Archive for Internship
In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Caleb O’Neal.
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.
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.
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.
Today’s post is contributed by NYC intern Katelyn Pecorelli.
For 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.
Today’s post is contributed by NYC intern Kamali Lavergne
Part one of our PeppTalks series features Janine Gordon , President, Luxury & Lifestyle and a Peppercomm Executive.
Janine Gordon has been working in communications since the tender age of 20. From Harrods in London, to Saatchi & Saatchi and starting her own PR firm, JGA, Janine took the industry by storm and has not looked back. I sat down with Janine to find out more about her life in and out of the office.
KL: Where did you grow up and where did you go to school?
JG: I am a third generation New Yorker.
I went to the University of Pennsylvania because of the school’s 5:1 men to women ratio.
KL: What was the first concert you attended?
JG: My first concert, at age 8, was a “Leonard Bernstein Young People’s Concert” led and conducted by the acclaimed composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein. It was part of a series for pre-teens and younger. Arguably, that series spawned her life-long love of music.
(Pictured above: Janine Gordon in Singapore)
KL: Which TV show is your guilty pleasure?
KL: What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
JG: I was the Assistant Buyer of Junior Coats and Suits at Bloomingdale’s. That job taught me that I didn’t like shopping for other people.
Janine has impeccable taste, wearing pieces that appear curated for the Life and Times of Janine Gordon. I also ask her about the larger than life-size photograph of herself on the wall in her office.
I was asked to model in a charity fashion show.
KL: What drew you to Peppercomm?
JG: Peppercomm came to me, but it was a perfect fit culturally. I respected everything about Ed, Steve and Ted and everyone else I met.
I wonder if they saw in her what others have said to see – she appreciates the little things and makes you feel special.
KL: What activity have you taken up in your spare time?
JG: Learning Italian.
KL: What is your favorite Italian word or phrase?
JG: Porca Miseria!
What does that mean?
You miserable pig!
I crack up laughing, Janine just cracks a smile.
KL: If you could do PR for anyone famous, who would it be?
JG: Maggie Smith because she is extraordinarily talented and has a remarkable range. She’s currently portraying a bag lady in a feature film after playing the Downton Abbey Dowager Countess.
KL: What living person do you most admire and why?
JG: Emma Thompson because she is very funny, a gifted actress, an Academy award-winning screenwriter, and, from all reports, happily married and a good mom.
KL: What would your last meal on earth be?
JG: Strawberry shortcake — the entire cake — or a strawberry rhubarb pie — the entire pie. Either would be a delicious demise.
By the looks of it, Janine does not often partake in these.
KL: What was your most memorable job?
JG: Being Press Officer at Harrods, the world-famous British department store, at age 26. It was like taking the naughtiest kid in the class and making them class monitor.
KL: How did you, a young American, land the job?
JG: When asked by the Managing Director what I would need to do the job, I requested an electric typewriter. Apparently, all the other applicants asked for clothing allowances and big expense accounts. The Managing Director was a good Scot… and I came cheap. Actually, he did tell me later that my answer told him that all I really wanted to do was the job.
KL: Do you have a piece of advice you live by?
JG: ‘Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.’ I believe that this is a better philosophy than, ‘Do onto others before they do onto you.’
KL: What is Your Definition of Success?
JG: That’s a great question. How would you answer?
I tell her that my definition of success is mastering something you love.
Well, that’s it, write that down. As my favorite Intern Kamali would say, “Success is mastering something you love.”
I can now say I’ve been quoted by one of the best – an industry insider and a Peppercomm leader.
Today’s post is contributed by NYC intern Brooke Ferreri
If you are looking for an internship (and it doesn’t have to be a PR internship) stop right now because you’ve come to the right spot! Here are some tricks of the trade, from someone who knows how you feel.
- A.B.S – Always Be Stalking (Yes, this is my attempt at a Glengarry Glen Ross pun): As we all know, when going on interviews you want to be prepared with a general knowledge of the company’s history. What’s less known is the importance of understanding a company’s corporate culture, and what better way to do your research than through a little social media stalking? LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram & blogs (like this one) were all extremely useful tools in my internship search. I found LinkedIn to be very helpful because it gave me a professional run down of the company, plus it allowed me to put a face to the name when it came time to interview. I also recommend following the company you are interested in on Twitter and Instagram, these sites tend to be more relaxed and reflective of a company’s corporate culture. You can learn a lot about a person or company by what they are saying on social media. In today’s business landscape, a good corporate culture is just as big of a factor as the job description is in determining whether or not a position is right for you. With a little help from social media, you can easily figure this out.
- Organization: If you are interested in PR, chances are you are going to spend a lot of time in excel and your internship search is the perfect practice. I kept a detailed list of everywhere I applied and included the date, position, and person I contacted. This organized list made it easy to know when it was time for me to follow up with companies. As a bonus, now that I have an internship in PR I am an Excel pro (well, kind of).
- Connections: Never underestimate the power of a good connection. Talk with as many people as possible in your field of interest, and if you know someone through school, family or friends who work for the company you are interested in, be sure to utilize them. In general, people want to help you find a job, so do not be afraid to ask for advice. That’s how I landed an internship here, shout out to Laura Bedrossian.
- Be Aggressive: During this process, don’t be afraid to go after any company or opportunity. If you find a company you are interested in, reach out to them, even if you don’t see any job postings, you never know what might happen and the timing may be right.
- Don’t (stop never) give up: A little advice from me and my friends, S Club 7. I know the internship search can be a complete drag at times but it is important to not let yourself get discouraged. Negative thoughts will not help with the process and it will only slow you down. Always remember, you are a “talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox” and you will find an internship eventually. It may even be here!