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Learning PR on the job at a McFadden Gavender internship

March 29, 2011

Lauren Israel (@LaurenIZrael on Twitter) is a senior at the University of Arizona. If you like this post about how she earned a paid internship, check out her professional blog, Motivational Mondays.

Arizon senior, PR representative for McFadden Gavender Advertising

Lauren Israel

As I sat in Barbara McFadden’s office anticipating an answer, I finally heard what I wanted to hear: “You’re in.” As a fresh junior at the University of Arizona, hearing those words was like music to my ears. I had recently finished my marketing minor over the summer, and was eager to learn real-world concepts in an established ad agency. Little did I know that interning at McFadden Gavender Advertising would change the course of my life. As a public relations representative at the agency, I dealt directly with setting up and overseeing client interviews, building media lists through Vocus, capturing client clippings, contributing to agenda items and story/event generation. After working there for a semester, I was promoted to paid intern and given more responsibility.

As my responsibility grew, so did my passion for the industry. I became fascinated with social media and the impact of having a strong online presence. I recently pitched my co-workers on utilizing Twitter for business development and media outreach. After researching Twitter and the benefits of the social networking site, I put together a social media strategy for a client report. Research, media outreach and maintaining client image are just some of the exciting aspects in public relations.

I have learned that extensive research is one of the most important parts of public relations and marketing.  My recommendation to any new intern is to read a publication related to your field of interest in order to learn more about the industry. I follow AdAge, PR Daily News, AdWeek and other publications to learn more about the marketing world. When I find stories that interest me, I save the link and often tweet and Facebook share the stories for others to read.

In sharing my interests through social networking sites, I’ve been able to connect with other people who are interested in my field. The beauty of social networking is being able to build relationships around the world.

The beauty of social networking is being able to build relationships around the world.

Also, by staying connected online, you will slowly build online presence for yourself that will catch the attention of employers. I have been contacted about my blog by various reporters and recruiters. By starting a personal blog, staying consistent on Twitter, utilizing LinkedIn and staying professional on Facebook, you will continue to learn and stay current with online trends of our time.

Overall, my internship has created a foundation for my future in public relations and marketing.  In the year and a half I have worked at McFadden Gavender, I have learned more than I could have imagined.  I will never forget one of the first things that Barbara McFadden said to me, “You will not be considered an intern here; you will be treated like a respected employee.” I have been treated like a respected employee, and it has motivated me to thrive in the industry and utilize my passion to build success.  Always know what your passions, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses are, and you too can thrive in an exceptional business.

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