Archive for Q&A

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

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

Well, for starters, I’m a rising senior majoring in PR and minoring in history at the University of South Carolina. I’m from a small coastal town in Rhode Island called Westerly. It’s essentially the smallest town, in the smallest state in the country, but the beaches are amazing and it’s made me a true lover of being on the waterfront. During the summer, I was the town Dockmaster (note Dockmaster, not Harbormaster; told you my town is tiny) for three years and over the course of my time there, it made me realize how lucky I was to be able to sit in a shack on the waterfront. Instead of a computer screen, I got to stare at this all day:

 james

 

Life was good. But the dock job also made me realize that I love dealing with people (even when I don’t love the people) and a huge part of PR is just that—dealing with all different types of people. I find it fascinating.

I play the bass guitar and have a shameless, secret love for 70s and 80s music (I had an afro in high school.) I also love cars. And time-machines. And Legos. This can best be signified by my Lego DeLorean I bought last week, complete with Marty McFly’s hoverboard. It’s pure awesomeness. This goes back to my love of history; though perhaps I could also be a toddler stuck in the body of a 21-year-old.

I was born in an ’88 Cadillac Eldorado, so maybe that has something to do with my love for cars. Regardless, I would love to be involved in the auto industry someday.

My dad works for a company that is a client of Peppercomm and it was through his introduction that I had the opportunity to meet the co-CEOs, Ed and Steve. After interviewing them and several other employees last August, I walked away from 470 Park Ave knowing a lot more than I’d come in with, that morning.

I had never set foot in a PR firm before in my life, nor did I really understand the day-to-day activities at a firm. Long-story-short, I didn’t know jack about PR (besides the very general survey classes I had taken at USC) I realized immediately that Peppercomm was a place where I could learn far more than school could ever teach me about the industry. On top of this, I fell in love immediately with the work culture, the people and even the reason the company is called Peppercomm (dogs rule).

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

This is a tough question for me to answer; every day I find myself exposed to a facet of the industry that’s a little different. Most of the accounts I support are financial, though I have gotten a decent exposure to the more consumer-based clients as well. As far as actual work, I love dealing with people (did I mention I like people?). From media outreach to client calls, I find myself enjoying the actual points of contact that I’m able to engage with people in.

With that being said, I have to say my favorite activity is dealing with media relations. My parents were both journalists that worked for The Washington Post, Providence Journal and L.A. Times over the course of their careers, so I find a lot of similarities between the journalists and editors I correspond with and how my parents are. In addition, the media is practically the other side of the coin when it comes to our work, so I love being able to foster those relationships that will benefit both parties for the long-run.

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

To be honest, everything. Like I said, I had no idea what I was getting into, other than I knew PR involved writing and that I liked to write. My biggest surprise is how much responsibility I’ve been given as an intern. It’s absolutely liberating in the sense that my work and opinions hold just as much weight as the associates and account executives I work with. Yesterday, I got to be involved in a brainstorm and my ideas were put right up on the wall and into the mix.

Also, the only coffee I get is for me. Mind blown.

I once heard a story from a friend who interned at a competing PR firm a few years ago and for her last day of work, her boss had her manually transfer contact info from an old BlackBerry to a new one. All I can say, is that at least she was getting paid. I have never once dealt with anything like this. In fact, the opposite—I often find myself being asked to take on more responsibility, and hit the ground running.

But here’s the flip-side. You can seriously mess something up if you aren’t careful. And that is terrifying yet gratifying at the same time.

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

Once I graduate from school, I want to gain employment at an independent firm. This is the best way to get exposed to all sorts of PR work in a wide variety of industries, and from this knowledge I can learn what I love and hate. I want to eventually make the switch from an independent firm to an in-house department in the automotive industry. Ultimately, I hope to follow in the footsteps of Peppercomm’s founders and establish my own communications firm someday. Until then, being an intern is a good step in that direction.

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If you’ve read this blog for a while, you would know that when making entry-level hires, Peppercomm looks to it’s current and former pool of interns first. In fact, we’d say about 1 out of 4 of our employees is a former intern. Here’s a few examples of our former interns who now work full-time here (I’m a former Pepperomm intern, too): Maddie Skahill, Chris Piedmont, Mandy Roth, Colin Reynolds and Nicole Hall. Seriously, those are just to name a few, I can certainly go on. A good testament to our retention is probably current senior director and former Peppercomm intern, Sara Whitman.

