Test Drive My Job: Public Relations Specialist Tiffany Young

Tiffany Young of Young PR Group and Arts Institute of Washington

Tiffany Young of Young PR Group and Arts Institute of Washington

Tiffany Young,  26

Alexandria, VA

The Art Institute of Washington Public Relations Specialist, 3 years

Owner of Young PR Group

Volunteer: Interim Communications Director for Northern Virginia Urban League Young Professionals

Mopwater: Describe your path to PR. What made you want to get into the field?
TY:My path to PR has been rewarding and challenging because I had always wanted to be a writer or journalist every since I was 10 years-old but my passion for wanting to help people and serve as allowed me to be fulfilled in the PR field.  [I spent a year as a community beat reporter covering Southern Prince George’s County Maryland for the PG County Gazette Newspaper in 2004 and]  I wanted to get into the field because there were no PR people like me when I was a reporter.  I didn’t find a PR person that was honest and caring, so I wanted to be that person for me and other journalists.

Mopwater: What aspects of the industry are you most excited about?
TY: I am most excited about  social media. Social media is the best way to [connect with people], no one picks up the phone anymore.

Mopwater: Describe your office and workplace. How many co-workers do you have? Where, how, and how often do you collaborate with them?
TY: I work in a small department surrounded by other supporting departments including Career Services and Admissions.  There are two people in my department-my direct supervisor and me.  Sometimes, I collaborate with my co-workers during weekly meetings and planning meeting for projects.  But most of the time, I work independently.

Mopwater: Describe a typical workday including your work hours. What do you do all day?
TY:My workday begins at 7:00am.  Before I eat breakfast or take a shower, I am checking my blackberry for scheduled appointments or meetings for the day.  I head into work via Metro, which I love so I can read a book or catch up on the Essence Magazine articles with my iPod blasting.  As soon as I get into the office I’m back on my blackberry and logging into my computer checking more email, putting out quick fires.  I make a few phone calls, draft several press releases, update the school Web site for the day, manage student projects and make sure people have been paid.

In the afternoon I take a break from my [job at the Arts Institute] and get to working on my community service gigs.  I am the Interim Director of Communications for the Northern Virginia Urban League Young Professionals Network (YPN).  I have afternoon phone calls with the President of YPN during which we discuss updates for the Web site and future communications efforts for our members.  I am also the Second Vice President for Black Public Relations Society DC Chapter, often times I am emailing members back about the status of their membership, upcoming meetings and other PR opportunities in the DC area.

Mopwater: What are your favorite and least favorite PR tasks? Do you love to pitch? Do you dread writing releases?
TY: My favorite PR tasks is to hold openings, or product/event launches.  My least favorite task is the post-event cleanup.  Yes I love to pitch, maybe because I was a reporter once and I know what [reporters] want to hear and don’t want to hear.  Yes I dread writing releases because I can better tell you something than write it to you.

Mopwater: What kind of clients does your company serve and what services do you provide?
TY: At The Art Institute of Washington, our clients are our students, their parents and the general public.  The services our department provides are maintaining a fresh Web site daily, updating students on various competitions, getting students opportunities outside of the classroom and bringing non profits into the classroom so that the students can have a real world working experience.  With YPN and BPRS, our clients are our members, and board of trustees.

Mopwater: Give an example of a “dream client” or two. What would you want to do for this client?
TY:My dream client would be a athlete.  I would want to help them start a foundation or nonprofit with a great mission, a great service and something that brings those in need a lot of money and help.

Mopwater: Describe a recent project where you produced results you were really proud of.
TY: I hosted the first Fall Fashion Fair at The Art Institute of Washington for high school students who wanted to pursue a fashion career.  We invited fashion bloggers, fashion designers, retail owners and fashion instructors to address real issues in the industry.

Mopwater: What is your favorite thing about working where you work?
TY: I love working with the students and meeting new people everyday.

Mopwater: What do you wish was different about working there?
TY: I wish we had more employees in my department including a multimedia staffer.

Mopwater: Do you think you’ll be in this position in 5 years? If not, where do you see yourself?
TY: No. In 5 years I hope to be a PR Manager for an art gallery or  performing arts center.

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