Tag Archives: CPRS Toronto Events

What truly makes a gold submission?

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ACE Awards Judge, Lauren More, answers that question and shares her insights on the qualities of a gold winning submission

Taking the leap to judging the CPRS Toronto Ace Awards was a natural next step for Lauren More, VP Communications for Ford of Canada. Her six years of judging allowed her to see some of the freshest and most creative campaigns across industries. From helping run the CPRS Toronto mentoring program to ACE Awards judging, Lauren sees volunteering as her way of supporting the communications field.

Lauren shares her insight into creating an award-winning submission with this year’s crop of ACE award applicants:

The most popular categories

While ACE award judges typically judge on a variety of different categories, there are some categories that receive far more entries and are more competitive to place.

“It’s very competitive because it’s kind of the meat and potatoes of a lot of what we do as communicators,” said Lauren. “But the other area that has certainly just expanded exponentially is the social media category.”

The social media category, in particular, has some of the most creative submissions she’s seen.

The most standout campaigns

Lauren notes that often the most memorable and effective campaigns are the ones where “maybe it’s not the sexiest product or the sexiest point of view or the sexiest issue to grab awareness for”. Yet with a creative approach, these campaigns gained a ton of media attention.

While there are some topics that are naturally going to be of more interest to the media, the campaigns she’s enjoyed over the years are the ones where the brand really has to work at it to find something that would be meaningful to their audience.

The challenges to creativity

While it’s increasingly challenging, to come up with new ideas and new approaches, Lauren concedes sometimes there are periods where budgets have been a lot tighter.

“You have to do a lot more with a lot less,” she said, “And you’re still expected to deliver the same type of results – so I think that’s really pushed the level of creativity.”

The ability to sit back

It comes to no surprise that most communicators rarely have time to slow their everyday pace. Lauren explained the ACE Awards provide that perfect evening to do just that with your team and reflect back on your best work.

“We tend to in our jobs and our field to run pretty fast and run pretty hard.” she said, “And I think it’s really worthwhile to stop and take a breath now and then. To acknowledge the work and commitment we put in.”

There are certain things that separate excellence in our field. Lauren believes it’s important as a profession to both recognize and celebrate that.

The extra “oomph”

Key to winning best in show or taking home gold in any given category, Lauren emphasizes the consistency throughout the RACE formula steps. Some of the best submissions, in her opinion took the following measures:

  • The research connects well with the analysis
  • The analysis connects well to the communications tactics
  • A solid evaluation of the results

If you research well you understand what you’re trying to achieve with a communications program. Those winning gold and best in show have that extra dose of creativity, she said.

Lauren also notes past campaigns resonated with people – their key audience – and they told a story, a really good story and “they have that little extra oomph to them.”

Written by: Jessica Chong, Account Coordinator, High Road Communicatons

Taking home the top CPRS Toronto ACE Award

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“And the 2015 Public Relations Campaign of the Year goes to Weber Shandwick and McDonald’s Canada McCafé Retail Launch.”

On May 20, 2015, the Weber Shandwick team jumped out of their seats and congratulated one another as their McDonald’s client walked on stage to accept the most prestigious ACE award of the night.

The Work Behind Winning

When asked to reflect on the agency’s big achievement and what it was like to compete in the ACE Awards, Jessica Greasley, account director from Weber Shandwick, stepped up to the opportunity.

In September 2014, Weber Shandwick devised a communications plan for McCafé’s first ever grocery launch. The essence of the communication plan focused on driving awareness of the retail launch to both consumers and the business sector.

Weber Shandwick demonstrated how the brand was innovative and appealed to a younger demographic through their campaign’s creative strategies and tactics. The global agency also took risks to try something new with Songza and the McDonald’s Canada internal team embraced this opportunity to engage their younger audience on a new digital platform. Greasley also explained how the agency’s partnership with the McDonald’s team also fueled the campaign’s success.

The ACE Awards Submission

The submission was comprehensive.

“All of the components in the submission emphasized how the campaign’s strategies tied directly back to the company’s business objectives.”

