Shining Bright With BC Hydro

Shining Bright With BC Hydro

By: Jennifer Maniezzo
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The best piece of advice that I received while working at BC Hydro was to dress for the job you want. “Dress” means much more than just the clothes you wear, but also grooming your personality and your work ethic to suit the role you would like. As a result, one of the main goals of my work term was to make my employer forget that I was a co-op student and instead convince them that I was in fact a fully participating member of the Media Relations team. Fortunately, the biggest project that I took on during my eight month co-op term at BC Hydro provided me with a wealth of experience that really let me shine.

BC Hydro celebrates Power Smart Month every October and part of Media Relations job is to help coordinate all of the earned media plans for each of the different groups underneath Power Smart. Earned media is media pick up that is actively sought out by a company's staff and is not  is not assisted by media buy-ins or sponsorship. Due to staffing shortages I was given the opportunity to step up and take on a more integral role to prepare and execute Power Smart Month media. I helped to create the earned media communication plan for the Power Smart Cube Condo launch that established Power Smart’s ‘Waste is Ridiculous’ platform and was set up in TD Plaza for the first week of October. I also wrote all of the news releases and information  bulletins submitted to media over the course of the month regarding the various offers available to customers. As BC Hydro is a publicly owned crown corporation, one of its goals is to connect with the entire province. This was achieved by creating news releases specific to each B.C. community to which they were submitted. As media calls rolled in, I helped to coordinate media interviews by finding the appropriate spokesperson, ensuring that they had the proper messaging and that reporters received the information that they needed. Following each interview, I chatted with the spokespeople to provide feedback on how the interview went. Finally, I compiled spreadsheets and kept a media clipping database tracking all of the earned media hits, which totalled over 100 by the end of my work term. It is very important to track media hits accurately because not only do they help determine the success of the program but they also help to create and maintain buy-in for each project.

I think that one of the most rewarding aspects of working for BC Hydro is the incredible team of people who you get to work with. The office is filled with supportive professionals who have led fascinating careers in communications and they provide a wealth of knowledge that you can tap into. Furthermore, a large number of the staff working in Communications are SFU alumni and so they show a keener interest in helping co-op students find their way.

Co-op opportunities at BC Hydro really allow students to spread their wings and get their feet wet in a number of areas. Something I was the most impressed by is the amount of trust they are willing to place in students. They really gave me the opportunity to forge my own path and make each role I took on my own. However, it really is up the students to prove they are up to that task. Again, it all comes back to the best piece of advice I received during my work term: Dress for the job you want. I did and I’m still working for BC Hydro even after my work terms have ended.

Posted on August 15, 2011