No “Usual Days” for this Publicist: Meghan’s story

By Abigayle Walker, WorkStory Ambassador at University of Ottawa

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   Meghan holding a baby python while hosting a press junket for a show called Python Hunters.      

Meghan holding a baby python while hosting a press junket for a show called Python Hunters.

 

Meghan Hardy works as a publicist at Proper Television, one of Canada’s largest production companies.  Proper Television is responsible for producing numerous television series including Master Chef Canada, Storage Wars Canada, Four Weddings Canada, and Canada’s Worst Driver, to name a few.

For Meghan, no day is a usual day. Every day is different, which is exactly why she says she loves her job. The majority of her days are spent on the sets themselves –taking the press on set visits, facilitating media interviews, overseeing photo shoots, doing media training with the stars and ensuring that shows she is working on are receiving the most and best publicity possible.  When she isn’t on set, Meghan is in the office creating communication and social media plans, writing cast biographies, setting up photo shoots, and pitching interviews to the media. She explains that even though every day is fun, the job can also be also stressful and challenging. It forces her to think quickly on her feet, but she says that it makes her job that much more interesting.  She says she is constantly learning. 

Not only does Meghan love what she does, she also loves the people with whom she works, describing them as “some of the most creative and brilliant people in the entertainment industry”.  Meghan says she looks forward to work every day with people she loves being around.

As awesome as Meghan’s job is, it did not come to her without years of hard work.  Meghan began with an undergraduate degree in Media Studies/Public Relations and a Diploma in Public Relations from University of Guelph-Humber.  After graduating, she accepted an internship at Rogers Media with the publicity team under their television umbrella which includes City, OMNI Television, OLN, and FX Canada. Eventually, Rogers hired her as a public relations coordinator. From there, Meaghan was able to move into her current position at Proper. Meghan says that it was the combination of her 10 years of experience in the entertainment industry, networking, and creating good working relationships that helped land her current role at Proper Television. 

Although Meghan says she learned a lot of fundamentals from her post-secondary education, it was her experience that taught her much of what she knows about public relations. Her advice to others is to network, intern, and volunteer as much as possible!  She also advises those entering the communication industry to try to get a taste of several different sectors (government, entertainment, corporate, non-profit) before deciding which one seems the best fit.

Marketing Communications Specialist: “Very Chaotic…In a Good way!”

By Michelle Doyle, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University

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Susan Mutterback is Marketing Communications Specialist at StarTech.com, a manufacturer of products for IT professionals. The company extends beyond the headquarters in London, Ontario to 14 countries worldwide!

As a Marketing Communications Specialist, Susan handles social media, public relations and general marketing communication such as ads and catalogues. This is a new role and is “very chaotic…in a good way!”  Because it is new, Susan’s responsibilities were built from the ground up which she finds an exciting challenge. Her favourite part of the job?   Susan emphasized her admiration for the people she works with…she really enjoys the collaboration and brainstorming processes that occur day-to-day at the office. 

Susan’s work journey began at the University of Guelph where she studied Psychology in her first year.  She didn’t really have a solid idea of what she wanted to do, just a vague interest in the field. After that year, she knew it wasn’t a perfect fit for her and decided to take a year off to figure things out.  She moved back home and took courses at the University of Windsor to keep her average up. The following year, Susan transferred to Western University and started thinking about public relations and marketing.  She graduated from Western in political science and sociology and then applied to Western’s public relations program. Of all her formal education, Susan found public relations the most interesting area of study. The final four months of the program involved an internship position. Susan particularly enjoyed this and found it extremely valuable in helping her gain real-world experience in the field.

After the internship, Susan had completed her education, but had received no job offers. She moved back home and worked at an unpaid internship for about 9 months. During this time, she remained persistent and applied to job after job, not receiving any replies. Finally, Susan was thrilled to receive a call from StarTech.com!  She moved right back to London, joined the company, and hasn’t looked back since.

Susan started out in a marketing role that was mainly sales focused. She enjoyed it, but was particularly interested in getting a position in her field.  When the Marketing Communications Specialist job opened up, she applied!

