Global Results Communications Boot Camp
by Amanda Barajas
As a senior set to graduate in the spring, I have been seizing every opportunity PRSSA has been offering. When I received the email about the Global Results Communications Agency Boot Camp last Fall, I knew I HAD to go.
Not just because it would be good experience, but because it made me uncomfortable.
Global Results Communications is a leading international tech firm, with clients such as Verizon, Nuance, and Epson (yes, the projectors we all remember from class). Their clients are huge, groundbreaking, and all over the world. My eyes practically bulged when I learned that we would be crafting a PR campaign for one of GRC’s current clients, and we would present the plan to be evaluated by the staff. I knew nothing about technology, and all my PR campaigns have been pitched in the comfort of student groups. To have a real PR pro evaluate the ideas I’ve come up with in less than an hour? The thought terrified me.
Which is exactly why it took me 0.2 seconds to register for the boot camp.
On a Friday morning I drove to Santa Ana, mildly-sleepy, mildly-anxious, and mildly hoping that no one noticed my shirt crease that happened during the car ride. A group of about 20 CSUF PRSSA members met outside the building, and we all crammed into an elevator to take us to the suite.
We sat at a long table and Global Results Managing Director Lora Wilson greeted us. Lora has had a long career in PR, who excels in media relations, strategies, social media, and all aspects of public relations. She was the very definition of a pro, and every few minutes my mind kept wandering back to that PR plan that would soon be happening.
After being provided a background on the agency, their services, and clients, Lora brought in 5 entry-level account associates, with one of the associates a recent CSUF graduate, who was brought in for an internship position and hired on as full-time a month later.
It was refreshing to see these young faces, people just like us who can remember the stresses of school in the modern age, offering their advice and insight. For a full-hour hands were continuously raised as they took our questions, with each associate pitching in and building off each other’s comments and stories. These were the real questions we wanted answered, and there was not that usual hesitancy from students that can be evident around long-time industry pros. We unabashedly, and maybe even a little desperately, asked them what we wanted to know.
“Is a professional headshot important to apply for a job?”
“How can I make myself stand out?”
“What’s it like to have an internship abroad?”
They talked about the application process, internships, transitioning from school to career, and their day-to-day responsibilities. These were speakers that I wasn’t thinking “Well, okay, I guess hopefully me in 15 years”, but instead “this can be me in one year, maybe even less”. They made life after college seem possible and doable. To hear from young PR pros that it will get better, that you can land a job, eased a massive weight the size of Jupiter off my shoulders.
We broke for lunch and then came back to the PR campaign, in which we would be crafting a year-long campaign for Wahoo’s Fish Tacos 30th anniversary. Wahoo’s has a variety of esteemed connections, such as Tony Hawk and Ryan Sheckler at our disposal. We were provided Wahoo’s key messages, objectives, resources, and challenges. We had one hour to work within our team of 5, with the threat of having to present in front of the staff looming over us.
The clock was ticking, and we were scribbling down, drawing arrows to connect previous thoughts, and frantically adding in last minute ideas. It was finally time for the groups to present, and I was excited and nervous to show the group what we came up.
All of the teams had similar ideas, playing off the same themes and we all brought something a little different to the table. I was half expecting a Miranda Priestly like tear-down of our plan, but instead Lora and the other VP’s were incredibly kind, praising our creativity and offering advice in the most constructive way possible. They brought up that all of our ideas intertwined with each other, and that it shows that when we come together we can put together a stellar campaign.
The entire workshop not only gave me hands-on experience of working in a team to prepare a plan, but it gave me the confidence that this career was something I can do. PR is working in a team, adding and tossing ideas, adapting and molding, and giving it your best shot. Standing in that room in front of my peers, teammates, and the GRC team was one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling parts of my school career thus far.
The Global Results Communications team was phenomenal, and next time a workshop comes along, if you’re feeling a little hesitant and nervous, trust me, sign up. You’ll surprise yourself with what you’re capable of.