Tag Archives: PR

Informational interviews: three reasons why you should go to one

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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

 

 

 

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

CPRS Toronto Student Steering Committee Profile: Centennial

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

 

 Tysha

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


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: Seneca, Durham and Ryerson

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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

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

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

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.

And the new year starts

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On September 24, CPRS Toronto both wrapped up its previous year with an AGM and launched a new year with its open house.

This year we’re doing things a little differently in that we have two presidents sharing the task.

We know it will be a busy year, so a few weeks ago, the board met to strategize for the coming year.

Here are four of the highlights.

 1. Membership

  • Our plan includes a focus on membership, including retention. A great membership perk that was added at National in the last year was Perkopolis. You’ll get access to hotel, Via, events, Cineplex discounts and so much more – all for free under your membership.

 2. Member communications

  • Increasing the amount of content on our site that’s relevant to PR practitioners is a priority, including having an e-newsletter every month.
  • Of course, we’re always looking for content so if you’d like to be a contributor, please be sure to send a note to communications@cprstoronto.com.

3. Professional development

 4.  Global Alliance Conference

  • And in May 2016, CPRS Toronto in conjunction with CPRS Hamilton is hosting Communication Across Cultures.
  • It’s the first time that the Global Alliance for PR is hosting their international conference in Canada, right here at the Westin Harbourfront Hotel in Toronto.
  • So mark your calendars for May 29-31, 2016 when we’ll host the world. A number of keynote speakers and workshop sessions are planned.
  • We’ll also be working closely with CPRS National to find speakers and volunteers for the event. Watch for more details coming soon!

As we launch into the new year, we have an open invitation to all members. We are all volunteers, and we need the energy, ideas and enthusiasm our members to be successful. Drop any of the board members a line if you are considering becoming a member of the board or volunteering.

And here’s to a great year!

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Diane Bégin and Jeff Rohrer, CPRS Toronto 2016/17 co-presidents

 

30 under 30: Congrats to board member Carolyn Merchant

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The CPRS Toronto board congratulates all recipients of Marketing Magazine’s 2015 30 Under 30!

Carolyn Merchant

Source: Marketing Magazine

Special acknowledgement also goes to recipient Carolyn Merchant, who has been an ACE Awards Gala volunteer since 2010. In her role, Carolyn has been instrumental in raising the bar for our program. More recently, we’ve been incredibly proud to also have Carolyn on our board of directors. (Read more about her work at Edelman and with CPRS Toronto.)

We’re pleased to have leaders like Carolyn at the table to guide the direction of the local society as we get set to host for the first time in Canada the World PR Forum in May 2016.

Carolyn’s approach of “the status quo just won’t do” combined with her enthusiasm and depth of knowledge make her contribution invaluable as we continue to navigate the evolution of the PR profession.

Great job Carolyn! Well-deserved.

Diane Bégin and Jeff Rohrer, CPRS Toronto 2016/17 co-presidents

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

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Meet your 2015/2016 Student Steering Committee!

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

Fiona

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

Studying PR in official language that is not your first language?

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You may be eligible for a scholarship. The 2014 Torchia Scholarship in Communications is awarded annually to the student who best exemplifies the spirit and practice of bilingualism in the Canadian communications and public relations profession. It is inspired by the career of Armand Torchia, who co-founded The Houston Group and Torchia Communications.

The scholarship will be awarded to a student who has chosen to study public relations/communications in one of Canada’s two official languages that is not his/her first language or mother tongue.

The student will be entering his/her second year of undergraduate study [in 2014/15] in public relations/communications at a Canadian university or college, in either a degree program or a multi-year diploma or certificate program that meets recognized standards of education. The scholarship is valued at $1,500 and is for one year only.

The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2014. Apply now. (Français)

University of Ottawa lecture: PR and Diversity in Multicultural Societies

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In May, Donn Tilson, Associate Professor of the University of Miami, was a guest lecturer at a conference organized by the Interdisciplinary Research Group in Organizational Communication at the University of Ottawa. Professor Tilson will be at the department as Distinguished Visiting Researcher and Fulbright Scholar in the Spring term.

A recording of the guest lecture is available here. Special thanks to Isaac Nahon-Serfaty, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa for sharing the lecture.

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