Tag Archives: passport to pr

Passport to PR’s Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard Sessions


Group A visits the Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard offices

Battling spring showers and Toronto traffic, we arrived unscathed and (fairly) dry at one of Toronto’s communications hot spots – Bloor Street. We were set to meet and explore three diverse and equally awesome communications and PR organizations: Shaw Media, Paradigm PR and FleishmanHillard.

We heard it all from the Shaw Media crew


First up on the list, Shaw Media. Right from the start the team had our group laughing and well caffeinated. We learned that a day in the life of a Shaw Media communicator is always varied. From organizing media tours for Chopped Canada’s Brad Smith to establishing their talent as subject matter experts to sending Supergirl capes across the country, Shaw Media communicators are constantly on the move. The team also gave some great advice for any PR and communications student looking for their first internship.

“Be resourceful and people will remember you.” – Jacqui, Senior Publicist for Global

“Volunteer inside of your organization to meet new people and expand your professional network.” – April, Publicity Coordinator for Food Network Canada

As for the golden rule of media relations, Greg, Associate Publicist, told students to be “100 per cent reliable, 100 per cent of the time.”

Paradigm PR gives us a glimpse into agency life

Next up on our route, Paradigm PR, a creative consumer PR agency. After introductions and Timbits we saw a number of client case studies. A favourite was definitely the media relations for Toy “R” Us’ ‘Chief Play Officer’ (every child’s dream job).

Johnathon, an intern turned account coordinator, went on to describe the variety of accounts he gets to work on, and the challenges he faced when transitioning from school to work. Anticipating what’s next in agency life can be difficult, as you’re moving top speed (almost) all the time. He credits attention to detail and meeting last minute requests as a sure way to build great relationships inside and outside your agency.

The Paradigm PR team also stressed the importance of company culture fit. Do your research, ask for informational interviews and find out as much as you can about the dynamic, clients and day-to-day rhythm of the agency. When you know the company culture you’ll know if it’s the right place for you to thrive.

Johnathon’s parting words of wisdom, “Be hungry.”


FleishmanHillard introduces us to the diversity of PR

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FleishmanHillard greeted the group with a number of faces from across different practices and various levels. From associate consultant to senior partner, the presentation was full of interesting insight into FleishmanHillard and the communications industry itself. The unanimous decision from the FleishmanHillard team, agency is the right place to “earn your chops”, build your professional network and gain exposure to many different elements of the industry.

We saw sizzle reels from consumer brands such as Uncle Ben’s Beginners, which leveraged influencer Logan Guleff (MasterChef Junior winner) to get more kids in the kitchen. We also learned about their work with Bayer, a healthcare company, for a completely different take on communications. The campaign was creative in building community around “Hemophilia Champions.” Without direct mention of the brand in any of the communications, it was all about relationship building between stakeholders.

One of the best pieces of advice we learned from FleishmanHillard: take a shot; initiative goes a long way.

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Until next year

Passport to PR was an amazing introduction into the very busy lives of PR and communications professionals. The candid conversations, exposures to real client work and bits of wisdoms from so many talented professionals were extremely valuable. If you get the chance to join a CPRS Passport to PR group, don’t hesitate. It’s a learning experience that you cannot find in any classroom at school.

To see more photos of the event and other locations click here: http://on.fb.me/1YRX3Pa 

Written by Sarah Rogers, Centennial (Story Arts Centre) PR Post-Graduate Certificate Program student and representative on the Student Steering Committee



Passport to PR: Opening Doors for Aspiring PR Practitioners



If attending this event isn’t on your to-do list, you should definitely add it.  The positive real life discussions helped reinforce my decision about whether or not a public relations career is right for me.

I had the opportunity to visit and learn from the communications professionals of three very different organizations: Veritas Communications, Google Canada and the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

Each organization demonstrated unique approaches to public relations and provided specific examples of what they did for their clients/organization.

At Veritas, the team discussed how they helped launch Target’s entrance into the Canadian market. The presentation allowed us to hear firsthand the challenges and successes that were encountered. The demanding yet exciting environment is exactly why agencies appeals to many aspiring PR professionals. This type of organization seems to keep you on your toes with no day similar to another.

Google’s Alexandra Hunnings, gave a very powerful presentation. Alexandra spoke freely in an informal conversation about the world of PR through the eyes of Google, which was truly amazing and inspiring to hear. Three key takeaways were Nurture, Own and Follow Through. My visit to Google taught me that not everyone is going to be good at everything but identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help mould you into successful communicator.


Matthew Kofsky, from Toronto Region Board of Trade, spoke to us about the importance of getting experience. Specifically, not just experience to land a job, but rather experience that will help you grow as an individual and help you to become a better person in all aspects of life.

This was my second year participating in Passport to PR and it gets better every year. This event allows students to meet industry professionals who give great insight into their organization and productive career advice. Additionally, participants can learn what its like to work in public relations outside of the classroom. After completing one session after the other you feel inspired, motivated and excited to tackle and succeed as a public relations professional.

The CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee will be holding another Passport to PR event will be held in March 2016. Hope to see all of you there!

By: Tysha Campbell, CPRS Student Steering Committee student representative for Centennial College’s Bachelor of Public Relations Management program.

Event post: Passport to PR (Fall Edition)



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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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