Tag Archives: PR Students

Where are they now?


Featuring Erika Manassis, Seneca College Student Representative, CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee

What did you enjoy most about being on the SSC?

Being on the SSC gave me the opportunity to not only attend student events throughout the year, but to help plan them. I enjoyed acting as liaison between my peers at Seneca College, and my fellow committee members, because it meant I could help make sure that the interests of my classmates were reflected in our SSC events. This made occasions like Passport to PR, and PR 360 much more relatable and applicable to students. It felt great to have a hand in that experience!

As a member of the SSC I was also introduced to non-student members of CPRS Toronto, many of whom I keep in touch with today. The opportunity to mingle with and learn from professionals in the field was invaluable to me as a student trying to find my place in this industry.

And of course – I’ll always be grateful for having met my fellow SSC members through this committee! Though we came from different personal and professional backgrounds, and now work in various fields, it’s nice to know that I have a support system of 15 amazing individuals close by!

Where do you work now, and what do you do?

In April 2016 I joined the team at Cohn & Wolfe Toronto as an Intern. In mid-July I took on the position of an Account Coordinator.

As an Account Coordinator I have a wide variety of responsibilities. From media monitoring, to developing coverage reports, to communicating with bloggers, to pitching stories to media outlets across the country. Every day is different. Most of the portfolios I work on are consumer products, which allows our team to have a lot of fun with story angles, creative pitch notes and media events.

One aspect of my job that I most enjoy is developing relationships with Canadian journalists.  It can be difficult to get to know journalists over email, so I continue to attend CPRS Toronto events each month, where the focus is often on how to communicate with members of the media. At work, I develop these relationships by making phone calls instead of emails to journalists when possible, and doing my best to know what a journalist typically looks for in a story idea.

How do you think CPRS Toronto helped advance your career or get you ready for your current position?

Volunteering with CPRS gave me “real world” PR experience while I was still a student. Continuing to volunteer now that I work at a PR agency offers many opportunities to continue to learn from industry colleagues, and experts in the field. Since joining CPRS Toronto as a student member in September 2015, it has been nothing but a beneficial personal and professional experience!

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/erikamanassis

Where are they now?


Featuring Terrence Freeman, Vice President, External, CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee

What did you enjoy most about being on the SSC?

What I liked most about being on the SSC was having significant responsibility on the experiences and events we were creating for Toronto PR students.  As an executive member on the committee, I took part in making the decisions that would affect students’ CPRS Toronto experience, which also helped me grow professionally.

Where do you work now and what do you do?

During the summer, previous to my last year in Humber College’s bachelor of public relations program, I completed a public relations internship with Metro Ontario. Working client-side in a corporate marketing department allowed me to not only develop real-world industry experience, but also explore my interest in other aspects of marketing in addition to PR.

As I came closer to finishing my degree, I was offered a marketing coordinator job at Metro Ontario – and gladly accepted! While working on the more “traditional” marketing side of the industry I have continued to learn a vast amount of knowledge. I’ve also found that I have been able to transition much of my public relations skills to communicating to customers in other ways that the marketing aspect requires.

In my current position, I focus on everything “in-store” related. This includes communicating a variety of important messages to customers using multiple marketing elements including audio, signage and creative.

Although I originally had planned a career in public relations for myself, I am happy that my career path has steered into the broader world of marketing – a side of the industry that allows me to utilize the communications skills I learned in school and learn new skills I hope to apply throughout the rest of my career.

How do you think CPRS helped advance your career or get you ready for your current position?

Not only did my position on CPRS Toronto provide me with unique “real world” experience, but it also allowed me to meet and learn directly from top professionals in public relations industry.

Twitter: @itsterrence

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/terrencegfreeman

Speed Networking – A look inside PR 360


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.”

Speakers 1

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.

Informational interviews: three reasons why you should go to one


Informational interviews are less stressful than job interviews and offer practical career advice outside the classroom. Instead of reading a company’s “About” page I have found it more effective to reach out to someone I admire and pick their brain to accelerate my career search.

After researching professionals on LinkedIn, I came across Humber PR alumna and former TVO public relations manager Kathy Saliba. I was eager to meet with her and our second degree connection was kind enough to introduce us.

I learned a lot from our coffee chat and she offered relevant industry advice. Here are three reasons why I recommend going on informational interviews:

1) Gain insight from industry professionals.

It’s a great opportunity to ask specific questions about their personal experience, which you won’t get from an online search engine.

