In today’s post, meet improviser, intern, and future great, Maggie Rose.

Maggie

Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

 

Hi, I’m Maggie. I am a rising senior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. I’m originally from Chicago, IL, one of the most gorgeous cities on the entire planet. After growing up on the Midwest, however, I knew I wanted to head out East. Bowdoin has an outgoing and exuberant community that has allowed me to work with a variety of audiences. There, I am the Co-Leader of our Improv group, the Improvabilities.

 

The first thing that drew me to Peppercomm was it close association to comedy and its unique take on PR. Peppercomm’s moto of “Listen. Engage. Repeat.” has resonated with me since first exploring its website. The agency is profoundly admirable in how it deeply engages with its employees and clients to create future relationships that both benefit the company itself and its partners.

 

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

 

At a liberal arts school, I am double majoring in Government & Legal Studies and French. My interest in crisis management and interpersonal relationship building has led me to PR. My favorite thing about the industry thus far has been its intense focus on writing. Whether it’s a press release, a pitch or a social media post, corporate PR requires detailed and thoughtful writing. I believe I have significantly improved my grammar and brevity, which should be a huge advantage for the future of my career.

 

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

 

I knew this would be a tough internship. Even during the interviewing process, the Intern Committee expressed to us the level of commitment that would be required. I did not, however, realize us interns would have the privilege of working so closely with Peppercomm Executives. No intern task is menial or irrelevant. Just as the highest executives in the agency, each intern is valued for their presence and contributions.

 

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

 

I’ve loved interning in corporate PR. While I originally thought I would be most fit to work on consumer accounts, I’ve become a huge fan of my time spent on financial. The variety of exposure that I’ve gained through consumer, B2B and financial has taught me how such industries differ in their needs, wants and even external relationships. In my future of PR, I do see myself incorporating my specialization in public affairs. While all industries of PR require some sort of political awareness, I’d love to understand how I can fully combine one with the other.

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Caleb O’Neal.

Caleb SuitTell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

I am about to start my senior year at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. I am originally from Burleson, Texas, which is about 15 miles south of Fort Worth.

When I started college I had no idea what I wanted to major in. During the first week of school I decided I would major in advertising and public relations, and I haven’t looked back.

During the second semester of my junior year I started looking for internships. One day during my search, I decided to google “top PR firms in New York City,” and coming in at the number 9 spot was none other than Peppercomm. I visited its website and fell in love. I loved that Peppercomm did so much more than your average PR agency—they in fact redefined PR. I decided to apply and the rest is history!

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

I am a huge baseball fan! I absolutely love the sport and the game experience. I have loved baseball ever since I was 2 years old and my dad took me to my first Texas Rangers game. I would love to work in public relations, player relations, or media relations for any professional sports team. That is my dream and that is the area of PR I find most appealing. Not only would I get to do the thing I love, PR, but I would also get to do it for a sport that I love.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

I was quite shocked when I arrived at my desk on my first day and immediately had a project to start working on. When people hear the word intern they think of someone who just gets coffee. At Peppercomm, everyone, even the interns, plays an important role. I also faced some culture shock when I arrived in New York. No one seems to use “yes ma’am” and no one has even heard of the term “cattywampus.” But, that’s a topic for a different post.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I would love to say I see myself working my way up the ladder for the Texas Rangers and then eventually becoming head of player relations or media relations, but who knows? I could end up going in an entirely different direction than sports and honestly, I wouldn’t mind. Even though I have only been at Peppercomm a short while, I absolutely love it here. This environment is definitely something I have not experienced before. Yes, I am an intern, but that doesn’t mean I have to be scared to be friendly with everyone I work with. I am excited to see where I end up in this industry.

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Snapchat is fun, who doesn’t love a good interactive dog mask selfie? Vox agreed and decided to take viewers behind the engineering walls of Snapchat’s augmented-reality selfies.

So, what does it take to put a virtual flower crown on you? Find out in the video below.

