Cathryn Seymour Dorsey
Even someone with no customer contact needs to be able to sell themselves and their ideas.
What have been the most defining moments along your career path?
My first communications interest was in advertising, because it combined a number of things I was interested in; creativity, people, and psychology. Later I realized that advertising was just part of a comprehensive marketing planning...that PR was also important. So I started doing more PR. I am actually more of a marketing strategist. I develop marketing communications programs and PR is part of that program. In PR, you are always presenting your company or organization in a positive way to the media and your various publics. You want to make sure you really believe in and can support the company/organization's management, mission, and way of doing business, or you may find yourself in a moral dilemma.
What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?
Young people interviewing for their first jobs should come across as enthusiastic and eager to work and learn.
What have you learned from your experience?
The biggest surprise to me was that I needed to learn how to sell....not just pitch stories to the media, but to sell my ideas to my boss and coworkers. Even someone with no customer contact needs to be able to sell themselves and their ideas.
The role of the media is changing. As people use the Internet more and more for news and information, PR professionals need to know this medium inside and out.
For those interested in working in this field, I recommend a degree and experience in journalism. A minor in an industry you would like to specialize in (i.e.. computer science, healthcare, finance, etc.) would be very useful. And several business courses: accounting, management, marketing. For a post graduate degree, I would get an MBA.
I don't know what is a 'typical' career path, but I recommend working for a newspaper, radio or TV station as a reporter. Then working for a large PR firm to get big budget experience and resources. Then working for a company or organization. Then, if you are so inclined, go out on your own.
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What most excites you about your job right now?
The best part is working with a lot of different people and issues.
"Be passionate about what you're doing and you'll never work a day in your life."
"Hard work, being passionate, and asking questions."
"That's what a good sale is all about- gaining trust and building a strong client base."
Marketing and Promotions Manager
"By my senior year in college, they had set me up with a computer, a fax, and a business line in my house..."
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