Saturday, May 1, 2010


Hello to my readers!! I hope there are more of you than my mom and my friend Joy. Anyways, after months of deliberation and sleepless nights, I've decided to move my blog over to Wordpress. The name is still the same, but I'm confident that you'll love the new layout.

Also, there's an incentive to checking out the new blog, there's a big announcement waiting. You want a hint? Well, let's just say that I won't be sending out any
résumés for a while. :) Check out the new blog here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Unpaid Internships: My interview on OPB

This morning, I checked an item off my bucket list: Be interviewed on NPR (or a local station). While sipping my morning coffee and working on the study guide for my political science midterm tomorrow, I saw on OPB's Twitter that their program this morning was on unpaid internships. I called in and was interviewed on Think Out Loud regarding an unpaid internship I took last summer.

Click here for the story and to listen to my interview.

What do you think? Have you taken an unpaid internship? Tell me about your experience!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lessons Learned: Portfolios Part I-NO Scrapbooking!

Back in November I put together my portfolio. I had some informational interviews lined up for Christmas Break, so I began to prepare. There is no right way to put together a portfolio, however, there are some things you can do do make it more successful. I will share with you what I've learned in feedback from professionals and professors.

Just promise me that under no circumstance will you allow your portfolio to look like this. Don't think, you could use this as inspiration for "My First Internship." Not only will you destroy your professional reputation, but you might make the professional you're meeting with sick.

Here are some of my tips on how to make yours a winner:
  • Allow it to have a flow that allows you to tell your story (not necessarily chronological).
  • Don't lay papers on top of one another. This makes your reviewer curious about what's under there. It's too mysterious. Be clear and upfront about your work.
  • Use a big portfolio. It should be big enough so that two 8 1/2 by 11 inch papers can lay side by side. This will be very helpful in showing something like a PR plan.
  • If you live in a rainy state, like the beautiful lush landscape of Oregon, make sure your portfolio has some sort of waterproof cover. Trust me, you won't want to be caught in a downpour without it.
  • Use Glue Dots to secure your papers to the pages of the portfolio. With these handy little stickies, you can always move a paper. Nothing is permanent.
  • To display social media or website work, take a screen shot and put that in your portfolio.
  • Photos are fine, but don't make it look like your aunt's scrapbook.
  • Don't put too much in your portfolio. Remember that you should be able to present your work in under 15 minutes.
What are some tips that you've heard and found to be successful? Please share! Next week in Portfolios II, we'll look at "How to Present Your Portfolio."

Monday, March 29, 2010

The cost of leadership: Learning from John Tyler

What makes a good leader? Is it someone who follows the advice of others or follows their gut instinct? This can be either a difficult choice or a delicate balance. Recently I've been stewing over these questions.

This past week, for my last spring break (tear), my Dad and I took a trip to Washington D.C. Not only did the city capture my heart, I learned a lot while I was there too. On Saturday of our trip, we took a
tour of the White House. This house, this place that I've dreamed of was so wonderful and left me awestruck. To stand in the East Room, where President Lincoln signed the emancipation of slaves and where Lincoln's and Kennedy's bodies laid after their assassination was so moving and so powerful.

While walking through the Blue Room, the weight of it all hit me. Growing up in a family that watches the news every night, I was flooded with memories of all the interviews that have taken place in this very spot. Hanging powerfully over the fireplace was a portrait of John Tyler. I'll admit, I had no idea who he was.

John Tyler was the 10th president of the United States. He ascended the presidency after the death of President William Henry Harrison. He was the first Vice President "to be elevated to the office of President by the death of his predecessor." He was a man known for his strong convictions.

When President Harrison died, Tyler took the office of the presidency and gave an inaugural address. As he took office, he took to implementing some changes. His cabinet on the other hand, the Whig Party, didn't believe that he was really the president or had presidential power. Tyler believed in the constitution and was determined to uphold it whatever the cost. After putting his foot down and insisting that he was in fact the president, President Tyler's cabinet resigned, every single member except for Secretary of State Webster. In the end, President Tyler helped to pass some very significant legislation including the "Long Cabin Bill," which gave more land rights to settlers.

I was struck by this man's courage. He gave up so much for ethical leadership. What loneliness he must have felt in such a big house with so many responsibilities, all resting on his shoulders. Sometimes, doing the right thing isn't the popular thing. Basing your life and your work around public opinion can be a dangerous road to walk. I am personally very thankful for his leadership and for the example he set.