So you can always go to any of these amazing communications stars for tips and tricks of how to turn that internship into a full-time job, but we also loved the stories in this Forbes article: How To Turn Your Internship Into A Job: Three Real-Life Stories.

After you’ve read that article, let us know if you have any tips of your own or any questions on how to land that dream job.

 

 

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May
06

#internlife

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We love #iworkinpr and yesterday’s post is so on point (see below). Don’t be that intern (or anyone in the workforce) who just has excuse after excuse. You can view the original post here.

 

When your new intern shows up late for the 83948394 time and feeds you a story about his/her [insert problem: car, boyfriend, school]

 

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Sep
06

The Intern Spotlight

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In today’s post, meet Peppercomm SF intern and future PR star, David Jolly.

 

David Jolly_headshot1.   Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and public relations?

Life for me began in Cleveland until I was a teenager and my family relocated to Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from high school in Columbus, I went to an out-of-state college in Hampton, VA majoring in finance and marketing.  After two years there, I realized that  it wasn’t the best fit for me, so I transferred to Ohio Dominican University (ODU) in Columbus.  I graduated from ODU with a BA in Public Relations and Marketing Communications in December 2012.

Throughout my time at ODU, I had several PR internships and was heavily involved in student organizations, and even served as the PRSSA  president for my chapter. Upon graduation, I took on my first full-time internship at a PR agency before coming to Peppercomm’s San Francisco office. Making the decision to move across the country to San Francisco was a big deal. Not only had I never visited San Francisco, I did not know a single person in the city. Yet, it sounded like a great adventure and after speaking with the teams here, I knew I had to find a way to make it happen. The next thing I knew I was living in San Francisco and starting my first day as the  intern in the Peppercomm SF office.

I’ve always told myself that agency would be the best fit for me. A past internship proved me correct and I knew I had to continue my career at Peppercomm. My passion for media relations was a major reason in wanting to work at Peppercomm and I felt the agency would be a great place to hone my skills.

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

A majority of my past experiences is in media relations, so I find that area of the industry to be the most appealing. I think I fell in love with this area of the industry during my first internship. I saw an opportunity for a media placement and I sent an email pitch to the appropriate editor at the publication. The editor liked the story and I had my first placement in a national publication. It felt great to be able to see my idea go from a pitch to being an article in a widely-read outlet, and also build that relationship with the editor. Since then, I’m constantly looking  for opportunities and projects that allow me to improve my media skills.

3.  Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

After taking a few entry-level classes as an undergrad and really taking the time to research the industry, I had a better understanding of what to expect. One of the biggest surprises for me was learning that public relations can be found in almost every single industry. This is definitely a good thing for emerging PR professionals like me, because regardless of what your interest might be, there is most likely a PR job in that specific industry.

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

I would really like to continue to learn new skills and best practices in the industry. I see myself becoming more of an expert in media relations and social media. I also see myself staying in an agency setting because of the fast-paced environment and the variety of clients I get to work with on a daily basis. My goal is to ultimately become a senior partner at an agency and mentor future PR professionals.

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Aug
08

The Intern Spotlight

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In today’s post, meet Peppercomm intern and future PR star, Chris Piedmont.

Piedmont, Chris

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

I’m currently a senior at the College of Charleston located in historic downtown Charleston, SC where I’m serving as the Student Body Vice President this year. I grew up just outside of Charleston in a small suburb. After spending my first year of college at another university in the upstate of SC, Charleston called me home.  When I originally went off to school, I was dead set on going into education but, after my introductory class had us tutoring local high school children, I felt like something was off. I decided I wanted to pursue a degree in something I could do more with than teach and, if the call to educate came later in life, I could always take classes to get my teaching certification.

After making this decision, I started taking career surveys to figure out what I should consider. One of the surveys suggested that I’d be good at teaching (shocker), psychiatry and public relations. Prior to this, I never understood what public relations field really was but decided to try it out and I’ve never looked back.

