Young Professional Series: Anton Perreau


For this young professional interview, we’ve added a little twist. Anton lives and works in London, so this is our international edition! I met Anton as an undergrad at San Diego State where he completed part of his degree. We met at a PRSSA event and became friends immediately. Following his time at SDSU, Anton continued living in Southern California to to fulfill an internship with LEWIS PR in San Diego, after which he returned to London Photo 01-12-2012 03 50 31 PMto finish his degree while working for a British PR agency. Personally, I’m hoping that some American will sweep him off his feet so he comes back to the U.S. and I’ll have my friend back 🙂

Now, to the interview:

Tell me a little about your current position?

I currently work as a Senior Account Executive for Battenhall – we’re a Brand Communications agency consisting of around eight people, founded as a start-up by Drew Benvie, former UK CEO of Hotwire and founder of 33 Digital. I work with emerging and global brands to help them engage with influencers and journalists alike.

What drew you to a career in public relations?

I enjoy bringing my own ideas to life, and I have some pretty whacky ideas – PR enables me to work whilst channeling all these ideas into creative projects. I’m a big fan of reading and writing, two very important elements of the communications world.

I also love connecting people – not like a matchmaker, but to show people amazing companies, doing cool stuff and, in turn, to learn what people really want from that lovemark brand. I guess to add to all this stuff, I’ve developed a knack of accurately and concisely getting a point across, the way we use words, connotations, sentences and grammar is the most important way to communicate, that actually excites me. What a dork I am…whatever.

How did your time in the US help your career?

Most basically, it’s a conversation starter – it gets a foot in the door and international companies like the idea that someone knows colourful new things about the world around them.

Working and studying in different countries evidently shows that you’ve been exposed to cultural differences as well as the complex bureaucratic procedures around the world – this matters in the world of work. It’s also character building, I know I developed a lot as a person since I moved to the USA with no perspective, local friends or definite plan.

Being a well-rounded individual shows potential employers and clients that you have the ability to ‘make do’ in difficult situations, independently, and come back with solutions not problems.

What are some of the differences between working in the UK and US?

The first thing is the media: It turns out that many verticals are much more over-saturated in the US than the UK – this doesn’t mean they’re more receptive to your pitch though.

America is very geo-centric, what i mean is that in the UK all or most of our work is based around national campaigns and projects, after all our population is barely 63 million – a fifth the size of the USA. In the US however, much of the work we did focused on Southern California.

The last, and most important difference is general hours, American’s work long hours and take short vacations, in the UK our working day usually starts around 9:00am and finishes around 5:30pm. it’s also perfectly normal for people in the UK to take two or three weeks off work to go abroad each year.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to fellow new pros?

Be that kid in the office or classroom that DOES stuff – small or big, it doesn’t matter if you fail, they’re not called ‘challenges’ for nothing. Failure is the best ingredient for your greatest success. Turn every ‘what if’ into something you actually DID and if it takes under two minutes, do it now.

Keep up with Anton on Twitter or learn more about him here!

PRSA Interview


UnknownEach month PRSA San Diego interviews one of its members to be featured on its website and share about their professional experience. This month, I was lucky enough to be asked to participate and had the opportunity to share more about my experience with the research side of public relations.

Check out my interview here.

My Jet-Setting Wallet


On March 10, I was flying home from Miami where I attended the International Public Relations Research Conference. I was tired and hungry, so I decided to order some food. I gave the American Airlines flight attendant my credit card and then put it back in my wallet when she returned it. At that point, I believe I left my wallet on my lap, unable to maneuver around my food, drink and tray table to return it safely to my purse. After my sandwich, I took a nap and woke up in San Diego. I didn’t think about my wallet until the next morning when I was getting ready for work and panic set in. I knew exactly what happened.

