Test Drive My Job: Public Relations Specialist Tiffany Young
Tiffany Young, 26
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.