Susan has nothing but positive comments about working for StarTech.com, and is thrilled to be at such a wonderful company and working with such collaborative and supportive coworkers.   When asked what advice she’d give to those entering the job market,  Susan’s first words were “It’s hard”.  Then she highlighted the importance of taking jobs that aren’t necessarily in your specific desired field for the experience you will get from working.  She emphasized the “foot in the door” approach, the importance of starting off somewhere, and getting your name out there.  Lastly, she noted that unpaid internships can be good experiences. Susan was thankful for hers and believes that students entering the job field should not underestimate them.


Putting It All Together: Michelle’s Public Relations Story

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Michelle Praymayer is the Public Relations and Promotional Events Assistant at Home Hardware Stores Limited for the head office in St. Jacobs, Ontario. With previous employment in the radio and television industries, and as a former student of both Conestoga and Fanshawe College, Michelle has used her promotional and media experiences to excel as a member of the Home Hardware team.

Michelle says that she loves “the variety” that her job brings: “Every day is unique and I get to be a part of so many neat things.” Along with variety, Michelle loves the atmosphere surrounding her workplace: “It’s a family business. It’s a small town environment and most people know each other and are very friendly.... It adds to the charm.”

 On a typical day,  Michelle can be found phoning store owners and customers, picking products to donate to fundraisers, answering emails, creating and editing press releases or newsletter articles, as well as creating product lists. On the not-so typical days, Michelle’s variety of tasks increases! For example, earlier this year, she organized the entertainment for Home Hardware Canada's national Dealer Market event, which included a circus act called, “The Aerial Angels” and she was chosen to coordinate the Lieutenant Governor’s visit to the Home Hardware distribution centre as well. In addition, Michelle has suited up as the mascot, “Handy the Helpful Hound” for Thanksgiving and Christmas parades. Through her work, she was also able to attend the 2014 International Plowing Match which took place in Alliston, ON. Michelle has even worked alongside the experts seen in the Home Hardware commercials, Mark Cullen and Anna Olson!

 Initially, Michelle wasn’t expecting to get the job: “My mom worked there first and brought home the posting. I applied in March... and didn’t get a call until end of May. They hired me in that interview.” Michelle began working at Home Hardware in June 2014 and credits her previous experiences, including volunteer work, for helping her acquire this position. “Say yes to every opportunity” says Praymayer. “Volunteer in the field or a related field early to gain the competitive edge and make you more appealing to the employer.”

 Michelle studied at Conestoga College in her hometown of Kitchener for a career in Broadcasting; This led to appearances on television and radio and many other opportunities. After one year, she changed directions and continued her education at Fanshawe College in London with the Music Industry Arts program. After graduating, Michelle took some time off and returned to Conestoga to become an Event Planner. Michelle says that she is still figuring out what to do with her life. However, she has been able to successfully apply aspects from all of her programs as a Public Relations and Promotional Events Assistant for Home Hardware:

 “It’s really neat to see things from my past coming up” Praymayer explains. Michelle worked on entertainment contracts while in school, which is something she has to do at work when booking the entertainment for various events. “I created training videos here [and] I used previous knowledge from my writing skills [I] developed [as a writer for] SportsXpress magazines”. Michelle also had previous work experience in the food industry which has helped her to create menus for other special events. Although Michelle Praymayer may be unclear on what her future holds, it is certain that she will continue to excel at what she does, thanks to her hard work and determination, in whatever field she chooses.

A Dream Job: Natalie Quinlan, News Anchor and News Room Supervisor

University of Guelph-Humber stories don’t end with graduation. The university revels in the success of their past students and was pleased to discover that Natalie Quinlan, a Media Studies graduate had landed her dream job on Canada’s west coast! This is Natalie Quinlan’s post-graduation success story.

Natalie graduated from the UofGH Media Studies program in 2013 with an area of emphasis in Public Relations. After graduation, she completed a post-graduate certificate in Broadcast Journalism - Television News at Fanshawe College. 

In November 2014, Natalie, 24, became the evening news anchor and news room supervisor for CJDC-TV, a division of Bell Media, located in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. The evening news show reaches about 60,000 viewers.