Kathy’s advice:

  • Be open-minded. Opportunities can open up where you least expect them.
  • Be a sponge. Absorb as much information as you can. Make the most of every experience.
  • The learning process is never ending. Keep searching for opportunities to grow. Take advantage of the professional development and training courses offered online, at work or through professional organizations such as the CPRS Toronto Society.

2) Their knowledge of the industry can help you choose your path:

I was interested in learning about the differences between working in a large firm, boutique agency and corporate setting. Since Kathy had experience in all three she was able to shed some light on the subject.

Kathy suggested trying different work environments throughout your career to determine your preferred lifestyle and sector.

Informational Interviews

3) Helpful career tips

Kathy generously shared advice on how to succeed in job interviews:

  • Read the company’s press releases and conduct a media audit to become more informed about the employer’s latest projects.
  • In case of any questions about media relations, research media outlets tailored to the company’s clients or products. It’s a good habit to form a media list filled with specific traditional media, online bloggers and influencers.
  • Research the person you are interviewing on LinkedIn to see if you have any shared connections or experiences you can bring up in the interview.

I encourage students and recent graduates to go on informational interviews if they want to build their confidence and learn more about their future. The more you go on and the more interview practice you obtain, the more prepared you will be to navigate your PR career.

By: Alessandra Manieri, Post-Graduate Public Relations Humber College




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.

CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee Profile: Centennial


Get to know our 2015/2016 student representatives from Centennial College’s three public relations programs.



Tysha Campbell
Centennial College, Bachelor of Public Relations Management

Hi, I’m Tysha. I currently live in Oshawa, Ontario and commute three days a week to school. This is my second year volunteering with the committee and I am looking forward to the networking opportunities this year has to offer.

What are you most excited for this year?
This year I am most excited for Building Media Relationships event and hopefully meeting and making some new connections with the media.

What do you do outside of school?
I am currently volunteering with Pride Toronto on the accessibility team, and I am so excited and happy to be working with such a great organization.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:
I’ve taken a road trip to Belize! Took us six days but we finally made it!

Connect with Tysha:

Twitter: @tyshaax_

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/pub/tysha-campbell/a4/40a/131



Sarah Rogers 

Centennial College, Graduate Certificate in Public Relations (Story Arts Centre)

Hello! My name is Sarah and I’ll be representing the postgraduate certificate program at Centennial College, Toronto. I’ll be honest, when applying for the program I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. However, after these first few weeks of classes I’m certain I’ve landed in the perfect place!

What are you most excited for this year?

Along with being introduced to the diversity of the PR industry, I’m really excited to be part of the CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee. The events that CPRS Toronto holds are truly amazing, and it sounds like this year they’ll be bigger and better.

What do you do outside of school?

Other than school I like to be outdoors, hiking and biking. When time (and money) allows I also like to travel.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:

I went on a trip to Southeast Asia a few years back, and ended up staying for three years!

Connect with Sarah:

Twitter: @slrogers6

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/slrogers6


Sophiti Johnson
Centennial College, Post-graduate Certificate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations (Pickering)

Hello everyone. I am currently enrolled in the Corporate Communications and Public Relations Certificate at the Pickering Learning Site of Centennial College.

What are you most excited for this year?

I am most excited for the year to end. I know it sounds bad, but hear me out. By the end of this year, I will have gained practical experience from both my program and from the working with the SSC. These experiences will equip me with the skills needed to enter the workforce and build my own brand. So yes, I cannot wait for it to end, because it means I have completed a crucial point in my learning, and I am well on my way to beginning an exciting career.

What do you do outside of school?

I work part time at a music studio as a receptionist. I am also on the board for a pageant and I am working on starting my own lifestyle blog. I also volunteer with organizations like the Canadian Liver Foundation.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:

I am a fighter. This is my mantra at the moment. No matter what is thrown at me or despite the obstacles in my path, I will find a way to keep moving, keep pushing, and keep surviving.

Connect with Sophiti:

Twitter: @SophiRJ

LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/in/sophitijohnson

– – –

Congratulations and welcome to all our 2015/2016 Student Steering Committee representatives.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @CPRSStudents

CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee Profile: Humber


Get to know our 2015/2016 student representatives from Humber College’s three public relations programs.


Tomiko Stanton

Humber College, Advanced Diploma in Public Relations

Hi Everyone! My name is Tomiko Stanton and I’m representing the Humber College Public Relations Advanced Diploma program. This is my first year in both the Public Relations program and working with CPRS. After obtaining a first-hand experience in working in the entertainment industry, I decided that Public Relations was the career that intrigued my interest the most.

