The Word

about Centennial’s Corporate Communications + PR program

Archive for February, 2008

Inside PR 100th podcast live at Centennial!

Posted by Gary Schlee on February 26, 2008


Terry Fallis and David Jones, hosts of the Inside PR podcast, recorded their 100th show live with students in the Centennial Corporate Communications & PR program on February 25. The duo explored social media, the job market and other PR issues with the students.

You can hear the show by visiting Inside PR .


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Recent grad enjoying job in film publicity

Posted by Mirra Rita on February 20, 2008

By: Sarah Fimiani, Corporate Communications & PR ’09

Rachael Schelew, Account Coordinator for Media Profile, tributes her ‘eye for detail’ to Centennial College’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program.Graduating from Centennial in 2006, Schelew was prepared to thrive in the world of public relations due to the hands-on learning experience she attained. “

One of the major skills I acquired is my attention to details—even my co-workers recognize how precise I am. I feel like Centennial really helped me to develop a healthy paranoia to looking over my work,” says Schelew.Rachael Schelew

Her career began to unfold when she interned at Buena Vista Home Entertainment, a division of The Walt Disney Company. Shortly after a four-month internship, she landed her current position at Media Profile.

Before Schelew’s training in public relations she never expected to be where she is today. “I always knew I wanted a career in entertainment and media relations, I just never knew it had a name,” explains Schelew.

At Media Profile, Schelew’s main account is Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “I distribute press releases to the print and broadcast media for DVD titles being released in Canada. Later, I compile the coverage and it is presented to the client,” says Schelew.

“For me, client satisfaction is the most rewarding aspect of my job. When I get a media hits for my client’s, I know they will be satisfied—and so will I.”

Working for a public relations agency allows Schelew to be creative and work with a variety of clients. “Some advice I can offer to someone who is seeking a career in corporate communications and public relations is to determine what interests you and not give up on your dream.”

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New mayor, new challenges: Andrea Gonsalves

Posted by kate raven on February 15, 2008

by Kate Raven, Communications & PR ’08

Andrea GonsalvesMunicipal government was the last place Andrea Gonsalves thought she would end up.

When searching out an internship at the end of Centennial’s Corporate Communications program in 1997, Gonsalves was afraid the position with Metro Toronto Works would leave her licking envelopes and filing documents – and she wasn’t alone.

“Everybody wanted Ernst and Young. It was glamourous, and they kept you on after the internship was over,” she says. “With the City, I kind of felt I was taking my last option.”

But 10 years later, she doesn’t regret her decision. Now a Senior Communications Co-ordinator for the City of Toronto, Gonsalves has worked with several divisions, including Solid Waste Management, the Office of Emergency Management and, most recently, Toronto Water. The variety of work available initially surprised her; “it didn’t come across like it would offer all of this,” she says.

Part of this variety stems from the unique challenges presented by government work, one of the most prominent being the frequently changing leadership. “Every time we get a new mayor, they pick the deck up, shuffle it and lay the cards out differently,” she says.

While these changes don’t always have consequences for communications, current mayor David Miller’s most recent budget cuts were felt acutely by Gonsalves’s section. She was forced to scrap the printing and production of Water Watch, a household newsletter typically distributed to all City residents twice a year, and cut an advertising campaign about drinking water quality from the year’s plans.

To overcome this hurdle, Gonsalves engaged her ingenuity. Because city councillors communicate with their constituents on a regular basis, she used their communication vehicles to get her message out. “Stories that would have gone into Water Watch are reconceptualized as pieces for councillors’ newsletters. They’re happy to get the content,” she says.

Gonsalves also places even more emphasis on media relations, using it to supplement Toronto Water’s direct messaging. “Almost everything we do, we communicate to the media. Getting an article in the Star is almost as good as advertising,” she says.

In view of the division’s changing communications needs, Gonsalves relies heavily on a skill learned at Centennial: writing communications plans. “I write a new one about eight times a year,” she says. And while she’s happy to have the skill, she regrets not seeing its full value while in school. “I wish, instead of seeing them as a hindrance, I’d seen them as the strategic tool they are.”

Though she admits that working for the government has its ups and downs, Gonsalves is satisfied with the challenges and variety it provides – and the favourable work-life balance it affords. “I know it’s really rare,” she says, “but I might start and end my career with the same employer.”

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It’s all in the writing: Marnie Hill

Posted by jchawla on February 7, 2008

by Joe Chawla, Corporate Communications & PR ’08

For IBM’s Senior Executive Communications Consultant, Marnie Hill, writing is everything. Hill graduated from Centennial’s corporate communications program in 1984 and says it was one of the most important skills she learned. “If you don’t have the writing or editing skills you’re going to have a really tough time. You can learn everything else, but you need to have solid writing and editing.”

Hill started working with IBM while in school; 23 years later she’s still there. “The environment at IBM was a right fit for me. It fit what my goals were, the job challenged me, and it gave me opportunities.” But it hasn’t been easy. She’s overcome the hurdle of being a non-technical person working in a technical sector. “The tech industry is full of acronyms. There would be people sitting around me and they would be speaking English, yet I had no idea what they were talking about.”

Thanks to her college training, Hill has been able to translate IBM’s techno-jargon into understandable information for her readers. “That’s what the hands-on program at Centennial gives you; the ability to walk into an organization and hit the ground running.”

Marnie HillCurrently, Hill manages internal and executive communications for two vice-presidents. She prepares them for meetings with clients and staff, sets up events, and helps define corporate strategy. It’s a lot of work, but she thrives on it. “I still feel surprised and amazed every day when I walk into work that I get paid to do the job I do.”

She says her training, professionalism and self-directed, independent work ethic have earned her a spot at the corporate table. It’s an achievement she believes possible for anyone who really wants it. “You have to earn it. You need to demonstrate knowledge and professionalism, and that you should be there.” Hill offers up some advice for students and communicators to help in their career.

  1. Treat your career as a business. You are the CEO of YOU.
  2. Find yourself a good mentor.
  3. Always be professional.
  4. Be a team player.
  5. Keep your work and life in balance.

Hill also recommends communicators stay abreast of changes going on in the communications world. “Invest in yourself; know where the market is going and what the trends and skills are to keep current. The communications field is wide open and more than ever we have a chance to play an effective role.” It’s just some simple advice from a non-technical giant.

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