In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC Business Outcomes intern and future industry star, Liz DePlautt

 

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

My name is Liz DePlautt and I am a rising senior at Washington and Lee University majoring in Economics. I spent the last semester abroad studying in the Netherlands and only a few days after my return I quickly transitioned into working and commuting into the city every day from my hometown Ridgewood, NJ.  My journey to Peppercomm actually started last spring when I applied for a position here my sophomore year. I had heard about the firm through friends who took a trip to the office with our school and saw that they had a Research and Analytics internship. I thought it would be perfect way to combine my experience with economics and my interest in communications. While last summer did not work out I was hooked on the company. When I saw the same position posted for a Research and Analytics intern this past spring I reconnected with Nicole, the head of the Business Outcomes group, right away and sent in my resume hoping that my increased experience this time around would land me the job.

I have previously worked as a business development intern for a non-profit education advocacy organization, a cause I have always been passionate about. I also worked as a marketing intern for a startup internet company helping to build up the presence of a new company. I spent my junior year as part of the Venture Club, an entrepreneurship based group at W&L, as part of their Consulting team, doing research for startups and small business owners to help them expand their businesses. All these experiences have taught me so much but I wanted to work for a company such as Peppercomm, to really get to understand Public Relations and to get to know the ins and outs of a full service agency.

At this point I am more than halfway through my internship and am loving my job, my team and the whole atmosphere here at Peppercomm.

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

As a Business Outcomes team intern I am very interested in the numbers behind a lot of what is going on in Public Relations. I am fascinated by the media’s influence on consumer behavior and why people do what they do. Although data cannot tell us the psychology behind consumer behavior it allows us to piece together the actions of many and then analyze any trends that are happening. From this sort of measurement you can pull insights on how the media and the public are interacting with a company and focus in on things that might be relevant to help a business to better understand their practices and improve.

On my interview for Peppercomm I was asked the question, “Do you tend to look at the big picture or are you more detail oriented?” This question really got me thinking and while my initial reaction was to say detail oriented I realized that the best part about data is how it can accurately depict the big picture. Starting from scouring the web and inputting data into a spreadsheet to then seeing the power of all the small details coming together to an end result is really great and seems to be an increasingly important part of Public Relations.

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

Peppercomm is my first real experience with PR so just being here, experiencing the  day-to-day, and observing what goes on around me has all been very new and surprising. One aspect is the fact that Peppercomm represents so many different types of clients ranging from TGI Fridays to Ernst & Young. The versatility of all the staff members who are able to juggle so many differing accounts is really awesome to see. I have also been surprised by how much I learn about a new industry just by working on their account. With each account I have worked on so far I have found that I am not only becoming more knowledgeable about the PR industry but also about the industries of the clients as well. Thanks to my work at Peppercomm so far I now know a lot more than I ever would have thought about securities regulation, trash-to-energy technology, and hedge funds, to name a few.

4) Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Though I still have a lot more to learn about Peppercomm and PR in general I am excited about what I have been exposed to so far. I can definitely see myself getting more involved with behind the scenes analytics and measurement and growing with this niche inside the industry. The unique innovations and new ways to analyze and interpret data going on here in the Business Outcomes division have me excited about the future for data and analytics for Peppercomm and for the PR industry as a whole.

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SF-1

Life is about working hard at what you do, but also about finding time for fun adventures.

For our summer outing in San Francisco we decided to set sail and watch the sunset, literally. Our crew of San Francisco and New York employees boarded a sail boat and took in the cool ocean breeze.

SF-2

Being out on the ocean you have no choice but to be in the moment and take in the sights, something that doesn’t always happen here on land.

SF-3

Looking around the sail boat at all of the laughing and selfies being taken reminded me of how important it is to find a good place to work that makes you happy. If you’re embarking on your own adventure of starting your career or just simply looking for a good place to call your work home be mindful of not only the work you’ll be doing, but also of who you’ll be spending your time with.

SF-4

Setting sail on your own career can be like navigating the deep seas. Have a direction in mind and do your best to stay on course while being prepared for the unexpected.

*All images courtesy of Ali Hughes.

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Categories : Career Advice, SF
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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC licensing intern and future industry star, Jaclyn Roberts.

 

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

I graduated this past May from NYU with a double major in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. I grew up just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, in a town called Paradise Valley. I love Arizona and it was a wonderful place to grow up, but I fell in love with New York while at NYU and decided that I wasn’t ready to leave yet. I am starting graduate school at Columbia University at the end of August.

