Meryl B: PRSSA Conference “Looking Back to Move Forward” Summary

Students interested in pursuing a career in communications can meet with established business and industry professionals at the PRSSA Conference for PR Advanced: “Looking Back to Move Forward.” BU PRSSA has been hosting this event for 16 years, covering topics including CSR, DEI, media relations, agency versus in-house PR and more. I attended the DEI Panel and In-House versus Agency Panel.

The DEI Panel consisted of Aisha Hudson, VP of True MOSAIC and Corporate Reputation at Fleishman Hillard, Cynthia Issac, Managing Director at Syeneos Health, and Cat Colella-Graham, Employee Engagement and DEI Consultant/Founder of Cheers Partners. They discussed how the time of racial reckoning is now, and organizations must commit to justice. A question answered was: What does equity mean to you? Hudson responded that it is the removal of systemic/systematic oppression. It does not mean the same as “equal.” Organizations should be responsible for creating and providing opportunities for those who have not been as fortunate and have dealt with racial bias. Isaac responded that equity could be giving leadership training or mentorship to those who need it. Graham explained that equity means providing opportunities, mutual accountability and career mobility.

Each panelist discussed their goals arouond DEI. Hudson said the clients she has worked with usually have diversity goals within their team. Isaac stated that DEI goals are reasonable, but setting goals and holding yourself accountable is better. A quote from Graham perfectly sums up the above statement: “make sure the audio matches the video.” Training for DEI sets the foundation, but is not the journey’s end.

The In-House versus Agency Panel consisted of Emma Mulvaney, Director of the Media Department at Allison + Partners, and Abha Gallewale, Senior Manager of Digital Demand Generation at ASICS. Mulvaney described no right or wrong way to enter the workforce regarding agency and in-house. It is crucial to get experience, and any experience is a good one. Gallewale explained how when she worked at Digitas, she felt that while at the agency, she did not get the full scope of why something does not work because it is so fast-paced. In an in-house role, she believes you get more insight into why campaigns do/do not work. Mulvaney enjoys how diverse the work is in an agency and how “no day is ever the same.”

Work-life balance varies in each role. Gallewale feels that while at an agency, it is hard to set boundaries and that she was constantly working over eight-hour days. However, in her position at ASICS, she can set limits. Mulvaney explained how the media consumed her life 24/7 and that achieving a good work-life balance is hard.

Overall, I really enjoyed the conference and the panel. In classes at BU, we read a lot about DEI and agency versus in-house, but it is beneficial to hear about it through people’s first-hand experiences. Additionally, I was able to meet new people and network with other PR professionals.

Meryl B: How to Get an Internship

Internships provide a great way to gain exposure to a variety of industries, open doors to future opportunities, and also show future employers you are serious about gaining experience and increasing your professional skills. Wondering where to begin? Here is a list of platforms to help you look for internships, as well as providing a great way to network with people across different fields to learn more about career paths. 

  1. LinkedIn 

LinkedIn not only connects you with recruiters and future employers, but with friends, former employers, professors and business figures, thereby broadening your reach and exposure. Based on your search criteria, it will send relevant job/internship postings. You can also link in with friends who will appear in your notifications so you can see their updates. Therefore, you are kept informed of changes in their roles and recent accomplishments. You can also let recruiters know that you are open to new positions. Additionally, if you choose to purchase the premium subscription, you can see who has viewed your profile. 

  1. Handshake 

Discovering all types of work opportunities, including paid internships, is made simple through Handshake. To ensure your application is competitive, the platform frequently collaborates with career services at Boston University. One of the numerous advantages Handshake offers is the ability to submit a resume and cover letter for evaluation before applying. Additionally, employers post on Handshake their events/career fairs, so you can shake hands and network. 

  1. MonsterCollege 

Finding employment and internships might be as terrifying as the monster you once believed lurked in the shadows as a child. However, MonsterCollege offers an easier alternative, improving your experience through its customized approach. Specifically created for college students and recent graduates, the site enables you to learn about a variety of occupations, get interview tips, speak with other job seekers, and even find a job. Therefore, taking the fear out of job hunting, creating a positive experience and bringing opportunities to light. 

  1. Creatively 

Creatively connects creative artists of all stripes — animators, fashion designers, web designers, fine artists, writers and producers — with companies and individuals who need their services. The website was launched by Stacey Bendet, the founder of the clothing line Alice + Olivia, and assists jobseekers when applying for positions with national and international firms. Signing up and creating a profile is free for artists, and the platform makes it easy to showcase your portfolio. Employers and brands subscribe to the platform to interact with creatives and find interested candidates.


Meryl B: Advice for Living Off-Campus

Advice for Living Off-Campus

After my freshman year living in a dorm in west campus, I felt it was time for a change and decided to move off-campus. I wanted to switch it up from having dining hall food to having my own place where I could cook. My sister told me that south campus offers a nice way to get out of the “BU bubble,” but still be close to classes. I found a great apartment and could not be happier about my decision. There is not only a Tatte five minutes from my new place, but
Timeout Market, Whole Foods, and more!

Moving from a dorm meant having more responsibilities. I had to set up an Eversource account, budget my spending on dining out and groceries, and file maintenance requests when needed (which can take weeks to be completed).

Here are my tips for living off-campus:

1. Research each apartment you visit

Even if you like it, you do not want to sign a lease on the first apartment you see. Make sure you ask current tenants about their experience, and why they are moving out. Also, be sure to inquire about whether the building or appliances have any problems and, if so, how quickly the
landlord responds and fixes the issues.

2. Create a budget

Living in Boston can be expensive. Takeout, groceries, and household items can add up. In addition, off-campus housing requires utilities and internet among other incidentals. I write down my weekly spending on the notes app, or you can use a journal to track expenses to ensure you are not overspending.

3. Buy basic items in bulk

Going to Target or Star Market is not only time-consuming if you run out of necessities, like toilet paper or hand soap, but it can also be expensive. Buying in bulk helps you to save money, but you should also be careful not to over purchase as space is limited, and to monitor your inventory so that you have everything when you need it.

4. Introduce yourself to your neighbor(s)

I introduced myself to my neighbor across the hall on move-in day. You do not necessarily need to be close to them, but knowing who they are and getting their contact information can help you in the future. What if the power goes out and you need to borrow a flashlight, or use their cell phone because you accidentally locked yourself out? It has happened to me. An emergency can
come up, and it is a relief to know that your neighbor is near and can lend a hand.

5. Clean your apartment

Cleaning is essential. Boston is riddled with rats, mice and roaches. Consistently vacuum your floors, do your dishes, take out the trash, and clean your counters and bathroom.

6. Set up auto payment for rent

Apartment owners and landlords are very rigid about when your rent is due and you want to avoid a late fee. Set up auto-payment, if possible, and if it isn’t an option, put a reminder in your calendar for when to send the payment each month.