From the Editor:
Chicago s unique agencies, experiences
This special edition of
is a collection of
rst-person lessons learned during the PRSSA net-working trip to Chicago in early March. From traveltroubles to internship inspirations, the writers reecton their experiences in the Windy City. I hope thesearticles spark some memories of your own, as wellas provide useful tips the writers learned from bigcity professionals.
Despite the ve hours of sleep from an eight hour drive thenight before, I was ready to walkthe sidewalks of the Windy Cityin stilettos, step into three globalpublic relations agencies and shakethe hands of professionals. Eachagency was different than the next,with a unique style. Most importantly,each gave advice benecial to anyPR student.Our rst location was Ruder Finn. As a boutique agency, Ruder Finn in Chicago concentrates onConsumer Technology. One of the twenty PR professionals fromthis company, Joseph Tateoka,explained that he was drawn tothe “family atmosphere,” his ownofce and exible hours. By the endof the presentation, I had writtendown more than two pages of notesand the information I found mostvaluable was concerning interns.Preparation, publicity, packaging,and positioning are the four P’sTateoka mentioned all interns shoulddo in order to land a position. For preparation, interns should knowthe difference between agencyand corporation; publicity meansknowing about branding yourself;packaging is communicating wellthrough writing; and positioning ismaking yourself stand out a leader.Weber Shandwick was thenext agency on the list. I learnedthat within the company, there arefour areas: consumer, corporate,healthcare and interactive.Four main professionals talked,answered questions and did most of the presentation about the agency.Ironically, I had already met one of the speakers, Lindsay Richards,through a former informationalmeeting in December. Later, four more speakers came in—three of them were Ohio University alumni.One of the pros, Maureen Waters,mentioned thathaving preciseresumes, showingcommunicationskills and knowinghow to work withsocial media arekey componentsthey look for ininterns.Thirty-threeoors high in theJohn Hancock building, we visitedFleishman-Hilliard for our last stopof the day. Chicago is home toone of the 80 ofces worldwideof Fleishman-Hillard. For greatteamwork within the company,Brian Blaise mentioned two waysto brainstorm ideas for a project:diverging as an individual and thenconverging as a group. This way,everyone gets his or her ideasout (using post-it notes is the bestway). For interns, the presentersmentioned that they should knowthe company’s competition, highlighttransferable skills, demonstratehands-on experience, proofread andbe prepared to present themselvesin person. Also, great advice is tomake yourself visable to others andrecognizing when you are neededto help out as much as you can.By the end of the day, Icould not decide which agencyI would rather work for—eachshowed attractive traits. And eachagency gave advice students couldtake away as seniors or freshmen,especially as an intern. Since I livenorth of Chicago, the location couldnot have been more perfect. Notonly did I strengthen my networkingskills, but I also learned thatinternships are more important thanI thought, even after graduating—each professional we talked towas an intern at some point in thecompany they work for now.