provided us with some excellent teaching on how to hold an effective focus group, and even provided the opportunity for some Oscar-winning role playing!

Thanks for stopping by, Ellen!

Friday, January 13, 2012

PR students attend writing workshop

Big thanks to Greg Frankson (aka Ritallin) who joined us yesterday for a dynamic performance/workshop session on slam poetry writing.

Why slam poetry in a PR class? To loosen the brain muscles and get us thinking in new and unexpected ways, of course!

This week has been all about challenging ourselves to get back in the creative groove -- and it's definitely produced some great work (not to mention lots of laughs).

Thanks for an amazing workshop, Greg. Always a pleasure!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Grad Profile: Kasey Pollard (2010/11)

Today's graduate profile features Kasey Pollard (2010/11) who is now employed as the Destination Development Coordinator with Hastings County in the Planning and Economic Development Department.

Prior to enrolling in Post-Graduate Public Relations at Loyalist College, Kasey completed a Honours B.A. in Tourism and Environment at Brock University.

Loyalist PR: Why did you choose to enrol in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College?

Kasey: I chose to go to Loyalist after I took a tour of the campus. I was impressed by the size of the classes and the way the school felt like a community.

After attending larger campuses, like the University of Waterloo and Brock University, I knew I wanted to study somewhere were the instructor to student ratio was lower. However, the main deciding factor was that the only program coordinator to send an in-depth email that answered my questions, and then some, was from Kerry, which basically sealed the deal for me.

Loyalist PR: Can you describe some of your current duties as a Destination Development Coordinator with Hastings County?

Kasey: My primary duties involve coordinating the Premier-Ranked Tourism Destination Development Project and acting as a liaison between the many tourism stakeholders across the county.

Some tasks include organizing meetings, managing the website, promoting tourism initiatives and increasing online presence through social media, and assisting tasks groups with developing tourism assets (like recreational geology, the Arts Route and wellness tourism).

Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?

Kasey: The PR program gave me a wealth of tools that enabled me to make use of the degree I got in University. I didn’t know how to connect the dots between theory and practice after I graduated, and knew I needed some hands on skills that would bridge the gaps.

Since Loyalist PR, I can now effectively communicate the knowledge I have on sustainable tourism and community development. From print interviews to presenting ideas to different audiences and knowing how to writing for various platforms, I’m now prepared and feel confident with my work.

Loyalist PR: Any highlights from your year in Loyalist PR?

Kasey: When I look back on the year, it seems every day had a highlight of its own – thanks to the colourful personality of classmates. If I had to pick two, the United Way Fundraiser and the Christmas Party at Wayne’s were definitely memorable.

Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for this year's students?

Kasey: Now that the second semester is here, it’ll soon be time for internships. Make sure to give it your all wherever you find your placement and go above and beyond with your work. Whether or not your internship turns into a full-time job, you’ll gain invaluable contacts that will someday make or break a future opportunity.

Loyalist PR: Thanks, Kasey - and good luck with your career!