Since I was young, my parents always thought I would be successful in public relations. I was a sociable, likable and observant child; a keen listener and I always remembered people’s names. Once I became a JMU student, I decided that I wanted to pursue a Communication Studies major with a concentration in PR. After taking those first few classes, I felt drawn to public relations. I knew I had a natural skill set for PR and the many topics of PR like, persuasion, mediation and negotiation were fascinating to me. I want to work in public relations because it is vital, impactful and powerful. It connects people and organizations to their communities. It is about building relationships that enhance your client’s reputation, as well as, promote and benefit them. I like to think of PR as human nature, it’s using your message to influence your audience to gain support and advance your agenda, just like interacting with family and friends to become closer and strengthen your relationship.
I was lucky enough to experience the power of PR and had the opportunity to put my skills to the test during an internship for a non-profit political action committee in Orlando, Florida called Future Effect. Their mission is to fight for and defend legislation that encourages and maintains the well-being of the children and families within the foster care community. They act on behalf of foster children and work to promote laws that benefit them and build awareness of their plight. This internship confirmed for me that I had found the right field to pursue because I loved that I had something different to do every day, was advocating for a great cause, and most importantly, I was making a difference.
My internship gave me the chance to see PR through a political lens. And as I continued my academic PR career, I wanted to better understand the different aspects of PR, specifically in businesses. I quickly decided to take on a computer information systems minor to broaden my technical skills and see the different perspectives in working for an organization. Whether you label yourself as a company, a small or big business, an enterprise, or an institution, everyone will rely on public relations. With such an important role PR plays in the business world, I realized the importance of a PR professional understanding the business world.
I realized that having an even small business background will give me an edge. I better understand how business operates, and how fluctuations in economic conditions and external factors can impact a business. I am learning about marketing, management, information systems, database design and consulting. I have a solid foundation so when I sit at that boardroom table, I will be able to see beyond my PR niche and appreciate the bigger picture. My goal when I entered JMU was not only to get the best possible education I could, but to be the most marketable candidate I could be. I want to be the best, most qualified PR professional that applies for that dream job and I know my PR knowledge along with my CIS minor will help me be that candidate. And as I think about my future beyond JMU, I am confident I will have a successful, meaningful and fulfilling career and that is exciting.