Working for a local station, Natalie finds her role requires her to “wear a lot of hats.” As the evening news anchor, Natalie relays important local, national, and regional news to viewers. This is no small feat – working for a local station, Natalie has to do her own makeup and hair, mic herself up, follow her own cues, and roll her own teleprompter. As the news room supervisor, Natalie manages a team of four reporters and works on her own stories in preparation for the evening news. “It’s a huge time crunch during the day,” says Natalie. “Reporting and shooting and editing everything definitely take the most time.”

Making the six o’clock news show seem effortless requires a considerable amount of energy – and effort. “We’re working so many different roles that we have a ton of responsibility on our plates. So, that’s why it feels like the day feels flies by,” says Natalie. “We are the reporter, videographer, editor, news anchor.” This makes for an invaluable and, more importantly, fun, experience.  “It makes the day so much fun,” Natalie adds. “It gives me a really good appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes.”

Natalie credits much of her drive and inspiration to pursue a career in television broadcasting to her experience at UofGH. Natalie was one of the pioneering students who worked on the very first student-run Emerge Conference at UofGH.

A hands-on learner, Natalie values the Media Studies internship opportunity in her final semester. “I interned at Entertainment Tonight Canada in Toronto and that really opened up my eyes to the possibilities associated with broadcast journalism and the world of television,” explains Natalie. “I always knew I had a passion for it, but I was a little bit scared of pursuing the industry because I’d heard so many horror stories. “ But after the internship, Natalie’s mind was made up: “I knew that it was where I wanted to be.”

In the spring of 2014, Natalie applied to a job posting at a radio station in Alberta. “What scared me more than moving out [there] by myself was not having a job in something I graduated in,” admits Natalie. “That’s why I just jumped on the opportunity right away. I would definitely recommend people to search out for the opportunities instead of just kind of waiting for them to come to them. You really have to go where the opportunities are, sometimes. Sacrifice a little bit, and you might be home in a year. That’s really a blip on the large scale of life.”

It was the right move – without it, we couldn’t have penned this momentous chapter in her career.

With permission of the University of Guelph-Humber

Business Liaison at Youth Opportunities Unlimited

I love my job! No doubt about it. While all career opportunities have their ups and downs this job has been great thus far. I am approaching almost 10 months with the organization and no one day is the same. I am a front line work with Youth Opportunities Unlimited (http://www.you.ca/ ) in London, Canada.  I work in Career Services to help youth secure employment.

I work with a number of employers in our community to Job Develop. On a typical day I can be meeting with clients and employers to discuss possible opportunities. With clients, I help to develop their resumes, find an area of interest and do job searching. With employers, I meet to find out their needs, suitable candidates and discuss other ways that we can work together for the benefit of our youth. As well, I network in the community to be a face of the organization and let them know the great things that YOU has to offer.

The best part of my job is witnessing a youth and their excitement over getting a job. It is a rewarding feeling! I love the staff here at YOU as we are all working together for the betterment of youth in our community. We have existed for over 30 years and have been able to really make our mark in this community. It is great being able to branch out to the community, share our message and really pound the pavement.

I think that I got this job because I have tried to make a face for myself in the community. I have worked with a number of organizations through previous employment and volunteer opportunities to branch out and network. I have dedicated myself to working with non-profit organizations to focus on a delivery of service and partnerships that can be mutually beneficial to those that we serve in our community.

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Criminology with a Post-Graduate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. As well, I am a Board member for the Pride London Festival and a committee member with the London Diversity and Race Relations Committee. I attend a number of community events and really see the value in organizations like Emerging Leaders.

My biggest piece of advice.... GET OUT THERE! Meeting people in your community, network, volunteer and show what you're passionate about. I think most jobs are not found in a posting but in the relationships that we build with others. How great would it be if an employer recognized your name before you even went for an interview! It truly is the ultimate advantage. I'd also recommend to keep learning and always try new things.

It is always good to keep your ear to the ground and find out what is happening locally. Read the paper, check local news and see what’s happening in your community. Knowledge of your area and your industry will go a long way in helping you to answer tough questions and be prepared.    Good luck!

Chad Callandar