For my 10-week summer internship with Guthrie/Mayes Public Relations in Louisville, Ky., I spent much of my time attending glamorous networking events, rubbing elbows with some of Louisville’s top business executives and city officials, and pitching ideas to reporters who thanked me endlessly for my creativity and knowledge of important events.
Ok, yeah right, but an intern can dream, right?
While my internship may not have been a whirlwind of glitz and glamour, it was an amazing learning opportunity that afforded me several experiences that I’ll be able to utilize in my future career endeavors. Yes, I spent a lot of time performing typical intern tasks, like clipping articles for clients, doing research, creating media lists, proof-reading and drafting copy, and making follow-up calls. Oh, the follow-up calls… But, I also got the chance to share my ideas with insightful, resourceful people within the industry who made me feel like a viable member of the team. I attended a press conference for one of our clients, and luncheons hosted by the Public Relations Society of America and the Louisville Forum.
Although I worked on several projects for many different clients, there were two in particular that I enjoyed the most. The first project was with the Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for the Fijis Across America fundraising campaign. Five Fiji fraternity brothers from Western Kentucky University spent the majority of their summer break biking cross-country to raise $75,000 for Alzheimer’s research. The guys began in Oceanside, California and finished their journey in Yorktown, Virginia. They rode more than 3,200 miles in support of Alzheimer’s. I worked closely with Ashley Schaffner, an Associate Account Manager, and Kristena Morse, an Assistant Account Manager, to ensure that the guys received the media attention their efforts deserved. We distributed news releases, media advisories and made follow-up calls. When the Fijis reached Kentucky, there was an event held in Elizabethtown, Ky. and we spent a great deal of time arranging interviews between local media outlets and the riders. The results were fantastic, and the riders were able to get the word out, which resulted in more donations to the Alzheimer’s Association. We continued our efforts with each stop the Fijis made during their trek across Kentucky. Working on such a worthwhile project for such a significant cause was extremely satisfying.
The other project was organizing and implementing public relations efforts for the opening of a Krispy Kreme Neighborhood Shop in Jeffersontown, Ky. It’s the first store to open in the east end of Louisville, so folks were very excited, which made the effort a lot of fun. We put together a Krispy Kreme T-shirt seek-and-find contest by hiding T-shirts at various locations in Jeffersontown. I was tasked with writing the clues to be posted on Facebook and Twitter, and I also chose all of the locations. After I hid the shirts and began posting the clues, the response from the public was amazing. On most days, after the clues were posted, the shirts were found within 15 minutes. It could be because the T-shirt finders received a dozen doughnuts a month for a year! I suppose it was good motivation. We also coordinated a birthday cake contest because Krispy Kreme celebrated its 73rd birthday on the day of the grand opening. The cakes had to be crafted primarily out of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and the contest was open to the public. I took part in drafting media materials, and I also spent a lot of time communicating with Jeffersontown city officials and the Chamber of Commerce to organize the ribbon-of-doughnuts cutting ceremony on opening day. Not only was the project fun, it was also a valuable learning experience because I had the opportunity to see how important it is to forge working relationships within the professional community.
The time I’ve spent interning with Guthrie/Mayes has been invaluable. This was my second internship in the public relations field, and the experiences have solidified my decision to pursue a career in public relations. I have now worked within a public relations department and within an agency, and I understand and appreciate the differences between the two, which will only help me in the future. I will be able utilize my experiences and knowledge of both to further my development and feel confident when I enter the job market.