Event Recap: Power of Public Relations

Written by Sharon Lee, Gianna Saw on Saturday, 11 December 2021. Posted in Event Recap

On November 28th, 2021, Girls For Businesses hosted our November virtual event, ‘Power of PR’. The event featured two panelists, Trisha Beher and Isabelle Ross, who shared their knowledge on brand image, career strategies, and public relations.

Trisha Beher is a freshman at Cornell University’s Dyson School. She is the founder and CEO of The Art Shine Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed to combine service and activism through arts. Through her work, she has been able to reach art communities worldwide. Additionally, at Cornell, she is involved in clubs like Social Business Consulting, Bhangra (Dance Club), and Quant Fund. 

Isabelle Ross is a senior at DePaul University studying public relations, advertising, and applied communications. She is currently a public relations intern at Zapwater communications but has also had experience working in marketing and freelancing for Ready Pretty, interning at Hire Space in London, and more.

Q&A

Question: What would you suggest high school students do to be successful after high school in their majors?

Trisha mentions that focusing on personal branding and personal development are important aspects to work on. She suggests that seeking mentorship and finding opportunities like joining non-profits can help enhance or develop crucial business skills like leadership. 

Isabelle emphasizes that building your organization skills is important, as it allows you to keep track of time and accomplish the tasks you need to do. She also adds that simply joining these virtual events and organizations such as Girls For Business is already astep in the right direction and to continue to pursue your interests.

Question: How did you know you wanted to do Public Relations out of all the fields of business?

Isabelle looked at the interests and hobbies she had in her free time and wanted to implement those skills and passion into her work. She likes writing and social media among other things, and those interests led her into PR. She also notes that if you’re interested in how things are done behind the scenes, then PR could be an ideal fit for you.

Trisha recognizes how PR complements other fields, especially through social media. Through her non-profit, she was able to see how social media could widen one’s reach and enter new spaces. 

To add on, Isabelle notes that there are various types of PR, such as lifestyle, health, and travel PR. She mentions that it is not a matter of one interest over another; PR only enhances what you like, and combining them will only make you stronger in both fields.

Question: How did you use your setbacks in life for the better?

As a South Asian female activist, Trisha notes that it was hard to find a community where she could be heard, but in a way it helped her enter places she would not have been able to had she not faced those challenges and been subject to skepticism. Before, she was pushed into STEM but discovered that it was not her passion, and she had to work hard to achieve what she has achieved today. She emphasizes that one should use the obstacles they face as motivation to do better and prove that as a young person what you have to say is important too.

Meanwhile, Isabelle states that no matter what, you will have people who doubt you. So, rather than letting that keep you down or feel insecure, you should maintain a “fake it ‘til you make it” kind of attitude, building up your confidence and knowing your own strengths.

Question: What are some lifelong skills you’ve gained from being involved in PR?

Isabelle says that PR has definitely helped her become a better speaker. Before she entered the field, she was too excited and as a result had a stutter whenever she spoke. Through PR, she has learned to slow down and articulate her words in a meaningful and efficient way. In addition, PR has helped her become a better writer due to the nature of the job; PR involves writing constantly all day long. Furthermore, through PR she has had to give her insight into many different topics, so she has to constantly keep up with the news since it drives the type of PR that will come out.

Trisha mentions writing and public speaking are some lifelong skills she has gained from being involved in PR. She explains that, by having an audience to speak to, she is able to further develop her communication skills. 

Question: What is a typical work day in PR?

Isabelle bases her work day on her internship and the women who work around her. She starts off her day either at home (since PR consists of a lot of remote work) or in the office and checks her email to find tasks. Then, she spends her day knocking things off her “to-do list,” completing media work and writing until the day is finished.

Trisha’s experience with PR started in high school. She completed school classes in the morning until the afternoon. After finishing her classes, she would then spend two to three hours everyday emailing brands, people, or companies to further make her non-profit’s cause known. 

Question: What courses or college concentration do you recommend for someone interested in public relations?

Trisha mentions that she is a freshman in Cornell taking up a major in communications. She notes that Cornell makes you pick a specific concentration and to help you decide on your concentration, Cornell helps you explore a lot of possibilities through their clubs, etc. 

Isabelle explains how there are many different aspects to PR, and therefore there are a multitude of classes and concentrations that can go into it. She did a class on film and writing along with one in media ethics, where she explored how events impact the different happenings.

Question: What is your favorite memory of working in PR?

Trisha recalls her favorite memory as her non-profit’s recent 3-day conference. Although she admits that the process of outreach was quite stressful, sending out hundreds of emails and marketing everyday, she says that the experience built cohesion for the team. Through her conference, she was able to reach participants from 40 different countries. 

Isabelle recounts her experience interning in London, and details how nice it was to see how people operate in a different area, along with being invited to different events. Her most notable moment there was when she got to go to an event for the National Gallery in London, and it was there that she realized she was definitely on the right path.

Question: What was the biggest challenge you’ve encountered when looking for your passion? 

Trisha says that looking for a passion is not always easy. With this, she recommends being open to a multitude of careers and to avoid rushing into things. As for her experience, because she recognized that PR has a lot of applications in the real world, she decided to pursue PR. Through PR, she mentions that she was able to develop crucial skills such as leadership, communication, and networking.

Isabelle talks about her change in mindset. While she used to rush into starting PR right away, getting an internship, and moving up the ladder, she took a step back and realized she was rushing the process and was not able to perform at her best with her current self. She realized that you do not have to know everything right away and that you should do things when you know you will perform at your highest level.

Question: In high school, what are some effective ways to implement PR/Networking to grow organizations/clubs?

Trisha recommends offering something unique to attract and build a community of like-minded individuals. In relation to her non-profit, she mentions that even though the initial process looks difficult at first, there are people out there who will support your cause, so keep going. 

Isabelle highlights the importance of social media, noting how almost everyone has some form of social media. She explains that if there is something you are passionate about and want to share, do not be shy and tell everyone what it is and what you do.

Question: How did you decide which college/university would be best for you to pursue a career in PR?

Isabelle says the best way to search for the best college/university was to do a google search. She says to simply type in “best PR schools” along with whatever qualities you are looking for, whether it be area, affordability, resources, and more, in order to find what best suits you.

Trisha admits that she did not initially have Cornell on her college list, but now, as a freshman, she has been amazed by the number of opportunities her school offers to their students. She advises high school students to thoroughly read what the school offers and to visualize themselves studying there. She emphasizes not to apply for prestige but rather where you see yourself fit. 

Through this Q&A event featuring Isabelle and Trisha, attendees were able to learn more about what it means to work in the public relations field, receive valuable advice on how to get involved in this field, and ultimately understand the power of PR. 

About the Author

Sharon Lee

Sharon Lee

Sharon is a Business Education Writer at Girls For Business.

Gianna Saw

Gianna Saw

Gianna is a Business Analytics Writer at Girls For Business.

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