PR Student: Lesley Yuen

Lesley Yuen HeadshotWhat’s your name?

Lesley Yuen

Where are you studying and what’s the name of your program?

I am currently studying at Simon Fraser University and graduating in the fall of 2013 from the Communications Program.

Date of Joining CPRS as a student member:

I joined CPRS in September of 2011 and have been a student member for almost two years.

What’s your average day like?

Belonging to the SFU Communications Program is different than being in a PR intensive program. Throughout the years, I had the opportunity to dabble in documentary research and production, journalism, online publishing, media analysis, and copy editing. There’s quite a bit I can do with the variety of skills I’ve picked up.

As a communications student, everyday is a surprise. I had the opportunity to become a reporter for a semester, learn to write a nifty crisis communications plan and conduct a media analysis. Outside of the classroom, I am actively involved in causes and organizations which are near and dear to my heart. I had the chance to pitch to media outlets for a media relations role at the Canadian Cancer Society, be elected on to the SFU Student Marketing Association Board as their Public Relations Co-director, organize my first social media conference, become an online community manager for the CPRS Vancouver LinkedIn group and contribute to the Big Wild.

Are you an ‘early bird’ or ‘night owl’?

I’m usually a ‘night owl’. I love browsing through articles and write content for my work into the wee hours of the night; however, I’m making a slow transformation into an ‘early bird’ –with the help of caffeine of course!

What appeals to you most about working in PR?

I love how PR is multi-faceted. You can never get bored of PR because it keeps evolving. Every industry requires PR. It can come in the form of employee relations or crisis communications. Now, there’s a digital component to it –an example of how PR continues to evolve.

What’s your dream job?

Dreams take a long time to achieve. In the near future, I want to become a social media account executive for a PR agency. I am a strong believer that digital PR will become synonymous with traditional PR one day.

What’s your favourite PR campaign?

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign spoke out to me. It’s a great example of how well-executed PR is more than pitching and media monitoring. It’s about developing great ideas, telling great stories, and turning it into a piece which can strike home in the hearts of the audience.

Who is your PR idol?

My PR idols are Kurt Heinrich from Vancouver School Board and Jennifer Siddon from Translink. They’re great examples of successful PR professionals who are working in Vancouver’s public sector. They are fearless, go after what they want, and developed a reputation for themselves. Kurt stood up to the challenge of communicating to the media and public when human remains turned up in Vancouver schools; Jennifer developed a strategy using Twitter (@SkyTrainLady) during the Stanley Cup Riot and helped thousands of citizens escape on public transportation from the Vancouver Downtown core. They’re also very supportive of new entrants who have just entered the PR field and have been great mentors of mine.  

What’s your favourite social network?

My favourite social network is Twitter (@lessyyuen). Facebook and LinkedIn are great networks as well, but Twitter is the best tool to use when you want to develop a personal brand and reach out to an audience you might not be connected with already.

Which coffee shop are you most likely to frequent?

There’s a cozy little coffee shop called Breka on the corner of Fraser Street and 49th Avenue in Vancouver. It is open 24 hours and their specialty coffees and desserts are amazing.

A fun fact about you:

I love challenges and facing my fears. When I was eight years old, I almost drowned. When I turned 16, I became a lifeguard. What better way to defeat your innermost fears than championing it and saving lives?