Jun 13, 2017

CPRS Calgary Passport to PR YYC April 28, 2017

On April 28, 2017, the CPRS Calgary Education & Students portfolio hosted Passport to PR YYC. The event allowed students the opportunity to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to work in PR for various companies around Calgary, spend time learning from esteemed public relations practitioners and build their network. In groups of three, students spent two and a half hours at one of three organizations that participated. Each organization provided a unique experience giving students a hands-on look at what it’s like to work for that specific area of public relations.  

Here’s what the groups had to say: 

Company: Edelman @EdelmanCalgary

CPRS Student Rep: Megan Fox 

The event began on time with both Trinh and Jason. We began in a meeting room with Lynn. She explained who she was and gave us a brief explanation of what Edelman does. We then got to meet the whole team. John Larsen led the meeting and went into more detail about where Edelman is, what they stand for and the types of people that work there. We then got introduced to the team and heard a little about what each person does. 

After that, Lynn gave us two assignments that would benefit the company. They gave us an hour and a bit to complete the tasks. We completed a media list for one of their campaigns and learned a lot about Edelman and all agreed that it would be an amazing place to work. We also learned what it is like to make a media list for a certain campaign that targets certain journalists. 

Overall, it was an enriching experience that helped students understand what it would be like to work for a large public relations agency. Everyone was grateful for the experience and the connections made.  

 Company: Alberta Energy Regulator @AER_news

CPRS Student Rep: Cassandra Schultz @Kassandra003 

When we first got to the office we sat down in a conference room where Natalie and Kara presented a brief overview about AER, and broke down the different groups within the organization. After that we toured around the office, meeting different people with various roles within the communications department. Each cubical had their Myers Briggs results posted to their desk along with little cards that say stuff like, "busy in deep work right now please come back and chat later"  and "hello I am available to chat". 

After that, we went for coffee with the communications crew and they explained how much fun they have going to various events and that they are all very grateful for the close professional relationships the have with their team. Later on, I chatted with a student who had been working there for the past six months and she boasted that she loved working for the company and how great the work environment was. Additionally, the student explained that she felt very supported by the team at AER and that this support allowed her to achieve her personal work goals. 

After we got back to the office we heard from a few other people from the communications department where they showed us some of their work and gave us a breakdown of why they execute things in a certain way. Before we left, we were spoiled with a bag of AER goodies such as a pen, notepads and business cards. 

Overall, it was a lot of information in really quick bursts. The participating students explained that it was a fun, interesting and valuable day spent with some inspiring PR pros at AER and they were happy to have had the opportunity.  

Company: Brookline Public Relations @BrooklinePR

CPRS Student Rep: Bridgette Slater @bslaterpr 

Overall, I think the Passport to PR experience was a very valuable experience for students. My involvement was slightly different because I actually work at Brookline Public Relations, one of the organizations that hosted students. This meant that I got to experience the event from the perspective of a host. 

Based on my perceptions, the students had a really unique opportunity to engage with Brookline’s practitioners on a personal and professional level through various face-to-face meetings. Additionally, the students gained some practical knowledge that they’ll have the opportunity to leverage as they work toward a career in the communications field. 

The day was scheduled with the intention of giving the students a well-rounded view into the daily happenings of life in an agency. The event started with a tour of the office space and team introductions and then evolved into some one-on-one meetings and an activity. Though no two days are alike at Brookline, this schedule allowed the students to gain some insight into some of the day-to-day activities that happen in the agency. For the one-on-one meetings, the students sat down with three different groups of professionals, the first group included an account executive and account specialist, the second included a senior account executive and account executive and third group included the Brookline interns. 

In my opinion, this schedule was quite effective because it allowed the students to gain a fulsome view of what it is like to work at Brookline and culminated with in-depth questions for the interns about what it would take to become a member of the team. To end the session, the students completed an activity that reflected a task Brookliners complete on a daily basis. 

For the activity, the students had roughly 45 minutes to develop a strategic pitch for Original Joe’s based on some upcoming editorial content outlined in Avenue Magazine’s editorial calendar. Essentially, they developed a pitch that positioned Original Joe’s as a great place to visit during the upcoming summer months. Once the pitch was completed, an account executive reviewed the content that was produced and provided some insight on areas of strength in addition to tips for improvement. 

I think this was a great process and the students walked away with some great insight into what it is like to work at Brookline. Additionally, the practical portion gave them a taste of the kind of work that is completed during a day at Brookline, which they can carry with them and use as an indication as to whether they would like to pursue a career in an agency.