Communication Specialist: A Whole New World

For my interview of a corporate public relations practitioner, I spoke with Teresa O’Brien. Teresa has worked for Polk Public Schools for seven years as a communications specialist. She was a graduate from Southeastern University with her degree in mass communications. I had the opportunity to meet Teresa at one of the meetings for Southeastern University’s student chapter of FPRA. I felt like I related to her as she spoke about her passions and love for event planning and organization. I had the privilege to ask her a few questions about her career over the phone, and learned some things that I hope will benefit me as I go into the public relations industry.
Since I realize that there are no typical weeks for a public relations professional I asked Teresa to tell me a little about what last week was like for her. Teresa expressed that there was a lot of planning for an event that is going to happen in October. She said that she worked on scheduling speakers for the event and other details for the event. Excel spreadsheets were created, as well as different media things that always happen.
Teresa told me about one of the largest events that she has the opportunity to plan is Teacher and School related employee of the year. She expressed that they spend 6 months planning this event that happens in February, so they are already in the planning stages. This is a very special even to Teresa because she believes that the event actually makes a difference. The staff is making a difference in the students in Polk County, so it is important to celebrate, and appreciate them. This event is broadcasted live on television and includes a dinner, photos, a program with all of the nominees, and of course, the entertainment and awards.
Teresa shared some of the things that she was personally doing in preparation of the event. She shared that she had several different contacts for the nominees, the judges, and who decides the winner. She also said that she was in contact with a graphic designer for the look and feel of the evening, as well as a media production crew for the look and feel of the video. I realized how much planning and coordinating goes into putting on an event, before and after the event.
Teresa recommended some things to do to make sure that you are current in the public relations industry. Something that she mentioned was becoming a part of the student chapter of FPRA in your area. Once you do that, it becomes easier to go to events, and through events, social networking happens. She also expressed the importance of getting involved and having experience even as a student with the school or local newspaper, as well as different events that are held on campus.
Teresa reminded me that every day is a different day in the world of public relations. That concept is hard to understand as a student, who does the same thing and has the same schedule, day after day. But, I am sure that as I enter my career, I will begin to understand how to prioritize as different opportunities hit my desk. Teresa ended my interview with her by telling me that she loves her job because she gets to celebrate people! She gets to share the good news that is going on, and it is those moments of joy that really matter to her! This makes me excited for my career ahead, and makes me want to jump right on board and celebrate with her!

About relating2thepublic

I am 21 years old and attend Southeastern University where I am pursuing my degree in journalism and public relations. I have many dreams and passions and I have decided to begin taking action now in accomplishing these dreams. I believe that everyone can be great, but they must persevere through struggles. I hope that my blog is an encouragement to you!

5 responses »

  1. Mikelle,
    This reflection was an enjoyable read for me. I can really sense your passion and interest for the PR world. I found the advice from a previous SEU graduate to be very helpful. I need to look into that FRPA stuff. Connections are so important. It seems that in many ways they are the structure of what we can do, who we are, and where we can be. It is important for us as students to start making connections now. Every day is a different day in the PR field? How exciting. Never knowing what to expect, that takes a lot of skills and patience.

  2. Hey Mikelle! Learned a lot from this post! Its nice to read an interview with someone who is in the event planning field, because I have an interest for event planning myself. When I first think of event planning, I imagine weddings, parties, business events – but schools never cross my mind. But after reading your post, I realize that schools have SO many events every year. They are more in need of an event planner then most! So I found your interview to be very interesting. I think she will be an awesome connection to keep in your future! Especially if you are wanting to go into event planning.

  3. Pingback: comments « Juliet Jones P.R. Blog

  4. Mikelle, I’m glad that you were able to interview Teresa. She is so awesome and I learned a lot from her by simply hearing her speak during our first FPRA meeting this year. It is very comforting to know her story of how she obtained her first job immediately after finishing college. The fact that she is a successful Southeastern University graduate who is working in a career that she loves makes me strive for the same.

  5. Pingback: Comments « An Everyday "Whitness" of Public Relations

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