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nataliepostToday we are going to meet Peppercomm’s only SF intern, Natalie Clendening!

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

Hi everyone, I’m Natalie! I’m a rising senior at Villanova University, where I double-major in Communications and Political Science. Although I go to school on the east coast, I grew up in Lafayette, California, a suburb outside San Francisco. I was introduced to PR through my first internship, which dealt with the in-house side. I knew I was interested in PR from that experience, and from my classes at school, but as I learned more about PR agencies I became intrigued about what the agency side is like. I was lucky enough to connect with Ann Barlow, learn more about Peppercomm, apply, and now here I am!


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

Music has always been a big part of my life. At Villanova, I’m the executive director of my a cappella group, and I also sing in the women’s choir, so when I’m not in class I’m usually at rehearsal! I’m also always listening to music and trying to attend concerts whenever I can.

This summer I’ve mainly been relaxing and hanging out with friends when I’m not at Peppercomm. Since I studied abroad last summer and attend college pretty far away, it’s been awhile since I’ve been home for a long period of time. I’ve developed an even bigger appreciation for San Francisco and the Bay Area as a result of leaving, so I’ve been trying to take advantage of being around this summer.


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

This is a difficult question to answer because I’ve loved getting to know different areas of the industry! However, two that have stood out to me are crisis strategy and media relations. I think it’s interesting creating strategy for existing and potential future crises, and making sure every possibility and potential reaction is taken into account. This kind of critical communication strategy is especially appealing to me. I’ve also enjoyed the media outreach aspect of PR. I think the process of communicating your client’s message to the media in a way that makes them stand out and also fits with a reporter’s interests is such a unique challenge. While these aspects of PR are taught at school, getting real exposure to them and learning from others here at Peppercomm has taught me so much!


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

This is my first experience at an agency, so while I came in with some expectations, I knew it would be different than anything I’ve done before. I feel like I’ve been able to learn so much about PR in a short period of time! One of the things I’ve realized I love about agency PR is exposure to different industries. Working on several accounts allows you to learn about so many different areas. It’s very fast-paced and exciting. I found it challenging to adjust at first, but interning at Peppercomm has made me become more organized and able to quickly switch gears than ever before. As for surprises about Peppercomm, everyone always says this, but it’s true – the amount of responsibilities you are given is truly unique for an internship, as is everyone’s eagerness to help you learn and succeed!


Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I can’t say for sure! I like to keep an open mind when it comes to the future. That being said, I would love to work within agency PR. This internship has definitely reinforced that for me. But for now, I’ll focus on graduating! :)



  • Netflix or Hulu? Netflix for the shows I’ve re-watched a million times, Hulu for my current ones because I never watch anything live.
  • Text or Call? Text
  • Coffee or Tea? Tea for when I’m stressed or sick, but coffee any other day.
  • Dogs or Cats? Dogs for sure. I don’t really understand cats.
  • NYC or San Francisco? SF will always be home :)
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars
  • Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Smooth
  • Mac or PC? Mac
  • Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea? Unsweetened
  • Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? I was a Disney kid, but Nick was a close second.
  • The Simpsons or Family Guy? Ah I don’t really watch either.
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate 10000%
  • Seltzer or Water? Water
  • Cake or Pie? Cake because of my love of chocolate!
  • Tacos or Pizza? Pizza
  • Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff
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Hello from Peppercomm’s only commuting intern! My name is Madison (Maddy) Lehman and I am a rising senior at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I am from New Jersey and love taking trips to New York City, so I have spent many times on the wonderful transportation system called NJ Transit.

My father has been using this system for about 25 years now. As I was growing up, he always came home with funny stories about his commute to work.. Now that I’m older, I have been able to experience these struggles with him as I’ve commuted to the city for internships at the United Nations, a PR Agency and now for Peppercomm. Although these experiences can be frustrating, we’ve been able to find the humor in these experiences. I am hoping readers will take a look at this and relate as well. I also encourage anyone reading this to comment with commuting struggles they also experience!