Greasley also noted the submission’s careful attention to distinguishing how their results matched their initial objectives and goals, which was instrumental to ensuring the campaign stood out. She even identified how showcasing the large scope of the campaign combined with the business and consumer phases and the planning and timing layout were key aspects of the submission.

In terms of advice to agencies developing their submission for the 2016 ACE Awards Greasley said, “Provide a good understanding of the insights that led to the approach. Having clear targets, and how you measured against it will make help the judges understand why it’s award-worthy.”

The Best In Show Presentation

With only 15 minutes to present in front of the judges, the team selected critical parts of the campaign to prove why it was deserving of the top award.

Their presentation communicated why the McCafé Retail launch should receive the prestigious award by:

  • Demonstrating a strong understanding of the company’s audience and brand image
  • Highlighting the agency’s thought process and initial research that was conducted to tailor the campaign’s objectives
  • Showcasing innovative strategies such as the Songza partnership and proving why it was chosen to effectively reach McCafé’s younger audience
  • Explaining the media relations strategy behind the campaign and timing it with International Coffee Day, which engaged consumers and garnered an overwhelming and successful amount of media coverage

The Importance of Celebrating the Public Relations and Communications Industry

After finding out the campaign surpassed Weber Shandwick’s targets (and stretch targets!) the team was confident that it was a strong contender to compete within the ACE Awards. “It was a great honour for the company and client,” said Greasly. Especially since McDonald’s has had a long standing partnership with the agency. Greasly also mentioned “it was all hands on deck”. Everyone from the agency contributed to the campaign and award.

Greasley informed me the agency is currently assembling their application for the ACE awards again this year, “As an industry, it’s definitely important to submit and recognize the great work that’s being done by communications professionals. Wishing all this year’s submissions the best of luck!”

To learn more about the campaign watch this video

Jessica Greasley LinkedIn

Follow Weber Shandwick @WSCanada

Written by: Alessandra Manieri, Post-Graduate Student, Humber College

 

Judging the ACE Awards, a researcher’s perspective

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Friday February 26 is the deadline to submit to this year’s ACE Awards and returning judge, Lisa Covens, vice president of communications and public affairs at Leger, discussed her marking style and approach to judging this year’s campaigns.

Before stepping up as a judge, Lisa would attend the ACE Awards to support the clients who used Leger and the research they conducted for the award winning campaigns. When the opportunity came up to be one of the esteemed ACE judges, Lisa took it and started doing something she had never done before.

Lisa shared with us her strategy to marking submissions and to help prepare this year’s hopeful campaigns. Here are some highlights from her interview:

On her judging approach

“My focus will be on the RACE formula.” Research and evaluation jump at her the most.

On what makes a campaign stand out

“Today, campaigns are now so integrated – videos and visuals – which allow people to be very inclusive in their submission. Not only is the winning campaign sharp, but there’s something special about them. It is supported with research, includes creativity, success was measured and explained and overall well-executed.”

On the importance of submitting to the ACE Awards

As a returning judge for the third year in a row, Lisa listed why it is important to submit to recognitions awards such as CPRS Toronto’s ACE Awards:

  • Keeps public relations professionals on top of their game throughout the year
  • This isn’t done in market research so this a an opportunity worth taking advantage of
  • Provides a good reflection on the campaign – when summarizing a submission it makes you think of the campaign from beginning to end
  • Outline and learn from the issues encountered
  • And of course, recognition is always a good thing

On one piece advice for this year’s submissions

“It’s a shame when we mark a submission and it’s so creative and clear but misses a part of the requirements. Doing that will take you out of the running for the gold.”

TIP: Ask someone, who was not part of the campaign, to review the guideline and checklist. Ensure all the components are included because anything can be overlooked and the missing section will be marked with a zero.

On what she is looking forward too

“One aspect of the ACE Awards I really enjoy is the Best In Show judging day. That day, candidates are on top on their game. You get to witness great presenters and great speakers. I take away so much and I even receive insight on how to be a better presenter. It is such an inspiring night.”

One last thing: “Keep up the great work!”

