Name: Stephen Ludlow
Job title: Online Community Manager/Social Media Strategist
Company you work for: OpenMedia.ca, CPRS
Career background: I originally come from a background in English Literature and Journalism. Having been exposed to a course in Public Relations, I pursued a job in the field on a whim and found myself really loving the work. I applied myself to a post-secondary certificate program through SFU earlier this year for formal training and have been having a great time since!
Career aspirations: I’d love to work within the entertainment industry at some point. I’ve always had a passion for Arts & Entertainment and being able to apply this to my work in Public Relations would be an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
Greatest career challenge: Probably the initial transition from Journalism to Public Relations. While the two fields of work certainly share some of the same skills, it did take a big leap of faith to throw myself into something I initially wasn’t very knowledgeable with. As I’ve been able to learn more about and practice Public Relations firsthand, I’ve found myself actually calling upon several of my journalist instincts (keen eye for editing, meeting tight deadlines). It’s been one challenge that has actually become a bit of a triumph.
Greatest career success: It might not be the greatest success in terms of magnitude, but that first time I picked up the phone to pitch a story was both nerve-racking and exhilarating. Being able to speak one-on-one with a journalist about something that you’ve poured yourself into just makes it that much more rewarding when you get a positive response. Having those first few pitches picked up and developed into news stories would definitely have to be among my greatest successes going forward.
Biggest career mistake or regret: I’m not one to really believe in dwelling on mistakes or regrets. Although as somewhat of a late-bloomer to Public Relations, I’d say my only wish looking back was that I had found myself pursuing it sooner. I’m having such a fantastic time meeting people in the industry and hearing about where their origins in Public Relations begin, some sooner in life and some later, that it really is a testament that there is no wrong time to begin a career in the field. So long as you have the will to learn and the drive to communicate effectively, it’s an amazingly rewarding experience.
PR role model: Kurt Heinrich. Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to have an internship with the Vancouver School Board, working and collaborating with Kurt on a number of projects as part of an overarching communications strategy. Learning from Kurt’s levelheaded approach and innovative ideas towards communications helped in framing my own personal outlook going forward. If my path in Public Relations even vaguely replicates some of the steps that Kurt has taken in his, I’d consider it to be a success.
Best career advice: Never lose sight of your network and always aim to expand it. I remember on maybe the first or second day of classes in the SFU Public Relations program, Fawn Mulcahy explaining to my colleagues and I that we had established a core network just through taking the course together. It’s proved to be an invaluable lesson in relationship building; I’ve since kept in touch with my class peers and kept track of their own substantial career progressions.
Best place to ‘do coffee’ in Vancouver: I’d have to say the Café Artigiano on Hornby, across from the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s always bustling with activity and has a fantastic central location in the heart of downtown – I’ve had some great meetings there!
Favourite journalist to pitch to: I haven’t yet done enough pitching to give an honest answer to this question, but I’ve certainly been keeping an eye on the Journalist Profile series on the CPRS Vancouver homepage to expand my horizons when I do!
Favourite website: Mashable, Gawker.
Favourite social media site: On a professional level, I do like Facebook for community engagement due to its reach and increasing versatility with Timeline, Apps and other features. On a personal level, I love using LinkedIn for networking purposes and Twitter for instantaneous communication with friends.
Fun fact about you: I have a knack for puns, which usually finds a way of making itself evident in my work. I’ve been pretty good about refraining from their use in this profile, but ask anyone who knows me well enough and I’m sure they’ll mention something about my ‘PR-ofound’ way with words.