What are you most excited for this year?

As a student representative this year, I am looking forward to networking with future PR professionals. I’ve also met a lot of great PR students at Humber College, and I’m very excited to get them involved in the upcoming events.

What do you do outside of school?

Outside of school, I’m a part-time employee at TOPSHOP/ TOPMAN. You’ll also find me on a stage in the city either singing, or modeling for a company clothing line. I love writing songs, reading books and cooking.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:

Before I started school last month, I was working at G98.7 FM as the administrative/promotions assistant. I was an intern for 8 months before I was promoted to a full time position.

Connect with Tomiko:

Twitter: @_TomikoStanton

LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/pub/tomiko-stanton/71/589/7b9




Bianca Jimeno
Humber College, Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Relations

Hi fellow CPRS members, my name is Bianca. I’m a new face to the industry as a Humber post-grad PR student. After working in the news industry for five years, I left to pursue a career in public relations. Why? Because at the most basic level, I live to tell stories. I love to learn about people. PR opens a whole world to me.

What are you most excited for this year?

I’m most excited to try new things, maybe even fail at a couple things. Sometimes that’s the best way to learn. That way I can find out my strengths and weaknesses and work on them. I like a challenge so I’m up for anything and down for everything.

What do you do outside of school?

Crunch through the fall leaves with my dog Toast. Try out a new recipe. Catch a movie. Take a nap. Borrow a book. Daydream. Drink coffee. Whistle. Make jokes. Look at things. Ask questions.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:

I potty-trained myself when I was 2 years old (I was in California during a heatwave and it was simply too hot to wear a diaper). I think this speaks to my ability to put on my big girl panties and adapt to my environment.

Connect with Bianca:

Twitter: @bjjimeno

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/biancajimeno




Ferdinand Ngo
Humber College, Bachelor of Public Relations

My name is Ferdinand Ngo and I am the SSC section representative for the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Humber College.  This is my second year being involved with CPRS as a section rep (I was a section rep in 2013/2014) and it’s such an amazing opportunity.

What are you most excited for this year?

I’m excited to connect with all the future PR professionals all across the GTA and also doing Passport to PR again in the winter. I love that event!

What do you do outside of school?

For the past year, I’ve been volunteering with Pride Toronto, handling their digital and social media. We trended (both in Toronto and Canada) several times this past festival, which was an excellent experience.

Aside from that, I love exploring the city and going out to get food in different neighbourhoods.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:

I collect semi-precious stones.

Connect with Ferdinand:

Twitter: @ferdinandngo

LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/ferdinandngo

– – –

We’ll be introducing the rest of our student representatives right here on the blog in the new week, so stay tuned!

CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee Profile: Seneca, Durham and Ryerson


Get to know our 2015/2016 student representatives from Seneca College, Durham College and Ryerson University.

We’ll be introducing the rest of our student representatives right here on the blog in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!



Erika Manassis

Seneca College, Public Relations-Corporate Communications

My name’s Erika and I represent Seneca College on the SSC. I am a recent Queen’s University graduate (Cha Gheill!), but reside in the GTA. I’m currently taking the post-graduate program in public relations and communications. This is my first year working with CPRS, and I already love how many opportunities for engagement the Toronto chapter has to offer.

What are you most excited for this year?

As a student representative, I have the unique opportunity to both plan and participate in student events, so I’m looking forward to seeing behind-the-scenes of CPRS. I’ve also gotten to know an amazing group of PR students at Seneca, and I can’t wait to get them all involved in upcoming events, workshops and social events through CPRS!

What do you do outside of school?

When I’m not studying communications, you’ll find me listening to podcasts (especially Freakonomics, Question of the Day and Stuff to Blow Your Mind), cooking Thai food, and blogging about public relations on my work-in-progress site MyPRJourney.weebly.com.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself

I like being organized, and hate feeling rushed, so I do my Christmas gift shopping every August.

Connect with Erika:

Twitter: @emanassis

LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/in/erikamanassis


Elyse Carney
Durham College, Advanced Diploma for Public Relations

I’m Elyse Carney, and I am the CPRS SSC rep for Durham College’s Advanced Diploma in Public Relations. The past few months for me have been all about learning the foundation of PR. Over this next year, I’m looking forward to networking with students and professionals, as well as attending events such as Passport to PR. Outside of school, I love to write, and try to live a healthy, active lifestyle.

Fun fact about myself? I love to cook!

