Editor’s note: We recently welcomed a participant in PRSA Boston’s Job Shadow program (started by our very own Brooks Wallace). Jadelynn is a student at Champlain College and wrote the below about her experience. Thanks, Jadelynn, it was great having you!
Every college student wonders about the day they step off the stage, diploma in hand, and into the career they’ve worked 16 years to get to. Internships and job shadows are a great way to give students a look into their chosen career path.
I’m currently taking a Business of PR class that has a required “externship”, or a job shadow. At the Boston PRSSA conference, I heard about Boston PRSA was hosting job shadows for members and decided to take advantage! I’m glad I did, because I got a chance to spend an afternoon with Brooks Wallace at Hollywood PR, based out of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
My day at HPR was pretty jam-packed but overall informative and exciting. It all began at 6:45 on a Wednesday morning …
6:45 AM // Leave Burlington: It’s a long road ahead for me. The trip from Burlington, Vermont to Plymouth, Massachusetts takes a little more than 4 hours. This eager beaver likes to be super prompt so I left early enough to give myself some extra time in case there’s traffic on the way. I had my playlist ready (I’m gonna be honest with you, I may or may not have listened to the “Hamilton” album for three hours) and my GPS was all set to go.
11:00 AM // Arrive in Plymouth: I finally arrived! After almost 5 hours on the road, I was ready to get out of my car and stretch my legs. I drove further down past Hollywood PR and found the most incredible view! I grabbed lunch and sat in front of the water to calm my nerves before my incredibly exciting, but nerve-racking, experience.
12:00 PM // Arrive at Hollywood PR: I arrived to a warm welcome from Brooks and the team at Hollywood PR. I got a tour of the office. It was beautiful! I loved the huge windows and the spiral staircase that climbed up to a nook where a few more desks could be found. Brooks explained everyone’s positions, what they did in some of the conference rooms, and how her day usually begins. She showed me how HPR handles Requests for Proposals, which is something we’ve been learning about in the classroom at Champlain.
1:00 PM // Conference Call with Guidant: Brooks was awesome enough to allow me to sit in on some client phone calls during the day. The first was with her client, Guidant Financial. This opportunity really opened my eyes to what client relationships often look like. I also saw a PR pro prepare for a meeting like this. I got to sneak a peek at a neatly organized agenda that Brooks put together for both us and the client before the meeting. It included a media tracker, a projects update, speaking opportunities, and award opportunities for Guidant. It was fantastic insight for me! I have never experienced working with a client before, and getting the chance to do that was invaluable.
2:00 PM // Conference Call with Howard Leight: The second client call I got to sit in was with a brand that belongs to Honeywell, Howard Leight. The team there spoke mostly about the status of some projects that they were working on. It was an interesting contrast from the first one, as this client had a different focus and a different relationship with HPR.
3:00 PM // Meeting with Darlene and Jeff: I wandered out of the second conference call to find Brooks. I found her, along with Darlene Hollywood and Jeff Dillow, coming up with some creative program names for a client. This brainstorming session was really cool! I got a chance to see how the other side works out some ideas (hint: it’s really not all that different from what I’ve done in group projects for class). I even got to pitch an idea! Darlene and Jeff were incredibly nice and being in a room with someone that has worked in PR for over twenty years was definitely an experience to remember.
4:00 PM // Watching the Good Stuff: A little after 4, Brooks realized that a client that she had contacted earlier on in the day had not responded to a fact check of an article that a journalist had deadlined for 5. It was PR in the hotseat. I watched on as Brooks tried to contact a client and get everything in order for the journalist. It showed me how PR can be as stressful as it is exciting sometimes. As a college student, I definitely understand the importance of deadlines (hello, 11:59 PM submission on the dot).
5:00 PM // Interviewing Brooks: At the end of the day, I got a chance to sit down with Brooks and conduct an interview. I got to ask questions that I’ve been thinking about since beginning the Public Relations program here at Champlain. Brooks had some really insightful answers that took some weight off my shoulder. It reinforced everything that I’ve been learning about in my classes.
I learned a lot from my visit to HPR. In a few short hours I was privy to everything from client calls to RFP techniques. I think the most important piece of knowledge that I gained was that I truly love Public Relations. Seriously. It showed me that if I keep working hard and maintain my passion for PR, I will one day get to work with an amazing team like the one that shared a day with me.
- Jadelynn Ye