But if you ask me, I’d say PR professionals are pretty badass and here’s why:
For those of you who don’t know, SDSU was placed sixth in the most recent national ranking of public relations programs in the United States. To be accepted into the major you must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and receive an 80 percent or higher on a grammar, spelling and punctuation test.
With that said, I thought I was ready to take the easy way out. I flew back to Boston to visit the schools I had applied to, only to realize I was making the wrong decision.
The more I thought about it, I wanted to be in San Diego for more reasons than nice weather – I strived for the challenge that SDSU offered me. Upon my return, I was accepted into one of the best public relations programs in the country, nominated as the director of special events for the Public Relations Student Society of America and landed my first internship at West Public Relations.
I am grateful to have been given a hands-on experience into the public relations profession during my internship at West PR. I wrote press releases, drafted pitches and created media alerts for local and national media outlets. I was also able to assist in preparing a Petco spokesperson for her TV segment on Fox 5 San Diego and learn all about Vocus, the “bible” of public relations. Being an intern at West Public Relations has not only allowed me to expand my portfolio, but it has given me the opportunity to create relationships with great publicists whose passion for their clients shows through their company’s success.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. As finals week fast approaches, my internship at West PR is coming to a close. I have learned so much working with this company and my passion for the public relations profession has grown immensely.
I’ve now realized that all the trouble I went through before was well worth it in the end. But isn’t it always that way with life?
Until next time,
Have you ever received an email that offended you so much you were shocked and appalled the person on the other end would even consider writing such a horrific thing to you? Maybe it hasn’t been that bad, but I’ve definitely read emails that I thought were quite rude. And on the flip side, I’m sure I’ve written them too. As a female, I want to come across strong and confident in my emails, but never catty or mean. Whenever I think an email may be teetering over the edge, I read it out loud to my coworkers with the preface of: “does this sound bitchy?” What this exercise fails to take in to account is tone.
When speaking to someone over the phone or in person, you can usually gauge their tone and listen to the inflections in their voice or see the smile on their face to realize that they are either being sarcastic, funny, serious, etc. In this digital age, we aren’t afforded this luxury via email. Which brings me back to a social experiment we conducted at West PR. I read an email I received out loud two different ways. First, in a snotty negative tone and the second in a lighthearted, complimentary tone. The difference it made was shocking! The same words conveyed two completely different meanings. You can see the video below.
So what’s the moral of the story? If you think an email can be misconstrued don’t be afraid to read it out loud and ask our favorite question, “does this sound bitchy?” I also really like ToneCheck.com, which automatically checks emails for negative tones. I’m sure this will not 100 percent prevent misunderstandings from occurring, but hopefully it will make you think before pressing that send button. At the end of the day, you really do attract more bees with honey than with vinegar and I prefer to kill ‘em with kindness.
See the video here: Does This Sound Bitchy?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first five years. Well, this April we beat the odds – the West P.R. band of misfits celebrated our five year anniversary.
It may come as no surprise to some, but April Fools Day is West Public Relations’ anniversary. To be honest, it feels so apropos since starting a business was completely unintentional – the whole thing just kind of fell in my lap. Yet now that it’s my reality, it feels like the most natural thing in the world. Who would have thought? I guess the joke is on me.
I’m not afraid to admit we’ve had missteps along the way but I think we’ve also done many things right. It’s rare that you have a platform to boast about your accomplishments without sounding self-important or like a “publicist”, so I’m going to use this blog to do just that. It’s West P.R.’s birthday month so we’re entitled to it.
The Top 5 Things West P.R. Does Right:
Surprised this was our boast list? I’m sure you expected us to brag about all the times we’ve landed clients on the Today Show or in Elle (we have), but our work speaks for itself – we are still in business…]]>
A few weeks ago, I ventured out on my first press tour since joining West PR. Actually, it was my first and only press tour, so you can imagine my trepidation at traveling alone across the country with four enormous boxes full of beauty products and sixteen editor meetings planned within three days. To be honest, even with 5 years of PR experience under my belt, I was a bit nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to scream with joy when I was told I was heading to NYC. However, since I had worked in editorial at O, The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen and Life & Style, I know how easy it is to tune out when a publicist doesn’t say anything compelling. I know. Shame on me. As you can imagine, I was afraid karma was inevitable. But can you really fault me when a publicist didn’t know their stuff or speak with conviction? Anyway, I wanted to make damn sure that wasn’t me.