Connect with Elyse:

Twitter: @elyse_carney

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/pub/elyse-carney/105/974/791


Jamie Jensen
Ryerson University, Public Relations Certificate

Hi Everyone! My name is Jamie and I’m representing Ryerson’s PR certificate program on the CPRS Student Steering Committee this year. As someone new to the program, we are limited to taking “Public Relations Principles” (CDPR 100) in the first semester as it is a prerequisite for all other courses in our program. That being said, it’s off to a great start. Our professor is fantastic and I find the material interesting.

What are you most excited for this year?
I’m very excited to meet and connect with fellow future PR professionals across the GTA through the many exciting events planned for this year. I’m particularly looking forward to Passport to PR later this month, as it will be a fantastic opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the industry.

What do you do outside of school?
Having recently moved to Toronto, I spend a lot of time exploring the city. I also love hiking, scuba diving, travelling and practicing yoga.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:
I spent 6 months last year living in Sweden.

CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee Profile: Charzie Abendanio, President


Meet your 2015/2016 Student Steering Committee!

Stay tuned for more Student Steering Committee profile postings in the coming weeks.


Charzie Abendanio

Humber College, Bachelor of Public Relations, fourth-year

My name’s Charzie and I am this year’s SSC president. Coming from the role as VP I learned so much from the previous team and cannot wait to execute our anticipated events. I’m completing my last year at Humber in the Bachelor of Public Relations Program and have been volunteering with CPRS Toronto since first year. I love being a part of this organization and enhancing our industry through professional development events and award recognition.

Where are you from?

Born in the Philippines but raised in Toronto.

Do you have any other post-secondary education?

I started my post-secondary career at the University of Toronto studying Psychology, English and Philosophy but took time off and then found PR!

What are you most excited for this year?

We’ve finally completed all the class talks this month and entered a total of 12 PR classrooms in the GTA. I enjoyed speaking to the students who will one day be working in the industry and may even become my colleagues.

What event did you enjoy the most last year?

Last year I had the chance to plan and organize the Passport to PR, winter edition. It was a great experience where I was able to learn and also help other students find the sector of PR they aspire to work in. This is probably the event where you can really see the different sectors PR has to offer.

Have you interned anywhere?

In the summer between my second and third year I had the chance to intern at energi PR, a mid-size agency with offices in Toronto and Montreal, and there I worked with consumer clients. This past summer I completed an internship at Weber Shandwick, a global PR agency. I worked with the corporate practice team and loved every minute there. I admire the company and all the great things the team there has accomplished and the great things they will accomplish in the future.

What is your dream job?

My dream job would be to work for a company that is recognized all over the world, such as Red Bull. I would love to work for a company whose motto is to gain wings and accomplish anything.

What do you do outside of school?

Alongside with school I work part time, rock climb and occasionally join in on a hot yoga class.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:

I received my first tattoo last year when I was on vacation and before I left I couldn’t help but get another one. Those probably won’t be the last either!


Find Charzie on:

Twitter: @charziecastillo

LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/in/charzieabendanio

CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee Profile: Fiona Pswarayi, Vice President


Meet your 2015/2016 Student Steering Committee!

Stay tuned for more Student Steering Committee profile postings in the coming weeks.


Fiona Pswarayi

Humber College, Bachelor of Public Relations, second-year

This is my first year working with the Student Steering Committee and I’m so excited to serve as the Vice President. If you see me out and about, don’t let my face fool you. I might look grumpy, but I’m actually a very happy person. So come over and say hello!

Where are you from?
I was born in Zimbabwe, raised in England, and now live in Mimico.

Do you have any other post-secondary education?

I completed a General Arts and Science certificate at Fleming College, and attended both the University of Ottawa and University of Windsor where I studied Communications.

What are you most excited for this year?

I’m really looking forward to meeting students from all the different programs across the GTA. Without the CPRS, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to make those connections.

What event did you enjoy the most last year?

Building Media Relations and 360°: All things connected were my two favourite events last year. I learned so much from the media and PR professionals at both events and can’t wait to attend them again this year.

Have you interned anywhere?

Not yet, but I have had the pleasure of volunteering with a number of organizations and agencies over the past year.

What is your dream job?

This is such a difficult question as my dream job changes from day to day, but definitely somewhere involved with fashion, lifestyle or entertainment.

What do you do outside of school?

You can find me volunteering, exploring Toronto with friends, writing and editing my blog, or spending some quality time with Netflix.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself:

I’m a big adrenaline junkie. I’ve bungee jumped, white water rafted, cliff dived and zip lined. Next on my list is skydiving.


Find Fiona on:

Twitter: @fionapswarayi

LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/in/fionapswarayi