Archive for Peppercomm
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!
Today’s post is contributed by NYC intern Rachael Collins
The subject of being proactive in both your career and day-to-day work has been discussed on PRiscope in the past, and is something I try to consciously achieve as much as possible. Not only must you do good work to succeed, but being proactive pushes you to the next level.
Working in PR, you never know what will be dished onto your plate without notice. By stepping outside my comfort zone, I put up my hand to attend a panel presentation at Baruch College. I was initially asked simply to accompany Intern Committee member, Chris Piedmont, for the experience and networking. However, in typical PR style, I was asked to be a speaker at the last minute. At the panel, I covered extra-curricular activities that I undertook at college and networking while in school.
During college, I was a member of a student society called AMPed that was for advertising, marketing, public relations and international business students. By being involved in a student society like this, I was exposed to industry leaders, business owners and college alumni who have gone on to do great things since graduating. The insights I received from being an AMPed member were extremely valuable in shaping my understanding of the PR industry and have helped me to connect with influential communications professionals.
If you can make the commitment to a student society or similar group, it will help you with your day-to-day duties, whether you’re an intern or entry level professional. You will have a better understanding of how an agency operates and will walk away with the ability to reach out to contacts in the future.
One of the first classes I took in college covered networking and to this day, could be one of the most valuable learning experiences I have been involved in. Networking is vital to being successful in the PR and communications industries because it allows you to make both business and personal connections that help your workplace and career progress.
My advice to the students at the panel, and for any interns or entry level communicators, is to network wherever and whenever possible. Always keep your ears open to opportunities because you never know when a random conversation with a stranger can turn into a new connection who brings a lot to the table. Your coworker today could be a valuable contact in the future who may help you land that job, media placement or client you’ve been hunting for.
These two discussion topics both have one thing in common; they involve putting your hand up for foreseeable and proactive opportunities that will push you outside your comfort zone.
All in all, Peppercomm’s visit to Baruch College was a great experience for us, and we were delighted to answer the smart questions of the students in the room. It was also fantastic to meet the other panelists from such a diverse mix of communication backgrounds.
Here’s to more hand raising.
In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Carly Sylvester.
Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?
It all started in a small suburb of New Jersey (not Seaside, the only town people not from New Jersey can name thanks to my bff Snooki) called Rockaway. I was raised in the stereotypical fashion of an Italian from North Jersey – taking part in mob heists and fist pumping competitions, that is. I somehow ended up in Delaware calling myself a Blue Hen, which is possibly the worst mascot of all time, with the exception of UPenn’s Quaker, but I couldn’t be prouder to now call myself an alumni of The University of Delaware. It was there that I learned that my passion for writing, being creative and trying new things, and working with people could all be channeled into a successful career in public relations.
My journey with Peppercomm began (as most of my relationships do) with a dash of social media stalking. The lovely Sam Bruno and my sister are bridesmaid survivors of the same wedding, and through this mutual connection I was able to see the wonderful world of Peppercomm via Sam’s Instagram. Her regularly hash-tagged #ILoveMyJob posts had me question whether this “job” she spoke of had her brainwashed, or if this Peppercomm place was something I should seriously take a look at.
While brainwashing is only 5% of the job description here at Peppercomm, what my research into this wonderful organization told me was that I’d be a fool to not seek out a way to be a part of it. Experience has taught me that PR can be a very cold environment, but from the minute I opened Peppercomm’s website I felt nothing but warmth. I could sense immediately that the people who make up this organization are people who care – they genuinely care about their work, their clients, their client’s audiences, and most importantly each other. I knew finding a place that churns out such thoughtful and insightful work yet still maintains a relaxed and fun culture where people actually matter is a rarity, and before I knew it I was filling out an application, and the rest is history!
What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?
One of the things I find most intriguing about PR is the relational aspect of it all. From working with a journalist to launching a new product, you have to have a deep and clear understanding of the people you’re working with. My degrees are in communication and sociology, so I am all about getting to the bottom of who people are and establishing a connection with them. I love the idea that in order for our work with a client to be successful, we have to know who their target audience is as people. Who are they? How did they end up here? Why is this brand important to them? Understanding people’s backgrounds is so important for an array of industries, but I love that in PR you get to utilize them as a basis for a continued relationship.
Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?
This is my first time in an agency setting, so initially I was very taken aback at how many different hats I was expected to wear being on so many different accounts. Now that the initial shock has worn off, I’ve genuinely grown to love being able to jump from one industry to another throughout my days. I can go from financial research to looking at pictures of cheeseburgers (#RestaurantPR) in an instant. It’s been such an incredible experience for me to learn how to balance so many different roles – I feel so much more confident now going into the next steps of my career. What’s even better is that Peppercomm has given me real, hands-on experience to boost my confidence even further. I really feel like a part of the team here, not just an intern doing intern work.
Where do you see yourself going in the industry?
I’ve fallen especially in love with the consumer/lifestyle side of the industry because of the attention to detail and connection with respective audiences that is required. Now that I’ve been given a taste of agency life, I can’t see myself working in a different setting down the road. For now, I’m continuing to enjoy this amazing opportunity and soaking up all the new experiences Peppercomm has to offer!
This week, meet your favorite animal lover, knitter and DIYer, Julie Hoang, one of the internship program’s university relations coordinators at Peppercomm. She helps to build better relationships with key universities through career fairs, job postings, networking events and shadowing programs, while her counter-part, David Jolly, handles most of the university opportunities on the west.
JH: I was born and raised in New York and graduated from Syracuse University in upstate New York. I guess you can call me a true New Yorker!
How did you get into PR and Peppercomm?
JH: I didn’t go the traditional route and major in PR, but I did study communications. Growing up, I’ve always loved story-telling and still remember re-writing the ends of Disney’s fairytales.
I continued that passion throughout high school and ended up spear-heading my school paper as the editor-in-chief. Shortly graduating college with my major in communications, I started working at Walek & Associates, a financial services PR firm in NYC. The firm was then acquired by Peppercomm, which brings me here today.
What are the main things you look for when reviewing resumes?
JH: While previous PR and media experience tops the list, it is certainly not limited to that. Cover letters are essential and we would rather choose a candidate who can clearly express their experience and how it relates to Peppercomm and the industry. The way the cover letter is written also provides us with a glimpse into how the candidate will interview.
What makes a great intern?
JH: We don’t expect our interns to jump in on the first day knowing the ins and outs of PR, but it’s important for them to have a willingness to learn. For the interns that stand out, you can tell they have a passion to work at Peppercomm and to grow with it. Chris and David are great examples, as they started out as interns at Peppercomm, re-branded the internship program (on their own will) and are now full-time employees.
What is your favorite thing about Peppercomm?
JH: For me, it would be the ability to work across a variety of industries. Starting out in financial PR, it was hard to pull away from only financial work. Since joining Peppercomm, however, I’ve been able to work across many different industries including B2B, professional services, education, financial and consumer. Peppercomm also gave me the ability to work on internal accounts, such as Intern Committee.