When Mia notified me that she wanted to send me to New York I was ecstatic to say the least. I had always wanted to travel for a job and I was finally getting my shot. Plus, it was a chance to go back to my old stomping grounds and the place that I will always call home – New York City. You see, my last job while I was still living in New York urged me to get my passport within my first two weeks of working there, only to send me as far as Connecticut. So being told I was going to NYC was quite a treat.
The big day came: breakfast after desk side after lunch after desk side after taxi ride after cocktails; the next three days went by in a whirlwind. Thinking back on it now, there was no time for any of the nervousness I had anticipated! Better yet, I’m pleased to report I only experienced one blank stare, and that was from a gal who was admittedly hungover…
Although the press tour went by without a hitch, I must admit there were some pretty surprising, even shocking, moments. I couldn’t believe my ears when an editor at one of the most esteemed lifestyle magazines (which will go unnamed) admitted she fibbed to us last year. In a nutshell, she called us and pretended to be writing a story on men’s grooming products and asked us to overnight a client’s product. In reality, her boyfriend at the time who is now an ex (there’s that karma) loved our client’s product and wanted more. There was no story. She was using her position to get free goodies. The funny thing is, we would have totally sent her the product knowing it was for her boyfriend because, well, we’re cool like that.
Another highlight, and my personal favorite experience, of the trip had to be my meeting with Eva Chen, Teen Vogue Beauty Director. She told me she loved my gel manicure and asked if she could take a picture. As one of her avid Twitter and Tumblr followers, I was silently dying inside when she asked this and happily obliged. To my delight, she tweeted the image of my glittery nails to her almost 28,000 followers – eeek!
After all my meetings in the city, I got to unwind and spend some QT with my family and friends in Brooklyn. A perfect end to an amazing work trip. My meetings went better than I could have ever imagined and our clients are now on their radar for upcoming stories. Most importantly, I furthered myself as a PR professional and feel more comfortable as a publicist than I ever have. If I learned anything from this experience, it’s that confidence can get you anywhere, no matter how scary something seems. Can’t wait for my next West PR trip!
For those who know me, I’ve always had a “nervous twitch” but rarely am I actually nervous. I am always shaking my leg or tapping my foot without ever realizing it until one of co-workers (Krista) threatens my life if I don’t stop. After I began working 8-5, it quickly became apparent I would need a physical outlet for all of my energy, since dancing the weekend away at Voyeur was just not cutting it.
Don’t get me wrong, the West PR offices are anything but stale – we are usually doubled over in laughter getting an ab workout. However, it does require me to sit in front of the computer all day making phone calls and composing emails and I inevitably become restless. Call me crazy, but I will happily wake up at 5 a.m. to catch a workout class and burn off this energy because nothing helps me focus more during the week than a killer work out.
Everyone in the office has their physical outlet: Krista is the Pure Barre guru who gives us private lessons in the office, Allie loves the brutality of Barry’s Bootcamp and Mia “hits the bag” and gratefully not us as our resident boxer. Thank goodness I’m addicted to cardio because I cannot do a plié, I don’t respond well to yelling, and my presence in the ring would be far too intimidating for my opponent. For me, whether it’s an early morning spin class or a hot date with a treadmill at night, a good sweat helps channel my nervous energy into a productive day behind a desk.
Regardless of your preference, exercise is vital to being productive at West PR. Believe it or not, we are encouraged to hit the gym even if that means spending the rest of the day stinking up the office in sweaty workout gear. Not to mention we love our sweets, so any activity we can incorporate into our day is worth it, which is why we are constantly passing around the exercise ball to work our abs. We all have so much energy, but luckily we have a constructive way to get some of our extra “ya-ya’s” out without being too terribly counterproductive.
