Posts Tagged ‘Holy Cross’

Take this job and Love it!

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Cause I’m leaving on jet plane,
Don’t know when I’ll be back again…

Okay, so I didn’t actually leave on a jet plane — but I did go on a journey. I packed up my car yesterday and headed back to Holy Cross. And, that means this summer, and my internship, are at an end: my nine weeks at S&A have flown by and, here I am writing my last blog.

As I walked to Crumbs during my lunch break – yes, I decided to commemorate my final day at S&A with a deliciously oversized Dulce de Leche cupcake – I began thinking that the best way to finish off my summer blog would be to pass along advice to all of you who will be interning in the city next summer.

So, without further ado, I present my top advice for future NYC interns:

5. Start practicing sleeping on trains.
I now know that sleeping on a train is an art form. There are some people who simply close their eyes and fall peacefully into a light slumber. Then there are the less graceful sleepers who end up with their face pressed on the window, mouth open, and a steady drool puddle gathering on their shoulder. Fortunately, I don’t fall entirely into that latter group (I’ll cop to the window bit but take the Fifth on the drool part). Ironically, at the beginning of the summer, I didn’t think I would ever be able to sleep during the morning commute. After a few weeks of getting up at 5:15am, however, I quickly adapted to falling asleep, but I still haven’t mastered the appearance. So, get a jump start on mastering your sleep technique if you have a chance.

4. Read the paper every day.
One of the best ways to prepare for any internship is to read a newspaper every day and stay on top of current events. Whether you prefer the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or some other major news source, reading the paper will keep you informed and allow you to form your own opinions of what’s going on in the world. Plus, you might just get the inside scoop on a new store, like Pop Tarts World, that is opening right down the street!

3. Be adventurous!
When you are in New York City, the possibilities are endless. So, go out there are try new things!
Just yesterday, Jeff took me to the Shake Shack. After walking over 15 blocks and waiting in line for 40 minutes, I got to taste the legendary Shack Stack burger, fries, and chocolate shake (don’t worry, the walk back helped me recover from the meal). Trust me, the meal was definitely worth the wait. Plus, the Shake Shack adventure will go down as one of my most memorable S&A moments.

2. When you think you are done with a task, take a five minute break and look over your work again.
While your work will never be completely perfect, make sure you perform each task thoroughly. In the PR world, all of your research – and resulting conclusions — can be changed by one article or piece of information. Sure, sometimes hours of research can be painful, especially when you keep finding dead ends. Still, that annoyance is nothing compared to the consequences of misreporting information or looking lazy. So, make sure that you put 100% into each project. Your work ethic will be noticed and will reflect on how you as an individual.

1. Voice you opinions and your ideas.
If you have a good idea or an opinion you feel could be useful, share it! Your employer selected you because they noticed something interesting about you and because they felt that you would be the best fit for the position. With that in mind, be confident that your opinion will be valued. By expressing my opinions and being open with everyone at S&A, I felt like a member of the team. Don’t limit yourself by being too timid to share your ideas. Remember, you are not “just an intern” – unless you act like you are.

So, there you have it. I have had a wonderful summer. I have learned a lot and I cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunities given to me by Starkman & Associates, the Summer Internship Program, and the Leadership Council of New York.

Good luck to all the 2011 interns!

Around the Professions in 45 Days

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

When I first started this internship at S&A, I thought I’d spend my days learning solely about press releases and media contacts. Boy, was I wrong.
While it’s certainly true that I know a heck of a lot more about public relations today versus eight weeks ago, I am astounded by how much I’ve also learned about Wall Street, healthcare, law, and philanthropy, among other industries and sectors. While I spent one week mastering medical jargon and looking at healthcare studies, I spent another week peeling through court cases and laws. I have practiced being an investigator, a writer, and an editor. I’ve done all these things while leading you all to think that I was just doing PR.
Who knew that to be good at public relations you needed to know so much about every other business? This internship has been a real eye-opener, and I mean that in a good way.
I bet you’re also wondering how I could possibly adapt to all these areas in a few short weeks. Well, sorry to disappoint, but if you’re thinking that I might be superhero disguised as an intern, you’re wrong. I wish that I possessed a secret power for being the human chameleon of professions, but I don’t.
I have always enjoyed throwing myself into new topics. On a whim while at Oxford, I elected to take a course on Renaissance Art just for the fun of it, even though I knew almost nothing about the Italian Renaissance. (Fortunately, it turned out to be a fascinating course!) As I learned this summer, that “try anything” spirit is quite helpful in the workplace.
I thank Holy Cross and my liberal arts background for my ability to adapt easily to new situations and my general zeal to learn new things. Congratulations Mom and Dad, you can sleep easy at night knowing your tuition money is paying off already!
Over the past three years, Holy Cross repeatedly challenged me to get my feet wet. In addition to taking classes for my English major, like every other Holy Cross student, I had to step outside my comfort zone and take classes in other core areas, such as religion, art, science and math. Ancient and Medieval Hinduism, anyone? Yep, I took that one (and highly recommend it!).
Although some of these classes may seem off-topic for an English major, they actually enhanced my understanding of literature while broadening my general knowledge. One day we discussed the same topic of linguistic determinism in my Honors linguistics course that we discussed in my 20th Century British Literature course. Recognizing these connections helps me easily adapt to a new area of study.
By learning through a system that forces you to branch out, I acquired the skills that would help me adapt easily to reading medical studies and court cases. Instead of turning into a deer in the headlights when I am drafted onto a new project, I am confident that, if history is an indication, I will eventually figure it out.

