What were you doing before joining the Public Relations program at SFU Continuing Studies?
I worked in the newspaper industry covering sports and held the position of sports editor for 10 years. I also had experience with freelance writing.
How did you hear about our Public Relations program? And why did you choose SFU?
I did an internet search on public relations or communications programs and found the SFU program. I chose SFU because it gave me the opportunity to learn and develop new skills in a short time frame that would give me the chance to get back into the workforce quickly.
What class was the most beneficial and why?
Most of them were beneficial, but I particularly enjoyed learning more about social media and influencers. I gained a better understanding of social media and had my eyes opened as to the impact influencers outside of traditional media can have.
What did you find most challenging in the program?
In Crisis Communications and Media Relations, thinking of strategies and taking the right steps to handle a situation properly was a good push. As was going through the news challenge day, especially from the PR side. Public speaking was also a challenge because I learned from the mistakes I made in my first presentation. Certain assignments required thinking outside the box in a different way than what I am used to.
What areas of PR did you experience in your practicum?
I created social media strategies for posts to bring awareness to events, as well as promotional or marketing situations to help with recruitment. I also wrote blog posts to bring awareness to a specific topic and promote particular benefits of a program. I also had the opportunity to sit in on marketing meetings, which was a positive learning experience. When it came to helping creating promotional material, I had to think strategically to get the right answers from interviewees in order for the material to be successful in accomplishing its goals.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned during your practicum?
Making changes to something is not a bad thing. Some ideas that you come up with for an end result may seem very good to start, but then stepping away and looking at it again can result in better ideas. That can lead to better results. You may not get the best results with your initial idea.
Overall, what was the most valuable aspect of the Public Relations program for you?
I learned so much and I am excited to put everything to use and continue to improve. I feel as though the gaps I had before are much smaller.
Can you share your future career plans with us?
The practicum I did with Okanagan Hockey Group will likely lead to freelance project work. At the moment, I am making a strong effort to network with people to see what potential jobs are available. I’m hopeful that I’ll find a position that’s a good fit soon.
What advice would you share with future students considering taking our Public Relations program?
If you have an idea of what kind of work you would like to do once you have completed the program start talking to people you know right away and state that you are taking the program. Sharing this could result in lining up a practicum before you begin the program or it could help you line up a job once you have finished. If there are guest speakers that you enjoyed and you feel they could help you, connect with them.