I’ll end with a line that I closed a college debate class with to which not a soul laughed, “Drop the books and hit the gym!”]]>
In the words of Jaclyn Acree…
With graduation on the horizon, I can’t help but feel anxious about what will happen in the next chapter of my life. I’m lucky enough to begin the job hunt with two internships under my belt, both having taught me completely different things about the world of public relations. Even though I feel I am prepared to leave the comfort of going to school everyday as I have for the past 17 years of my life, I can’t help but cringe whenever anyone asks me, “So what are your plans after graduation?”
So what exactly are my plans? To tell you the truth I have absolutely no freaking idea. There are some things I do know though:
1) I want to continue living in San Diego
2) I want to work at a PR agency (preferably dealing with clients in the hospitality, lifestyle or beauty industry, but I am open to anything)
3) I am extremely nervous my dreams won’t come true
I can’t help compare the feeling I have about my future to the time I went paragliding over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Granada, Spain. Right when I was about to take off I couldn’t help but get that “fight or flight” sensation. I couldn’t believe I was about to run off of a mountain and let the wind be the only thing carrying me but when I was soaring above the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen, it’s hard to believe I ever had doubts.
I am extremely nervous/scared/excited/fired up about what I will do next with my life but I know that once I take the leap it will be the most exhilarating and freeing feeling. There are so many opportunities out there and I can’t wait to go out and find the one perfect for me. The only way to get what I want is to grab life by the horns and just go with it. And that is what I plan to do.
For all seniors out there feeling the same way, happy job hunting!
P.S. I want to thank West PR for giving me my first internship. After getting hands on experience, I knew I made the right decision to get into public relations.
I discovered Chase online. When I showed up for our date, I was surprised to learn Chase was much older than what the online profile listed, quite weathered, missing teeth, and extremely shy. After hearing about Chase’s countless babies and violent past, I was sure we’d never develop a healthy relationship and it would be best to walk away. I didn’t though. Our relationship lasted only a few short years, but I’m forever grateful Chase came home with me that day.
If you haven’t already guessed, my dear Chase was a shelter dog. She spent seven years as a backyard breeding machine. After her breeding career ended (several nipples and her uterus were removed from having so many puppies), the monsters filed down her teeth and used her as dogfighting bait. Needless to say, she wasn’t easy on the eyes. She’d been in the shelter for months and no family would take her home. I was a child when I last had a dog and was nervous about making the commitment, but I felt a strange bond with this dog with the blank stare so I signed the adoption paperwork and she became Chase West.
It was weeks before Chase wagged her tail and months before she figured out how to fetch, but once she realized she was in a safe place her personality blossomed and she developed a zest for life. And for one who had never received love, she sure knew how to give it. My fondest memory is waking up late at night to discover her standing guard in my bedroom doorway; her back to me so she could face whatever villain might dare intrude. Outside of my parents, I had never experienced that kind of devotion. My heart felt like it was going to burst.
Sadly, our short love story had a “Terms of Endearment” ending – Chase had three types of untreatable cancer. I was bitterly angry. How could this abused animal finally find a caring home only to die soon after? Yet my sweet girl handled it all with grace. As I held her and sobbed while the vet administered the euthanasia, it was she who assured me it was going to be okay, licking my arm until she closed her eyes forever. Call me melodramatic, but it was days before I could get out of bed. I swore I would never bring another dog into my life……
That’s enough about my broken heart for now. Let’s have a quick change of topic before I start to cry. Our company feels strongly about supporting small, independently owned businesses, yet West Public Relations represents Petco, a national big box retailer. How can we do so and stick to our guns about working with clients we believe in? Well, personally, I love this company. They have used their size and reach to support a cause close to my heart: pet adoption. They’ve helped place over 250,000 animals in homes and raised over $90 million for rescues and shelters. In working with them we learned 5-7 million animals enter US shelters each year and 3-4 million of those are put down. So much like Petco, we encourage you to “Think Adoption First” and find love online like I did through a site like www.petfinder.com.
