Archive for Q&A

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 GordonJanine 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?
JG:Downton Abbey.

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.

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Sidney Encarnacion.

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

My name is Sidney Encarnacion and I’m from the lovely town of Williamsburg, Virginia. I graduated from Radford University with a bachelors in communication and a minor in art. While at Radford, I was also a four year varsity student-athlete for the women’s field hockey team. Go Highlanders! I was involved in my schools Career Services Program and worked as a communications intern.

I was introduced to Peppercomm via referral from a previous internship. The charismatic people and use of comedy combined with the dedication to serving their clients really struck me. Upon finding out about the opportunities I would be given at Peppercomm, I knew I had to be a part of their stellar program.

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

Since I started studying communications, I’ve always been interested in the consumer/lifestyle side of the industry. After having the opportunity to work on a wide range of accounts I feel that I interact the most with those brands and enjoy building upon their brands message. At Peppercomm I’ve been given the opportunity to continue working with such accounts and develop a stronger skillset.

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

I was surprised at the amount of responsibility given to interns at Peppercomm. You truly have the opportunity to develop your skills beyond entry-level assignments. Interns have access to a wealth of knowledge including on-going trainings and workshops to help them hone their skills. I feel that Peppercomm is confident in the intern’s ability to grow and contribute valuable knowledge to their clients.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Later down the road, I see myself working in the consumer/lifestyle sector of public relations. I’ve always been drawn to working with companies that specialize in those types of clients. For now, I’m thrilled to be working at Peppercomm alongside an impressive array of professionals and mentors. I know that there is still a lot for me to learn and look forward to making the most of this opportunity.

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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!

 

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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.

JH1Ok, let’s get the basics out of the way. Where are you from and where did you go to school?

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.JH2

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?

JH3JH: 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.

 

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Oct
27

The Intern Spotlight: Ashwin Mallya

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Ashwin Mallya. 

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

I went to New York University for college, where I majored in Economic Theory, while grabbing minors in Mathematics and Philosophy on the way. I’m originally from India, where I did my primary and secondary schooling before coming to The States to attend NYU. After graduating college, I realized I wanted an Internship that will help me gain some valuable real world experience, while still being fulfilling in the process. While fishing, I came across Peppercomm’s Business Outcomes Internship, and I realized that it would be a great place to begin. I applied for the post, got called in for the interview, and here I am!

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

As an intern in the Business Outcomes Group, there isn’t much difference in the sort of projects I am required to work on, industry-wise. However, in general, I am interested in the intersection between the technology and the financial sector. I believe that the finance industry’s most interesting work is being done on behalf of the tech industry, which is forcing it to adapt and innovate as new kinds of technologies and products are entering (or desire to enter) the marketplace.

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

I didn’t really know much about PR prior to joining Peppercomm, so almost everything I learn about the industry comes as a surprise. However, I think the most interesting thing I’ve learnt is the importance of social media in managing companies’ public images. I never thought about that prior to joining Peppercomm though I was being constantly bombarded by social media alerts/advertisements on the internet. I guess Peppercomm offers me a way of thinking about social media which I had never conceived of prior to coming here.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I’m not really sure, your guess is as good as mine!

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