What’s your favorite Snapchat filter?

 

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intern fest picture

On Thursday, June 16th, the Peppercomm New York interns were lucky enough to have the chance to attend InternFest, an event put on by the PR Council. This conference provided an opportunity for personal and professional growth, on top of being a great occasion to practice networking skills.

Once everyone arrived, attendees were split into different sessions that pertained to a certain sector of public relations, from Creative Digital to Trendspotting. Here’s what the PeppSquad had to say about their unique experiences at InternFest.

Maggie

Maggie went to the Creative Digital and Public Affairs session. As a Government & Legal Studies major in college, Maggie thoroughly enjoyed her Public Affairs session, held by the Global Strategy Group. While she may not have interest in working for a Super PAC, Maggie found it interesting to hear the do’s and don’ts of political PR. She does wish that she ended up in the Corporate PR session, but it never hurts to get a little taste of the other side. On top of the learning experiences, Maggie was also a big fan of the hot dogs they served at the end of the two sessions, describing them as a “10 out of 10”. In fact, they were so good that Maggie went back for seconds, only for the line to be too long. Hang in there, Maggie.

Lauren

Lauren had the privilege to experience the Corporate session and the Digital session. The Corporate PR session discussed and analyzed what exactly falls under the corporate PR umbrella and how every role in a PR agency plays a part in corporate communications. The Digital discussion focused on bringing PR tactics to life via creative digital. Out of the whole experience, Lauren’s favorite part was the bonding experience she had with her fellow interns, along with learning about a side of PR that she doesn’t get to see every day.

Michelle

Michelle was placed in the Digital Strategy and Trendspotting sessions. The highlight of InternFest for her was hearing the CEO of Havas PR, Marian Salzman, speak about her PR journey – from her trendspotting skills, to her unforgettable clients, to her key survival tips in the industry. Marian’s down-to-earth personality and overall approachability really stuck with Michelle, and the CEO’s stories of jet-setting around the world 150 out of 365 days a year and waking up at 4 a.m. to answer emails regularly were stories of inspiration. Hearing Marian’s two cents on being a PR extraordinaire and how she handles her career every day with such grace and confidence motivated Michelle to make the most of her time here at Peppercomm, knowing that this whole journey starts with the first step.

Ragarsh

Like Michelle, Ragarsh was also sent to the Digital Strategy and Trendspotting sessions. Of the trendspotting session, Salzman’s revelation of the perks of working in the BRIC countries, along with the exposure to different market’s structure stuck with Ragarsh the most. The Digital Strategy session allowed Ragarsh to achieve an understanding on how the insights companies obtain for its clients can be used by different teams in the organization. However, out of all of these lessons and interactions, what stood out most to Ragarsh was that of the aesthetic kind. The office balcony, with its sheer size and beauty, remains a vivid picture in his head.

Aaron

Aaron ended up in the Public Affairs and Corporate sessions. Through InternFest, he gained some insight from professionals who have excelled in the world of PR. He does wish that the breakout sessions lasted longer, and that maybe next time an icebreaker event would be added so that every intern didn’t just stay with their associates the entire time. He did like the variety of topics that InternFest had to offer, and one of his biggest takeaways was the differentiation between public affairs and other forms of interpersonal relationships. Overall, Aaron thought it was a fantastic learning experience.

Molly

Molly was pointed in the direction of the Consumer and Trendspotting sessions. Molly particularly enjoyed learning about trend spotting and how it plays an imperative role in the PR industry. In fact, last summer Molly first learned about trendspotting while attending the Conde Nast College of Fashion in London. Molly explained that trendspotting plays an imperative role in the fashion industry both in a PR/ branding sense as well as a product development sense. She found it riveting to hear how trendspotting applies to all areas of PR while tying in a sociological/ psychological component. But for Molly, it didn’t just end at the importance of trendspotting and how it is shaping the future of PR. She also ran into a long-lost best friend from elementary school at this very conference! Move over Disneyland, InternFest is the new “Happiest Place on Earth”!