While I really enjoyed both of my majors, I decided not to pursue my original plan of working in television news. I realized that that the aspects of these majors that I really loved—writing, storytelling, critical thinking, etc. were all at the core of the communications and public relations fields. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to have an internship in this industry to make sure that it was what I wanted to do. I saw a listing for an internship with Brand² Squared Licensing on NYU’s job listing website. The position sounded interesting because it involved several aspects of the PR. I researched Peppercomm and was extremely impressed by what I read, and then immediately applied to the internship.

 

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

I have really enjoyed working with the licensing division and learning about that aspect of the industry. It’s so exciting to see all the directions a company can go in by collaborating with different companies and creating new products. One of my favorite parts about interning in licensing is that I have been exposed to several different areas of the industry such as business development, market research, brand management, and the creative side.

 

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

After interning at Peppercomm, I have realized how much I want to pursue a career in the industry. My internship at Peppercomm has been a wonderful experience.  Not only is everyone who works here knowledgeable about the industry and good at what they do, they have also been extremely welcoming and willing to help me learn and get the most out of my internship.

 

4) Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

 I’m very interested in corporate communications and brand management. I am pursuing my master’s degree in Communications Practice with a concentration in Corporate Communications. My dream is to one day be a marketing or corporate communications executive at a financial company or another large corporation.

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future communications star (or Creative Director)Mary Insinga.

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

I am a recent graduate from the State University of New York at Oneonta. I received a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies with a minor in Advertising.

I am from Bellmore, Long Island – right by Jones Beach! I recently moved there with my family but I am originally from New Hyde Park, Long Island.  I grew up in an extremely diverse neighborhood and attended one of the highest ranked High Schools in New York State, Herricks High School (96th in the country!) I could honestly say that my educational foundation was a challenging experience but I received a degree that I am truly proud of.

My educational experience at Oneonta was very much a creative one and my major was filled with brilliant professors who have truly changed my life. In hindsight, I was somewhat frustrated that the classes I needed to fulfill my minor in Advertising were only available to me during my Senior Year.

Fortunately, this hiccup in my initial plan was exactly what led me in to the Public Relations industry. I’m not going to lie, when someone talks to me about the struggle of finding a job, I am the first to say – “it’s all about who you know, you should look to your social networks.” It has unfolded for me that almost all of my professional experience thus far has begun from a networking connection.

My aunt works for a financial advisement firm that had briefly enlisted the services of Janine Gordon Associates, a boutique PR Firm in New York City. Thankfully, my aunt and Janine got along splendidly and maintained a friendship well beyond their client relationship. Seeing as I had little to no hard skills at the time that I felt could be applied to an Advertising internship, I turned to Public Relations as my first attempt at an internship experience. I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to interview for a summer internship at JGA.

Once I landed the job, the doors felt like they had flung open and the possibilities were endless. Through that internship, I not only discovered my passion for public relations but found coworkers and a management team that I connected so well with on both a professional and personal level. The entire JGA team had truly cultivated my understanding of the industry by allowing me to explore the world of public relations, and encouraging every one of my ideas and explorations.

It was actually on my last day at JGA at the end of the summer that Janine announced Peppercomm’s acquisition of JGA. I sat there bubbling over with excitement as she described Peppercomm’s culture, clients and endless opportunities for both their employees and clients.  Staying true to my belief that, “it’s all about connections,” I kept in touch with Sam Bruno, who was my intern supervisor at JGA. I continued to extend my interest in pursuing an internship at Peppercomm and now here I am!

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

 JGA was acquired by Peppercomm with the intent to be able to provide clients with broad-based consumer lifestyle expertise, and further enhance Peppercomm’s existing abilities. My experience on consumer accounts at both JGA and Peppercomm has emerged as my favorite area of the industry to work on.

Fortunately, at Peppercomm I am working on a few of the same accounts I worked on a JGA. Through this extended experience with these consumer brands, I feel that I have been able to hone my interest on the consumer and lifestyle sector of the industry.

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

I think the biggest revelation I have had during my internship experience at Peppercomm, is how important an office culture is to the wellbeing of its employees. I have had my fair share of office jobs in the past and I can honestly say that the sense of community and fun that is felt here at Peppercomm is so refreshing. It has been especially funny for me to have all of my expectations confirmed.

