On April 7, the CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee (SSC) hosted their last event of the 2015/2016 school year, which took place at the Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto. A total of 72 public relations students from across the GTA attended the event, which allows small groups of students to intimately sit with professionals from a variety of public relations sectors.
Of course, the hot topic of the night for students was internships. They sought out advice on how to be exceptional during the internship hiring season and how to better their chances at landing their dream job. In additional to these useful tips, the participating professionals shared additional industry insights.
At the Finance table, Laurrell Mohammed, Corporate and Public Affairs Manager at TD Bank Group, stressed the importance of being able to “sell yourself” in an interview. David Rowney, Senior Manager of Canadian Banking Communications at Scotiabank, added that volunteering for your choice company is a good place to start.
Mike Van Soelen, Senior Principal from Navigator Ltd., seated at the Crisis Communications table, defined the process of building media relationships as “tricky” and explaining the importance of developing thick skin. While Vice President of NATIONAL PR, Jeff Roman, and NATIONAL PR Associate, Laura Poplak, advised that students should consider how to help the media you’re working with, and to offer them your support.
In the Government session Keerthana Kamalavasan, Senior Communications Advisor for the Office of the Mayor, recommended letting your coworkers know which projects you’re especially interested in and making yourself invaluable. Brendan Agnew-Iler, Account Director from Argyle Public Relationships, gave the students wise words to ponder whilst pursuing a career in PR: “If you’re not failing sometimes, you’re not trying hard enough.”
From left to right: Lauren Poplak, Brian Rosevear, Linda Andross, Tracy Ford, Dan Young, Jeff Roman, Mike Van Soelen, David Rowney, Laurrell Mohammed, Abby Albino, Brendan Agnew-Iler, Christine Faulhaber, Jeanette Jones, Sandra Gregory, Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, Jennifer Wasley, Samantha Taus, Ogho Ikhalo and Keerthana Kamalavasan
The event showcased the range of positions in which public relations students could find themselves in their future. Other sectors included in the event were Consumer/Corporate, Global/Mid-size Agency, Non-Profit, Sports, Entertainment and Hospitality. Following the table discussions, attendees were free to mingle, network and try to glean final bits of crucial advice.
Not only was the night a fantastic chance to meet professionals, but it also provided a great opportunity to connect with other PR students entering the field. The SSC will be back in September for another great year of student-focused events.
It is a wonderful time to be in public relations and good luck to all the students this year heading into the industry!
Elyse Carney is a representative on the SSC currently attending Durham College.