The Word

about Centennial’s Corporate Communications + PR program

Successful internship led to fulltime work

Posted by bwaite on December 1, 2008

Grad Colleen Uncao

Grad Colleen Uncao

by Jo Nicholson, Class of 2009

Colleen Uncao graduated from Centennial College’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program in 2005. She would not be where she is today without the program’s eight-week Field Placement course that she describes as an “attractive feature that allows you to gain hands-on experience.”

Uncao hasn’t looked back since her field placement completed at Maverick PR, an independent, mid-size agency located in the Annex area of Toronto. When she finished the placement, she was offered a full-time position as an account coordinator—exactly what many students dream of.

She is now a consultant on the consumer team and works on behalf of notable clients such as Balmshell, Miele and Evian.

Although she is very happy with her career’s progress, Uncao admitted she was hesitant to work at a PR agency during her Centennial days. “During our classes, we networked with different people who worked at agencies,” she said.  “It sounded like they were glued to their desks and working crazy hours. I was definitely worried.”

Uncao was encouraged to apply for the Field Placement at Maverick PR. She now knows that the experiences she gained were invaluable. “At bigger agencies, you’re just doing media monitoring and administrative duties,” she said. “At Maverick, with about 30 employees,  interns have more guidance and do many different things.”

For example, she compiled media lists and scored a media hit only two weeks into her internship. She attributes her past, and present, successes to the skills she learned at Centennial, such as learning to write for the media and presentation skills.

Writing and presenting remain instrumental parts of her career today. “I still use inverted pyramid style when I write press releases,” she said. “The presentation skills really helped me gain confidence talking to people and pitching to clients,” she said.

Uncao originally intended to pursue a career at a corporation and feels like a mid-size agency is a great choice for an internship. Why? “If you’ve start out in a corporate atmosphere, it’s difficult to go from that to an agency,” she said. “You’re used to having that buzz around you. It’s manageable but a little chaotic at times.”

Being busy at a PR agency is a perfect fit for Uncao. She continues to thrive at Maverick and enjoys a variety of projects. “I always feel like I’m learning a lot,” she said.

Her advice for students in the program: “Being scared isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means you’re being challenged.”

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