By Kara Hendriksen, Class of 2009
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Frances Bedford, Publicity Manager at Random House of Canada, uses this mantra every day, whether she’s trying to convince John Grisham to tour, or get the media to attend a book signing. But Bedford hasn’t always had this much confidence.
When she graduated from the University of Toronto in 1998 with a degree in English and drama, Bedford felt like she didn’t have any marketable skills. That’s why when she found out about the Corporate Communications program at Centennial it immediately appealed to her.
“Centennial College is really good at focusing you and getting you to look forward,” Bedford explains, “The program gave me a lot of confidence and direction.”
After interning with RBC in 2000, Bedford went on to work for the Harbourfront Centre’s literary program, becoming Senior Publicist after only two months. “I was confident, fresh and optimistic,” she says, “I had all the skills and I could do the job.” Her impressive performance and motivated attitude resulted in her being sought out for her next job.
For the past five years, she’s worked as a Publicity Manager for Random House Publishing Canada. Her job includes lots of media release writing and e-mail communications. However, her favourite part of the job is getting out and interacting with people at book launches, festivals, and even TV show tapings. Recently, Bedford escorted Elizabeth Baird, the author of The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book, to a taping of Steven and Chris at CBC. She was there to make the author comfortable, answer questions, and help with any other tasks that needed to be done.
Bedford insists that because of the wide range of careers in communications, graduates should never have to settle on an employer that doesn’t have the same interests as them or organizations that don’t see the value of well executed communications.
”Whatever your passion is, you can do it. A career in communications allows you to take your skills and interests and apply them.” She adds that if a company doesn’t value communications, it’s impossible to change them. “You really have to know your own value. Find a company that values communications.”
She leaves new communicators with the same piece of advice that she follows herself: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” It’s your career to negotiate, after all.