Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grad Profile: Clara Quinn (2014/15)

Today's Loyalist PR Graduate Profile features Clara Quinn (2014/15), who is now employed as the Event & Office Coordinator for the Small Business Centre in Belleville, Ontario.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Clara completed a two-year Business diploma at Loyalist.

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

Clara Quinn: Ever since my senior year of high school, I wanted to do a specific sports post-grad program I had my eye on for awhile, because I thought it was my only way of getting ahead in the sports industry. During my second year of Business, I ended up volunteering as the Media & Marketing Director for the 2016 Under-19 Women's World Floorball Championships to be held in Belleville in 2017. I wanted skills to complement that role.

I had heard about Loyalist PR through someone who was in the program at the time, and I realized PR had endless amounts of career possibilities in all types of industries. Loyalist PR grads have a stellar reputation - we're everywhere! I knew it was the program that would help me develop and improve the skills I was already using every day in sports.

Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current role with the Small Business Centre?

Clara: My internship was the "TSN Turning Point" so far in my career. My former co-workers at my internship had referred me to the Small Business Centre when they found out they were trying to fill a contract position, and the rest was history! 

I also loved having a complete portfolio by the end of the semester -- knowing you're prepared to back your skills and experience up is so comforting during an interview. The event management, writing and design classes taught me skills I use every day in my job and for my volunteering roles. 

Loyalist PR: Tell us a bit about what you do every day.

Clara: I organize a multitude of workshops that we host at the Small Business Centre every month. Also, when there is an event being hosted by one of our five municipal partners, I assist in those larger events. I'm also the main person helping to organize the larger annual events the Small Business Centre runs. The smaller (yet still important) tasks I also perform include various office admin duties, updating our social media accounts, designing marketing materials for all events, and providing marketing and media consulting for our new/existing business start-up clients as required.

Loyalist PR: What do you like about your job?

Clara: I meet a lot of people from all over the Bay of Quinte area and around the world in all types of businesses. I also get to reinforce relationships in my current job with people I've met through my role with the World Championships. I love having some creative freedom, and being the person running the show behind the scenes. Seeing the relief our clients have after you've coached them through something new makes it all worth it.

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

Clara: My three stand-out highlights include my internship, the class trip to Toronto and scrumptious potlucks. I got some incredible mentoring and experience from my internship with Bay of Quinte Tourism, and the job referral was the cherry on top. The Toronto trip was eye-opening for me, because I could bond with my classmates and learn about bigger companies that focus on PR. And as for the much-anticipated potlucks -- need I say more?

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

Clara: Learn Adobe design and keep your design skills fresh -- I've found it's what gives you the edge over other job hunters. Pay attention to new programs and software that you'll learn from your classmates. And as far as internship goes: 1) Be yourself 2) Select an internship where you'll be mentored and 3) Find an internship that has contacts in the industry you want to be in. 

Finally, never stop dreaming!

Loyalist PR: Thanks for your time, Clara - we're proud of all you've accomplished! Good luck in the future, we'll be following your career as it develops. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grad Profile: Jenny Gilmer (2014/15)

Today's Loyalist PR graduate profile features Jennifer Gilmer (2014/15) who is now employed as the Communications Coordinator for Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Jenny completed a degree is Sociology/Geography at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus.

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

Jennifer Gilmer: A mentor of mine recommended that I took into PR at Loyalist. I was really interested in working in the non-profit industry, especially in the fundraising field. I conducted an informational interview, and my mentor recommended the program as a way to build on all I had learned at university with more practical, "real world" experience.

Loyalist PR: What are some of your duties as Communications Coordinator with Ontario Highlands Tourism Organization?

Jenny: My duties include the internal and external communications for the organization. Internally, I create and send out communications pieces to our members and operators, and am also a touch point for operators and members who have questions or who are looking to partner with different initiatives. 

Externally, I handle our media relations, schedule familiarization tours in the region, maintain our industry web site, respond to visitor inquiries and connect visitors with operators in the region.

Loyalist PR: What do you like most about your job?

Jenny: I really enjoy the creative aspects of my job. I love the writing opportunities and enjoy planning unique trips to showcase our region. It's not exactly where I saw myself when I first started the PR program, but it's an industry I really love being a part of now, with a lot of unique opportunities and awesome people.

Loyalist PR: How did the Post-Grad Public Relations Program at Loyalist help prepare you for your current role?

Jenny: Loyalist PR prepared me for the position by providing me with the practical skills and knowledge to tackle a wide variety of tasks. I think most importantly, it gave me the confidence in my ability to take on challenges and perform my job independently.

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

Jenny: All of the quirky moments and jokes. I enjoyed that the class really became a close-knit group, and offered a lot of support and encouragement to one another. Even now, alumni often share job opportunities and I reach out to my former classmates for advice or just to chat all the time.

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

Jenny: Take it all in, and try not to stress out! Don't brush off anything you're learning as not applicale to you, as you never know where your future will lead or what industry you'll end up in. You might just find yourself scrambling to find notes one day on how to properly address a letter to the Governor General!

Loyalist PR: Thank so much for your insights, Jenny - and good luck in your new position! 

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Fall classes begin today!

A warm welcome to the new Post-Grad Public Relations students here at Loyalist College. We're in for an exciting year! 

Thanks for joining us -- let's get started...

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Grad Profile: Katie Stewart (2014/15)

Today's Loyalist PR grad profile features Katie Stewart (2014/15) who is now employed as the Sales & Marketing Coordinator at Diamond Hotels Management Inc. in Kingston, Ontario. 

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Katie completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Stage and Screen Studies from Queen's University.

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

Katie Stewart: After going to university, I knew I either wanted to pursue a masters degree or go for a post-grad program that would give me hands-on experience. As you can see, I sent the post-grad route! The PR Program is versatile to any industry, including arts and entertainment, health care, private and public sectors. It opens a lot of doors (and windows). It was the right choice.

Loyalist PR: How did the Post-Grad PR Program help prepare you for your current role with Diamond Hotels Management?

Katie: First and foremost, my internship at Loyalist gave me the networking connections to get this role. My supervisor passed on my name to one of her colleagues, and the rest is history! Our in-class preparation was essential as well. I use our studies in social media management and digital design daily.

Loyalist PR: Could you describe some of your daily duties for us?

Katie: Each day I write posts for each of our 12 social media channels, update each of the digital display boards within the hotel, work on branding collateral for each property, as well as facilitate the billing and event orders in the sales department. I've also done crazy things like order new lounge furniture (I love shopping!) and working with brand new display technology from Samsung.

Loyalist PR: What do you enjoy the most about your job?

Katie: I love that each day brings another challenge. In my role, I assist with the marketing of four hotels, one restaurant and one banquet centre as well as assisting the sales team of one of these properties. There's always something to do! There's always more to learn, and I'm lucky that the people I surround myself with are some of the best in the business, so they're willing to mentor me (and learn new things from me too). I also have a pretty great view from my window...

Loyalist PR: Any highlights you'd like to share from your year in Loyalist PR?

Katie: I was one of the kooky ones in Loyalist PR. Some of my favourite moments were times that the class was just able to laugh together -- and that happened often! Whether we were laughing at a terrible presentation (don't worry, they happen!), dancing or pot lucking, Loyalist PR is full of those "good for the soul" moments of laughter.

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

Katie: My suggestion is to be confident in your abilities. Clean up your social media presence. Pay attention in digital design. Dance and bring in rewards for your classmates for sitting through your presentation. Chocolate money seems to work best.

Loyalist PR: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Katie! All the best with your new role.