The Intern Spotlight: John Tompkins


johnpostToday we are going to meet Peppercomm’s only male intern, John Tompkins!

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

Hello, from Peppercomm’s best (and only) male intern of the summer 2017 session! My name’s John, and I’m a rising senior at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where I’m double-majoring in Politics and Journalism. I was born and raised in Vero Beach, Florida, a small beach town of about 20,000 located on the state’s east coast, and I attended an even smaller, Catholic high school just south of my house. I’ve been interested in media for as long as I can remember, or at least, ever since I began parking in front of the TV screen every weeknight to watch Fox News’s Special Report with Brit Hume at the age of seven. Yeah, you could say I was a pretty cool kid. I’d always thought I wanted to go into broadcast, but after completing a PR internship at a large non-profit organization in Johannesburg, South Africa last spring, I decided to give strategic communications a go this summer. I found Peppercomm through a Washington and Lee alumni who currently works here with us and I’m so glad my teams have thrown me directly into the fray over the past two months!


When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

I’d say I’m very “go-with-the-flow,” so it really depends. I love finding new spots across New York City to hang out with friends and I’ve made it a personal mission to avoid visiting the same bars and restaurants twice while I’m interning here. In general, I like to relax with a good book or show on Netflix, preferably somewhere scenic, like in Central Park or along the Hudson River. In fact, I love the outdoors in general, and at school, you can usually ‘cash me ousside’ on the tennis courts or hiking the many trails around our campus. I’m also on my university’s club polo team, but that already sounds a little too bougie, so I won’t go into further detail.

If I were to name my greatest passion, though, I think it’d have to be traveling to new and adventurous places on a whim. I’ve been my family’s personal travel consultant, booking the vast majority of our flights and cruises, since the age of 10, and there’s not a country in the world I wouldn’t consider visiting at some point in my life. My personal specialty is booking last minute excursions to exotic destinations, usually without telling my family. In May, after spending four months studying abroad in Denmark, I popped over to Qatar for the weekend, where I rode a camel through the desert and went night swimming in the Persian Gulf. It looks like my next trip is going to be a quick getaway to Chile’s Easter Island, located about 2,300 miles off the western coast of South America, in the middle of the South Pacific. But I’m open to suggestions.


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

That’s a tough one to answer, but I’d have to say that given my background in writing and reporting, I really enjoy composing social media suggestions and LinkedIn articles for our clients across the board. I’m a very meticulous person, so it takes me an incredibly long time to do so, but I love searching for interesting content and playing around with wording to really grab audiences and draw them in. It’s funny because I don’t really consider myself to be a very creative person. But, I just love that feeling you get when you know you’ve hit the nail on the head with your writing.


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

Since this is my very first experience at a PR firm, I’m still surprised each and every day by the hectic schedule professionals in this industry lead. I think it’s incredibly impressive. Keeping track of so many different clients and requests can be a little maddening at times, but I love keeping busy, so I’m thrilled that Peppercomm has kept me on my toes all summer. Coming from a journalism background—in which it’s often said that if you’re pleasing everyone you’re writing about, you’re doing your job wrong—I’ve also been surprised and impressed by the conciliatory tone and attitude PR professionals have to constantly maintain to conform to the industry’s “client first” mentality. Luckily, though, everyone I’ve interacted with at Peppercomm has been incredibly gracious and helpful, so it seems that all of our team members are in the right profession!


Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Well if that isn’t the million-dollar question, I don’t know what is. Honestly, I have no idea, and I’m not even sure that I want to stick to PR yet. It’s going to take a lot of time and even more thought, which is why I’m so thankful I have another year of school to, you know, get my entire life figured out. If I do end up sticking to PR, I can only hope I have the privilege of working at an agency as amazing as Peppercomm!



  • Netflix or Hulu?  I’m terrible at technology and wouldn’t even know how to download Hulu if I wanted to.
  • Text or Call? Call
  • Coffee or Tea?Two weeks ago, I got a stomach ulcer—allegedly from too much stress and black coffee—so I’m going to have to go with tea. I’d rather not spend another Friday night at Lenox Hill Hospital.
  • Dogs or Cats? Dogs for sure. Cats are horrible.
  • NYC or San Francisco? Concrete jungle where dreams are made of (See: Jay Z)
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars
  • Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?1996-2016: Smooth; 2016-Present: Crunchy
  • Mac or PC? Mac
  • Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea? Sweetened, preferably from McDonald’s
  • Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? Are you kidding? Nick! (Drake and Josh was my childhood.) I still have nightmares about Ed, Ed, and Eddy.
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Dark chocolate. (But not Lindt—it makes me nauseous.)
  • Seltzer or Water? Water
  • Cake or Pie? Pie (preferably cherry). Icing makes me sweat.
  • Tacos or Pizza? Pizza (Hawaiian, without the pineapple)
  • Hogwarts House: Harry Potter always gave me the creeps. All those black robes and aggressive spells…none of those children can be up to any good. And where are their parents?

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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