Summer Vacation the PR Way

By Victoria Maseda

Summertime: beach, sun, friends, leisure reading and sleeping in until noon.

Not exactly…

Most view summer break as a time to relax and turn their brains off from two jammed packed semesters of keeping up with college life. Not that I disagree with this point of view- I enjoy a good break just as much as my fellow sleep deprived friends– but for me, summer break is not exactly an opportunity to enter into a 3-month hibernation period. Instead, it’s a time I can really dive into PR related projects without the added stress of having a paper due at midnight. In order to discover which areas of the PR industry not only I enjoy, but also (and most important in my opinion) which areas I don’t prefer, this summer I am focusing on experiences in four key areas of PR: corporate, event planning, non-profit media relations, agency campaigns.

Through my internship at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, I am learning internal communications first-hand. As a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, McNeil Consumer extends its influence over an insanely diverse portfolio of consumer products like TYLENOL®. Thousands of employees are needed to research, develop, design, market and sell these products to physicians and consumers across the world. In order for these employees to effectively complete their jobs, internal communications plays a key role in conveying company policies and creating company culture. I have been fortunate enough to not only sharpen my written skills by writing for the company’s intranet, but also gain insight into the concept of internal PR (an aspect of corporations that perfectly marries my PR and Labor Employment Relations majors into holy matrimony), while networking with coworkers who are giving me insight into external brand PR and crisis communications.       

The 3 other Regional Conference Directors and I are working hard to put together a bid for the opportunity to host a Regional Conference set for Spring semester 2013. Organizing this event is no small task! It requires creative promotional tactics, persuasiveness to gather sponsors and number smarts (most communications major’s weakness, let’s be honest) to create a budget. I am excited to leverage each director’s strengths in order to put on an event that will provide a great networking experience for PRSSA members and guest speakers!

As for non-profit PR, I am working throughout the summer with my fellow PR Captains to increase awareness for THON, the Four Diamonds Fund and the fight against pediatric cancer on national, state and local levels. This position covers anything from writing, compiling press clippings and explaining THON’s mission to press. The greatest part of completing work for THON during the summer is it never feels like I’m wasting time I could be spending laying outside with a good book. When you find something you are passionate about, then accomplishing a task never feels like a chore.        

Last but certainly not least, I am excited to execute a campaign with Happy Valley Communications for the State College Spikes. Through social media and guerilla marketing tactics, I plan to get the student population excited about attending Spikes games at Medlar Field. Developing a campaign is an opportunity to be creative, which is my favorite aspect about this type of PR. Make sure you watch out for the Spikes mascot, Ike! Hint: he’ll be the friendly deer walking around campus or downtown.

PR is a diverse field with even more diverse career paths. Make sure to seize opportunities to explore all your interests either through personal experience or vicariously through a networking interview with an industry professional – even if it means giving up some time to lounge poolside with Fifty Shades of Grey on a warm summer day.

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