Event review: An inside look into the world of PR

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Open Door to PR participants outside Vancity's head office

On March 11th , I attended Open Door to PR, a three-hour experience that revealed the differences between working for an agency versus in-house.  Coming from SFU’s Communications program, it was really neat to step out of the classroom and learn about some of the PR jobs in Vancouver.

Our first stop was to Communica, a Communications agency that specializes in stakeholder and aboriginal engagement.  We spoke with Emma Shea, Communica’s General Manager in BC, who gave us an in-depth glimpse into what it means to practice reputation management. As Communica has many clients in the environmental sector, Emma told us that it is important to keep an open mind when you’re starting a new project.  Being flexible lets you think outside the box and come up with creative solutions for your client’s needs.  

Advisor Amanda Jarl also spoke about her experience going out into the field and how valuable it is to gain experience working first-hand with the public. A job in PR isn’t always glamorous, sometimes it involves going door-to-door to speak to real people about how an issue affects them.  This, she said, can be a very eye-opening learning experience.

Our second stop was quite different as we got the chance to take a look at Vancity’s Communication department. We listened to presentations by many of the leaders from the Vancity Communications team.  They spoke to some of the differences you might find doing in-house Communications versus agency work.

One of the most noticeable differences, they all spoke about, is the ability to see a project go from planning stages to execution. Working in-house exposes you to the hiccups that can arise when another team executes your plan. So, you learn from these experiences and tailor your approach next time.

I am so glad I attended the Open Door to PR, as it was a great experience to learn more about working in Communications and PR.