PR Student Profile: Evelyn Derus

Evelyn Derus HeadshotWhat’s your name?

Evelyn Derus

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

Public Relations at Simon Fraser University – the certificate program through Continuing Education.

Date of Joining CPRS as a student member:

I joined CPRS in September 2013. 

What’s your average day like?

The great thing about working in public relations and communications is that no two days are alike. Currently, I’m finishing up a contract with the Vancouver School Board so my day consists of a lot of writing at the moment. I’m always looking for new opportunities on the horizon so a large part of my day is building my network, connecting with people and exploring various organizations/opportunities that sound intriguing. I’m a strong believer in professional development, so am also taking an online course through Acumen called “Storytelling for Change” – it’s to help think about stories and their value in change initiatives.

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

I can be both depending when the need arises. I usually get my second-wind at around 11 PM but most of my creativity comes in the morning after my daily jolt of caffeine.

What appeals to you most about working in PR?

The focus on relationship building and story-telling. Ever since I was little, I was always interested in learning about people and asking questions. Some times that got me in trouble when I was younger but now it’s a good skill to have in the PR world. Everybody likes a good story and I’m grateful to be able to be part of telling them.

What’s your dream job?

The meaning of what that looks like has evolved over the years. The most important thing for me in my career is doing something I love that aligns with my values and working with people who have integrity and get excited about their work. Ultimately though, I would like to go out on my own and be self-employed.

What’s your favourite PR campaign?

A good PR campaign is able to build trust and inspire the audience toward the desired outcome. I think Obama’s 2008 campaign ‘Yes We Can’ was very powerful –a simple and elegant message that made people passionate about change. To this day, it still gives me goose bumps.

Who is your PR idol?

Anyone who can connect their message/brand with people and cause a reaction is impressive. I always thought Lady Gaga had a great way of balancing being extreme yet accessible to her fan base. Plus, showing up at the Grammy’s inside an egg?! Who’s going to top that? Maybe the meat dress already did. I like how she keeps pushing herself to new heights in the media.

What’s your favourite social network?

Pinterest. I can’t draw or paint but I do like to collage! I like the idea of keeping inspiring thoughts and ideas together in a neat way – it appeals to both my left and right brain.

Which coffee shop are you most likely to frequent?

I usually start my day with a French-press at home but if I’m going out for coffee, I’m hitting up local, neighbourhood gem. Current favourite is a Kits-gem called Culprit located off of 4th and Vine.

A fun fact about you:

I consider myself a calculated risk taker so enjoy doing things that push me ever so slightly outside of my comfort zone. A big part of that is traveling and experiencing other cultures. On my honeymoon, I rappeled 300-feet into a sinkhole in the Belizean rainforest. Being terrified of heights, I must admit, I did close my eyes through some of it. But I did it!