 

Follow Lisa Covens on Twitter: @lisacovens

 

Submission deadline is this Friday February 26. Submit your campaigns here.

Written by Charzie Abendanio, Humber College BPR Student and CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee President

APEX PR’s Jennifer Stein on the importance of celebrating success

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Last year, APEX Public Relations & Walmart Canada took home the ACE Award for Best Creative for the innovation and creativity behind their “Back-To-School with Walmart” campaign. We sat down with Jennifer Stein, vice president of APEX Public Relations, to look back on the award-winning campaign and the importance of celebrating success.

  1. What inspired you to launch Back-To-School with Walmart?

The inspiration started with the Snack Report. In our research we found out people were talking about lunch and dinner solutions, but not snack solutions. When I think about kids I think of them trading snacks on the school ground. Kids have snack envy, and that really set the tone for what we did.

  1. Why do you think the campaign was so successful in the end?

We really touched on a nerve on something that was applicable. We had a hypothesis, we did a survey to prove the hypothesis and the hypothesis was true.

It wasn’t just 50 per cent of moms, it was 85 per cent of moms that have this problem, and we knew we needed to provide this solution for them. We worked with a recipe developer to create fun recipes that would resonate with everyone. The content was amazing and when you have amazing content the media is more apt to pick it up.

  1. You have your finger on the pulse with key industry trends. How important is it to know your audience?

Not only do you need to know your target audience, you need to know what their habits are. How much time they’re spending shopping, how much time they’re spending watching TV, online and listening to the radio so that they can really be targeted, otherwise your message isn’t getting to them.

  1. Was an ACE Award priority during the campaign, or was it after it ended that you decided to submit?

After. Even though we knew we really blew it out of the water with media impressions, we didn’t know until a couple of months later when all the sales data came in that we helped drive sales and in-store foot traffic. It’s not until you get that insight that you know you have a winner.

  1. Back-To-School with Walmart was completed and your client was satisfied. Why submit to the ACE Awards?

I think it’s a nice way to congratulate the team. Awards can be tedious, but everyone squeals when you get an e-mail and it tells you you’ve won an award. It’s a feel-good ending to a campaign and something you can show the client, too, that it was an award-winning success.

  1. Do you think it’s important to submit to recognition awards like ACE?

Yes, often in our industry we do a campaign, we wrap and then we’re on to the next. We don’t take the time to sit back and relish how amazing the campaign was because this industry is so fast and furious. This allows us to take a step back and reflect. Not enough people do.

  1. Why do you think APEX won last year?

We had amazing content, content that was backed by research. And the campaign helped drive sales and at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.

  1. What advice do you have for those PR campaigns being submitted this year?

If you have a sales stat, always use a sales stat to show your success. Or stakeholder analysis. The more you can dig deep into that the better your awards submission will be.

  1. When you found out you were competing for the highest ACE Award, how did you prepare for the Best in Show judging?

We treated it like a new business pitch to a panel of 12 people we didn’t know. We put together a presentation, we vetted it and then we rehearsed. We rehearsed three to four times as a group.

Written by Bianca Jimeno, Post-Graduate Student, Humber College

Event post: Building Media Relationships

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Authors: Molly Campbell and Natalie D.

On Thursday, Feb. 12 CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee (SSC) welcomed students to the fourth-annual Building Media Relationships event at the Pilot Tavern. A panel of journalists and PR professionals shared insights with attendees. The panel consisted of Jessica Gold, Shaw Media; Robin Smith, H+K Strategies; Heather MacGregor, LCBO; James Bradshaw, The Globe and Mail; Carolyn Jarvis, Global News; Josh Rubin, Toronto Star and Justine Lewkowicz, Newstalk 1010. CNW Group‘s Nadine Tousignant moderated the animated discussion.

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The biggest takeaway? “Just be a decent human being,” said Josh Rubin, followed with a laugh from the crowd. Rubin also outlined having a sense of humour, being respectful and valuing the other journalist’s time as being important, which received agreeing nods from the other panelists.