  1. The Inevitable Delay

One thing that NJ Transit can be known for is delays. Sometimes, when you are sitting and staring at the board in Penn Station that announces the tracks, you get that sinking feeling in your stomach when your train is a 6:01 and they have announced the tracks for the 5:45, 5:55, 6:05 and 6:10. By this time, you usually realize that your train isn’t coming and you should probably catch the next one. They also have this system that tells you that your train is delayed when you’re already on the train and have no way to get off unless you want to pry open the doors and jump on the tracks.

  1. Roulette Game of Which Track

It’s the end of your day and you are standing amongst a sea of fellow travelers staring at the board that announces the tracks. You are nervously looking around at each track entrance, and then back at the board, and then back at the track entrances that surround you. You never know if you will have to run across the station or if the right track will conveniently be next to you. It’s a fun guessing game each day to see if you are lucky enough to stand near your track.

  1. The Stampede

After you have played the roulette game, you have to experience the stampede of bodies that flock to the train entrance’s door. The stampede could be likened to a fight to the Cornucopia in The Hunger Games. It’s every person for themselves here. You see parents dragging their children, travelers trying to get their suitcases through the crowd and a few people that are doing this for the first time looking scared and confused as they are pushed against their will towards the doors.


Once you’re on the train, the call of “TICKETS” is one that immediately results in fear. Everyone begins frantically emptying their bags searching for their ticket or their phone. Those with a phone begin feverishly attempting to open the NJ Transit application in order to avoid the wrath of the train conductor if your ticket is not loaded. You don’t want to be that commuter that receives a deathly look from the train conductor if your ticket is not downloaded on your device when they’re there. Unfortunately, this happens often since the trains don’t have Wi-Fi and there are various areas without data on the ride.

  1. The Mystery of the Doors

This is a problem that often keeps my father up at night. No one really knows where the train doors will stop when the train arrives. As the train arrives, everyone begins running around like a chicken with their head cut off trying to find a door in order to be one of the first on the train. If you are unfortunate enough to be one of those that are far from a door, you may have to stand for some of the train ride or be stuck next to “That Guy” (see below).

  1. “That Guy”

Sometimes you wind up sitting next to who I like to call “That Guy.” “That Guy” can encompass a lot of people. It can be the person that spreads their legs as wide as they can in the tiny seat next to you, resulting in you spending most of the ride hanging on the side of your chair. They can also be that person that is playing electronic music very loudly or speaking loudly on the phone about the cream cheese bagel they are craving on your 7 a.m. train. These are just a few examples of “That Guy,” but there are many more. You will usually know when you’re next to “That Guy” after the first 5 minutes of your trip. If possible, try to find a new seat when you realize this.


By: Madison Lehman

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shan (2)Today we are going to meet Peppercomm’s only red head: Shannon Clegg!

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

Good day! I’m Shannon. I’m from a town outside Cleveland, Ohio, called Chagrin Falls. I recently graduated from The Ohio State University with a major in strategic communication and minors in professional writing and fashion. It’s been a goal of mine to move to the city. Last fall, my sister sent me a list of best places to work in communications and you guessed it, Peppercomm was on the list! I applied and alas, here I am today.


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

I really enjoy music and going to concerts. I like scoping out jazz clubs and am a big fan of comedy shows. I recently saw John Early in Brooklyn—I highly recommend checking him out if you don’t know who he is… you won’t regret it. Outside of that, I like to run along the Hudson River and play basketball when I can.


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

I have an interest in two areas within the industry: branding and social media. Branding interests me because it allows you to have a lot of creative input over an organization’s brand direction. There are opportunities to mix social media, design and strategic thinking when building a company’s brand. I love that. Social media and social media analytics also intrigue me. Analytics is such a necessary skill to possess in the communications industry today. The ability to know how to properly message something and then analyze its impact with fancy graphs and numbers really sets you apart from other individuals and competitors.