I had the unique opportunity to have sat in on the meeting when Janine announced to the JGA girls about the acquisition. Janine, being the wonderful PR professional that she is, pitched Peppercomm and the idea of moving to their offices so eloquently. She spoke of the comedy experience, and the Peppercomm State University, the CEO’s and the upward mobility. Everything that she had promised to her employees had rung true for them and for me once I began my internship at Peppercomm.

4) Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Well for now, I am sticking around at Peppercomm and extending my internship in to the fall semester. As a recent graduate, I am definitely looking to find a full time position working in the PR and Marketing industry at a mid-size, full service firm like Peppercomm.

I also have been given the unique opportunity to explore the Creative digital department here, which is a sector of the industry that has especially piqued my interest. I hope to excel at project management in the short term, hopefully moving my way up one day to a Creative Director position in an advertising or marketing firm.

 

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Today’s guest post was written by Peppercomm account executive, Ali Hughes.

It sounds more exciting (and tasty) then it turned out to be.

Angelo's #2

My first job was serving ice cream to the masses on the hot, humid days of summer in North East Ohio.  Growing up in a small town outside Cleveland, the closest form of civilization (besides farms) was an ice cream window attached to a small pizza shop. I was thirteen and my dad knew the owners, so naturally he introduced me, and got me my first job. At the young age of 13, I pictured a summer full of free food and cute delivery boys. I had no idea that the work would be so, well… hard.

My first day was a quick run through on how to properly mix the blizzards and milk shakes, while managing to not cut my hands off on the machine. I also learned how to fill the soft serve machine, and defrost the buckets of hard ice cream. The second day I was on my own. I quickly found out that softball players can get pretty mean, pretty fast, when their ice cream isn’t made quick enough. Imagine twenty boys under the age of ten standing in front of you screaming out orders of ice cream. Just when I was on the verge of tears, I managed to dump the bag of liquid soft serve ice cream all over myself – missing the machine by just a few inches. Needless to say I went home pretty upset, despite the many dollar bills shoved into my tip can (I can only assume the tips were out of pity).

Despite my well delivered speech on why I shouldn’t return, my parents dropped me off the next day to face my fears of muddy tee-ball players and sticky ice cream machines. I didn’t become an ice cream wiz over night, but after a month or so I could stand on my own two feet. I became an expert at filling a cone with a perfect swirl of soft serve, and could fill the ice cream machines – two bags at a time.

Despite the rocky start, my first job turned out to be a great opportunity that taught me many life lessons.

  • If you fail at something, never stop trying to succeed. Failure has a different definition for every person.
  • Learn to lean on your coworkers, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
  • It’s ok to laugh at yourself, and let others laugh too.
  • Learn from your mistakes, and tell other people about them before they make the same mistakes themselves.
  • Be very thankful for rainy days.
  • You can never have too much crunch coat.

At the time, my job seemed like the most difficult one in the world. Now I look back on it with fond memories, and realize I was lucky to have a dad to push me into the real world of working for a pay.

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future communications star, Samantha Rushovich.  

 

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

I am a rising senior at Boston University studying public relations at the College of Communications. I’m also minoring in Film & Television and have a concentration in Anthropology . . . so I’m very busy!

I’m originally from Stamford, CT just 45 minutes outside the city. I have lived in the same house my whole life and I love it. I have had dogs since I was about three years old. I am practically dying at school without my pups, but I try to see them when I can. Occasionally my parents will be nice enough to drop off my dog in Boston to stay with me for a weekend before I meet them in Maine (we have a vacation house there). So, yes, I have sleepovers with my dog J.

When beginning my search for summer internships I decided I was going to be ambitious and only apply to the top firms. I knew I wanted to spend the summer in NYC, since it’s closer to home than Boston and I was ready for a new city for a bit. I looked up the top 50 PR firms in NYC and then looked through all their websites to see which ones had internship programs. Peppercomm specifically caught my eye because of the emphasis on comedy and work culture. I was learning through my internship in London at the time, that work environment has a huge impact on how enjoyable a job can be. It gave me that extra push to put just a little more effort into my Peppercomm application.

Oh, and Peppercomm is named after a dog, so I can’t lie, that definitely impacted my decision to work here.