Media relations is taught in PR students’ coursework, but stepping out of the classroom safety net and doing the real thing is daunting. This event gave aspiring students the opportunity to find out what exactly makes news and how to navigate the media landscape.

When asked how newly graduated PR practitioners can avoid “annoying” journalists, every panelist quickly said they didn’t care about experience or age. What matters to them is the story, considering the audience, pitching an interesting angle, timeliness and relevance. The next most important thing is a practitioner’s attitude; being positive, respectful and doing research goes a long way.

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Here are some key tips from the pros:

1. Ask the right questions – Begin media relations campaigns by asking your client about the results they want, said Robin Smith.

2. No matter what realm you work in, always follow the news – Heather MacGregor suggests setting up Google Alerts and monitoring Cision.

3. Don’t burn bridges – “You’re only as good as the relationships you’ve built, as well as your last job,” said Jessica Gold. Be willing to apologize for mistakes.

4. Don’t be annoying – Justine Lewkowicz warned sending too many emails can put you in a journalist’s bad books.

5. Know your medium – Know “who you’re pitching and why you’re pitching,” said Carolyn Jarvis. For TV interviews, choose someone who reads well on TV. For radio interviews, choose someone with an enticing voice. For print stories, get the point and avoid overusing adjectives.

6. Be open to collaboration – Getting caught up trying to control every element of a story can “turn a collaboration into an adversarial relationship” said James Bradshaw. Let the journalist develop the story. Sometimes the end result may not be exactly what you had in mind, but often through collaboration an even better story can be told.

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Molly outlines some other Dos and Don’ts from the event:

Do make it personal. You stand out from the crowd when a journalists trusts you.

Do meet with journalists outside deadlines to build trust over time.

Don’t use social media as a public forum to criticize journalists.

Don’t take it personally when a reporter doesn’t respond immediately. Media deadlines can vary from every hour to every 30 minutes.

Don’t be a jerk.

Do have phone etiquette. When calling, always ask, “are you busy right now?”

 

Natalie is a graduate from Seneca College’s Corporate Communications program.

Molly is a student representative on CPRS Toronto’s SSC.

Event post: Work Hard, Play Hard student pub night social

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On Wednesday, November 19, CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee held its first-ever pub night social. Work Hard, Play Hard invited students and young professionals from around the GTA to join in on a casual night of networking. Students from Centennial, Humber and Seneca were present, as were some young professionals fresh in their careers.

Everyone had a great time and we look forward to hosting another pub night social in the new year!

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A few choice tweets from the night:

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I purchased my CPRS membership… now what?

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You’ve purchased your CPRS Toronto student membership and are ready to take the next steps? Congratulations! You have just made a tangible effort to advance your career in public relations. Joining a professional association has some great benefits, but sometimes it can be difficult figuring out the best way to get started.

  1. Attend as many events as you can

Making an effort to attend events hosted by CPRS Toronto is a great way to get your foot in the door. You will not only hear from industry professionals, but will also have a chance to network with PR professionals and other students.

As a student member, you get priority registration to all student events. This means when tickets first become available you are able to register right away. This year Passport to PR sold out in three hours and even some student members were not able to buy tickets in time so we encourage you to register right away.

Don’t limit yourself to student events only! CPRS Toronto hosts some great professional development events also open to students. The next PD event, Opportunities from the headlines will be held December 2, 2014.

  1. Break out of your shell

When attending events, be sure to speak to people you may not know. Our industry is filled with outgoing individuals who are more than willing to discuss the industry while giving you an opportunity to learn. Professionals who come to events understand your position as a student and know where you are coming from. Other students are likely feeling the same way you are, so don’t hesitate to walk up to someone and introduce yourself! (That includes members on the Student Steering Committee; we’re here for YOU.

  1. Submit content

A new student initiative is our student blog. Every two weeks we have contests for students’ work to be featured. This is a great opportunity to enhance your writing skills, receive feedback and add to your portfolio. (More information to be revealed tomorrow!)

  1. Utilize CPRS Toronto’s resources

Check the job board to see what organizations are looking for in candidates today. Check out the membership directory for industry contacts, and use CPRS Toronto’s library collection at the Toronto Reference Library for more resources.