Over the next few weeks I made a lot of calls and online requests to the lost and found and baggage claim at Lindbergh Field and Dallas Fort Worth (where my plane had headed back to). Also, like any PR practitioner I know, I tweeted about it and included American Airlines’ handle. Now, let me tell you, the social media team at AA is awesome (or they were to me). They responded immediately and made me feel like someone was doing something to help.

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And then the DM conversation went like this…

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Weeks passed by and I replaced my credit cards and driver’s license and lost hope of ever seeing my wallet again. But, I felt like my concerns were heard and I didn’t harbor any feelings of ill will toward AA. I mean, it wasn’t their fault I left my wallet behind and they did try to locate it. Then, on Tuesday (as in 50 days later), I received a package in the mail from AA. It was my wallet and a handwritten note from Mac in baggage claim at DFW: “Please call me when you get this.” My gift cards were stolen, but most everything else was intact. I let Mac know and of course, I tweeted about it. And of course, AA replied.

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I’m moving…to Texas


Some of you may already know, but I have decided to pursue a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. They have a great mass communications program that I’m confident will prepare me for a career in academia. My ultimate goal is to teach and do research in public relations at a four-year university, and I think I’ve always known I’d be Dr. Lee someday.

I'll be a Red Raider for a few years, but you know I'm an Aztec for life :)

I’ll be a Red Raider for a few years, but you know I’m an Aztec for life 🙂

Choosing a doctoral program was the hardest decision I’ve ever made and my huge spreadsheet of pros and cons wasn’t much help. All of the programs I looked at are great and someone else with the same options I had may have chosen differently. I went with what was best for me in terms of faculty, resources, research and teaching opportunities. However, on top of the practical considerations, the people that I will spend the next three years with really sealed the deal.

Tech had me come visit a few weeks ago and every single person that I have interacted with, student, faculty or staff, was incredibly helpful and welcoming. Plus, their facilities are amazing. I probably won’t use the eye tracking machines or physiology lab, but the high-tech focus group room and office with a view got my attention. However, Blake and I have been joking around about the crazy research projects we can do in the labs when she visits. Any suggestions on that?

College of Media and Communication building

College of Media and Communication building

While the program is a great fit, Lubbock will be harder to get used to. There is more there than I realized and university towns tend to foster creativity and forward thinking, but it still isn’t San Diego. There’s no ocean or city-wide recycling program, the shopping isn’t great, and everyone drives big trucks while talking on cell phones. I’ll be leaving my family, Blake and Whitney, and other friends, but luckily, I have an amazing partner by my side to navigate this adventure with. My boyfriend, Paul, and I, and our cocker spaniel, Tiger, will be moving in August. Trust me, we’ll only be in Texas for three years.

A Recap of IPRRC


Last week, I ventured to Miami for the second year in a row to present research at the International Public Relations Research Conference. IPRRC brings practitioners and academics together in order to share and advance the latest PR research. Unlike other conferences, IPRRC is made up of informal roundtable sessions where the presenters can share their research, then discuss it with a fairly small group of people. This facilitates conversation among practitioners, faculty and grad students and often leads to new ideas and collaborations.

SDSU had a great group of representatives in Miami!

SDSU had a great group of representatives in Miami!

With three very full days of presentations, I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to my own presentation (the very last session!). Luckily, it’s a very positive environment and there didn’t seem to be any judgment as I tripped over my words a few times. In fact, everyone was very kind and encouraging, just like they were last year.

IPRRC really has something for everyone in PR, as you can see in the program. If you are a practitioner, you are sure to find presentations relevant to your practice. If you are an academic, you are sure to find presentations relevant to your research interests. Right now, I’m both, and I found both.

Social media was one of the most popular research topics. From best practices to ethics to creating dialogue to measurement, there was a ton of discussion about social media. My paper was also related to social media, but focused on new PR professionals and why they are often the ones to take on social media tasks. If the topic interests you, go read my thesis! Haha… I know that won’t happen, but if you want a shortened version, I’d be happy to chat about it!

