Tuesday, March 29, 2016

University degree + college post-grad certificate = success

Loyalist Public Relations Student Derek Holota
The following article was written by Loyalist PR student Derek Holota and published in the Intelligencer newspaper on Thursday, March 24th: 

In the summer of 2015 I found myself sitting in the kitchen of my apartment in Calgary, coffee in hand, staring at my résumé. 

I had lost my job a few weeks earlier after the price of oil plummeted. I had been working as an agency recruiter for the better part of two years, so I knew what it would take to find a new job, even in Calgary’s slowing job market. I thought this could be an opportunity to make the career change I had been thinking about.

Before I started updating and reformatting my résumé, I analyzed my skills. I asked myself, what do I know how to do? The answer to that question was sobering. Although I have a degree, I didn’t feel prepared to apply for the jobs that piqued my interest. I lacked the hands-on experience so many employers require.

I reached out to my network of family and friends to help me decide what to do next. Many of them had pursued a degree-to-diploma pathway when they faced a similar dilemma and found great success. So I decided to do the same and enrolled in the post-graduate Public Relations program at Loyalist College.

Once at Loyalist, I quickly saw that I was just one small part of an ever-growing trend of university graduates pursuing a college education.

“We’re seeing a lot more university students coming to the college to get that hands-on experience,” said Lyndsay Kerik, senior alumni and career services officer at Loyalist.

Staying competitive in the job market is the main reason so many university grads follow through with a degree-to-diploma pathway.

“There is a demand for workers who have a combination of technical training, formal education and ‘soft’ skills,” Kerik added.

After experiencing life at Loyalist, it’s easy to see why. The style of teaching at the college simply does not allow you to be anonymous. The faculty members were highly engaged in my learning and I had the opportunity to gain real-world experience by completing projects for local clients. There wasn’t a single day when I could (or wanted to) sit back and be a spectator. Coming from a university of 80,000 students, it was an adjustment to get used to that style of learning, but it’s better in every way. I now have a portfolio of highly employable skills, my network of industry contacts has increased exponentially and I’ve made dozens of new friends.

The degree-to-diploma pathway is a great option for university graduates to get their foot in the door. The combination of both a degree and diploma can really set one apart in the job market.

Loyalist has given me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and gain a whole new set of skills in an engaging environment. As I return to the workforce after completing the post-grad PR program at Loyalist, I feel confident and prepared to make an immediate impact in my next job.

For more information about Loyalist College’s post-graduate Public Relations program, click here. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

2016 PRISM Awards celebrate student success

On Thursday, March 24th the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program held its 11th annual PRISM Awards event at Occasions by the Bay to celebrate the achievements of our students. 

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year's PRISM Awards: 

2016 PRISM Service Award (sponsored by Quinte Conservation
Winner - Luisa Sorrentino
Honourable Mention - Jessica Klein

2016 PRISM Leadership Award (sponsored by Fifth Story
Winner - Rob Alexander                                                
Honourable Mention - Derek Holota 

2016 PRISM Innovation Award (sponsored by Marketwired)
Winner - Angie Best
Honourable Mention - Andrew Miller  

2016 PRISM Teamwork Award (sponsored by SK Bailey Marketing & Design
Winner - Steph Nguyen
Honourable Mention - Amy Seymour

2016 PRISM Spirit Award (sponsored by Quinte Mall
Winner - Luisa Sorrentino 
Honourable Mention - Brandon Black

2016 PRISM New Media Award (sponsored by Marketwired
Winner - John Moodie
Honourable Mention - Mitch Hounslow

2016 PRISM Professionalism Award (sponsored by the PR Advisory Committee) 
Winner - Derek Holota 
Honourable Mention - Rob Alexander 

Individual Campaign of the Year (sponsored by Fifth Story
Winner - Steph Nguyen 
Honourable Mention - Sara Hart 

Team Campaign of the Year (sponsored by CPRS National
Winners - Kristen Cockburn, Angie Best, John Moodie 
Honourable Mentions - Steph Nguyen and Mitch Hounslow 
Fundraising Campaign of the Year (sponsored by Belleville Chamber of Commerce)
Winners - Rob Alexander, Steph Nguyen, Angie Best, Jessica Klein 
Honourable Mentions - Lauren Graham, Sara Hart, Harper Bauer, Cody Lefort, Mitchell Moore 
Class Valedictorian Rob Alexander

2016 PRISM Mentorship Award (sponsored by CISION)
Laura Voskamp


Class Valedictorian – Rob Alexander

Thank you to our hard-working PRISM event planning team (Heather Norlock, Ashley Robinson, Rebeka Hall and Mitchell Moore) for helping to make this year's event so amazing! 

