It occurred to me recently that I’ve been in public relations since I was about nine years old. Well, not in the traditional sense. I don’t think I even figured out what public relations was until my junior year of college. But I know that ever since I got past that “hiding under mommy’s skirt” phase, communicating effectively and building relationships have been a couple of my highest priorities.
I always loved and excelled at writing. My career goals shifted over the years from novelist to journalist. In high school I joined the newspaper staff, working my way up to serve as editor-in-chief my senior year. Around the same time, I got my first taste of promotions. I won a contest for “Best Public Advertisement” for my favorite band, The Clarks. I decorated a sandwich board with the name and release date of their new album and handed out Clark candy bars at Station Square in downtown Pittsburgh. (I came in second place and won signed copies of all their CDs!) I realized that this kind of interaction and promotion was much more rewarding for me than writing about the Forensic Team’s accomplishments. I decided to major in public relations in college.
My coursework, internships and involvement with PRSSA and IABC provided me with great opportunities and reinforced my notion that public relations was the ideal field for me. Those things also connected me with some wonderful people who have offered insight into the profession. Knowing and working with these special professors, advisers, classmates and colleagues helped me give more meaning to the idea of public relations.