Telling Your Story With Google Maps


I’m a big fan of Google. They have lots of cool tools that make my life easier, like Google Drive and Google Alerts. Another fun tool that is useful beyond just getting you where you’re going is Google Maps. Did you know you can create your own maps in Google for personal use or for an organization? The possibilities are endless. Map your favorite walk around the city, map and share your favorite beaches, create a map for a loved one with all the important places from your relationship (I dunno, it might be cute?), or map the DrinkAbout route like Sarah Grieco did here.

Recently, I made a Google map for California Sea Grant, where I am currently a communications fellow. CA Sea Grant is celebrating its 40th anniversary and we wanted to show what fellows and trainees from over the  years are up to. If you click “view larger map,” you can see more detail. For instance, I was able color code the markers based on the type of fellowship each alumnus had. This simple, easy-to-make map has not only served as a visual to show Sea Grant’s impact on ocean policy, but also as a tool for former fellows to network with fellow alumni in their area.

For directions on how to make your own map, check out this YouTube video made by Google: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TftFnot5uXw.

Young Professional Series: Sarah Grieco


Since this blog often focuses on our lives as young professionals, we decided to interview some young professionals from other industries to share their stories and insights. One thing we want to highlight with this series is the role branding, and personal branding, play in a variety of professions. For our first interview, we reached out to our good friend, Sarah.

Name: Sarah Grieco

Profession: Journalist

Current Position: Web Editor at NBC San Diego

What is your favorite part about being a journalist? How did you know it was the right profession for you?

Grieco_0597My favorite part about being a journalist is providing people the evidence they need to make big decisions. I’ve always believed that if people are provided comprehensive information, they will hopefully take more action. When I leave work every day, I feel like I’ve accomplished something – whether it’s letting people know what new restaurant to try or how the mayor’s push to increase the police force will affect their neighborhood’s safety.

I knew journalism was the profession for me when I would rather write articles in the dark, dungeon-like basement of my student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, than go to the beach. Instead of enjoying California’s perfect weather, I spent the majority of my college years underground, cramped over computers while reading, writing and producing articles for the masses at SDSU. And that made me really, really happy. Still does!

As a journalist, how important is your personal brand?

Very. My personal brand played a huge role in obtaining my job at NBC and it will continue to help me as I move up in my career. Thanks to social media, having a “brand” is a more fluid, normal part of my day. People know I’m a journalist, but things like Twitter and Instagram let them know I have a life outside journalism. People want to work with someone who’s interesting and easy to get along with, and I think my brand translates that pretty well.

What do you do outside of work to promote yourself or your company?

Working for one of the best news outlets in the country makes it easy for me to share the successes of NBC – on social media and in person. I like to contribute in classroom discussions and journalism events, such as Society of Professional Journalists or Online News Association. Sometimes I’ll participate in Tweet chats, like the once MuckRack has once a week, to let other journalists know what kind of stories we’ve done recently.

Occasionally I’ll attend bigger San Diego events, like San Diego Magazine parties, that give me a chance to talk with some of the city’s brightest people. I can get ideas from them about what they care about, and also let them know where to go for the fastest, most accurate news in town.

What role does social media play in your career?

Social media is a huge part of my job – and it’s getting bigger. People’s stories can now be shared across the globe with the click of a button on Facebook or a simple retweet. It’s increasingly important to post articles on my work accounts, in addition to my personal account. Not only does it give me the chance to share crucial information on a platform people visit frequently, but also it allows me to see what people are talking about or how that information benefits them.

What do you wish all PR professionals knew before pitching you?

I wish more PR professionals would reach out to me on Twitter. I sometimes get up to 300 emails a day, and it’s easy for me to lose some pitches. If someone tweeted me a link with a short description, then I’d certainly pay more attention than with a lengthy email that might get deleted. Or, if you need to email me a pitch, make it short. Three sentences max. Then I’ll be able to see whether it’s worth my time without wasting theirs.