Special appreciation also to this year's PRISM Award sponsors:

Marketwired (signature sponsor)

Thank you to all of our supporters for your generosity! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Event sustainability tips from Toronto speaker

The Post-Graduate Public Relations students at Loyalist College recently enjoyed a visit from Dionne Bishop of the International Special Events Society (Toronto chapter). 

A seasoned event planner and owner of Verite Marketing & Events in Toronto, Dionne shared insights from the front lines of event management, along with tips for producing environmentally sustainable events. 

She also expanded on the benefits of becoming a member of the International Special Events Society, and the importance of making connections in the industry.

Thanks for an inspiring visit, Dionne! We wish you all the best in the future. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Loyalist PR students break fundraising record

This past weekend, our final team of Loyalist PR students held their Win for Kids fundraiser at Starbucks and Chapters in Belleville. The result was more than $1,800 raised in support of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. Way to go, guys!

This weekend's total brings the Loyalist PR fundraising total to more than $13,000 this semester (a record!) and more than $23,000 for the 2015/16 school year.

What an accomplishment - you should all be extremely proud of yourselves!  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Grad Profile: Melanie Lyman (2014/15)

Today's Loyalist PR Grad Profile features Melanie Lyman (2014/15), now employed as the full-time Communications Associate with the South East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) in Belleville, Ontario.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program at Loyalist College, Melanie completed a diploma in Radio Broadcasting from Loyalist. 

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

Melanie Lyman: After taking a break from radio advertising sales to start a family, I realized I needed a career change. I thoroughly enjoyed planning and coordinating events from birthday parties to fundraisers, so I decided to capitalize on my hobby. However, I knew I needed the credentials and formal education required to be taken seriously in the industry. The Loyalist PR program came very highly recommended. 

Loyalist PR: Tell us about what your job entails.

Melanie: In my role, I get to organize and facilitate engagement events for public stakeholders and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. As part of the organizing committee, I just started planning communications for the 2016 Primary Health Care Forum that will take place this October. Beyond that (and more on a day-to-day basis), I manage the South East LHIN web site and social media accounts. I monitor and track media coverage and develop a monthly media report that is presented to the Board. I also work with many of the other departments to edit reports, newsletters, etc. and also ensure our corporate brand is displayed and promoted consistently as per the Ministry guidelines.

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

Melanie: The Loyalist PR program helped me further develop the soft skills I came to the course with, and offered me a wide range of hard skills like writing comprehensive communication plans and web writing. I valued the introduction to digital design and other essential applications commonly used in the PR field and find I now use them daily. Most importantly, the professors and professionals in the Loyalist College Career Centre gave me the tools I needed to pursue my current position with a high level of confidence.

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

Melanie: What comes to mind is the sense of "team" I encountered while I was there. Everyone I graduated with brought something different and unique to the class from very diverse backgrounds. No one had an attitude of being better than anyone else, and the atmosphere was one of creativity and collaboration. Even Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory) quietly participated! I credit Kerry for creating a classroom that enables students to work together successfully and teaching us how to overcome real-world work challenges, the sorts of challenges I've already experienced in the field. 

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

Melanie: I would advise new students to ask questions -- many, many questions! The fact is you're probably not the only one who doesn't know, and it also avoids you having to ask those simple questions on the job. 

Keep in touch with your networks on a regular basis and don't underestimate a chance to expand your network, even if it seems insignificant at the time. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, but they don't often fall into your lap. By continuously developing your connections and skills, you'll keep yourself up-to-date on emerging trends after graduation and during that crucial job search period.

Loyalist PR: Thanks, Melanie! We wish you all the best in your future endeavours! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Digital marketing maven visits Loyalist PR

Post-Graduate Public Relations students at Loyalist College were privileged to learn this week from from Leona Hobbs, a Toronto-based marketing and communications professional with expertise in social media and digital marketing.

Leona currently leads the digital marketing team at MMK Marketing, and is the chair of the Post-Graduate Public Relations Program Advisory Committee at Loyalist.

Leona covered a wide range of subjects from permission marketing and real-time bidding to digital marketing trends and technologies.

Thanks for spending time with us this week, Leona! You are truly an inspiration. 