So, there you have it, I have spent my summer traveling through many careers in true Holy Cross style. I have played lawyer, doctor, and philanthropist (in the broadest sense of those words) while simultaneously being a PR agent.
And you thought I was just a PR intern…

Pop-Tarts Sushi, Anyone?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

One of the most challenging aspects of my internship has nothing to do with work. Rather, it’s where to go for lunch. (Being based in midtown Manhattan certainly has its advantages!)

For instance, do you know what Pop-Tarts Sushi tastes like?

Yes, yes – I did say “Pop-Tarts Sushi.”

Don’t worry, I am not talking about some horrible concoction made with raw fish and breakfast pastry. Now, that really would be gross.

What I am actually talking about is the most popular menu item at Kellogg’s newest promo tool, Pop-Tarts World. Chefs at the store, which opened in Times Square on Tuesday, make this treat by chopping up three types of Pop-Tarts and rolling them up inside a Fruit Roll-Up. Then all they do is cut the roll into pieces and, Voila! Pop-Tarts Sushi!

Dedicating an entire store to one breakfast pastry might seem like a bit much, but, from a PR standpoint, it’s pretty smart thinking. Kellogg’s has not only gotten a ton of press for the opening, but also it has earned a place next to the other well-known Time Square sweet stops, such as the M&Ms World and Hershey’s.

After two days of reading articles about the launch of Pop-Tarts World and listening to people here talk about it, my curiosity got the better of me. I headed down there one lunch-period, bring back a few menu items for my colleagues. In addition to Pop-Tarts Sushi, there was “Ants on a Log,” which is essentially celery with peanut butter and crushed Wild Grape Pop-Tarts on top.

Sooo…was the Pop-Tarts Sushi worth the buzz it was getting?

Well, it’s not terrible (although Jeff might disagree; he couldn’t stand the taste for more than five seconds before getting rid of it), but it’s not the best thing I’ve ever tasted. It tastes as you might imagine: a really sweet chewiness mixed with bits of pastry. (I’d recommend “Ants on a Log” before the roll-up.)

Honestly, the best part of my adventure was being able to head out into the city and try something new on a whim.

Over the past seven weeks, I have spent almost every lunch-break exploring mid-town Manhattan and learning to appreciate everything that this city has to offer. Being in the area of Grand Central, Times Square, and the Empire State Building, you can understand just how many options I have around me. If I want to walk around Bryant Park or visit the New York Public Library, I only have to walk a few blocks and I’m there.

I’m pretty sure that if I ate at a different place everyday (which is not something my bank account would like very much), I wouldn’t get through more than a few blocks of eateries before the end of my internship.

Beyond the varying food choices, New York offers numerous possibilities for having a great summer and gaining experience as an intern, especially as a PR intern.

I know that many students feel hesitant about applying for an internship that is located in a large city – honestly, if I hadn’t lived abroad for a year, I might feel a bit hesitant myself – but, there is something about New York that guarantees you will have an amazing experience.There is an energy throughout New York that you can’t find anywhere else. Everywhere you look, things are happening – just last week, I stumbled across Russell Brand filming the remake of the classic 1980s movie Arthur.

But, it is more than seeing movie stars and eating Pop-Tarts. When Wall Street and Times Square are only a few blocks away, you feel connected to the things you are reading about in the news paper each morning. You feel involved in the work you are producing and that you are really there for your clients when they need you.

In the end, working in the city is like trying Pop-Tarts Sushi: it might be amazing, it might be terrible, but no matter what, it will be an unforgettable experience.

And, I might be biased, but I’m sure that you will find it to be a pretty amazing experience.

Is there more to PR than Empty Spin?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

When I first decided that I wanted to pursue a career in public relations while in high school, by best friend turned to me and said, “Oh, so you want to lie to save someone else’s skin for a living?”

Shocked at his negative reaction, I replied, “No, of course not.”

My friend simply sighed and rolled his eyes. “Well that’s all PR is, you know – just lying to the public day-in and day-out to try to cover-up some company’s corrupt secrets.”

That’s certainly not the reputation the leaders of the PR field might want, but it’s hard to fault my friend for only knowing that unfortunate side of business. After all, the papers are filled on a daily basis with official spokespeople scrambling to offer a half-hearted explanation after their employer got caught doing something wrong or worse, getting caught in a lie when they tried to cover up some wrong-doing.

It’s too bad these “bad apples” didn’t read the recent Forbes article on crisis communications by Eric Starkman, the president of S&A, where he warned that, “When you use spin to minimize a crisis, the crisis almost always spins right out of control.”

I may only be starting my third week at S&A, but my experience thus far has proven that S&A practices what they preach. They encourage creativity and being able to communicate the truth in the most effective way possible. For S&A, PR should be challenging: when your client faces difficulties, it is your duty to maintain a credible voice.

Last week, Eric said to me, “Good PR is a thinking business.” This is the kind of PR I want to pursue and I am grateful that my first PR experience gets to be with a firm who upholds the ideals I respect.

More importantly, I cannot wait to revisit the issue with that friend of mine now that I have first-hand knowledge. Until then, maybe I’ll send him a copy of Eric’s article in Forbes.