  1. Volunteer

CPRS Toronto has many opportunities to volunteer. The Student Steering Committee is made up entirely of student volunteers. The ACE Awards, and CEO Award of the Year are also portfolios that look for volunteers each year.

Let us know: What other ways you’ve become involved with the CPRS Toronto society since purchasing your membership?

Event post: Passport to PR (Fall Edition)

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CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee kicked this year off with the always popular Passport to PR event. It was our most successful year ever, with over 105 students taking part, tickets selling out in three hours and the event’s hashtag #PassporttoPR trending on Twitter! A big thank you to all of our hosts and student participants in this year’s event. Check out some highlights below:

Group A: APEX Public Relations | Argyle Communications | Rogers Media

Passport to PR proved to be a success again this year as communications students hit the pavement to visit PR offices at some of Toronto’s top organizations. Though this popular event was only offered to lucky students able to secure a spot, the PR lessons learned during the event were shared through social media during the event and at the post-event tweetup.

Students were able to gain some valuable information by learning new media relations techniques from APEX PR, Argyle PR’s new video branding implementation for clients, and the strategy involved in Roger Media’s internal and risk management plans.

Cole Douglas, Vice President External, Student Steering Committee

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Group B: Hill + Knowlton | Shaw Media | Paradigm PR

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It is my third year leading a group for Passport and every year I am so impressed by the quality of information provided by speakers, and by the insightful students so ready to learn!

We learned some interesting things as a group, from Hill + Knowlton explaining their diverse work setting and different departments, to Shaw Media’s take on publicity versus traditional public relations and Paradigm PR’s insight into how to make yourself stand out and hearing from a recent grad.

I also learned that your internship is the place to find love, as Carolyn Abbass slyly mentioned, “If you’re looking for a husband, I found mine during my internship.”

Arden Bagni, President, Student Steering Committee

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Hosts enjoyed some yummy cupcakes from Desmond and Beatrice as a thank you from the committee!

 

Group C: Strut Entertainment | Ketchum | Edelman

During my time at the three locations, meeting people from Seneca College, Centential College and fellow Humber College students, I learned the following:

Forget everyone that says you can’t do it, because you can.
Creativity is intelligence having fun.
Dive into the deep end and find what you like.
Finally, show up as you, whether it be bold, curious or unique.

Alexandra Zwicker-deSmit, Humber College PR Postgrad Certificate program student
@azwickss

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I haven’t stopped raving about how modern, swanky and inviting Edelman’s Toronto office is. It’s like the kind of dream office space you see in movies! If I had a chance to work at Edelman one day, I wouldn’t care if PR isn’t your typical “9 to 5” kind of job! Other than obsessing over that aspiration, I met a lot of students from Humber and Seneca College who set their sights on an agency environment too. The most important thing I learned was your personal brand and “fit” with the agency is more important than your repertoire of skills since most graduates come out with similar abilities. I would definitely do this event again and want to learn more about how corporate and agency PR differ.

Anthony Ou, Centennial College CCPR postgraduate certificate program student
@OuAnthony

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Group D: TELUS | Metrolinx | LCBO

This was my first Passport to PR event and I was lucky enough to lead an exceptional group of 15 students. All locations offered an array of industry knowledge and experience. My only regret during the event is wishing I could have seen ALL 21 locations. The main theme that resonated with me is PR professionals do not follow one true path leading them to their careers. Students will need a combination of hard work, networking and a little bit of luck to end up where they want to be!

Charzie Abendanio, Vice President, Student Steering Committee

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Passport is an excellent event providing an insider’s glimpse into corporate communications and public relations at three distinct companies. Each company provided a great overview of the range of opportunities available within corporate communications and PR. Gabriel Mederos, senior communications manager – social media at TELUS told us about the importance of social media and its integration in everything they do. Metolinx’s communications co-ordinators Natalie Tutunzis and Vindra Dhanraj gave a great presentation about internal and external strategic communications. The LCBO’s Heather MacGregor (media relations co-ordinator and communications consultant) and Bill Kennedy (executive director, corporate communications) discussed the importance of understanding and aligning with business goals. And yes, we did end up talking about our favourite drinks! I think the best part of the presentations was that they covered things we learn in class – the importance of research, setting measurable goals and knowing your audience. It is great to know the skills we are learning in the classroom will be applicable when we start our careers. Great job CPRS Student Steering Committee!

