Her Road to Success

Her Road to Success

By: Marianna Adamian
  3835 reads

On one of those rare sunny SFU afternoons, I am having a delightful conversation with Communication Co-op alumnus, Sheenah Rogers. What makes my afternoon even better is hearing Sheenah’s inspiring story, when I ask her questions about her journey to becoming the founder and principal of Anstice Public Relations and being ranked as one of the Top 40 Under 40 entrepreneurs in Calgary. Upon graduating from high school, Sheenah knew she wanted to go into marketing and public relations. With that goal in mind she set off to obtain as much experience as possible prior to stepping out on her own. Through her involvement in the SFU Co-op program, associations and clubs, Sheenah began to grow her portfolio and industry knowledge base.

From the start of her first seeking semester Sheenah had one goal in mind: building her skills and professional network. Her first co-op position was as the Community Relations Coordinator for the Vancouver Canucks. It is from this job that Sheenah said her eyes were opened to all of the possibilities in public relations and marketing. Making long-lasting connections, which she still maintains to this very day, Sheenah moved onto her next position with The Pace Group, where her PR training really began.

Through our conversation, I am intrigued by the exciting path that Sheenah paved for herself, but this young entrepreneur is quick to correct me saying that it wasn’t always exciting and glamorous. “I think that recently young people have become unaware of the fact that everyone has to start at the bottom” states Sheenah. I ask her about some of the less “riveting” tasks she’s had to perform in her various co-op jobs. “Before press releases were emailed out to everybody, they were faxed, and I had to fax, photocopy and file all of them every day!”

Although things weren’t always glamorous and at times somewhat discouraging, Sheenah pressed on and sought out help and guidance along the way. Taking a big risk, she picked up the phone one day and called the editor-in-chief of a magazine she had long looked up to. Through this brave act, Sheenah gained a life-long friend and mentor who eagerly took her under his wing and offered helpful advice. The guidance of a mentor was a major help in getting Sheenah on the right path to her second co-op term with Pace Group where she managed the 2010 Olympic Bid, a provincewide event involving over 72 committees. In addition, Sheenah later went on to work on a government forestry project, volunteered her time with different associations, and became the media manager for the Stanley Park Bike Race.

Over time, Sheenah’s work began to get noticed and different companies began reaching out to her for private consulting.

Throughout her career, not only has Sheenah had big responsibilities, she’s also worn many different hats. Sheenah has worked in advertising sales for a magazine; she was the national events coordinator for the Red Cross and has also worked on developing a brand strategy with Family Services of Greater Vancouver. “Don’t be afraid to try things on; that’s what co-op is for!” she urges.

Near the end of the interview, I have to ask the burning question, “How did you start your own business?” “There is no secret to success; it’s part natural ability and part work ethic. It’s about grasping an opportunity; whether you’re in class or at an event, you really have to be aware of where the opportunities lie.” One of Sheenah’s largest projects to date was working with the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation’s development of a new community in the Calgary core. This job required Sheenah to wear all of her hats at once; working on branding the project, launching a magazine, and creating a PR strategy. From this single major undertaking, Sheenah found herself in demand and in the right place at the right time. “Branching out for me was all due to the timing; I had garnered referrals from the project, and starting my own business seemed like the logical next step.”

Having recently hired a co-op student herself, Sheenah looks for several key attributes in successful young communicators: a portfolio of different projects, diverse interpersonal communications, strategic and proactive thinking, the ability to clearly communicate and follow through with ideas, and most importantly, the will to work hard. Overall, Sheenah believes it’s about combining your desire to reach your goal with your ability to work tremendously hard to reach it. Sheenah herself is an example that this philosophy works, as long as you “get as involved as possible and work hard!”

Posted on June 01, 2011