Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Blogging tips from Hemingway to the deadly sins of public speaking and how to be bold at work (or even in class!), here are a few articles I have found useful while focusing on presentations, group work and blog writing at school this week...

Friday, November 23, 2012


The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) hosted their 8th annual Gift of Communication yesterday and I had the wonderful opportunity to be involved.

As a holiday gift to the United Way and the entire community, IABC members donated 2.5 hours of time to help organizations to help solve their greatest communication issues. Issues brought to the table included corporate communications, public relations, employee communications, marketing communications, public affairs and many other forms of business communications.  

The event invited seven organizations and they were individually paired with one or two IABC members and students from Mohawk College and McMaster University. Organizations included HARRRP, Student Open Circles, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, Hamilton Youth Steel Orchestra, Robert Land Community Association, Hamilton St. John Ambulance, and Hamilton Council on Aging.

I was selected to work with the Hamilton Association of Residential and Recreational Redevelopment Programs (HARRRP), which had two organization representatives present. Major issues discussed were how to better brand HARRRP in the community to help increase sponsorship and donor contributions.

This event came at a perfect time since we are currently working on creating IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) plans in class. This workshop offered a new level of learning for me as a student, allowing me to work on real life situations alongside a knowledgeable communications professional. I felt that I was able to actively participate in the discussions and offer invaluable insight to the organization.

I believe that there is no better gift to give than to offer the best skills you have and feel that the Gift of Communication is wonderful gift to give organizations that would not normally be able to invest in. All participating organizations were very enthusiastic and appeared to be very grateful for a new set of eyes on their communication plans. I look forward to hopefully being able to give the gift of communication again in the future!

Thank you IABC!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Recently, the class left our typical learning environment, boarded a school bus and headed to downtown Toronto to visit a couple Public Relations Agencies.
The field trip was a very informative, positive and an eye opening experience. Overall, both agency visits were very enlightening and I could speak highly of both but I was overly impressed with the second stop at Hill& Knowlton agency. Only knowing the basic information and intimidating facts about agencies prior to this field trip, I had no desire to work at a firm or agency. Hill & Knowlton possessed an exciting atmosphere and work ethic that knocked my socks off and ultimately changed my opinion and outlook on agency work. I was impressed with their think bold and big attitude and the high standards they adhere to and the variety of work that they work on.

Hill & Knowlton is Canada’s top-rated public affairs and public relations consultancy. They have a network of 83 offices in 46 countries and nine Canadian offices. H&K offers small-agency focus with large-agency resources. The agency works alongside with a variety of large scale clients including Bell, Virgin, Ducks Unlimited, Royal Canadian Mint, Mental Health Commission of Canada, etc.
Hill & Knowlton showed me the importance of branding yourself and being different, from how you present yourself to the experience you have listed on your resume. They value their employees and the experience they bring to client work. Appropriately delegating team members to client projects allows the company to benefit and make use of all employees’ individual talents. Showing this understanding of their employees’ individual skills, made me really take notice of their appreciation of all skills their team members have to offer. This in turn would make all team members feel valuable and essential to projects.
I was impressed with the positive environment within the agency. While sitting in the presentation, I was able to take notice of employees walking past and noticed a continuous positive vibe from every person that walked by. The two H&K employees that were in the presentation to speak of their involvement within the company were also very optimistic and mentioned how they thoroughly enjoy working within the agency. They spoke of how they appreciate the variety of work they are able to work on which allows them to continuously stay focused on projects as they do not find themselves bored of repetitive work. Even when asked what they do not enjoy, they couldn’t even speak negatively about anything other than an administrative task of calculating account hours.
The high standard they adhere, quality of work, variety of client projects and continuous dedication to cooperative work in a bold and different approach is definitely motivating. Many classmates were turned off by the agency environment; felt it was overwhelming, intimidating and strongly believe that it is not a place they plan to work at. Coming from previously working in the news industry, where it is a busy and competitive work place- an agency just might be a great fit for me in the world of PR. Having previous media experience will still allow me to work within media relations (which I desire) while improving on other various PR skills. The fast paced environment and high standards is an environment I would definitely excel in and look forward to one day having the opportunity to work within an agency and learning from senior coworkers who offer great expertise to a variety of work.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


While studying photojournalism, sports writing and photography was a great passion of mine and a focus I wished to pursue. I loved the excitement of being included on media lists, connecting with the teams media relations representatives and building my collection of media passes. There is nothing more thrilling than being on the sidelines during any sporting event, getting an up close glimpse at all the action and emotion.

