Grad profile

Allie Darwin

“The emphasis wasn’t just on graduating, it was also on helping us launch our PR careers.”

Photo by Laura Kelly Photography.

As PR and Social Media Coordinator, in addition to working with the media, Allie's day-to-day involves working on influencer, digital advertising and social media campaigns for clients. She also acts as a social media consultant for the rest of her team and their clients as needed.

What were you doing before the PR program?

I was in Ottawa managing an amazing independent clothing boutique. In addition to ensuring day-to-day operations were running smoothly, I was lucky enough to also work on social media, e-commerce and influencer marketing campaigns. I also spent time interning for a wedding planner and with a sports and event merchandising company, where I helped run pop-up shops for professional sports teams and touring concerts.

How did you hear about the PR program?

I was in my fourth year studying journalism and economics, but slowly realizing I couldn't picture myself working in either of those fields, which was making me anxious. I loved any opportunity to combine creative communication with strategy in a more analytical, business-minded environment. PR was the obvious avenue to pursue, and my anxiety disappeared when I discovered the program one night through an online search.

Why did you choose to study PR at SFU Continuing Studies?

I was drawn to SFU's Public Relations program for a number of reasons, primarily the program length. Most programs I was looking at were at least a year long, and after having already completed a Bachelor's degree, nine weeks was an ideal amount of time to spend back in a classroom. I also loved that there was a practicum and the campus is downtown. Vancouver is a great city to be working in public relations.

What was the most valuable part of the PR program?

For me, it was the staff. It's rare to have so many teachers who are also currently working in the industry. The teachers and guest speakers provided the class with insight, real-life case studies, best practices and personal examples of projects they've worked on. They had first-hand knowledge of what students need to know to hit the ground running and succeed after graduation. I was pleasantly surprised at how focused teachers were on helping students network and navigate the Vancouver job market. The emphasis wasn’t just on graduating, it was also on helping us launch our PR careers. The teachers and staff were (and still are) our biggest cheerleaders.

Can you speak to your practicum experience?

I completed my practicum in the PR and marketing department at Fairmont Pacific Rim, and I loved every minute of it. I was able to practice what I learned in school about pitching, press releases, media lists, influencer marketing and social media, and apply them to real-world situations under the guidance of hospitality industry experts.

What excites you about a PR career?

What excites me most is that no two days are ever the same. It's a fast-paced, high-energy industry where you need to be on your toes and always thinking two steps ahead. What I love about my current job at Citizen Relations is that all our work is very collaborative. The whole office is constantly working as a team and looking for ways to help everyone succeed. There are very few careers where you can plan events, manage social media, work with international brands and call it a normal day at the office.

“The emphasis wasn’t just on graduating, it was also on helping us launch our PR careers.”