Jess MacGregor, Centennial College CCPR postgraduate certificate program student

Students from as far as Conestoga came to enjoy the event!

Students from as far as Conestoga came to enjoy the event!

 

Group E: energi PR | NATIONAL Public Relations | North Strategic

NATIONAL is the place to be. After touring the stunning office and meeting Sarah Bannoff and Noor Marzook my heart is set on working in agency. The multitude of sectors including marketing and healthcare intrigued me and opened my eyes to the goodwill that can come from health-related PR.

This agency captures professionalism and fun, after all, life is a balancing act. The motto “work hard, play hard” at NATIONAL is a motto they live by, especially with a bar located on the main floor. Thanks for the tour and you will absolutely be getting my resume.

– Sinead McElhinney, Humber College PR Postgrad Certificate program student
@SineadLifestyle

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Who knew bathroom products could be so intriguing? Noor Marzook, senior consultant, marketing communications at NATIONAL Public Relations convinced me that with a creative, hard working team, anything is possible!

Before Passport to PR, I never thought about going into marketing communications. After sitting in NATIONAL’s presentation, I discovered how diverse agency is. There are endless opportunities for growth and experience. Noor talked about Kohler‘s marketing campaign, which promoted the launch of their new products. Her passion about her work has motivated me to learn more about her work and responsibilities.

Thanks to Passport to PR, I can look forward to connecting with her in the future.

Lauren Mueller, Humber College PR Postgrad Certificate program student
@lauren_mmueller

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Group F: Pilot PMR | Corus Entertainment | Strategic Objectives

If I could give one piece of advice to all PR students it would be to attend CPRS Toronto’s Passport to PR event. It will teach you things you cannot learn in the classroom and give you a real, in-depth look into what it is like to work in PR. Even though your mind might be set on a certain path, Passport can open your eyes to a new world within public relations. Many of my group members were not even considering working at an agency but after hearing our speakers at Strategic Objectives, it is now their first choice!

Matthew Palmer, Student Representative, Student Steering Committee

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Coming from Centennial College, Passport to PR was a great opportunity to meet PR students from other schools, connect with more people and build my network! My group leader, Matt was super organized and made the event lots of fun! It was exciting to learn more about the industry. As I’m only in first year, I haven’t had the chance to experience first hand what public relations does in the real world. The biggest thing I learned when visiting these three amazing places was the difference between corporate and agency. Initially I was planning on staying away from agency employment, but Strategic Objectives changed my mind and I know I wasn’t the only one in group F who started to warm up to the idea of an agency!

Kate Perkins, First year student in Centennial College’s Bachelor of PR Management program

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Group G: Veritas | TIFF | TD Canada Trust

My favourite stop of the day was Veritas. From the second we walked in, you could feel the cool vibe of the agency. The boardroom was all set up for us, with music playing and breakfast and coffee. Sue Kuruvilla, Ashley Therriault, and Lena Hesse shared their varied experiences in a very genuine way. I loved learning about Veritas’ unique take on public relations, “Influencing the Influencers,” and the new Growth & Innovation lab. My brain was left spinning with excitement as we walked out the door, but one thought came to the forefront, “Wow, I would just love to work there.”

Carolyn Gooderham, Seneca College Corporate Communications Certificate program student
@cggooderham

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I was lucky enough to visit three very different PR atmospheres during my time at Passport to PR. Ranging from the small boutique agency of Pilot PMR, to corporate communications and publicity at Corus Entertainment and ending with the award-winning Strategic Objectives. Each stop had motivating and inspiring advice for newcomers to the world of PR, but a few choice quotes resonated with me, and I will be carrying them throughout my career.

