Welcome to the YOakleyPR Intern Spotlight Series!
In this intern update, we introduce you to Christine Gillispie who previously interned at YOakleyPR as a Public Relations Intern from January 2016 to May 2016. Christine is currently working at Foothills Gateway Inc as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator.
How did you enter this field?
It all started in 10th-grade journalism class, through high school newspaper, and into my journalism and media communication major in college. My high school newspaper advisor, Mr. Jussel, encouraged me to embrace my love for writing as I headed into college, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
I quickly chose to focus on public relations because I felt it played to my love for working with teams of people. While I do a lot of solo work, I really enjoy the large-scale team projects, like fundraising events, that pull everyone together.
What has your career path been like?
I kept busy in at Colorado State University – giving tours, working for the journalism department, mentoring and coordinating a program where I had the opportunity to build and train my team of 15 students. When I graduated in December 2015, I continued my work for the department, starting working for YOakleyPR and began part-time work with a small brand agency managing social media for six local businesses.
Yes, I was working 50-65 hour weeks, but I learned a lot! After my internship ended, I went full-time with the small agency to be let go just two months later when the business was in a bit of a pinch. I took some time to re-center, and about three weeks into unemployment, my position popped up. I poured my heart and soul into the application (literally hours of work), and it all worked out for the best!
Could you tell us more about your current position? How did you come to the company and what is your current job title?
I’m currently Foothills Gateway’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator. A good friend of mine was doing PR for the Colorado Nonprofit Association when I was unemployed, and she insisted I check their job site, that’s where Foothills Gateway popped up. It just happens that I had researched Foothills as a potential client as a YOakleyPR intern and had met the Admin and Communications Director at a networking event I helped plan.
Can you provide a brief description of your job? What kind of problems do you deal with and what are the decisions that you make?
I coordinate all of our external communications, support internal communications, support multiple fundraising events each year, including a 5K, gala and tasting event, plan our Glow Golf event and coordinate our volunteers.
I have hired and trained my own intern in this position and often find myself in upper-level conversations, consulting on an incident or strategizing communication campaigns.
What do you enjoy the most about your current role and what do you think is the most challenging tasks/projects you have ever done?
My team and measurable successes. I work in an admin team of six people who are extremely supportive, we work well together. This is also the first time I have had hard quantifiable evidence of the effectiveness of my work – in my first gives day campaign, I was able to double my nonprofit’s income (how cool is that?!). Now, I just have to top it this year 😉
One of my biggest challenges is coping with the constant change that has occurred in my year with the company. The person who hired me on left three months after I started, and we are now looking at further team changes. I’ve definitely learned the importance of rolling with the punches and working with what we’ve got.
How do you see this field changing in the future?
Social media is becoming more and more relevant with new tactics every month, it seems. It’s going to continue to grow and evolve toward video and interactive media. In the nonprofit world, we’re going to see more widespread technology use for auctions and maybe even public outreach (like digital town halls).
Is there something you wish you had known or a skill you wish you had started out in the marketing/PR or graphic design industry? Is there something you wish you had done differently starting out?
As a PR/marketing professional, I do wish my graphic design skills were more advanced. It’s so important to be a jack of all traits, especially if you’re planning on going into the nonprofit sector.
Do you have any advice for YOakleyPR Marketing/PR interns? How would you advise our Marketing/PR interns to plan their future?
Keep learning, hone in on what you love, and find a cause/business you’re excited to work for. Do your research and listen to Yasheaka 😉
It is important to build your arsenal of tools. It is crucial to be exposed to many programs such as Canva, Hootsuite, Constant Contact, Publisher, and Adobe Suite in order to be more competitive.
I suggest that prospects look into the job description to differentiate sales positions from marketing positions. Once you find the job description that you like, give yourself a month or two to do cover letters. Create four that hit your different strengths. Having a portfolio site established will help set you apart from the crowd. In your portfolio site you can include screenshots, videos, social media pieces, PR campaigns, and marketing plans.
Do you know of an inspirational quote or saying that you would like to share?
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
– Christopher Reeve
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