Today's Loyalist PR Grad Profile features Kate Clarke (2016/17) who is now employed as a Marketing Assistant for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
Prior to enrolling in the Post-Graduate Public Relations & Event Management program, Kate completed a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from Queen's University.
Loyalist PR: What made you decide to enroll in the Post-Graduate Public Relations & Event Management program at Loyalist College?
Kate Clarke: I entered university with the intention of becoming a teacher. However, over the course of my university career, I realized that what I really enjoyed doing was what I was doing in my extra-curriculars: planning events, researching and acting on opportunities, participating in community outreach, and communicating with a variety of stakeholders. I wasn't really aware of public relations as a field of study or employment prior to applying to the program at Loyalist, but the more I learned about it, the more it seemed to align with my experience, skills, and interests, and I thought it would serve as a good transition out of academia and into the workforce while giving me a solid background in the technicalities and practicalities of corporate communications.
Loyalist PR: Could you briefly describe your duties as a Marketing Assistant?
Kate: In my current role, I am responsible for the coordination and planning of events put on by the faculty, which include recruitment presentations, executive receptions, faculty photoshoots, and marketing conferences. I also maintain the university's research website, which requires me to interview professors about their research and populate their profiles.
Another big part of my job has turned out to be working with the Director of Strategic Initiatives to support the development of new academic programs at the university, which often involves conducting market research, writing recommendations, and developing student and employer demand surveys.
Finally, along with the rest of the marketing team, I provide support to the Faculty's Director of Marketing and to various marketing initiatives, which can entail everything from stuffing envelopes to calling students to monitoring social media for potential issues and general feedback.
Loyalist PR: How did Loyalist PR help prepare you for your current position?
Kate: Loyalist PR gave me the practical knowledge and hands-on experience that I didn't get in university, and I use the skills that I developed through the program every single day. Whether I'm budgeting and booking for a conference, writing a research report, or maneuvering a tricky situation at an event, I can rely on the many times I practiced and applied the relevant skills during my time at Loyalist.
Just as important as the frameworks and theories that we learned in class are the many opportunities we got to apply our knowledge in real-world situations - those kinds of experiences are truly invaluable. Additionally, the internship is an amazing opportunity. Although I was one of the last people to secure my placement, I got to work exactly where I wanted, and would not have my current job otherwise.
Loyalist PR: What was the highlight of your year in Loyalist PR?
Kate: My favourite part of the past year at Loyalist was our Smash and Dash event in November to support the United Way. Event planning is my primary area of interest within public relations, and so getting to produce an original, large-scale event as a class, from conception to evaluation, was a really exciting and rewarding experience.
Loyalist PR: Any words of advice for the new Loyalist PR students arriving this September?
Kate: Eight months goes by so quickly! Like most opportunities, this program will give back to you what you put into it, so make sure to take advantage of any and all opportunities (inside and outside of the classroom) that seem interesting to you. In the same vein, learn as much as you can, because the goal of this program is to expose you to all the different areas within the PR field. Make the most of all the resources available to you and use this opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you like (and don't like) to give yourself the best chance for success in the workplace.
Loyalist PR: Thanks, Kate -- we're excited to see the great achievements that lie ahead in your career!