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!