By T.J. Goertz, Class of 2009
Anyone looking to enter the exciting, rewarding world of not-for-profit communications should look to Virginia Middleton for inspiration.
A 2005 graduate of Centennial’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program, Middleton has parlayed her love of PR into a dream job at Kids Help Phone in downtown Toronto. She was hired there in August, 2007, after a successful internship with the St. John’s Fog Devils hockey team and a year working with Palette PR, a Toronto-based boutique agency.
While only in her second year at Kids Help Phone, Middleton already says she’s definitely in it for the long haul at the youth telephone and Internet counselling organization.
“At the end of the day, you’re helping to do something really good. I know that sounds cheesy and lame, but it’s true … at Kids Help Phone it’s a really unique situation. It’s fun to go to work.”
Small team handles a lot
As one of only two full-time members of her department, Middleton uses many of the skills she learned while at Centennial, ranging from media relations to event management to writing editorial copy.
“I’m really glad I decided to go to Centennial. So many things I think were triggered from that. If I hadn’t learned some of the skills and taken the courses in the program, I don’t think I’d be in such a great position as I am now.” She admits she didn’t have much PR experience before entering grad school.
Choosing Centennial College’s PR program meant relocating far from home for this 2004 graduate of Memorial University in Newfoundland.
The 27-year-old is on Kids Help Phone front line when it comes to media relations. She has already gotten some big-time event management experience when she worked closely on a local and national level with Kids Help Phone’s biggest fundraiser – the Bell Walk for Kids Help Phone – last May. Middleton has been tagged to lead the event’s PR and advertising planning in 2010, something she’s really looking forward to.
“If there’s one thing I could brag about for Kids Help Phone, it’s the mentoring. My manager supports me so much,” says Middleton, a native of Newfoundland. “And our senior leadership team is amazing.”
As one of Canada’s leading authorities on youth-related issues, Kids Help Phone is frequently contacted by the media for expert commentary on hot button issues such as violence or cyber-bullying. That lets Middleton go home knowing she has made a positive difference.
“It’s also great that when you’re doing the PR and media relations; we’re not the bad guy. We’re not a big corporation chopping down trees or destroying the environment. We’re helping children,” she says.