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

The really awesome thing about Peppercomm is that they do not treat you like a typical intern. Each team gives you responsibilities that allow you to show your talents and build your PR skills. The atmosphere is fast-paced which makes you jump right into your work. There’s never a dull moment!


Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I see myself going into more of a creative role within the industry. I want to use both my writing skills and overall design-oriented thinking skills to build companies’ brands and connect them with their target audiences.



  • Netflix or HBO? For medieval TV dramas & Master of None: the ‘flix, for everything else: HBO
  • Text or Call? Call
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee
  • Dogs or Cats? Three words: HYPOALLERGENIC SMALL DOGS.
  • NYC or CLE? NYC but don’t underestimate the power of the 216! #Lebron
  • Cheesy or caramel popcorn? 100% Cheesy
  • Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Smooth
  • Mac or PC? Mac
  • Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? Nick minus Nick at Night—that always gave me weird vibes
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
  • Seltzer or Water? Water, but I’m slowly turning into a seltzer lover. Shoutout to the raspberry lime seltzer!
  • Cake or Pie?  Cake with cream cheese frosting.
  • Tacos or Pizza? Ooooo both.
  • Hogwarts House? I’ve always said I’m such a Hufflepuff.

blog random post 3.29As a young southern California girl, moving to the big city was quite the change. Everything from big buildings, bright lights and so many people. It took quite the adjustment to find my way. I decided to make a little list of do’s and don’ts for living in the New York City from my personal experience and with a little help from my fellow interns.

Do: Even though the city is a busy place, DO keep your eyes open and take it all in. I’ve noticed after being here for almost 3 years I still see something new every day. Like celebrities on the train, dogs with nicer outfits than I will ever afford and a naked cowboy. A building might look busted on the outside but it could be a gem on the inside.

Don’t: This is a big one that I’ve learned from personal experience. DON’T fall asleep on the subway without setting an alarm when you’re commuting an hour to work. Otherwise you’ll miss your stop and have to walk 10 cold blocks to work.

Do: Talk to other people! As someone who comes from San Diego, we are friendly folks and we say hi and smile to everyone. I realized at first that most people are very much in their own world, but a lot of people will be nice if you talk to them. DO ask for recommendations for restaurants, bars, and new places to visit. You’d be surprised by the amount of awesome people you can meet.

Don’t: This can really ruin your day. DON’T forget your headphones when you leave your house. Riding the subway without headphones is especially boring. Even if you just wear them without music playing, it gives the illusion to everyone around that you don’t want to talk to them and usually will keep the guys that are selling something on the trains away too.

Do: Eat pizza every week. Whether it’s for lunch or after a fun crazy night with friends at 3 a.m. DO eat pizza whenever possible. My favorite thing to do is bookmark places on my Yelp app to help me remember which spots I like the best so I can go back and relive the cheesy goodness over and over again.

Don’t: Go to Time Square or any touristy spot unless you absolutely need to. I don’t know how many times I use to go all the way to 42nd street my first year here to go shopping. WORST IDEA EVER! As if there wasn’t other Forever 21’s and H&M’s in the city. Not only will you spend hours waiting in line to buy the two items that you just “kind of” like, but you will run over all the tourist that want to stop mid-sidewalk to get a picture with their selfie stick.

So with all these suggestions hopefully you can make your life a little easier living here in this one of kind city.

P.S even though it’s March, check out this Elf video to get a few extra tips on NYC from the jolly bearded man himself.J

Till next time.

