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The Intern Spotlight

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In today’s post, meet Peppercomm intern and future PR star, Madeline Skahill.


Madeline Skahill 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 am a recent graduate from Wake Forest University and I have ventured all the way from Williamsburg, Virginia. Whether you were forced to dress up in 18th century colonial garb by your grandparents or peer-pressured by fellow classmates to endlessly ride all the rollercoasters at Busch Gardens, I am sure there are a few hidden gems that have been so lucky to have experienced my hometown. With that said, I could not be more excited to be in New York City.

Last summer, I worked as a PR intern for the National Park Foundation and was fortunate to get hands-on experience in promoting the parks nationwide. I wanted to continue my passion of PR, however, continue this passion with an agency. Within the first few minutes of looking at Peppercomm’s website, I knew it was the place for me. From the evident vibrant culture to the dynamic list of clients, Peppercomm has proven to be the perfect fit.

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

The area of the industry I find the most interesting is the distinct role the media plays within the agency. All forms of media, from print to digital, play a tremendous part in the future of a brand or corporation. I love experiencing the constant contact between a PR agency and media outlets as well as the ability to watch a particular client’s progress in the media spotlight.

3)     Any surprises or revelations about the industry?

The importance of Crisis Communication within a PR agency has proven to be one of my biggest surprises thus far. Within a matter of seconds, an entire group of individuals are forced to put on their thinking caps and act fast with the future of a company lying in their hands.  Before, I always thought this was the role of corporations, however, with the emphasis of Crisis Communication at Peppercomm, I truly understand the importance an agency plays in handling anything that may come their way.

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

I would love to continue the path of working at an agency and balancing multiple clients rather than working for a particular corporation. I would also love to be able to work for a client from the ground up. The beginning stages of a company are filled with bright new ideas and have the ability to alter the way the general public views the world. It would be a tremendous accomplishment to be with a client at the starting line and be able to see their progress and achievements firsthand.


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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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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.


The Importance of an Online Presence

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Today’s post is by Peppercomm intern and future industry star, David Jolly. 


The Importance of an Online PresenceYou’re only as good as people’s perception of you.


Throughout college, I was always told that it is important to have a clean and organized online presence, professionally and personally. At first, I had no idea what an online presence even meant, but working in the PR industry now, I’ve started taking control of my various social media platforms and really investing time to cultivate my online reputation.For me, that means updating my LinkedIn page regularly, tweeting every day, blogging, updating my portfolio with relevant writing samples and, an important aspect that most people forget about, doing a search engine test using my name.

Your online presence will determine how you are introduced to the world and impact the way the world perceives you. It’s safe to say that a MAJOR advantage to having an established and engaging online presence is that it makes you seem more interesting, and maybe even more credible, to potential employers or clients as an experienced PR professional.

For people looking for ideas on how they can enhance their online presence using the different social media platforms, I’ve included some examples below. A beginner’s tip:  Go through all social media and blog sites and join them using your name. You don’t necessarily have to be active on all of these sites, but it will be good to have your naming rights in case you ever decide to use them in the future.

My Online Presence Includes: 

Personal Website: I have a personal website that houses links to the sites that I want the world to associate with my name and brand/reputation. There are many such sites, but I’ve chosen to use It’s very user-friendly, easy to manage and it gets the job done.

LinkedInI make sure to connect with the appropriate people, join the right groups and share articles related to my industry. Most importantly, I have a completed profile that includes an insightful professional summary.

BlogI update it every day during the week and majority of the my content is about the PR industry, but at times I may digress and share things that give more insight into who I am.

Portfolio/Writing SamplesI have links to my writing samples on a page on my personal blog.

Twitter: While I tweet regularly and make sure that my posts reflect the real me, I’m extra careful with what I say so I don’t send the wrong message. I tweet links to articles, my everyday life, what I’m watching and am into at the moment and comment on other tweets.

  • Tip: Be sure to use #hashtags, but no more than three per tweet.

Search EngineI always check my name in search engines and am currently happy with the results. I suggest you do the same to be sure that you are happy with the results that are associated with your name.

  • Tip: For a more effective search, put your name in quotations when performing a search.


How do you use these platforms to build your online presence?



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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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