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!