As for Chase, I may have rescued her from the shelter, but she rescued me in some ways. I feel like loving, crying, and being embarrassingly sentimental comes much easier to me and shockingly I don’t consider it a bad thing. And don’t worry, I won’t be alone this Valentine’s Day. Shortly after I said goodbye to Chase I had a revelation: she would want me to rescue another. Enter Miss Lola. She is a far cry from the angel that Chase was, doesn’t play well with others, and farts like a 500 lb. man after a chili bean eating contest, but you can bet I’ll be spooning that stinky arse on V-day.
Let’s be serious… when you are at your office for eight plus hours a day, you can’t honestly say that you are doing work the entire time. Maybe you are checking Facebook, reading your Twitter feed, warming up your lunch or going to the bathroom. Did you know that if you are in the bathroom for an average of 10 minutes per day, your company will have paid you for more than 40 hours of toilet time by the end of the year? To put that into perspective, that’s half as long as most paid vacations. So as 2012 began, I had my heart set on getting my money’s worth and increasing my time in the loo.
Doing a new year’s cleanse isn’t something unusual or groundbreaking, but I felt it was a good way to start fresh both physically and mentally. The only problem with most cleanses is that you actually have to eat healthy or drink only juice for a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, I like to eat food; unhealthy food. Luckily, I found an acai berry cleanse that allows you to eat your normal diet, but you take two pills in the morning before breakfast and two pills at night before bed for two weeks. According to the bottle, the product is “scientifically formulated to cleanse your digestive tract and get rid of any excess matter that could be clogging your system. In just days, you can experience increased regularity, reduced bloating and a flatter abdomen.” In layman’s terms that simply means I would spend a lot of time in the lavatory, thus increasing the amount of time I was getting paid to poop in 2012.
I’ve never been embarrassed regarding talking about my bowels, the commode or other non “lady-like” things, but being on a cleanse brings this to a whole new level. When you work in a small office, you often get to know your coworkers quite well, but I never imagined we would get this close. My colleagues had to bear the brunt of my stool stories and turd tales. We even had to go on a search for a plunger at one point. In the end, I may feel a few pounds lighter, but I definitely feel closer to my officemates. And as much as I wanted to increase my rectal revenue in 2012, I did the math and I only earn 0.88% of my salary from sitting on the toilet. Less than one percent!
Since we’re friends now, I know what you’re thinking, “How much money do I make each year pooping?” Well, today is your lucky day because I found a website that will calculate it all out for you.
http://www.poopcalc.com/default.aspx Happy pooping!
The Lamp (aka Krista)
Let’s backtrack here a moment. Since moving to San Diego from New York, there are a lot of things I miss daily from the Big Apple. Things like the culture, food, nightlife, and the adrenaline rush I would get from stealing cabs from other people. But most of all, I miss the out-of-the-box fashion and beauty. When I interned at Seventeen magazine, they sent me to NY Fashion Week to cover makeup and hair trends backstage, but I never got to sit front row. Well, “HA HA, take that” NYFW because I got to sit second row at Global Connection’s Runway Show. The show kicked off the 2-day event and the clothing and hair inspiration came from the elements; Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. My personal favorite from the show was the fire portion. The hair was like nothing I have ever seen in my life and seemed like there were fireworks and hot lava oozing from the models’ heads. I used to play with matches when I was in high school so I guess that’s why I liked it so much.
The rest of the event involved lunches with beauty editors, lots of inspirational and teary-eyed talks from members of the Eufora family, including founders Don and Beth Bewley, as well as live hair-cutting sessions in front of a crowd of 700 salon enthusiasts. But most importantly, I really learned that Eufora has a heart, which I know is hard to come by in companies nowadays. Passion for their work is what unites Eufora and those who attend Global, and it was heart-warming to see it firsthand.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my first Global experience because I got an up close and personal look at one of my clients. It was inspiring to learn that Eufora is more than just another hair care brand; they’re a close-knit family who always has each other’s backs that always operates with integrity – it felt a lot like my new home, West P.R. On a more depressing note, I left the event with the somewhat thought-provoking notion that I really need to do something with this mop. Peach extensions, perhaps?