My interest in public relations was what sparked my transfer back home to the College of Charleston due to our thriving strategic communication program, our Advisory Council and the internship opportunities available in the Charleston area that were not as easy to find in the upstate. A month after I started at CofC, I had the pleasure of hearing Steve Cody speak at one of our Advisory Council Student Forums about developing your own personal brand. I was so blown away by his ability to connect with everyone in the room, make us all laugh, and learn at the same time. Later in the year, I was able to participate in a networking trip to NYC and one of our stops was Peppercomm. While visiting, we learned about Peppercomm, the internship program and the great work and culture that exists here. After seeing all this, I knew that this was the place for me and I still get excited every day to come in to work because I’ve wanted this for so long.

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

Right now, I find public affairs the most appealing part of the industry because it’s the unknown for me. I haven’t had the opportunity to do much work in this area and would love to take a stab at it. With that said, I really enjoy the consumer and financial services sectors that I’ve been introduced to recently.

 3.  Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

One surprise for me would be the extent to which public relations professionals love their jobs and have fun while at work. In talking with friends at other internships in different sectors, they are getting coffee, filing papers, and not really enjoying life. For my friends in PR internships and myself, that couldn’t be further from the case. We’re getting hands-on experience and learning from professionals who light up when they come to work.

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

Who knows? If I’ve learned anything from networking and speaking to my colleagues here at Peppercomm and elsewhere in the public relations industry, it’s that you never know where you’ll end up because opportunities simply have a way of presenting themselves. While I’d like to say that my crystal ball is in full working condition and that I know exactly where I’ll be in one, five, or 10 years, I can’t. I simply plan on working my hardest and taking any and every opportunity that presents itself because there’s always something more to be learned.

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Summer’s here (or will be as of tomorrow) and so is our internship program’s summer session. This week meet future communications industry star and current Peppercomm intern, Taylor Hatch.

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

I am a rising senior at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and I hail from Montclair, NJ. I study Spanish and Marketing and first decided to give PR a shot last summer during an internship at a small public relations consultancy firm in New York City. I loved learning how to pitch and decided I wanted to do another PR internship at an agency, particularly one that would give me even more hands-on experience. It didn’t take me long to stumble across Peppercomm’s website and fall in love with the company culture, variety of clients, and internship description.

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

 So far, I’ve been most interested in the way social media is used as a PR tool. I think social media has enabled brands to express their personalities in ways that aren’t possible without it. it’s so interesting to see how companies that one may not expect to be “social”, like financial service companies, for example, engage customers across all platforms! Another area of PR that I’m interested in exploring is Crisis Management and, luckily for me, it completely intersects with social media. Now, when a crisis occurs, brands can’t put it off for even a day because they can instantly respond by tweeting about it. Social media is both a source of damage control and damage creation for brands and I love this area of PR because, in my opinion, it’s the most dynamic and engaging.

Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

Going from a much smaller PR firm to a mid-size agency like Peppercomm, one thing that surprised me was how many roles one agency can fill! In my first week I’ve noticed how Peppercomm owns so many of its clients’ projects from start to finish. Between research, design, events, media relations, crisis management, measurement, and so much more, it’s obvious that the industry is anything but limiting. I was happily surprised by how a career in PR can allow you to dabble in many different areas of marketing.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

While PR seems to be the place for me, I’d like to learn more about how PR agencies intersect with other types of  marketing firms, such as advertising agencies. It would be interesting to learn more about these other functions of marketing in order to better understand how to cooperate and coordinate client strategy on every level. For this reason, I definitely see myself working in an integrated marketing agency such as Peppercomm. I’ll have to see where my accounts take me this summer, but I imagine myself working with either consumer product or financial service companies in the future.

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Mar
19

The Intern Spotlight

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 In today’s post, meet Jamie Hogan – current Peppercomm intern and future PR star

 1.  Tell us about yourself- Where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and PR?

I am originally from Rochester, NY and attended college at Oswego State University in Oswego, NY. I graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in creative writing. After spending the summer after school working at AT&T, specifically teaching people how to use the iPhone when it first launched, I moved to New York, NY without a job. I snuck in right before the economy took a turn for the worst and after temping at a few random places (Hermès and Sony stick out in my mind) I landed an interview at a fashion jewelry company and got the position. I started out as the showroom manager and after that, was promoted to an account executive. Although I worked at that company for over five years, I knew that job wasn’t exactly right for me and that feeling was solidified by a particularly bad experience. I started seeking out new opportunities in fields that I thought would be interesting and because of my background in journalism, public relations really stood out. I was lucky enough to be hired as an intern at Peppercomm about three months ago, and have enjoyed my experiences since then!

