Most of the professors who taught PR-focused classes were either former or current public relations professionals who had the connections and tools to use during class.
Current Employer: Collier County Supervisor of Elections office
Job Title: Election Communications Coordinator
Q. What drove your decision to become a communication/public relations major?
- I always enjoyed writing and knew that a communication degree was probably the best fit for me. Then, learning a bit more about individuals who are PR professionals, I was able to get an idea of how diverse the profession is and knew I could never be bored in making a career in PR.
Q. How did FGCU’s Communication/PR Program help prepare you for your career?
- Most of the professors who taught PR-focused classes were either former or current public relations professionals who had the connections and tools to use during class. I remember having an adjunct professor who taught our PR Campaigns class and she was also employed by a local PR agency in Fort Myers. I probably received the most knowledge on how to create and implement a strategic plan in that class due to her connections in the community through her job at that agency.
Q. Where did you complete your internship and how did it help prepare you for a job after graduation?
- I completed my internship with the Hyatt Plantation at Coconut Point which is where I was employed during that time. My duties involved creating an internal employee newsletter that was published until my departure. Having that experience helped me work with other individuals and learn the importance of adapting to schedules and – of course – respecting deadlines.
Q. What was your most memorable communication/public relations class?
- The PR Campaigns class was pretty memorable. During this class, we worked with real clients from local businesses and conducted a campaign or event for the organization. I can remember visiting the Holocaust Museum and developing a plan to introduce a new series in the museum that would highlight the women of the Holocaust and would feature unforgettable women from the Holocaust such as Irena Sendler and Anne Frank.
Q. What is a typical day like for you at work?
- Depends on the day. Being the “communications/PR person” in our office, I serve to support all of our departments. Currently, I am working with our Outreach Department helping them wrap up an art contest we just conducted and I also am working with our Training Department to recruit and schedule election workers for the 2016 elections.
- Having so many projects that can vary greatly, I think it’s important to have something traditional or a routine to start the day. Every morning between 8 and 8:30 a.m. I take time to drink my coffee and read the news. I subscribe to maybe 10 newsletters that feature election news, politics or just world events. This part of my day is very important to me. I feel like it gets me in my zone and ready to work.
Q. What do you enjoy the most about your current job?
- I enjoy working in such diverse roles. When I first became employed with the elections office, I wasn’t sure what I would do every other year when there wasn’t an election scheduled. I quickly learned that working in the elections office is a full time job and I find myself just as busy (if not more busy) during the years where there are not any elections scheduled. I continue to face new challenges every day and that’s what keeps me interested and motivated.
Q. What’s the best advice you received while attending college that you took to heart and believe it helped land the job you have today?
- FOLLOW UP! Even if you are following up to just let someone know you are still trying to find an answer. People often assume that if they haven’t heard from you in a day, you forgot about them.
Q. What advice would you give to graduating seniors entering the workforce?
- FOLLOW UP! Also, try not to give reactive responses. Think about the way you respond to inquiries (especially emotional emails). Sometimes it’s better to type something up, save it as a draft and then read it the next day before you send it. You’d be surprised how the tone changes depending on what you’ve dealt with that day. You’ll probably also be surprised at all the typos you made with a new day’s pair of eyes.
Q. Favorite way to spend your free time now that your undergrad years are behind you?
- I love going on dates with my husband. It’s corny, but I enjoy getting all dressed up and heading to our favorite restaurant and catching up on our day.