 

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

It’s hard to say which area of PR I like the most. I’ve had experience in-house and I have now interned at a couple of agencies and one nonprofit, so my experience has been pretty broad. I definitely see myself going into nonprofit at some point, but I haven’t yet decided if I would want to be in-house at a major nonprofit, like the ASPCA, or if I would want to handle nonprofit accounts at a firm. I love the agency life!

I’ve always been pretty involved in charity and volunteer work. It’s mainly my love for animals that has driven me to be as active as I have been in the past. It’s one of my strongest passions, so it would be great to combine that with my love for PR.

 

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

I never expected to have as much autonomy as I do here at Peppercomm. I’m encouraged to throw ideas out there and to follow them through if my teams agree on it. I never imagined my client teams would value my opinions as much as they do. That experience alone has made this internship one of a kind.

I’ve also finally seen firsthand how CRAZY life as a PR professional is. My to-do lists are more than a page long before I have even had my coffee. I have had busy internships in the past, but I usually had a supervisor who told me what my priorities should be. However, at Peppercomm I’m on accounts and don’t have someone managing my projects for me. It’s all on me and I love the busy-ness of it all. I never thought I would feel so ready to enter the workforce, but now I’m eager to graduate and get going with my career!

 

4) Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

 In the short term, I definitely see myself ending up at a mid-size, full-service agency. After graduation that would be ideal! I also could see myself joining one of the major global PR firms at some point.

WAY down the road I hope to open my own agency that specializes in nonprofits. I would like to cater to them based on their budgets and find ways to provide low cost services that are still highly effective. I have a lot to learn before I can start planning that though.

Working for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) would also be a dream come true. I’ve admired quite a few of their campaigns over the years and am a huge supporter of their cause.

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job-searchWe all have that dream job or dream company we’d do anything to work for. But what happens when an opportunity pops up and you are underqualified for the position? They’re looking for seven years of very specific experience and you have some and you think you can map back your skills to the position—do you apply?

There is no simple answer outside of: maybe. But you first need to be realistic about just how underqualified you may be.

Years of experience aren’t necessarily a “be all end all” requirement for recruiters. The same goes for skills. Perhaps you have similar skills to what is listed and you can make the case for how they transfer easily. And you also are a great fit for that particular team and the company culture. Done. You’re hired.

It’s important to remember that new skills can be taught, so if you’re not that perfect fit according to the job listing, there may be some pieces that can be taught on the job.

Beyond making the case for your skills, using your resources will also be helpful.  Look up your connections at a company you’re looking to get your foot in the door with. Those people would be able to let you know if you should or should not apply for that position, and could potentially serve as a reference for you.

Now, let’s think about your industry accomplishments. Let’s say with the example listed above, the job is looking for a candidate with seven+ years of experience and you have two and a half of experience you think is relevant. It might not worth your time to put in for that job. You may feel you have those skills, and you might, but is this a role where you would be directing or managing? You need to consider that you either may not do well in that position or you might not have anyone to teach or mentor you along the way (or both) if you were to get the position by selling yourself up. Your professional development could become severely stunted.

With that said, it is certainly worth going in for an informational interview, referencing that particular job posting and seeing where the conversation goes. Perhaps there is a more suitable job for you that hasn’t been listed or may be listed soon. You’ll have started to make a connection and not overstepped by wasting the time of recruiters by applying for something you shouldn’t have.

There are so many little details and nuances that could have an impact here.  Tell us, have you or a friend ever applied for a position they were underqualified for? Any advice?

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Today’s guest post is from Meredith Briggs, future PR/communications star and current Peppercomm intern.

 

4For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a French and American Studies double major at Trinity College, a small liberal arts school in Hartford, CT. The French major is pretty self-explanatory, but American Studies occasionally throws people off. Most people just assume it’s synonymous with American history, but it’s much more than that. This major looks at all different aspects of American culture and lifestyle. For example, why we do certain things and what influences us.  I have taken classes ranging from “American Technology,” to “Female Bodies in 19th Century America,” to, my personal favorite, “American Food and Culture.” I chose to be an American Studies major because each semester I was drawn to the classes–there is such a wide range of classes to take. But while I do love my majors, for the past couple of years I have been drawn to the fast-paced PR/communications world. So, here I am today, a PR/communications intern who has never taken a class even remotely close to PR, advertising, marketing or journalism.