“Don’t work in isolation. Collaborating makes you smarter.”
“Don’t be distracted by shiny objects, and the next big thing.”
“Your job is to dream big, and do it differently.”
“Challenge yourself, and stay news hungry.”

Passport to PR opened up the doors to a world of possibilities, and reassured me that mentors are waiting, and wanting to help us succeed once we step out into the PR world. Thank you CPRS for such an amazing event.

– Brittney Newstead, Humber College PR Postgrad Certificate program student
@brittstead

Oh, and don’t forget to tune into our tweetup at the end of every Passport to PR event, or you may end up sad like Anthony:

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Check out some more photos from the event below.

*Photo credit: Peter May

Event Post: CPRS Toronto’s Annual Open House

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CPRS Toronto’s annual Open House – October 15, 2014

Tune in for our blog series featuring some of the great event CPRS Toronto and the CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee host!

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CPRS Toronto opened the new year with a bang at the annual Open House. Held at the Bedford Academy in downtown Toronto, students, professionals, members and non-members alike came together.

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Katryna Fernandes, a Student Representative on CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee, writes about her first experience at a CPRS event:

“A first-time CPRS member and a fairly new addition to the PR community, I was excited and nervous for my first networking event at the Open House. I had the pleasure of chatting with a few industry professionals and each conversation had me in awe of the many available opportunities I have as a student entering the industry. Chatting with these professionals from a variety of backgrounds really opened my eyes to the many career paths available, and showed me how close-knit the CPRS community really is.

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“As a member of the Student Steering Committee, a really cool aspect of attending was meeting other student members, many also newbies like myself. I enjoyed the stimulating discussions with other post-graduate students comparing our programs, ambitions and interests inside and outside the industry. It was also great receiving feedback on the committee’s upcoming event, Passport to PR. By the sounds of it, many students are really excited to explore Toronto’s PR scene, and get a grasp of what they may be interested in.

“Overall, I had a wonderful time at the Open House. Everyone at CPRS is extremely friendly and I am thrilled to be a new member of this community!”

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Jessica Orchard, a recent graduate, gives us her account of her first CPRS event:

“My degree and certificate in Communication Studies tell me I am a professional communicator, but these two pieces of paper don’t boost my confidence and invigorate my soul the way a gathering of CPRS members can!

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“My professors at Seneca College urged me to sign up as a member with the CPRS at the beginning of our program. They highlighted the many benefits of getting involved with a society of other professionals, or as Ashley refers to them in her tweet as ‘awesome perks!’

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“Although I am more of an introvert, I attended the Open House on my own. I was slightly apprehensive when I arrived, but my attitude quickly shifted. The speeches didn’t begin immediately, giving me time to network. Networking can seem daunting if you aren’t used to it, but it wasn’t hard since everyone offered their hand and name as soon as I looked at them.

“An example of how welcoming the CPRS Toronto members are can be seen in the following tweets from Hilary and Cole.
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“I had the pleasure of meeting them at the event, speaking to them about their experiences and discussing my goals. Hilary and I share a hometown outside of Toronto, which made her insight of finding work in the city very valuable! When I mentioned I am most interested in working in the non-profit sector, they were quick to introduce me to other CPRS members who currently work in that industry. It was incredible to see how much the other CPRS members cared about my success.

The saying “you get what you give” does not apply to the CPRS. The fact is that you get more than you give! My initial plan was to show up for an hour or two and then leave, but I lost track of time and stayed until 10 p.m. when almost everyone else was gone. The CPRS members reinvigorated my passion for communication, offered useful advice, and have opened up new opportunities for me. Now that I’ve finally been to my first CPRS event, I cannot wait to attend the next one!”

What was your favourite part about CPRS Toronto’s Open House this year?

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Katryna Fernandes is a Student Representative on CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee. She is a student in Centennial College’s Corporate Communications Post-Graduate Certificate program. Find her on:

Twitter: @_katiefernandes
LinkedIn

Jessica Orchard is a recent graduate from Seneca College’s Corporate Communications Post-Graduate Certificate program. Find her on:

Twitter: @JessicaOrchard3
LinkedIn

Photo Credit: Peter May