The Word

about Centennial’s Corporate Communications + PR program

Archive for June, 2008

Max Nchama loves the diversity of agency life

Posted by thatsroger on June 16, 2008

by Sarah Roger, Corporate Communications & PR ’08

Max Nchama teetered between pursuing law or medicine before considering public relations, ultimately making the decision to enrol in Centennial’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program and hasn’t looked back since. He decided “before I commit to a law program, I’ll try this PR thing. It’s one year. If I like it I’ll do it, if not I’ll continue with law.”

Graduating in 2006, Nchama interned at Palette Public Relations, a boutique agency, and after working there for only 11 months moved up to Account Executive. “I like where I am right now. When I started out there were six people in the office and we’re now up to 10.”

He enjoys working in a small agency and feels that it has helped him learn and grow as a PR practitioner. “For me, it’s all about learning as much as possible and in a small agency you’ll have the chance to do that,” says Nchama. “I never have the same day twice. I never know what’s going to come down the pipe from the client or supplier side that’s going to force me to be creative.”

“Being in an agency environment I’ve done everything from carry boxes, to sit next to the heads of some of the country’s biggest non-governmental organizations and listen to them wax philosophical about why they do what they do,” he says. “You wouldn’t get that experience anywhere else.”

Nchama attributes his writing skills and knowledge of the Canadian business environment to the courses he took at Centennial. “There’s not a moment where I don’t think of the inverted pyramid before I put the pen to paper, or mouse to pad, when writing a news release.” Learning CP style was very helpful and he uses it on a regular basis when drafting releases. Centennial’s career development classes helped get his resume and cover letter through the door. “Even the design skills I learned at Centennial helped set me apart from other internship applicants.”

“The program excels at keeping its finger on the pulse of the PR industry. It’s evaluated on an annual basis and the faculty keep in touch with grads. That constant revision and assessment process leads to a program that is quite useable.”

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Olga Petrycki: Fit for an agency

Posted by christophena on June 10, 2008

by Christina Atkinson, Corporate Communications & PR ’08

For Olga Petrycki, account director at Punch Communications, the Corporate Communications and Public Relations program at Centennial College was “a foot in the door.”

Petrycki graduated from the program in 2002 and after doing an eight-week internship at a small boutique agency, she started her career at Maverick Public Relations.

“I am a better fit for an agency because I’m creative and I love brainstorming,” explains Petrycki. Agency work allows Petrycki to experience more depth and variety in her work.

The training she received at Centennial was integral in getting Petrycki where she is today. “It gave me the connections I needed. It gave me the work discipline I needed, because the program was so intensive,” says Petrycki. What course does she feel was the most helpful? “Definitely the copy editing; it helped me with my writing.” (She laughs)

Today Petrycki manages several high-profile accounts at Punch. Her biggest client is the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, which has her dealing with a lot of overseas Bahamas travel business. Other clients include Carlton Cards, Moosehead, Marsh Insurance and G4S (Group 4 Securicor). Occasionally, Petrycki receives contracts to work with Disney on a project basis.

“I can be creative and come up with cool ideas,” Petrycki says of her work. When initiating new business development, the best part is closing the deal. “That feeling when you win a big account is amazing.”

Petrycki stresses the importance of paying attention to detail in her line of work. “Always cross your t’s and dot your i’s,” she says.

What advice does Petrycki have for students of the program? “Don’t get discouraged. Never burn your bridges,” she counsels. “Look at everything as an opportunity.”

The program at Centennial was instrumental in helping Petrycki develop the communication skills necessary to her work.

“You’re the expert in communications and if you’re not communicating properly, there’s a problem,” she says. This is something for every budding communications professional to remember.

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