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!