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about Centennial’s Corporate Communications + PR program

Posts Tagged ‘Centennial pr’

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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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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Living the agency life

Posted by apriltsui on April 15, 2008

by April Tsui, Corporate Communications & PR ’08

When Andrea Craig, senior consultant at Hill & Knowlton Canada, graduated from Centennial College’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program in 2003, she began her career in the dark.

As a junior public relations practitioner at Strategic Objectives, Craig worked 10- to 14-hour days and “didn’t see sunshine for a year.” She tackled every task with a can-do attitude and took every opportunity to deepen her public relations knowledge.

Andrea Craig“Centennial really gave me a broad foundation to work from,” says Craig. “And without Centennial, I would never have landed such a great internship.”

At first, much of Craig’s work was tactical. “There was very little client interaction,” she says. “I also did a lot of media tracking and analysis. I had to read the daily papers on rotation — that’s how we started the day.”

Craig’s dedication was quickly recognized and she soon took on greater responsibilities, such as managing budgets and mentoring younger public relations practitioners. Still early in her career, she had already contributed to many interesting projects, one of which involved inviting Prince Andrew of the British royal family to christen a new building at Toronto General Hospital.

In August 2005, Craig joined Hill & Knowlton Canada. “I wanted to see what it was like at a bigger firm that had more training and resources,” she recalls. “I knew I wanted to go to Hill & Knowlton, and only applied there. Luckily, I was hired!”

Craig’s responsibilities as senior consultant include developing media relations strategies, media training, brainstorming, team, budget and project management and client relations. “There is no ‘typical day’ at the agency. There are always surprises,” she says. “But even though some surprises may be bad, you still learn something from them.”

“Marketing communications is the most fun but also the most challenging,” Craig says of her primary area of practice. “There are so many consumer products out there. You really need to think about how you are going to pitch yours to the media and make it stand out.”

Craig points out that practise makes media relations less intimidating. “It’s scary when you pick up the phone that first time. Media relations is something that doesn’t come naturally; everybody has to learn.” She also enjoys collaborating with other areas of practice, including health, aboriginal affairs and technology, for major projects.

Craig suggests students wishing to work in agency launch their careers at boutique firms. “The learning curve is much steeper, it’s more chaotic and you’ll be thrown into situations. It’s trial by fire!”

She also has a few pieces of advice for junior practitioners: be willing to do anything, say “yes” no matter how mundane the work may seem and work really hard. “Your hard work will pay off,” she says.

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Four events raise money for charity

Posted by Gary Schlee on April 3, 2008

Students in the program’s Event Management course are organizing four special events that take place over the next week. First up is Re:Action, an opportunity for local artists and photographers to share their work illustrating revitalized downtown Toronto areas shared by artists and low-income individuals.

ActionThe artists include Adrian Blackwell, Heather Kocsis, Bogdan Luca, Amanda Nedham, Hazel Eckert, Lauren Wright, Eric Euler and Kaleena Stasiak. University of Toronto professor and visual artist Adrian Blackwell will be speaking at the event, and music is by singer/songwriter Andrew Austin and DJ Johnpee.

All proceeds go to Sketch: working arts for street involved and homeless youth.Re:Action is this Saturday, April 5, at 7p.m., at the Hang Man Gallery, 756 Queen Street East, Toronto.

The following day is The Spring Roll, a bowling event to raise money for the 236th A Scout Troop. It takes place at Thorncliffe Bowl on Sunday, April 6 at 3 p.m.

Next week, it’s Free Your Mind, on April 8, in support of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, and Punch Card, on April 10, a fundraiser for Shape Your Life.

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Inside PR 100th podcast live at Centennial!

Posted by Gary Schlee on February 26, 2008


Terry Fallis and David Jones, hosts of the Inside PR podcast, recorded their 100th show live with students in the Centennial Corporate Communications & PR program on February 25. The duo explored social media, the job market and other PR issues with the students.

You can hear the show by visiting Inside PR .

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Recent grad enjoying job in film publicity

Posted by Mirra Rita on February 20, 2008

By: Sarah Fimiani, Corporate Communications & PR ’09

Rachael Schelew, Account Coordinator for Media Profile, tributes her ‘eye for detail’ to Centennial College’s Corporate Communications and Public Relations program.Graduating from Centennial in 2006, Schelew was prepared to thrive in the world of public relations due to the hands-on learning experience she attained. “

One of the major skills I acquired is my attention to details—even my co-workers recognize how precise I am. I feel like Centennial really helped me to develop a healthy paranoia to looking over my work,” says Schelew.Rachael Schelew

Her career began to unfold when she interned at Buena Vista Home Entertainment, a division of The Walt Disney Company. Shortly after a four-month internship, she landed her current position at Media Profile.

Before Schelew’s training in public relations she never expected to be where she is today. “I always knew I wanted a career in entertainment and media relations, I just never knew it had a name,” explains Schelew.

At Media Profile, Schelew’s main account is Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “I distribute press releases to the print and broadcast media for DVD titles being released in Canada. Later, I compile the coverage and it is presented to the client,” says Schelew.

“For me, client satisfaction is the most rewarding aspect of my job. When I get a media hits for my client’s, I know they will be satisfied—and so will I.”

Working for a public relations agency allows Schelew to be creative and work with a variety of clients. “Some advice I can offer to someone who is seeking a career in corporate communications and public relations is to determine what interests you and not give up on your dream.”

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Mills joins Bev Oda’s team

Posted by Gary Schlee on January 21, 2008

The Hill Times, the “insider” newspaper read by all the movers and shakers on Parliament Hill, included a brief story about Amy Mills, the new policy adviser to International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda. The Dec. 3 edition noted that Amy, 28, graduated from Centennial’s Corporate Communications program and arrived in Ottawa in early 2003 to work for Joe Clark, Peter MacKay and eventually Stephen Harper. As policy adviser, Amy will be liaising closely with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which distributes money to worthy aid projects overseas.

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