"In the digital space, attention is a currency. We earn it. We spend it." ~ Brian Solis

Friday, March 11, 2016

Award-winning Loyalist PR grad stops by

Our thanks to Loyalist PR grad Amanda Attard, Event Coordinator at e=mc2 events (Toronto) who stopped by our Event Management class via Skype today.

Amanda provided a great overview of the life of an event planner, including the highs and lows of the job. 

Working with e=mc2 events, Amanda helps organize more than 100 events across North America, including such major occasions as Love Her (see photo below), the Children's Aid Teddy Bear Affair (the longest-running fundraising gala in Toronto), the annual "Limitless" fundraiser for Special Olympics, and the annual Toronto International Film Festival fundraising gala.
"In event management, you're always looking to create memorable, on-site moments and experiences," explains Amanda. "It's all about being creative and paying attention to the details."
Thanks for stopping by, Amanda - you're a real inspiration and we're proud of all that you've accomplished! 

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Loyalist PR hosts speed mentoring event

A great group of local communications professionals took part in this year's annual Speed Mentoring Event at Loyalist College.

Our thanks to the following professionals who took part in this year's event:

* Julie White, Director, Marketing & Communications, University of Hospitals Kingston Foundation

* Erica Holgate, Executive Director, Belleville Downtown Improvement Association 

* Hannah Brown, Communications Coordinator, Batawa Ski Hill & Development

* Luc Fournier, Membership Development Coordinator, Belleville Chamber of Commerce

* Brad Warner, Fundraising Coordinator, Canadian Cancer Society (Hastings-Prince Edward & Brighton)

* Bojanna Lough, Community Relations & Development Coordinator, Habitat for Humanity (Prince Edward Hastings)

* Amelia Huffman, PR/Fund Development Coordinator, Alzheimer Society 

* Sandy Hibbard-Ramsay, Source Protection Web & Communications Specialist, Lower Trent Conservation

* Tracey Bourdon, Head Marketing Coach, Susan K. Bailey Marketing & Design

* Tracey Newton, Marketing & Customer Relations Coordinator, City of Belleville 

Thanks to everyone who participated, and to the organizers for putting together such an enjoyable and informative event. 

Monday, March 07, 2016

Loyalist PR students visit Quinte Broadcasting

This week, Loyalist PR students had the opportunity to visit Quinte Broadcasting to learn more about intrusive and passive media, and to tour the Quinte Broadcasting facilities.

Our thanks to Station Sales Manager Jody Brooker and Martha Farrell, Account Executive, who hosted our visit.
Students were able to meet a number of radio broadcasting professionals, and to learn about the role of radio in the integrated marketing mix. 

Thanks for a great afternoon, Quinte Broadcasting!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Loyalist PR raises $10,000+ in one weekend!

Mayor Christopher Taso (centre on bike) was among the riders who helped raise funds for Heart & Stroke Foundation this weekend with Loyalist PR students. 
It's been a whirlwind of activity for Loyalist PR students this past week. Just this weekend, students raised more than $10,000 for local charities.
Photo source: Snapd Quinte
The first event, A Day 4 Play, was held at Rhino's Sports & Play Centre on Friday night, raising more than $600 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
On Saturday, more than 40 brave residents made the icy plunge into the Bay of Quinte at the first-ever Freezin' for a Reason event. More than $8,400 was raised for YMCA Strong Kids
Photo Source: Snapd Quinte
On Sunday, the energetic Keeping the Pace event raised more than $500 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. 
Photo source: Snapd Quinte
At the same time (on the other side of town), Loyalist PR's Pic Your Pet raised $675 in funds and donations in support of the Quinte Humane Society. 

WOW! We are so proud of our students for all their hard work and dedication to these creative and successful events.

Congratulations, everyone! We look forward to more even more events taking place in the weeks ahead!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Join Loyalist PR today for Colour Me Loyalist!

Join Loyalist PR students today as they host the college's first-ever Colour Me Loyalist event! 

The fun starts at noon in the Shark Tank Pub - plenty of prizes to be won, so bring a change of clothes (recommended) and be sure to stop by. 

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Don't miss Student Film Night this Thursday!

Loyalist PR students are assisting with this Thursday night's Student Film Night, a showcase of local student films at Loyalist College.

Films will be judged by a panel of local, professional filmmakers. 

The evening is sure to create a buzz - don't miss it! 

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Join us for Grad Bash tomorrow at Loyalist!

Loyalist PR students are helping to organize tomorrow's big GRAD BASH at Loyalist College! 

If you're graduating this year, be sure to swing by for free pizza, loot bags, a visit to the Post-Grad Fair and more.

We hope to see you there!