We’d like to thank Sarah for sharing such great information and we encourage you to read Sarah’s stories at NBC San Diego and learn more about her at SarahGrieco.com. Is there somebody particular you’d like to see us interview here? Please let us know!

Giving Back to Your Profession


The holidays are supposed to be a season of giving and that is something we really saw at Minglebells San Diego. Minglebells is a huge networking event/holiday party where all types of communication professionals in San Diego get together and have a good time, and yes, we had a great time. We caught up with old friends and met some new ones, but one new friend really stood out. Her name is Carmella and she is the president of the San Diego Ad Club.

Nicole's big raffle win.

Nicole’s big raffle win.

Carmella likely knew 75 percent of the people in the room (or so we’re guessing), but she took the time to connect with us in a very genuine and helpful manner. She recognized us as young professionals and asked us something that any new professional would want to hear, but may be afraid to ask. “Is there anyone you want to meet?” Sure the chance to be introduced to any of the well-connected professionals that were mingling out there in the abyss was nice, but the fact that she asked was nicer.

We talked about that simple gesture on the way home and how we hope that later in our careers we remember how much something small like that means to a new professional, or someone changing careers, or new to town.

We both have amazing mentors that have helped us throughout our careers, but mentorship doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. It can be a simple word of advice, a strategy sesh over coffee, or an introduction. Is there anyone that has made an impact on your career that you would like to recognize this holiday season? Leave us a comment or connect with us on Twitter (our handles are over there, on the right, see ’em?)!

My Summer Research on CEOs and the Media


Over the summer, I spent six weeks at PRIME Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. thanks to the Grunig PRIME Research Fellowship. Although a wonderful opportunity, splitting up the Blake and Nicole bestie duo was difficult! I was able to get over the short separation and, as part of the fellowship, I did a research project on CEOs and media relations. Below is a snippet of a column I wrote for the Institute for Public Relations about it. Click through to read more, it’s short and written for practitioners, not academics (a.k.a you’re going to understand it and it may be useful!):

Me with my award in my living room since the Nor’easter a few weeks ago cancelled my flight to NYC 😦

CEOs are often the face of a company, but having a visible, or even well liked, CEO may not help a company’s reputation in all situations. This is a topic I explored over the summer with PRIME Research thanks to the Grunig PRIME Fellowship. Specifically, I looked at how the tone and visibility of CEO media coverage is related to the tone and visibility of overall organization coverage.

The first big takeaway is not all publicity is good publicity… {Read more.}

If you want to dive into the numbers and check out the full paper, you can download it here.

Reddit from a Non-Redditor


Yesterday, Mashable posted a story stating that Reddit is valued at a whopping $240 million. Reddit is one of those things where I had heard the name over the years, but didn’t quite know what it was. Then, I read this article in New York Magazine over the summer that kind of piqued my interest, but with my busy schedule, Reddit once again crawled to the back of my mind. It wasn’t until PR Daily posted this infographic that I finally decided I should give this thing a chance and I have over the past few days.

As a newbie, Reddit is pretty intimidating. Redditors speak their own language and have their own rules or “Reddiquette.” These rules can vary from subreddit to subreddit. Subreddits are Reddits dedicated to a particular topic where you can submit a text post or a link. The biggest thing with Reddit is it is a community where you are supposed to engage in conversation, read, comment and share valuable information. Reddiquette states that very few of your links should be from your own blog or website, if at all. Or at least that is what I read on one list of rules.

I spent a little time on a couple subreddits, reading and commenting. I also submitted a couple blog posts that I thought would be interesting and relevant to the particular subreddits. I definitely got a lot of clicks and some up votes (oh yeah, Redditors can give you up or down arrows on posts). However, I also got some really nasty comments about my Coffee Shop Etiquette post from a barista subreddit. As a former barista, I thought the community would find it funny, but of course people get really brave on the Internet.

I’m still not sure if I will ever be a Redditor or if I want to be. But, if you’re gonna give it a try, this video might help: