Archive for Internship


The Intern Spotlight: Chris Barlow

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profile-pictureIn today’s post, meet exclamation mark enthusiast and lone SF intern, Chris Barlow.

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

HEELLOOOOOO!! *Jerry Seinfeld voice* My name is Chris Barlow, and you may notice that I am not the first Barlow to grace the annals of Peppercomm. I attended both Diablo Valley College and San Diego Mesa College, community colleges in San Ramon and San Diego, respectively. I’m not exactly a fan of telling people that I am 22 years old and attending community college, but indecisiveness on what I want to do with my life has led me to it. I’ve dabbled in kinesiology, television and film and journalism, so one could say that I’m a jack-of-all-trades, bachelor’s of none.

Through my agnostic journey, I studied to become a personal trainer, worked on multiple award-winning thesis films at SDSU, wrote for a comedy news show, co-hosted a radio show for the best college radio station in the country, drove for Lyft and much more! I believe that this eclectic background gives me a unique approach to whatever task presents itself next.

I was brought to Peppercomm last summer by my mom (Or Ann. I still don’t know how to refer to her.), who offered me the opportunity to shadow intern at Peppercomm, which I took in a heartbeat. The alternative was making pizza 40 hours a week at minimum wage – I’ve faced tougher decisions. Though it was two weeks of fighting through a mountain of nerves, it was also two weeks of experience and learning about the workplace and myself. Coming into this summer, I was given the chance to come back as a fulltime intern. Needless to say, I dropped everything, came home, took it on and haven’t looked back since.


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

When I’m not busy, I like to keep myself busy. I enjoy being active, whether it’s at the gym, on a bike, with a basketball or something new. Just about every day I listen to at least one podcast, and when I’m all caught up on that I’m either engrossed in an audiobook or blowing the dust off of a paperback book. Other than that, I’m typically obsessing over the NBA and NFL. I also take great pride in my fantasy football accolades, though many have told me that that just makes me a big loser.


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

This is not easy, but I have to say the B2B section has been very interesting to me. While B2C can make for better dinnertime conversation – friends are much more excited when they hear the name of certain companies over others – I think it’s pretty cool to work with corporations that I never would’ve had the opportunity to experience outside of Peppercomm.


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

Biggest surprise: After a session-and-a-half of being here, I still can’t answer the question, “What do you do there?” What I do at Peppercomm varies every day. I never know what each week will bring, and that element of surprise kicks the stigma of a nine-to-five desk job to the curb.

Biggest revelation: I am capable of being organized. This is coming from the kid who failed notebook checks in middle school. Interning for Peppercomm means hitting the ground running, and I learned quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to mentally balance tasks from multiple accounts. From creating a “To-Do List” folder in my email, to buying a basic daily journal, Peppercomm has shown that I have the ability to be tidy. I even see this same trait blossoming in my life outside of the office.


Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

This is a question that I’m going to have to let the remainder of my stay at Peppercomm answer. According to Peppercomm CEO and Co-Founder Steve Cody, it’s “Out the door.”


Categories : Internship, Peppercomm, PR, SF
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The Intern Spotlight: Maggie Rose

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


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.

Categories : Internship, Q&A
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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 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 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 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.


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 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 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 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.


Categories : Internship
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PeppTalks: CEO Edition

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Today’s post is contributed by NYC intern Katelyn Pecorelli.

Steve CodyFor this edition of Pepp Talks we sat down with the Co-Founder and CEO of Peppercomm, Steve Cody. At the age of 39 after leaving a global agency Steve found the time to co-create Peppercomm. Today, you will learn all about his life and what drove him to start this energy filled company.

KP: Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
SC: Right across the bridge, I grew up in Fort Lee, NJ. I went to a nearby public school, Ridgefield Park High School and then Northeastern University.

KP: What was your first concert?
SC: Oh I know what it was! I saw Billy Joel in 1972 at a place called Paul’s Mall and it was just before he released Piano Man. There were only about 50 or 60 people there and he was the second or third person on the bill-it was way before he made it big.

KP: Which TV show is your guilty pleasure?
SC: Right now it is Vinyl, on Showtime. I also watch Billions on HBO. To be honest, the presidential debates, as far as guilty pleasures go, are better than the first year of the Jersey Shore.

KP: What’s an activity you like to do in your spare time? Besides mountain climbing and stand-up comedy and how do you find time for them?
SC: I read, all nonfiction. I am not a fiction person at all. I am always reading. I am able to mountain climb, schedule personal training sessions and perform stand-up comedy because of Dandy. She makes sure I set aside time to pursue my passions. As far as reading, the only upside of commuting on NJ transit is that I have an hour plus to pour into whatever book or podcast I choose.

KP: Which living person do you most admire?
SC: I have always thought Winston Churchill was the most amazing figure in history. Living…that is tough. My dad, Pop pop, because he raised three of us, put three of us through college and at 90 plus he is still feistier than ever. I take him out every Sunday for dinner.

KP: What would be your last meal on Earth?
SC: Last meal on Earth would be crabmeat cocktail and Dover sole with some nice Sancerre, which is French Savignon Blanc.

KP: If you could do PR for one celebrity/ client who would it be?
SC: Harvard Business School, I have worked with some great business schools but I would love to have a crack at a number one or number two.

KP: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
SC: Dairy Queen, making ice cream cones and banana splits and I learned a very valuable lesson; I never wanted a job that had anything to do with dealing with the public. It was 3 months in hell, but it taught me a great lesson.

KP: What was your most memorable job?
SC: One of my first co-op jobs with Northeastern, where I worked for a radio station in Greenwich, CT. Two weeks into the job and this murder case was front and center–Martha Moxley and Ethel Skakel-Kennedy’s nephew was the prime suspect. So the first two weeks of my job, I would walk down to the police station and meet the police chief, Chief Barron, and he would tell me the crimes that had happened. Then the Martha Moxley murder happened and she was 16 and was savagely killed, so it became National news due to the Kennedy connection. One of the coolest moments was the morning after. Everyone was there for the press conference and Chief Barron opened the floor for questions. He said he wanted to start with Steve Cody at WGCH radio, which was unbelievable. I was dumbfounded and asked a generic question. The case is still unsolved.

KP: Do you have a piece of advice you live by?
SC: Try to help others. Any age, anyone, just help others in any way. I mentor a lot of students and the most rewarding part is working with them and staying in touch to see where they end up.

KP: What is your definition of success?
SC: Success is doing something that you enjoy every single day that challenges you, that stretches you, that makes you feel like you are in some way, shape or form giving back. That is success. Nothing to do with money, prestige or power, it just turns you on to doing whatever that is. That is professional success. Personal success is being at peace with yourself and having a good group of people that you care about and who care about you.

KP: How did you and Ed meet?
SC: I was at an agency and I got a call from a head hunter who thought Ed would be a good account supervisor. He felt we would click. Ed came in for the interview and I liked him. The company then won a big client, so I made the call and we hired Ed. Ed resigned from where he was, then the client that just hired us, fired us. So, I had to plead with my CEO to still hire him.

KP: What made you create Peppercomm?
SC: Two things; up until then I had just been working with big agencies and with big agencies the more you move up the less contact you have with the client. So, your job becomes administrative and operations–all the stuff I hate. The other thing was, I was at the perfect age. I was 39 and I said it was now or never, I don’t want to be 65 one day and say what if I tried. Those two things, in combination were why I started Peppercomm.

KP: How do you two work so well together for Peppercomm?
SC: We don’t! Only joking, after two and a half years of working together, we knew a lot about each other and who would be able to handle what parts of the company. It is still that way to this day, we are polar opposites in every way. He is the Hillary to my Trump.



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