Last Friday, I signed up for an event, #PassPorttoPRYYC organized by Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and had such a great experience working as a Public Relations (PR) Practitioner for a morning. What I did was choosing a company I wanted to visit and spending a morning with them learning insights about the company, the field of Public Relations and valuable lessons from professional PR practitioners as well as doing an assignment for them. Having talked and listened to what they shared, I was inspired a lot and realized that I FOUND MY DREAM COMPANY!!!!!!
And the company that I chose was EDELMAN CALGARY!!!!!
I did research on top PR firms a long time ago and knew that Edelman was one of them. Therefore, this time, when CPRS organized the networking event and had Edelman Calgary on its list of guests, I immediately signed up and even told my friend to go with me, but she was assigned a different company. Last month, I also applied for an internship at AVC Edelman in Vietnam, they were very interested in my resume, but unfortunately, for the batch of internship this year, they only hired junior and senior students and recommended me reapplying for them next year.
The event started at 9:30 a.m, but I was there at 8:50 a.m because
1) Admittedly, I thought the event was at 9:00 a.m
2) I was so excited about the company and wanted to come a little bit early to network with people
3) I’m not good at directions and I always take more than the time that Google Map says to come to the venue. I always give myself 10-20 minutes to find the location in case, I get lost. (I get lost a lot, probably every single time I have to look for a new address 😅). [Edelman Calgary has a great location right in the middle of downtown, on 8th Avenue, very close to the C-train station. I got off at the 8th Street Station. I was supposed to turn right to walk to the office, but I turned left. … Walked for 10 minutes, I noticed I turned the wrong way and had to turn back. While it was supposed to take 16 minutes from my house to the office, it took me 30 minutes 😅. It happens all the time, to be honest 😔]
On the way to the office, I was in the elevator with Carla Beynon but I didn’t know until she and I got out of the elevator on the same floor and headed towards the same office. She was so friendly initiating a small conversation with me when I was hanging my coat in the wardrobe. She also went to Mount Royal University for the Journalism degree, and she currently is a Senior Account Executive specializing in Earned Media Relations and Media Training at Edelman. I immediately felt so welcomed. After that, Carla introduced me to Lynn Johnson who was in charge of the event.
Lynn took me to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. The office was painted with a green color and you couldn’t find any cubicle there. It was like a co-working space, everybody shared the office and could totally overhear conversations when someone was brainstorming or discussing ideas. Lynn said that the co-working office was an idea from Mr. John Larsen, General Manager of Edelman Calgary because he wanted to everybody bond together and closed the gap between the boss and his employees. Lynn also shared that it took a while to get used to it because as Western people, we tend to have our private space.
When Megan and Jason, who chose to experience a day at Edelman like me, came, we got to meet the General Manager, Mr. John Larsen and all people working for Edelman. Mr. Larsen gave us an overview about the Edelman Calgary. He’s amiable. At the beginning, I thought with a large-scale company like Edelman, there was no such thing like the General Manager and all of the personnel sat together and openly talked with us. I was wrong!!!! The warm and friendly atmosphere really impressed me and right at that moment, I knew for sure that I had to work there one day.
Here are some notes that I jotted down:
- Edelman is a global Public Relations firm. It has five offices in Canada: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa.
- The Edelman Calgary office was founded in 2011.
- Each office specializes in specific aspects of Public Relations. For example, Toronto office focuses more on technology, digital communication, and food and clothing industries. Montreal office is more about web development and Frech clients. Vancouver office has a strong team about creativity and digital technology. Calgary office concentrates on Canadian communication crisis.
- Even though each office has its own strengths, Edelman Canada is “One Canada” and together works on diverse portfolios from creative sides, advertising, consumer marketing, corporate communications, government to crises. [When I had a conversation with Lynn at the beginning, she said that she just moved to Calgary office a couple years ago from the Toronto office and she still works with them on some projects.] However, the decisions on every project/ client/ etc. are independently made within each office.
- Mr. John Larsen shared that Edelman Calgary had a high-quality and talented team of people, and the company created many opportunities for employees to demonstrate their abilities and feel comfortable with who they are.
- Lynn also shared with me that because Edelman is a global firm, once you get to a certain level of position, for example, senior executive account, the company encourages you to transfer to other companies in different locations to gain experiences and acquire different views of points across cultures. In Calgary office, they actually are trying this model and having a person from the Edelman’s office in London come to work. => It’s the best thing about Edelman. 😍😍😍😍😍
- Edelman has three main principles: 1) Excellence: They set a high expectation and pay a great attention to small details to work through problems, 2) Curiosity: they encourage people to be curious to learn more and look things at different positions, 3) More centered: It means they have the power to let the clients go if they find the clients not a good fit for the company, and focus on the right things.
- After Mr. Larsen gave us an overview of the company, employees at Edelman Calgary take a turn to introduce themselves: their roles and projects they were working on. (Mr. Larsen also said that they were allowed not to reveal their clients). Edelman Calgary has a small, dynamic team of 10 people, coming from very diverse backgrounds from Communications, Marketing, Journalism, Psychology, Business to … Science (Yes, science – health industry). Each person works on different things such as Digital Marketing, Media Relations, Client Strategies, Earned Media, and Analytics.
Then, Megan, Jason and I were given some assignments which were also their real work to do for an hour. We actually had two assignments: 1) Create the media contact list of top five media companies in Canada with two to three journalists’ information contact, and the journalists have to write about energy, economics, and politics (I think). 2) Create some strategies to promote a new coffee 7/11 brand for the truck drivers. However, due to a limited time budget and Internet connection issues, we only could get two-third of the first assignment done. Also, during the time we were working on the assignments, there were a Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo parade in the street, sometimes we got distracted from that, and even Mr. Larsen knocked our door and told us to enjoy the parade first. He was such a nice bosss!!!!!!!! I was so impressed.
To be honest, we weren’t satisfied with the quality of the assignment but if we had had more time, we would have done it better.
Jason, Megan and I really enjoyed working together. We divided the tasks and got well along with each other.
At the end, we had another “team-get-together” meeting which we had the opportunity to ask them questions. My question is, “Which qualities are they looking for at an intern especially we are just students and don’t have a lot of experiences?” and Megan Spoore, the Deputy General Manager at Edelman, said that it was the ATTITUDE to be eager and willing to learn, try and get out of your comfort zone. She also said that Writing Skills, Structures, and Creativity were also three important things when they considered an intern. Some people even sent her a “press release” resume, it was instantly caught her attentions. So I could give you top four qualities they’re looking for: ATTITUDE, WRITING SKILL, STRUCTURE (Organization) and CREATIVITY.
Carla Beynon who I met in the elevator, shared that she had a difficult time to look for jobs when she just graduated, and volunteering helped her a lot. Volunteering helped her not only extend her network but also polished her skills acquired in university.
[Hint] I also had a blog post about “5 reasons why VOLUNTEERING is so great,” here for your reference. Let me know if you like it or not! 🙂
So that’s the end of my day at Edelman Calgary last Friday.
I would like to send a huge thank-you for Canadian Public Relations Society for such a wonderful event and of course, a huge thank-you for Edelman Calgary for letting us become “your people” for a morning.
I hope you guys have enjoyed my day at Edelman Calgary. Let me know which topic you’re interested in and want me to write.
See you next time. 🙂