Below are some other photos of my trip. On a personal note, I seriously fell in love with this city.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jessica Lomelin: A UO grad out to change the world through the power of communciation

Today, my friend, Jessica Lomelin, will get on a plane and move to Uganda. For the next six months, she will be working for Invisible Children in their communications department.

After hearing about the organization in college, she was inspired and stayed tuned. This past fall, she saw that they were hiring for a communications position. Going out on a limb, she decided to apply and “hoped for the best.” In early December, she learned that the position was hers.

The downside? Jessica had to leave her first job out of college, at Weber Shandwick in Seattle. “I was terrified, I’ll be honest. Weber has invested so much in me. I was afraid that I was going to disappoint them.” In the end, she was, “amazed by how supportive everyone was.” Weber proved to Jessica that they cared about “her growing as a person and not necessarily within the context of the company.” During her time in college, at the University of Oregon (she’s an AHPR alum too), she dreamt of working for an agency like Weber. Despite her “amazing” time at Weber, this wasn’t an opportunity she could refuse.

In Uganda, Jessica will be the “storyteller,” documenting and reporting people’s stories from the ground. She is looking forward to this because she’s, “always been passionate about issues communication. Doing it from the front lines evokes a lot more emotion than you’d get working in an office all day.” “Ultimately, I want to make advocates out of people and to inspire them to do something of their own.”

Education and experience is something she’s been thankful for these last couple of months. “At the J-School, they pushed us to be rock stars. Having opportunities like AHPR in college really helped me.” Once she learned of the opportunity, she consulted her former PR professors who told her that she had “nothing to lose and everything to gain.” Having that network of professors, who years following graduation were willing to discuss and support her decision, made the process much smoother. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that, “You can’t go wrong by doing good.”

Today in 2010, there are so many more opportunities for advocacy, especially with social media. This is driving advocacy by passion and not necessarily dollars.

Looking ahead, she expects that these life lessons will have a lasting imprint. She wants to get the “everyday perspective” of “living and breathing” a culture of people. “For decades the people of Uganda were silenced. It’s their blood, sweat and tears,” she said, “It’s my job to push that out and use different mediums to tell their story,” to raise awareness and to change the world.

To learn more about Jessica and how you can support her in her endeavor, watch her video and follow her blog or Twitter. To learn more about Invisible Children, watch the video below.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Approaches to Traditional Ideas

This evening I came across this video that premiered this week launching Mary-Kate and Ashely Olson's Spring and Summer collection of their clothing line "The Row." As a closet Top Model fan and communications nerd, I am fascinated by this promotion of a new clothing collection. Instead of only putting on a traditional fashion show, the girls opted to make a YouTube video. It's a very interesting business move, but an even more interesting (and hip) communications strategy.

*Just as a courtesy, please be advised that this video does contain some suggestive nudity.

What are your thoughts? Would you prefer to learn about new clothing collections from the runway and ultimately fashion magazines? Or do you like that it's here on YouTube for you to judge the designs for yourself?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lessons Learned: Informational Interviews

For the first edition of Lessons Learned, I’d like to take this opportunity to follow up with you on my informational interviews. Over my Christmas break, I met with eight companies. While the preparation (see “Preparing for an informational interview” post below) may be extensive, the return on your investment is huge.

Here are some general questions and ones that are specific to an agency or corporate meeting.

General Questions:

How did you get started in public relations?
• What does a typical day look like for you?
• What sort of projects are you currently working on?
• What are the greatest joys and challenges about your job?
• What do you wish you would have known when you were a college senior?
• Do you have any suggestions as to how I could improve my portfolio? This obviously follows the presentation of your portfolio.
• Is there anyone else that you think would be beneficial for me to meet with? If you’re given names and contact information, ask, “May I tell them that you referred me?

For agency:
• What are some trends that you see changing the industry? The obvious answer will be Social Media, so be prepared to have an in depth conversation about this.
• I read through ----- case and was really impressed by what you were able to do for them. What made that campaign so successful? Look up their clients and read through case studies. Have follow-up questions prepared.

For corporate:
• Do the executives of this company believe and really invest in public relations?
• How many people work in your department? How has that changed over the years you’ve been here? This will provide some insight into how they’re doing as a result from the recession.
• How has incorporating social media into your PR changed your conversation with key publics?
• How do “soon-to-be college graduates” like me get started in an industry like this?

One of the main things I learned from informational interviews is that the quality of the questions you ask is important for your education on the industry and the person you’re meeting with. It also often directly correlates to the amount to which you will impress the person you’re meeting with. I found certain questions provided great insight. Who you’re meeting with should greatly shape your questions.

Remember to stay curious. Listen carefully and ask follow-up questions.