When I applied for my first PR internship last summer, the only knowledge I really had about the industry was from watching Kim Cattrall’s portrayal of Samantha Jones on Sex and the City. I’ve come to learn is not the most accurate portrayal of the industry, but hey, what else did I have to go on?  As soon as I heard that I had landed an interview with a PR firm I had applied to, I immediately called my dad. Of course he was excited and proud and wanted to do whatever he could to help me prepare and succeed. After we hung up my dad emailed me a document full of practice questions and told me to start practicing.

I sat at the desk in my dorm room and opened the document. The first question he listed was bolded with a red asterisk next to it saying “This will, without a doubt, be the first question they ask you.” Overwhelmed by the thought that I was too simple and had nothing to offer, I called my dad again. “Already?” he said. I started to hysterically explain to him that I would have nothing to talk about in my interview. My dad then asked, “Well, tell me a little about yourself.” I started to give the most basic answers: name, where I was from, school, and majors. Before I could even continue he interrupted me and asked me to explain my majors. After I answered, he asked me to explain why I picked each major. Lastly, he asked me how it applied to the PR world. If he had asked me this right after I had “told him a little about myself,” I would have said it doesn’t at all. But after having asked me the other two questions, I knew there was connection. After taking a few moments to think, I began rattling off different ways in which my majors actually helped me.

While I may not speak French in the office, having spoken French since 1st grade has provided me with many opportunities that allowed me to expand how I saw and thought of the world. I went to an immersion elementary school where all of my classes were taught in French. In 5th grade I participated in a “Back to Back” program, where at the age of 10 I traveled to Brittany, France, and lived alone with a family for a month and a half. The fall semester of my junior year of college I was again given the opportunity to study abroad in Paris. For four months I studied alongside French students, and explored France, along with other parts of Europe, which allowed me to change how I saw the world. Going to a very small high school, and a fairly small college, I was fairly closed minded to any world outside of what I knew. But exploring different cultures allowed me to not only learn about but actually experience different cultures and understand how and why they do certain things.

As for my American Studies major, it first and foremost gave me a chance to practice writing, which is, as you all know, very important in PR. In the PR industry you have to write a certain way for different people, just as you have to with different professors and different topics. Even at Peppercomm I write pitches one way for a financial services client, and another way for a consumer client, because the people I’m hoping to attract are two very different types of people. My American Studies major has also taught me to think about how to approach a situation or topic from all different aspects. My sophomore year I had to write a seven page paper analyzing a medical advertisement from the 19th century. While at first the task seemed impossible, as the ad was relatively small, I ended up writing more than the seven pages. I analyzed how the characters in the ad were portrayed, from their poses to their clothes, how that reflected the time period, the written text, and who the intended audience was, to name a few. These are all critical thinking skills that the industry uses daily, and I was able to learn them even without the traditional PR major.

When I went in for the interview I was nervous, of course, but had a new confidence I was lacking before.  While on paper I may not have seemed like the most ideal candidate for a PR internship, I knew I had something to offer them. I was essentially pitching myself to this company for a summer internship position, just as you all pitch your clients to publications. They may not always be the most obvious choice for the article, but as a PR professional, or in my case a desiring PR professional, it is up to you to highlight all of the possibilities your clients have to offer, instead of any downfalls they may have. Fortunately, my pitch was successful and I was offered the position. My summer internship only reinforced my desire to continue in the PR industry, and taught me (along with my dad) that even though I don’t have a PR background, that doesn’t put me at a disadvantage for succeeding in the PR world.

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Today’s guest post is by star Peppercomm intern, Mary Insinga.

 

keepcalmsuperintern12During my summer internship here at Peppercomm, my entire intern class was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to spend the afternoon at the Council of PR Firms’ annual ‘Internfest’ hosted at NYU. The conference gathered interns from 15 different public relations firms in the area.  During the event, we heard from a variety of industry professionals, including keynote speaker CEO of Ogilvy Public Relations; Christopher Graves, Managing Partner at Finn Partners; Gail L. Moaney and four Senior Account Executives from various agencies.

Graves began the conference with a discussion about ‘Reputation Killers’ and outlined how brand reputations are established and highlighted some horror stories about how a reputation can be easily tarnished. Next, Gail L. Moaney’s lecture about specialization in the public relations industry seemed to especially strike a chord throughout the audience. Gail spoke of her focus in the travel and economic development industries, while illustrating the range of specializations that a full service public relations firm often offers. Each speaker opened the floor to questions and after Gail’s discussion in particular, the audience seemed eager to pick her brain.