-Mo the Pro :)


by: Morgan Dewberry



Before we begin this article, I have to reveal something about myself. I suffered major hearing loss when I was 17, while playing in a water polo tournament. Immediately, I had to be rushed to Emergency Care where they determined that my ear drum had been destroyed in one ear, leaving it essentially useless.I was then classified as Hard of Hearing.
During orientation that fall at Syracuse University, I tried to settle into the routine of a college student, but I also had to begin to learn how to live my everyday life with extreme hearing loss. I had to adjust my body’s balance, which I still struggle with, and ear pain became part of my routine. I sat in the front of lectures, took ASL courses, learned the joy of subtitles, managed frustration and anxiety stemming from my hearing loss and worked on how to read lips.
But far and away, the hardest lesson I had to learn coming to terms with my hearing loss (and I’m still learning) is how to ask for help.
I’ve always been a very independent person, wanting to make things happen by my own hard work and no one else’s. Maybe it comes from being a twin, or coming from a family where independence is expected young. Regardless, pairing my need for independence with my shyness made me more likely to retreat and work on my own during elementary school. Asking for any kind of help has never been a strong forte of mine. Even before I became Hard of Hearing.
Once I graduated from Syracuse, most of my professional life has been built on making sure I can hear and understand the directions being given to me. One of the more important tasks included with working with a disability is making sure I encourage other members of the office to speak clearly in order to navigate my workday around my disability. Sometimes, it’s easy to work with no hearing, and other times it makes me want to punch a wall. But that feeling of frustration is not exclusively tied down to hearing loss. It’s easy to get irritated by not being able to do or understand at the same rate as everyone else, especially in a competitive workplace. Below is some things I learned at various times working with this disability, especially for those with disabilities in the workplace.

  • Be Honest: There’s never a good time to tell people about hearing loss or other disabilities. I know there’s a lot of questions about when you actually disclose it at your job or school. Do you start off your introduction with it? Do you wait for the third conversation? Should you put it in your application? Should everyone know? I know a lot of these fears can dominate the application/training portion. My best advice is to be honest with your coworkers about what it is you need for optimal communication, and with that information you can work forward, setting a precedent for others in the office.
  • Know your rights: As a person with a disability, you have the right to receive accommodations in order to help you work as efficiently as possible. You also have the right to disclose your disability at your comfort level during the hiring process. A lot of workers with disabilities don’t realize the different kinds of rights the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 gives them, and most employers know even less. Read up on them and ensure that your business is held accountable to providing all employees with disabilities the proper actions and accommodation. If not only for you, but for someone else with a disability who may join the company later in the game. Accomodations and how a company treats disabilities matter.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat themselves: Make sure you understand what is being asked, be unafraid to ask for clarification for a project. It’s important that you are comfortable with the work and not afraid of missing parts of the instructions or having to guess.
    I had a friend in high school who introduced herself to me and I did not clearly hear her name, so I did my best guess work and called her Mary for the next four years.
    Her name was Claire. She never bothered to correct me and we both went with it. For four years.
    I don’t think I can stress this enough:
    Never be afraid to ask someone to repeat, lest you mistakenly call someone Mary for four years.
  • Develop other ways of communication: It’s widely understood at my job that my expertise does not lie with the phone, and often I prefer doing emails or Skype conversations over phone because of my disability. It makes work so less frustrating when you can hear what’s going on. When I was a barista at Starbucks, my fellow partners and I came up with a system of hand signals for things we needed to say without having to shout. Even knowing the way to respond with ‘yes’ ‘no’ ‘what’ or ‘please repeat’ can help establish a system of communication.

And Peppercomm is such an amazing place to be; they’re so willing to work with me, whether it be communicating over email rather than phone, repeating themselves without judgement of what I couldn’t catch, or always facing me when speaking. They key of knowing that you have a good fit is the company’s ability to listen to what you need, and accommodate without belittling your needs.

This is what most workers with disabilities long for, to be considered an employee just like our coworkers without being considered a burden for those disabilities. It gives you a different way to view work, and how you view yourself as successful. My own hearing loss has given me a better sense of patience and gratitude for what I have accomplished, and a greater determination for what I want to achieve.


By: Hannah Tibbetts



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