When I discovered my interest in Public Relations, I thought it was an ideal opportunity to combine my love for sports and previous media experience. Prior to the start of classes in September, I contacted many sporting organizations in search of PR internship and was lucky to obtain a position with a hockey team within the Ontario Hockey League which has turned into a great starting point and learning experience.

What does a PR professional do on a sports team you might ask?
PR for a sports team involves the coordination of the flow of information from teams to the media and providing the public with sports news items, team data and player information. Public Relations also plays an important "promotional" role in generating public interest, increasing teams' visibility and filling stadiums with fans.

They do everything from writing newspaper stories and media releases to preparing media kits. They are responsible for responding to media information requests which can include setting up coach or player interviews after games and media attendance requests for games.  PR representatives are also often required to deal with difficult or sensitive news stories relating to the team or players, having to throw the most positive light on any situation.

On top of their media relation duties, PR sport experts are also typically accountable for the team’s social media and community initiatives and promoting the organization in an effort to increase fan followers, game attendance and the teams’ visibility.

Public Relations for a sport organization is a vital component to a team’s success and as long as the public has a desire for sporting events, there will always be a need for a great sports PR expert!
Don't forget to add this sports PR blog to your blog reads which offers a look into the sports industry from a PR point of view, written by the Community Relations Manager for the Detroit Red Wings. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Some newcomers might think it is quite a jump from working in the journalism industry to seeking a career in public relations; I would beg to differ.

For quite some time, Journalism and PR have battled against each other but I believe that both share similar qualities and neither could survive without each other. PR uses the media as a tool to share their client’s stories and to get a message out; Journalists defend the public’s best interest. Both fields seek to deliver key messages that are of interest to others and they equally understand how to relate and communicate well to the public in order to successfully deliver those messages. Most importantly, each share very similar morals and ethical obligations to the wider public.  It is time to stop viewing it as one VERSUS the other and better understand the true us AND them relationship.
Although it is ancient thinking, some journalists still look at Public Relation Practitioners as spin doctors and view PR as the dark side. Despite the primordial thinkers, I do believe that both industries are beginning to better understand what each other does. The building of stronger relationships is heading both industries in the right direction to hopefully one day end the rivalry and allow them to see how they could benefit from having great ties with one another. After all, both industry professionals have extensive networks that could be beneficial to each other down the road in their separate fields of work… not to mention they both enjoy a great drink out after the work day is over!
Check out this great blog post on how to better connect with journalists

Friday, November 2, 2012


Check out these great blog postings from Perfect reads for PR newbies!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Welcome! This is a new blog dedicated to my journey along a new education and career path in Public Relations. I will primarily be writing blog posts for my instructor for a class assignment (Hi, Tim!) but I certainly hope to gain the interest of aspiring PR professionals who will hopefully find my posts useful, good or bad.

I have previously graduated with a diploma in Photojournalism, learning newspaper and documentary photography and key reporting skills. I briefly worked in the news industry as a photo editor for a company that had a long list of great newspapers across Canada and feel very privileged to have had that opportunity. I had the chance to meet many great photographers, writers and editors over the past couple of years and gained invaluable skills that I would never take back.

Looking at my personal long term plan, the newspaper industry wasn’t an ideal fit and I had a desire for a profession in communications that could offer long term industry stability. After much research, Public Relations seemed like a great fit. After all, it is one of the fastest growing industries!

At the moment, I have a strong desire to head down the path of media relations within the sports industry. Combining my previous media experience, my love for sports photography and sporting events, media relations seems like an ideal match. I have a long road ahead of me and will continue to keep my options open while studying but I believe it is still beneficial to have some direction mapped out.
There are many various opportunities in PR and I will consider and research each one along the way. I will continue to share updates, thoughts and lessons learned as I travel down a new road! I can guarantee there will be road blocks and detours along the way but hope my lessons learned will be of some interest and value to you.

Hope you enjoy the ride!