Reading what needed to be done to prepare for the PR trip in Los Angeles was overwhelming. It was important that I broke up the to-do-list so I could successfully accomplish each item. It was assigned to read The New York Times Business and National sections Monday through Friday. Reading these sections for the two months leading up to the trip helped start a habit. It is now enjoyable to keep up with the news. I’ve found that it has allowed me to bring up news in daily conversations and be well-informed.
Other items assigned were to create and post on a blog, create business cards and update my resume. It’s been a personal goal to create a blog for a few years now. I’m glad it was assigned because it’s allowed me to be creative with my personal brand. After returning from the trip, I realized how important these assigned preparations were. They allowed me to document each day, connect and build relationships with students and professionals in the field.
What I learned
Our first client we met with was Porter Novelli. We learned from Linda Shipley Martin, Joel Paramo, Marissa, CaCera, Danika and Shaili. I learned with them how important it is to work as a team. It’s in those team situations where ideas are bounced around. Collaboration helps teams move toward the goal.
Specific items I took away from this meeting are: manage time and prioritize your to-do-list, be present and work as a team, always ask questions, there is a place and a way for everybody and don’t be afraid to not be perfect all the time. There are going to be times where you’re overwhelmed with tasks that need to be accomplished. The above items will help in those overwhelming times.
We met Max Nelson from Method Communications next. Items I took away from this meeting are: find jobs by reaching out to your network, it’s OK to over communicate, know the story you want to tell with the client and know your goals and audience. I learned there are going to be times where you are working with multiple clients at a time. It’s important in those times to over communicate and to make sure you know the client like the back of your hand.
My main takeaway after meeting with Faith Tusieseina is how important it is to stay motivated and remain persistent. I also found it encouraging that she didn’t have any internships throughout college because of working and going to school full time. I’m in that same situation. I learned that it is important for me to be dedicated in everything I do and if I don’t succeed the first time, to pick myself up and try again.
We met with Philip Sokoloski who is the Vice President of Integrated Communications at FilmL.A. Items I took away and learned from meeting with him: stay involved in work opportunities and with PRSSA. I also learned how important it is to build relationships with everyone. In his particular industry, it’s about who you know. It’s about remaining connected with people because you may need their assistance down the road.
Jade Stevens from Lagrant Communications said some really powerful things that tied in with what Philip said. The main things I took away were to go to more things by myself. It will force me to talk to people. Other items are: try and go to a networking event every week, be a part of different associations, go to other events besides communication events and to not assume I know everything.
Gail Moscoso and Crystal Williams took time out of their busy schedule preparing for the opening of Harry Potter World to talk with us. Here are some key points I took away from their presentation: build relationships, be a people person, build a relationship with the assistants, “It’s not just your career, it’s your life,” and “never burn yourself out for any job.” I learned from them that it is our life. We have to be happy with our jobs or else we won’t enjoy going to work. If we are happy, we will produce quality work.
We met Cori Fox at The Grove for dessert. The main thing I learned from Cori is that if you’re asked to do something and you don’t know how to do it, fake it until you make it. The industry changes and there are going to be things you don’t know how to do. It’s about teaching yourself those things and showing to your employers that you can do anything through hard work.
We toured Taco Bell’s headquarters and met the PR and social media team. My favorite advice: be there for people, send congrats and keep up to date with family and their life, it doesn’t matter if you end up in a PR job, you can use PR in anything, go somewhere where you like the culture, be the best version of yourself, treat every day like a first date and be passionate so you want to go to work. Matt Prince told us a story that really stuck with me. He said he will go into the office an hour or two early if he’s busy so he can still leave the office around five to be with his family. There are going to be times where there is a lot on my plate, however, I need to prioritize those items so I can still make time for my family and friends.
Friday night was the mixer. We met with other students, bowled and sang karaoke. I learned that it’s important to let loose and talk with other people. Talking with people you don’t know helps to build those relationships and make connections. Connections are everything in this industry. It’s important to unwind as well and have a life outside of work.
Todd Cooley spoke at the conference. Some highlights I learned from him: learn the business, don’t just remain in PR or marketing, know all and avoid multitasking. Moxxe PR stated it’s who you know that gets you in the door and it’s what you know that keeps you there. The main takeaway from Robyn Harney was to HELP everyone. Vanessa Kromer and Michael Barnes stressed the important of building and maintaining relationships with people before pitching to them.
Value of what I learned
The main take away from this trip is the importance of building and maintaining relationships with everyone, not just those in the public relations industry. If I keep this in mind, attend events, connect with people and am helpful to everyone, relationships can be formed. Professional friendships can be made. These friendships can be beneficial for both parties in the sense that we can help each other with anything down the road. Opening up and putting yourself out there can only be beneficial.
What am I going to do with this new knowledge?
No matter the event, I’m going to try my best to make time to attend that event. I think it’s important for me to steer clear of remaining in any cliques as well. Cliques can be damaging and can lead to not being open to meeting or letting new people in. I’m going to stay dedicated and remain persistent with my goals. As I’m on that path, I’m going to build and maintain relationships with the people I meet.
Follow up items
I’d like to make sure my resume is the best it can be and I plan to meet with my professor for coaching. I also plan to keep in contact with the people and clients I met on this trip. This means keeping up with their social media accounts, congratulating them on any good news I see and ask for their advice. Everyone I met with was very willing to be there if I ever had any questions. Now that I am connected with them on LinkedIn, I have that outlet of being able to directly message them. I have sent messages to Faith and Joel to ask for their assistance in reading over my resume. I plan to research Universal Music Group and reach out to Faith again to gain insight about an internship. I also plan to look up housing groups on Facebook and ldshousing.net as I plan to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment public relations. This was an amazing opportunity that I’ll never forget. I’ve made friends I will keep and lessons I’ll always remember.
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