I began to notice a trend in the questions following Gail’s lecture and during the panel discussion. Questions such as, “how would you suggest we go about exploring other specializations within our firm,” and “have you ever felt pigeonholed in your specialization and have become curious about other sectors?” I realized that these were all questions that have never crossed my mind here at Peppercomm. I even spoke to a couple interns afterwards who also expressed that their internship was a very specialized experience.

On my walk to the subway, I reflected on the past few hours of my afternoon and thought, “did they send us here knowing that this would only further our appreciation of Peppercomm?” Because that was exactly my take away.

As a summer intern at Peppercomm, I work on six different accounts across a wide range of industries and have never once felt pigeonholed or stuck in one sector of the PR industry. I work on a bank, a hedge fund, a skin care line, an art auction, an online credit card marketplace and a leading industrial furniture maker. Each account has quenched my exploratory thirst to survey the industry. Thankfully, I have found myself in a full service communications and Marketing firm that encourages its employees to explore and take risks, always giving us the opportunities to do so.

Each week, Peppercomm offers a PSU (which stands for Peppercomm State University) that every employee is encouraged to attend. The PSU’s expose Peppercommers to the full range of services that are offered to our clients and ensures that Peppercomm employees continue to hone their professional skills. PSU has been a unique part of my internship experience and has been instrumental to my understanding of the Peppercomm culture.

It was actually during a recent PSU that I attended called, “Writing a Creative Brief” that I realized my desire to continue to explore and understand a bit more about the services outside of media relations that we offer.

My educational experience in college was very much a creative one, and after watching and listening to the creative team discuss their role in the firm, I found myself truly intrigued. In turn, I reached out to the Creative Director here at Peppercomm, to learn a bit more about the projects and services they offer our clients. One calendar invite later, and I had a meeting to show him some of my creative work.

Listening to the concerns of those other interns at Internfest who seemed eager to get advice on how to excel and how to break out of their current focus, just made me all the more grateful of the comfort and accessibility I feel here at Peppercomm.

The culture at Peppercomm is what I have found to be the most distinguishing feature of my experience as an intern here this summer. The approachability is unmistakable but it seems like this might not be the case for the rest of my fellow PR interns working in NYC this summer.

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Today’s guest post was written by Peppercomm associate, Claire Schutt.

When I was nineteen, I was a nanny. For 10 weeks, five days a week, from eight-thirty in the morning until six-thirty in the evening, I was responsible for the two most wonderful little girls.

The girls and I were very close. Curious strangers would after ask if I was their older sister, or sometimes if I was their mother. In both instances, I was flattered. It was clear that I wasn’t just any adult assigned to oversee two children for the day; I was a part of the family. So the girls and I would giggle and say yes.

Their parents, and technically my bosses, trusted me completely with their daughters. This level of trust gave me the freedom, and the responsibility, to plan each day. I would ask the little girls what they wanted to do and shape each day around that. So some days were spent almost entirely at the pool, while some days were spent at my house trying on old ballet costumes and dancing to the Nutcracker soundtrack. Some days we went grocery shopping, some days we went for ice cream and some days we drew self-portraits on the driveway with hot-pink chalk. Every day included quiet time.

One day the girls were playing tag around the house as I was making lunch. I could hear the younger girl running down the stairs full steam ahead and her older sister chasing her, demanding that she return the ballerina snow globe to its rightful place on the dresser. Suddenly I heard a crash. I dropped the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ran to the living room. The snow globe was smashed into pieces. Sticky liquid and small white dots, meant to be snow, now covered the wood floor. Glass was everywhere. For a second I just stood there, stunned. In my head I was thinking about how to best fix the situation while keeping the peace between siblings. Before I could react, the younger girl turned to her sister and said how sorry she was. The older girl gave her little sister a hug and told her that she knew it was just an accident; she then looked at me and said she was going to get the vacuum from the front hall closet and help me clean up. It was small moments like this that made my job so meaningful.

What did I learn? I learned how to be more patient; a four year old and a six year old might need you to explain the plot of a picture book more than once. I learned how to manage our time each day; their mom once told me that however much time I thought I needed to do something with the girls, like get them ready for camp, to go ahead and multiply that by five – she was right. I learned how to be wrong; sometimes the six year old does actually know the best route from her house to the pool. And I learned how to work hard; when you are responsible for the well-being of two little kids, you can’t give it anything but your best effort.

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Intern Podcast

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