Summer Reflection Series: Hannah Wheeless

By: Hannah Wheeless @tweetsonwheels

sanantonioThis past summer I was fortunate enough to remember my roots down in the Lone Star State of Texas while gaining valuable knowledge of the PR industry. Interning at a major communications agency thousands of miles away from my OU home made for an incredible experience.

KGBTexas Communications is headquartered in San Antonio, but also has an office in Houston. They have clients both local and national including, the San Antonio Police Department, Benson Automotive, McDonalds and Walmart. I was a PR and advertising intern, which allowed me the opportunity to understand how both sides function. I learned everything from media lists to event planning while working with some of the most talented, creative and inspiring people I’ve ever met.

The top three things I took away from my internship are

Internships are not as scary as I thought

I remember being a freshman at my first PRSSA meeting hearing all about internships and how crucial it was that I had a good one or I basically wasn’t getting a job. Cue my first mental breakdown. Luckily, just as everyone says, everything will work out and it did. I learned that confidence is key, and as long as you’re doing the best you can do, everything will be fine. However successful, important and down right intimidating the employees you work with are, they are just people and they’re there to help.

I don’t know everything and nobody expects me to

Internships exist so you can learn what a classroom lecture can’t teach you. No matter how big or small the business you intern at, everyone is there to teach you something. I made plenty of mistakes in my short six weeks, but I learned from those mistakes, and now I can recite the phone number to every news station in San Antonio.

It’s important to get to know who I’m working with

We’ve all heard it before: it’s not what you know – it’s who you know. KGB was a fairly smaller agency, so I was given the opportunity to meet and work with almost everyone. Not only did I work with them in the office, but also I frequently tagged along on lunch breaks with different employees throughout my internship. Getting to actually sit down and learn about the person I was sitting with in an office with for eight hours a day helped me advance in my internship, and will certainly help me in the future.

The next step is using all of this knowledge to get that dream job. We’ll start with goals of this semester.

Put together a portfolio

I can talk about what I did at my internship for days, but if I don’t actually have anything to show then not a lot of people employers care.

Get on Dean’s List

It is about who you know, but that will only get me so far. Any employer can appreciate a nice set of PR skills, and the GPA to back it up.

Manage the stress

Between the work, school and campus clubs it’s easy to have a breakdown or twelve. If I can remember to go for a nice run or kick it on the couch every now and then, I think I’ll find making these goals happen a little easier. As a senior, it’s important to live this last beautiful bobcat year to the fullest.






7 Tips & Tricks For Networking Trips

7 Tips & Tricks For Networking TripsWhether you’re traveling to a new city alone or with a school organization for a networking trip, interacting with professionals can always be intimidating for a college student on the job hunt.

Over the course of my professional experience, I’ve discovered how essential it is to plan for the worst before diving head first into the “working world.” That way, you’ll be completely prepared and the right mindset to give your best first impression. Here are the seven tips I’ve taken away for professional networking.

Research the Company Before Visiting

This is crucial before even setting up the trip. For starters, it’d be beneficial to research your PR point of contact, company history, brand standards and social media platforms before you do anything else. You’ll sound knowledgeable while interacting with the professionals at the company online and in person using solid talking points from your research.

Bring Your Resume/Business Cards

Bring several copies of your most updated resume to give to every professional you meet. Business cards are also great if you have them too. Being able to showcase your professional experience is important, especially when time is precious on a company tour.

Look The Professional Part

No sweats, no gym shoes and for goodness sake do not cake on the make-up. This is the time you look your sharpest. Shine your shoes, iron those dress pants and don’t forget to put on deodorant before walking through the front doors of the company you’re visiting. When in doubt, a blazer and dress pants, or black leggings are my go-to professional attire. I never wear heels, unless they are low or on a tall boot, but even then I bring flats in my bag, just in case blisters appear.

Hope For The Best, Prepare For The Worst

I always bring a purse with me on professional occasions carrying items for the most inopportune moments when you have coffee breath, your phone is on 2% battery, etc. These key items are:

  •       Altoid mints or gum
  •       Hand wash
  •       Perfume/Deodorant
  •       Cash
  •       Portable phone charger
  •       Band aids
  •       Dental floss

Tweet At The Company Before Visiting

True story: tweeting at MediaSource, a PR agency named 2013’s Best Health Care PR/Marketing Agency by communications industry powerhouse Ragan Communications, before touring their office in Columbus, Ohio with PRSSA earned me my very own MediaSource coffee mug and “swag bag”. It was really exciting being recognized in front of the whole group tour for using their hashtag #BobcatsBrandJournalized14 before visiting. It just goes to show you what doing your research can achieve: recognition before a face-to-face introduction.

