Grad Profile: Tonia Ebbers (2013/14)

Today's Loyalist PR Grad Profile features Tonia Ebbers (2013/14) who is now employed as the Marketing Assistant for Freedom 55 Financial/London Life in Belleville.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Tonia completed a diploma in Business Sales and Marketing.

Following graduation, Tonia worked on contract as the Social Media and Special Events Coordinator for the Municipality of Napanee before moving into her new marketing role with Freedom 55/London Life.

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

Tonia Ebbers: I really liked the idea of event planning and social media. I was always interested in planning events since I planned a few in high school. I also have an obsession for social media, and thought that it would be the coolest job in the world to do it for a living. I also enjoyed the marketing aspect of my Business Sales & Marketing diploma from Loyalist, and I thought Public Relations would go hand-in-hand with that.

Loyalist PR: How do you feel Loyalist PR helped prepare you for your current role?

Tonia: I think Loyalist PR helped prepare me for my current position, because I gained a lot of verbal and written communication skills. In my job now, I am constantly dealing with clients via email, as well as in person. 

The previous job I had was a Social Media and Special Events Coordinator, and PR definitely helped me land that role because of all the hands-on experience we gained throughout the school year planning events, social media plans,etc. My current position really liked the amount of experienced I gained from my previous position, and that's the main reason they hired me.

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

Tonia: One of my favourite things in PR was Digital Media class. I loved that class, and have used a lot of the knowledge I gained when I was working as a Social Media and Special Events Coordinator in Napanee.

My employers were so impressed with the print and digital marketing I could create using InDesign and Photoshop. I also created an entire web site, and I wouldn't have known where to start if I hadn't taken Digital Media.

I also enjoyed creating the real social media plans and strategies for real-life clients. Another favourite was the internship portion of the program. My internship supervisor planned a perfect month for me where I could gain as much experience as possible. It was great!

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

Tonia: My advice would be to try and find an internship you're interested in, don't just settle for what's easiest. I worked really hard to land my internship with the Municipality of Prince Edward County, because I knew my dream job would be to do communications, social media and event planning for a municipality. I didn't land a job there, but it helped me secure my next position with the Town of Greater Napanee.

Don't get discouraged when you graduate and can't find a job in your field right away. Everything is very competitive, and lack of experience can be hard to overcome. Taking on internships, contract positions and volunteer work can help you gain some experience and hopefully help you land the perfect job.

Loyalist PR: Thanks for your insights, Tonia -- and good luck with the new position!