Today's Loyalist PR grad profile features Lauren Graham (2015/16) who is now employed as the Specialist, Media & Public Relations for Tourism Jasper in Alberta.
Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations program at Loyalist College, Lauren completed an Honours English degree from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Loyalist PR: Tell us a bit about your duties as the Specialist, Media & Public Relations for Tourism Jasper.
Lauren Graham: My primary duties are creating content calendars for press releases and our blog (and then following it up with writing or delegating the required releases or blog posts) and working with media interested in Jasper. I also organize media visits and create/maintain relationships with stakeholders, media and other DMOs (destination marketing organizations).
Loyalist PR: What do you like best about your job?
Lauren: This is a tough one, there are just so many amazing aspects of my job. I'll have to go with working with the media though. It's really exciting to write a press release and have someone like it enough to run with it. I also enjoy helping people have their best Jasper experience, and reading about it later.
Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enrol in the Post-Grad PR program at Loyalist?
Lauren: The high employment rate for graduates caught my interest, and then learning that it's a one-year post-graduate program really sold it for me.
Loyalist PR: How did the Post-Grad PR program help prepare you for your current role at Tourism Jasper?
Lauren: The biggest thing would be press releases and proper etiquette for conversing with media. My writing had been very formal and academic before joining the program. I was encouraged to have fun with my writing and build excitement, rather than just state facts. Also, going over what it's like to deal with the media on a general basis for huge. Some things I never would have thought of as a faux-pas can really rub some reporters the wrong way. I'm sure it's saved me from a few "egg on the face" moments.
Loyalist PR: Any highlights from your year in Loyalist PR that you'd like to share?
Lauren: The highlight was definitely the Toronto trip. Not only was it exciting to see the different places PR can take you and start building connections, but it was the first time we really got to spend time together outside the classroom. It was an eye-opening experience, and an amazing bonding time.
Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for this year's Loyalist PR crew?
Lauren: Keep your options open and NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! I went through 3/4 of the year absolutely certain I wanted to work in a PR agency, and had no interest in not-for-profit. My internship was at a not-for-profit as it turned out, and now I'm working in (and for) one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen with another Loyalist PR graduate from a few years before me. It's a small world than you think!
Loyalist PR: Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Lauren. And good luck in Jasper!