Don’t Be Late

Arrive two hours early if you have to, butjust make sure you are not late. Just don’t do it. Period. (Rule of thumb is 5 minutes early is on time.)

Follow Up

Through email or LinkedIn, following up with a personal message is the perfect way to show your appreciation for their time and especially shows initiative for keeping the conversation going.Hand written thank you notes are an excellent personal touch too. Don’t stop there though. Keep the relationship consistent with an email every few weeks with a possible blog link you found interesting or info-graphic worth checking out.


Stephanie Gort is a senior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @StephGort.

5 Pinteresters Every PR Pro Should Follow

Whether you’re procrastinating, or just looking for some new Pinteresters to follow, here’s a list of five Pinteresters for a well-rounded Pinterest Profile.

1. PR Daily (prdailycom). With almost 4,000 followers, this Pinner is the public relations newsletter we all PRDAILYknow and love in Pinterest-form. With boards ranging from “Social Media” to “Humor”, any PR pro can appreciate these boards. Their “Global Media/PR Events” board holds updates on upcoming get-togethers such as content marketing summits and PRSA’s International Conference. Following PR Daily is a great way to have a little bit of news on your home page.

2. Heidi Leonard (HeidiLeonard). Hello type-A personalities, this Pinterester is for you! Heidi Leonard, a HEIDIprofessional organizer, leads over 6,000 followers to a more organized life. This wife and mother from Georgia shows you the ways of ultimate organization. PR is one of the top ten most stressful jobs, and organization is key. Without it, stress levels will be on the rise. The most helpful boards for PR pros would be “productivity” and “goals & planning.” Follow and pin for a little peace of mind, and an organized life.

3. Scripps PRSSA (scrippsprssa). Our own Scripps PRSSA chapter, pins everything and anything a PR pro could PRSSAever need. From social media to interview questions, using Pinterest for business and how to stay healthy, Scripps PRSSA has a board for it. Follow them to learn more about what Ohio University is cooking up in the PR world.

4. Funny or Die (funnyordie). Who doesn’t need a comic relief every once and a while? This website’s Pinterest is just that. Ran by Will Ferrell’s production company, you can always count on a laugh from these pins. Over 8,000 FUNNYorDiefollowers come to Funny or Die for cute animals, celebrity jokes and Pinterest’s latest update: GIFs. Made from a series of animated photos or short video clips, GIFs are just what Pinteresters everywhere needed. Funny or Die’s GIFs range from a dog riding a turtle (quite adorably) to overly invested sports fan and their reactions, all funny might I add. How can you not follow something Will Ferrell is producing?

5. Social Media Today (socialmedia2day). Clearly a favorite in the public relations world, social media is SOC2DAYextremely important. Social media technologically drives our ever-evolving career path, and thus Social Media Today has made a Pinterest. For search engine optimization, content marketing, eBooks and branding boards, look no further. Coined “The world’s best thinkers on social media”, Social Media Today has over 8,500 followers, and can give you a jump start on the social media world, via Pinterest.

So whether you’re planning your future wedding or just pinning away travels to fulfill your wanderlust, follow these Pinteresters to get your daily dose of PR.

Gentry Bennet is a freshman studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @Gen__andtonic.

3 Perks of Having a Scripps PRSSA Mentor

We’ve all felt that feeling as a freshman; you’re lost, confused and lonely when you first arrive in Athens, especially if you don’t know anyone on campus. I can admit that as a freshman last year, I had no idea what to do with my major and didn’t know anyone who could help me. I wanted to get involved to meet new people by joining organizations so I could gain PR experience. Little did I know that my future PR mentor was someone I looked up to in high school four years ago.

DarbI first met Darby Fledderjohn, a senior PR student, in high school as a sophomore in our journalism class. Darby was a senior and editor-in-chief of our high school’s yearbook. I joined the staff that year and looked up to Darby’s dedication and love for the publication. I admired her hard work the entire year and because of that, I knew I wanted to be editor-in-chief when I became a senior.

Darby and I kept in touch every now and then when she went off to college. I was accepted into Scripps my senior year of high school and was thrilled to know an upperclassman. At that time, I knew I wanted to write so I became a news and information major. However, my mind quickly changed and I switched to the strategic communication track two weeks into my freshman year. I have never been so happy with my decision.

I joined PRSSA to gain experience in the PR field and prepare for future internships. PRSSA offered a mentor/mentee program in the beginning of the year and I immediately thought of Darby. Fortunately, Darby became my mentor that year and she has helped me through so much.

