Today’s TDMJ profiles James Walker, an incredible social media specialist who is just starting his career in PR. James is a junior project manager for APCO Online , a division of the global agency APCO Worldwide. James works in Washington, DC and I discovered him through his insightful tweets about PR and his informative blog Gen Y PR Prescriptions.
When he met me recently at a DC Starbucks, James told me how important it is to claim a piece of the social media pie for yourself if you’re a PR person calling yourself a social media strategist/expert (read: start your blog!) Hopefully I’ll be able to get the video footage of that timely interview up this weekend, pending tech support. For now, here’s James:
James S. Walker
Junior Project Manager, APCO Online
length of time in role: 6 months
Mopwater: Describe your path to PR. What made you want to get into the field?
JW: I discovered PR right around the time I decided to declare a major at George Washington University. I made a call home to check in and mentioned that I was planning to major in Communication. My mother replied: “What kind of job can you get with that major?” I said: “Umm…(scratching head) you know…Communications positions.” At that point, Communication just seemed interesting, but I knew that I would never hear the end of it if I didn’t come up with a good answer, so I went to work.
After reading books, taking career assessments and browsing hundreds of sites, I decided that PR was it. Glad that I figured it out, I called back home and made a compelling case showing how I would get a job in PR. Her response: “So… what exactly will you do?”
Reflecting back on my answer to her then reminds me of the opening for MTV’s The Real World – “You think you know, but you have no idea.” I have worked (internships and full-time) in a number of Communications roles since then, from university relations and special events to CNN’s Crossfire at GW to public affairs and crisis comms shops to a health care communications firm and now a global communications agency.
In my short time in the industry, I’ve worked steps away from James Carville and Donna Brazile, helped prepare for prescription medication product launches, developed materials for patients with chronic pain and diabetes, and proposed social media strategies for tech giants. Each position taught me something new about the industry and myself, allowing me to grow both personally and professionally.
Mopwater: What aspects of the industry are you most excited about?
JW: I am most excited about the role the PR industry already is and will continue to play in the development, promotion and adoption of social media among businesses and other organizations.
I think the industry is well positioned to not only teach groups how to engage in social media but also to provide communications counsel on how to engage in a way that benefits them and their audiences, the people they serve. Read the full story