Archive for Q&A

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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In this week’s Meet the Intern Committee post, we are introducing Peppercomm’s biggest fan of college football (Go Clemson Tigers!), Broadway, Disney and all things Shonda Rhimes, Chris Piedmont (@cpiedmo), the onboarding coordinator of the internship program at Peppercomm. Along with our San Francisco Coordinator, David Jolly, whom you’ll meet in the coming weeks, Chris was one of the brains behind the internship’s PeppSquad branding that their intern class spearheaded.

Each Friday, we will post a Q&A with different members of the Intern Committee. We will answer questions that we frequently hear from intern candidates and would love to hear any other questions you have for us in the comments section.

chris2  Ok, let’s get the basics out of the way. Where are you from and where did you go to school?

CP: I was born in Charleston, South Carolina (hi, y’all!) and graduated from the best college in the #1 tourist destination in the world, the College of Charleston. I’m a Charleston guy through and through – my bowties can attest.

  How did you get into PR and Peppercomm?

CP: I’m one of the rare birds who found their career via…an online personality test. Shocking, I know. I was originally        studying to go into education while a freshman at Clemson University, but decided I didn’t want a degree I could only use    to teach. After taking a career survey, I got matched with PR and realized I was already doing many of the core elements  of social media and event planning. After taking a few intro courses, I knew I’d found the career for me and have been  enjoying it since.

When I was a sophomore in college after transferring to the College of Charleston because of its stellar Communication  Department and esteemed Communications Advisory Council, I heard our founder and Co-CEO, Steve Cody, speak at a    Student Forum about “Building the Brand of You.” Steve is a member of the Advisory Council and spoke about the unique  and comedic culture at Peppercomm that empowers employees to push boundaries and nurture their entrepreneurial  spirits. From that talk, I was hooked and was lucky enough to work as an intern and then be hired full time after graduation.

What are the main things you look for when reviewing resumes?

CP: Previous experience in PR and communication is always a big plus. I also look at how active an applicant is at his/her college. If you’re participating in organizations like the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) or have communication leadership roles in Greek life or other on-campus organizations, I’m very likely to want to learn more. Creativity and humor in an application also go a long way. If you’re able to make me laugh, you’re well on your way.

What makes a great intern?chris1

CP: Interns who succeed here come each day and give the internship their all. They don’t just take the work they’re assigned, but look for additional opportunities to go further and be bigger assets to their teams. They also embrace an entrepreneurial spirit by seizing opportunities to make the agency a better place to work.

What is the best account that you’ve worked on?

CP: This is tough as there really are so many options, but one of the best accounts I’ve worked on is Steelcase, Peppercomm’s longest standing client. We’ve gotten to do some pretty cool (and successful) product launches since I started on the account as an intern. It’s fascinating learning about the impact of space on how you work and a company’s culture.

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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