The Word

about Centennial’s Corporate Communications + PR program

Archive for May, 2008

From intern to full-time

Posted by daisydreamer on May 23, 2008

by Barb Petersen, Corporate Communications & PR ’08

From interning to filling consecutive maternity leave contracts to being offered a full-time position as an internal communications specialist, Maria Morra is an inspiration to Corporate Communications and Public Relations students.

Having almost completed her first year in a full-time role at Enbridge, Morra feels confident she has found the perfect fit for her. “I definitely made the right choice”, she says. There are so many post graduate programs to choose from. PR was the perfect fit for me and the internship is a great way to get your foot in the door.”

With a combination of hard work and good timing, Morra smiles as she talks about how opportunities at Enbridge unfolded for her. “My colleagues would always say that I was ‘sitting on the hot seat.’ Before I had completed my first mat leave contract I had already been offered a second.”

The internship is what got Morra in the door, but it was her ability to do the job well and her passion for writing that kept her there.

Recognizing the importance of “polished writing skills” in the industry, Morra credits her ability to write effectively and her knowledge of Canadian Press writing style to the program.

She still remembers how her CP journey began with a blanket of red pen covering her writing assignments. However, she also remembers how those red corrections diminished as she moved through the program. “It is a real adjustment writing in CP style and at the beginning you start to question yourself,” she explains. “But you can’t take it personally. Use it as a learning experience.”

Use it as a learning experience she did.

In addition to writing well and enjoying the process, Morra recommends doing research and talking with professionals in the industry to better understand where you fit. “Get involved as much as you can,” she says. “Become a member of the associations, and get out there and network.”

Coming from someone who may be interviewing you for your next opportunity, it would be a good idea to take her advice.


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Dicion & Fallis step into the winner’s circle

Posted by Gary Schlee on May 16, 2008

Maricel DicionMaricel Dicion, of Centennial’s Corporate Communications & Public Relations program, is this year’s Maverick Student of the Year. The award is sponsored by Maverick PR and presented by IABC/Toronto. It recognizes a PR student each year who exhibits leadership and excellence in communication. The awards competition is open to IABC student members studying PR in any of the programs in the Greater Toronto Area.

Maricel worked at 680 News Radio in Toronto while attending the Centennial program and is currently interning at the Ontario Science Centre. Well done, Maricel!

The Best Laid PlansTerry Fallis, a member of the Centennial program’s Advisory Committee, is this year’s winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. The story behind his accomplishment is a fascinating one. Unable to find a publisher for his book, The Best Laid Plans, Terry decided to podcast it one chapter at a time. He followed that up by self-publishing the book. Since winning the award (the stiff competition included well-known Canadian writers Douglas Coupland and Will Ferguson), Terry has not only secured a literary agent (Beverley Slopen), but also book deal (McClelland & Stewart).

As president of the PR firm Thornley Fallis, Terry shares his PR management and social media expertise as a member of the Centennial advisory committee. He also co-hosts Canada’s top PR podcast, Inside PR. His win certainly demonstrates the waves social media are starting to make in communications!

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Impacting the world, one event at a time

Posted by Bons Mots on May 12, 2008

by Bonnie Dean, Corporate Communications and Public Relations ’08

Kate Millar found herself at a crossroads following her stint in Centennial’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program.

She wasn’t sure what kind of career she wanted, but knew event planning had to be a part of it. It was only after interning at the York University Foundation that Millar found her true calling.

“A fundraiser is the perfect time to interact with your donors and really understand how your organization is impacting the world and the local community. You get to tap into the people who have a real love for [the cause].

“I then realized I am more of an event planner than I am a PR person.”

Following her internship, Millar was involved in planning a run for 10,000 people for the Mississauga Marathon, another not-for-profit organization and a cause close to her runner’s heart. She also worked in the development department at McMaster University before ending up at the Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG), a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through the moving image.

As the development assistant for special events at TIFFG, Millar’s role includes planning stewardship events and planning the film festival’s staff and volunteer appreciation party. But it is managing the relationships with sponsors that she finds the most challenging and most rewarding.

“It’s getting these people on board and pitching it in a way that says, ‘You have to give it to us for free.’” Her passion and experience in the not-for-profit sector have made Millar very successful in maintaining strong partnerships with TIFFG sponsors.

Millar credits her successful career to the comprehensive nature of Centennial’s program, and uses the knowledge she gained to this day. “It gives you a great base of solid skills. You can start off in one area in your career and a couple of years later come to another sector where you have to start drawing on different skills.

Millar believes she learned the most from the Event Management course. “It taught you how to go out into the community, really focus on the vision and reason you are throwing an event.” She is also grateful for the writing courses and advises current and future students not to take them lightly. “Even if you don’t take a heavy writing job, you still need to be very vigilant about your messaging and how you communicate.

“There will be courses you really enjoy and there will be courses you don’t enjoy,” she says, “but you just have to do the work; you never know when you will have to draw on the skills they teach you.”

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