Here are 3 ways having a PR mentor has helped me:

1. Scheduling. As a freshman, I struggled finding classes to take because I did not know which classes were most beneficial for my major. I didn’t know which professors to avoid or take.

Asking Darby to help me with scheduling over coffee in the Front Room was a great decision. She was able to help me pick the classes that were more important and which professors she learned best from. It was a comfort for me knowing that she was looking out for me and making sure I took the best classes possible for success.

2. Advice. A mentor will not only help you with schoolwork, but also with advice about school and life in general. I found myself multiple times texting Darby late at night asking about what to put on my LinkedIn page or resume. She was the first one I talked to when I was interviewed to be on MTV’s True Life. She was the first one I talked to about internships. It was so helpful to know that if I ever had a question about PR, internships, classes or just life in general, Darby would always be there for me.

3. Another Friend. A mentor is just another name for a friend. Darby and I were friends in high school but I feel that we have grown closer as friends ever since she became my PR mentor. We both have the same taste in TV shows (Catfish and Breaking Bad) and know each others likes and dislikes (Darby is obsessed with otters and pugs, but mostly otters). I looked up to Darby in high school but I look up to her now more than ever simply because she helped me through my awkward stage as a freshman and has made me fall even more in love with PR.

I am so sad that this is my last year with her as my mentor, but I am so excited to become a mentor myself and help another freshman just like how Darby helped me. Without Darby, I would not have had the confidence needed for this major. I have her to thank for being such a great friend and an influential person in my life. A mentor/mentee relationship has been one of the best decisions I have made at Ohio University and I recommend the program to anyone looking for guidance in PR.

-Alyssa Keefe is a sophomore studying strategic communication. Follow her at @lyssakeefe.

Benefits of Joining Both ImPRessions & PRSSA

ScrippsIn college one of the greatest ways to gain professional experience and expand your knowledge of your major outside the classroom is by getting involved. Luckily for us Scripps Kids, the journalism school has some top-notch extracurricular activities that students can be a part of. PRSSA and ImPRessions are two of these amazing organizations.

Both yield so many amazing benefits; I could go on forever about why I love each of these organizations. However, when you join both PRSSA and ImPRessions instead of just one or the other, it can be extremely beneficial in the short and long run.

1. You learn skills, and then in return experience how to apply them. PRSSA is a great organization to join if you’re interested in exposure to the many kinds of PR. You get to hear from a wide variety of speakers who are experienced in their jobs and enthusiastic about their day-to-day work. You learn what it’s really like in the world of PR and what’s important to take away from your time here at Scripps.

However, just learning about what you need to know isn’t enough. You need to have hands-on experiences with these skills to really become a master at them. This is why joining ImPRessions in addition to PRSSA is so helpful. You get to perform real tasks for real clients, which the PRSSA speakers elaborate on during presentations.

2. You make more personal connections with members. Because PRSSA meetings are only an hour long, with much of the time being taken up by announcements and speakers, there just isn’t time to connect with fellow members during the meetings. Of course you eventually begin to recognize familiar faces, but without exchanging of names and conversation, it’s hard to bond in that time frame every Monday night.

When you join ImPRessions in addition to PRSSA, you get the opportunity to meet for an hour with a more personal group of people. This allows for a better chance at having casual conversations and making friendships with fellow members. You get to become more familiar with some of the people you see every Monday night at the PRSSA meetings, which no doubt encourages positive relationships between the members of our PRSSA chapter.

3. You have a greater opportunity to hold a leadership position. Running for the executive board in PRSSA is a great way to get more involved and gain potential experience with having a leadership position. However, with only nine available positions, this makes elections quite competitive. With the new revamp of ImPRessions, new director positions have been added, giving members a chance to hold a higher position.

In ImPRessions you can also become an account supervisor or an account executive, which are also both great ways to gain leadership experience and learn how to manage groups of people. By joining both organizations, you have a better chance of being able to hold a leadership position, which in return looks amazing to potential employers.

4. They complement each other on a resume. Being able to put that you’re a member of PRSSA looks great on a resume – it’s even better when you say that you’re a dues paying member. Paying dues may seem like an expensive investment, but the rewards of doing it really are worth it. It comes with benefits that can help improve your skills and facilitate your entry into the wonderful professional world of PR. When you pay dues you also are exempt from paying ImPRessions dues, pretty much making ImPRessions membership an additional bonus to PRSSA. So why not join both?

Both of these organizations provide their members with experience that can be used in college and on after in a professional job setting. You get to learn things that will be used in the future, while making positive relationships and connections in the process.

-Mira Kuhar is a sophomore studying strategic communication with a business minor and English specialization. Follow her at @MiraKuhar.