What You Don't Know About Me: From Prima Ballerina to PR Professional

Overwhelming gratitude. That is what I received after presenting my awareness-building communications plan to Burlington’s non-profit organization, Start2Finish, in 2015. As a third-year student at McMaster University and a marketing partnerships intern to The Hamilton Spectator’s Jane Allison, I was overjoyed that I could positively impact a local organization through my communications strategies. In that moment, my passion for public relations was confirmed. Two years prior, though, I was uncertain if I had the capability to pursue PR. Since I was four years old, I had been training as a professional contemporary ballet dancer, until an emergency surgery quickly sent my life in another direction. PR has enabled me to continue engaging an audience, not through dance, but through words and images.
A picture of me dancing in 2009.

I am now a McMaster University Summa Cum Laude graduate, with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies. Before graduating from McMaster, The Hamilton Spectator’s manager of marketing, Diana Frate, hired me and gave me the opportunity to conceptualize and implement communications strategies for The Hamilton Spectator. For example, I was part of the event planning committee for The Spectator’s 170th anniversary celebration in July 2016. I helped design the programs, and I wrote a thank you letter on behalf of The Spectator’s publisher, which was presented to a long-time subscriber by The Spectator’s Regional Director of Circulation and Marketing.

Presentation of thank-you letter I wrote and designed.

I also helped design and run The Spectator’s most successful reader contest, 7 Nights at Sea  – a name I proudly came up with myself – in partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises and Stoney Creek’s Creative Travel and Tours. I designed the in-paper contest ads which were published in The Hamilton Spectator, Hamilton Community News, Grimsby Lincoln News, New York Times supplement and the former Hamilton Business Magazine; as well as the digital ads, which include a push down ad, wallpaper ad, online marketing button and big box. As someone who is always looking to improve my skill sets, I joined the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS), and was accepted into their Mentorship Program where I have the honour of being mentored by Allyson Wenzowski, owner of Publicity Works.

Excerpt from CPRS Hamilton's Website.

One Year Projection
I can't help but smile ear-to-ear when thinking of where I'll be in one year. I will have successfully graduated from Mohawk College's PR Graduate Certificate Program, and truly begun finding my place in the PR industry. There is no other place I'd rather be than at The Hamilton Spectator where I currently work. I have a genuinely amazing manager and team who have supported my educational goals. After graduating from Mohawk College, I can finally give the company my undivided attention.

Five Year Projection
Assuming I'll still be at The Spectator, my five-year goal is to advance within the company and even Metroland Media. I dream of conceptualizing my own communications plan, and managing a team to implement it. For example, at The Hamilton Spectator, I create promotional content for projects that have been conceptualized by my managers. I strive to be as creative and strategic as my managers, so I can create my own communications plans in the future.

10 Year Projection
Wherever I may be in 10 years, my goal is to conduct PR strategies on a provincial, national and international scale. I dream big; and like my Mom always says: "Success is when preparation meets opportunity." In order to achieve big, I must prepare for the opportunities!

With all this projecting, I'd like to close with a bit of reflecting. One accomplishment I'm especially proud of is my voluntary participation in "The 12 Elves of The Hamilton Spectator" initiative in December 2016. As one of the 12 Hamilton Spectator elves, I was given $170 and asked to pay it forward in celebration of the newspaper's 170th anniversary. The below video highlights how I and each Spectator elf gave back to the community. No matter where you and I hope to be in the future, I think we can all agree working for a company that feels like a family would be considered a great success.

Signing off,

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