2.  What area of the industry do you find most interesting and why?

Since I didn’t have any experience in public relations before this internship began, I actually find many aspects to be appealing! I’ve learned so much in this short period of time and I really think that there are a lot of exciting facets to the industry. As far as my accounts go, I really like the more “consumer-y” traditional PR projects and also enjoy helping out with new business research. And although I haven’t done much with it, I think the event-planning side is very interesting as well.

3.  Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

One real surprise was learning some of the “behind the scenes” responsibilities that public relations professionals take on. For instance, it was amazing to learn that many times, it’s our team who is writing articles and answering questions on behalf of the accounts that are hiring us. I had to really wrap my head around that one! As one co-worker put it, “PR people run the world, and no one knows it.” I thought that was a fun way of describing it and it makes me feel like I’m part of an underground secret society.

4.  Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship so far.

I’d say that my proudest moment so far was when a team member on one of my accounts gave me a shout-out during one of Peppercomm’s staff meetings. Getting recognized for something that I had done well made me feel great and really boosted my confidence. It was nice to know that my hard work had paid off.

5.  Any favorite/inspiring case studies?

While it was before my time at Peppercomm, I remember reading about the Teenage Mutant Ninjas Turtles 25th Anniversary. For such an iconic brand to reemerge and spark nostalgia into fans by way of social media, I thought it was a great juxtaposition of new and old because of the innovative use of modern technology.

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Feb
26

The Intern Spotlight

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In today’s post, meet Ali Pearce – current Peppercomm intern and future PR star.

1.  Tell us about yourself- Where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm and PR?

My name is Ali Pearce and I’ve been interning at Peppercomm since September. I graduated from Elon University, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina, last May with a degree in Strategic Communications. I have always enjoyed working in teams and coming up with creative solutions to problems; therefore public relations was a perfect fit for me. Because it is an industry that encourages thinking outside of the box, I am constantly being challenged and continuously learning new ways to help our clients.

The culture at Peppercomm is unlike any other organization I have been a part of and immediately drew me into the company. The minute you step into the office, you can tell that everyone enjoys coming to work and because of that, the energy here is contagious.  My interview flew by because I spent half of the time laughing with the intern committee. That’s when I knew I was sold and that Peppercomm was the place for me.

2.  What area of the industry do you find most interesting and why?

I’m really interested in the digital side of public relations. Social media has revolutionized the industry by completely changing the relationship between brands and consumers. I love following the digital trends and learning new ways to build a brand’s presence through these social media platforms. One of my favorite aspects of this internship is working with Peppercomm’s internal digital team, PepperDigital.

3.  Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

I think the biggest revelation about the industry for me was the different types of projects that we work on for our clients. Before working at Peppercomm, everything I knew about PR came from the classroom and my internship for an in-house PR department. Working for an agency is completely different; no two days are ever alike and you are constantly juggling different types of projects for a unique client base.

4.  Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship so far.

One of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my internship thus far has been working for a foreign technology company. My team and I have been helping to establish a social media presence for this client. This has been difficult at times because of cultural differences and a differing of opinion on various topics. Drafting social media content for this client has taught me how to adjust my language and tone so that it matches my client’s audience, which I have come to learn is an essential skill in public relations. Overall, it has been rewarding every day to see an increase in engagement on the client’s Facebook page and to receive positive feedback from the client.

5.  Any favorite/inspiring case studies?

I recently came across a Unicef campaign on Pinterest that really resonated with me. Pinterest is typically used as a platform for sharing things that you want in your closet, for your home or things that you want to cook or craft. Working off of this theme, Unicef created a fictional Pinterest account for Ami Musa, a 13 year old girl from Sierra Leone. Using this account, Unicef pinned items such as a cup of rice or clean drinking water to show the wants of a 13 year old living in poverty. These images stood out amongst the typical materialistic pins. Personally, this campaign forced me to think about those less fortunate about myself and instilled in me a desire to do something to help others instead of pinning another pair of shoes.

 

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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