Caleb

Caleb found himself in the Trendspotting and Corporate session, and had a standout experience, as he was put into a group of about 20 girls and one Caleb. While listening to the CEO of Havas PR North America, Caleb was asked by the speaker how being the lone male made him feel, to which he responded, “I think it’s pretty great!” Caleb’s joke/confession was met with hearty laughter from the entire room. Despite the positive response to Caleb’s answer, he believes that Salzman wanted him to go more in-depth, and days later he still thinks about the question that she proposed. Caleb believes that InternFest was meant to make one think about what they are doing in public relations, and for him it did just that.

And finally…

Early on in the conference, everyone in the room was asked to place their names in a bucket for a raffle to win one-on-one time with an executive from a top PR firm. After the second session, the winners were announced and lo-and-behold: Maggie won. Clearly the PR gods heard her cries, after cheating her out of the Corporate session and a second hotdog.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their experience at InternFest. It showed them a glimpse of the other branches of PR, inspired them to plan for the future while enjoying their stay at Peppercomm, and even allowed for some bonding time in the process.

 

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Today’s post is contributed by NYC intern Rachael Collins.

bio_ted-birkhahn_524x550_542_550_s_c1For our fourth installment of PeppTalks, Ted Birkhahn, Partner and President at Peppercomm, shared his views on work and life and shed light on the experiences which have made him who he is today. Ted, who is in charge of client services and managing agency operations, has a diverse background in political public relations, journalism and production.

RC: Where did you grow up and where did you go to school?
TB: I grew up in a mixture of New York and Connecticut and attended the University of Vermont.

RC: What was your first concert?
TB: I saw Air Supply at Radio City Music Hall when I was 10 years old. You probably haven’t heard of them but they are an 80’s rock n’ roll style band.

RC: What would your last meal on earth be?
TB: Steak tartare which is prepared tableside, with the freshest possible French bread and butter.
(For those of you who are unfamiliar with this Parisian dish, it is a meat dish made from finely chopped raw beef. It is often served with onions, capers and seasonings and often served with a raw egg yolk. It is said that the key to a successful steak tartare is fresh beef, freshly hand-chopped at the very last minute and mixed tableside).

RC: Which TV show is your guilty pleasure?
TB: Right now? Homeland, Billions and a family favorite is Modern Family. Also, Seinfeld.

RC: What is your favorite episode?
TB: The Marine Biologist episode has got to be my favorite.

RC: What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
TB: I was a camp counselor. I learnt that I hated kids and spent all the money I earned on beer.

RC: What was your most memorable job?
TB: Working for the mayor of New York. It was both terrifying and stressful but it was an incredible learning experience.

RC: What drew you to Peppercomm?
TB: Honestly, I needed a career change from working for the Government. It was a great time to get into PR because of the economic climate and Peppercomm was offering something different with an entrepreneurial spirit and a clear positive work culture. I took the risk and it payed off.

RC: What’s an activity you do in your spare time?
TB: When I’m not playing parent taxi, Hockey, hockey and hockey. Whether it is being played, watched or attended, my family and I are crazy for it. It is something the whole family is keen on. Other than that, I enjoy fishing and have a huge interest in airplanes.

RC: What are your teams?
TB: The NY Rangers and University of Vermont.

RC: If you could do PR for any client, who would it be?
TB: I would love access to a presidential candidate or a sports team like the New York Rangers.

RC: Do you have a piece of advice you live by?
TB: I have two: Trust building with clients and in your job is crucial, and never stop building your network and learning. These two things go hand in hand. Oh and I am also a big believer in the theory behind karma.

RC: What is Your Definition of Success?
TB: To do a job where you feel like you’re making a difference and knowing that people value your work.

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Intern Video

To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this YouTube video produced by former Peppercomm interns who share their experiences. Click Here