NOTE TO MY READERS: We’re having some issues with the new design of PR Nation so it looks a bit different today. Thanks for your patience as we work on this.
I often tell my students how I got my first public relations job. It was almost purely accidental. I was working as a news director and morning news anchor at WBLI-FM when I went to meet my dear, late college buddy Conrad Schiano for lunch. Conrad was working at Cablevision, which, in 1983, was fast becoming one of the largest corporations on Long Island. As I walked through the company’s central corridor, I literally bumped into another college friend, Irene McPhail, who I hadn’t seen in about three years. Irene had quickly moved up the ladder to become Cablevision’s director of public affairs, and we spent a few quick minutes getting caught up. Just three weeks later she called to invite me to interview for a job, and two weeks after that I became a PR practitioner, working for my friend Irene.
I tell this story to emphasize a point: You never can tell who the person may be who can lead you to your first job. It could be the student sitting next to you in class, a favorite professor, or the professional you meet at a workshop or networking event.
This is why I encourage students to come this Thursday, November 3 from 7-9 p.m., and meet more than a dozen public relations alumni and other PR pros at Hofstra PRSSA’s Annual Networking Dinner. These working practitioners have established themselves in major Manhattan and Long Island-based firms and organizations, and will be visiting Hofstra to mentor and advise students on how to find internships and begin their careers in public relations.
In the massive Broadway hit “Hamilton” the Aaron Burr character laments that he hasn’t been a part of the action where big decisions are being made and sings, “I wanna be in the room where it happens.” Comedian/Actor/Director Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of life is showing up.” Isn’t this true with all of our significant experiences? The key to making things happen is to grab every golden opportunity, “show up” where “it happens,” and get close to people who can change your life. Your thoughts?