Posts tagged college

A Proud Moment for #ZimmCasters and the Girl Scouts of Nassau County

By Marisa Drago and Marissa Kelly

This year was the 100th Gold Award Ceremony for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County, and we were lucky enough to cover the event in our new role as #ZimmCasters! When we were presented the opportunity to attend, we weren’t sure what to expect. We were Girl Scouts when we were younger, so we knew a bit about the organization, but never made it far enough to earn the prestigious Gold Award. We were excited to attend the ceremony and learn what the award was all about.

The two of us are currently interning at Zimmerman/Edelson Inc (Z/E), a public relations firm that has the Girl Scouts of Nassau County as a client. This summer, as part of our season-long intern project, we were tasked with becoming “ZimmCasters.” This means we must challenge ourselves by becoming reporters and social media handlers for Z/E and several of its clients. As #ZimmCasters, we wanted to experiment with live steaming videos at different events. When we found out about the 100th Gold Award Ceremony, we recognized that it had great potential to be shown live on social media.

Before arriving at the ceremony, we came up with interview questions to ask some of the Girl Scouts, emcees, and the executive director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County, Donna Ceravolo. We compiled possible tweets to send out, ideas for footage and interviews, and taught ourselves how to use the live-stream app, Periscope. When we reached the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, where the ceremony was held, we were fully prepared and extremely excited to cover the event.

First, the two of us took a tour of the facilities at the Marine Academy that were being used for the event. Throughout the night, we would be traveling back and forth between two buildings: Wiley Hall and the auditorium. Wiley Hall is where this year’s Gold Award projects were on display for families and friends to observe. We held several interviews in this building, some of which were with Girl Scouts Bianca, Maribel, and Chloe, all of whom were receiving their Gold Awards. The ceremony took place in the auditorium, where we caught footage of the 101 Girl Scouts receiving their Gold Awards, the Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s Chorus performing, and several speakers proudly talking onstage.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Donna Ceravolo and ask her some questions. She opened our eyes to what an accomplishment the Gold Award truly is, and she beamed with pride speaking about the girls earning their Gold Award this year. Her evident passion and excitement for the event and for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County showed us how remarkable the girls who complete their Gold Awards projects truly are. “This project is a symbol of the tangible steps that girls have taken to make the world a better place,” said Ms. Ceravolo.

This ceremony was nothing like we have ever experienced before. Both of us were blown away by the extensive and thoughtful projects put together by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. Each Gold Award Project, along with the girl who created it, was more amazing than the last. As we sat in the auditorium and watched every girl cross the stage we recognized their true leadership qualities, and every single one of the girls should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments. The Girl Scouts of Nassau County gave us an opportunity to learn, not only about their incredible organization, but about what it’s like to be behind the scenes of such a meaningful event like this one.

We extend our true congratulations to all of the girls that earned their Gold Award this year and would like to thank the Girl Scouts of Nassau County for letting us be a part of this wonderful event!

5 Reasons Why #ZimmEdU is the Ideal Place to Intern

By Jillian Baker

1. The People. In any job, it is essential to surround yourself with good people in the workplace. You want your fellow colleagues to be amiable, intelligent and approachable. At #ZimmEdU, everyone fits these criteria and offers much more! Each team member wants to get to know the interns on a personal level to help him or her feel comfortable. Interns never feel worried or nervous about asking a question or two, because the team members are extremely friendly and approachable. One of the many goals of the Zimmerman/Edelson team is to see their interns succeed and take the most from their opportunities. Essentially, the firm wants each intern to leave this program with great experiences and new insights in public relations, social media, advertising, and marketing. Everyone is excited to teach and help!

2. The Work: Too many students land an internship and find themselves bogged down with “intern work,” work like filing or making spreadsheets. However, at #ZimmEdU every intern is provided with real work with a variety of clients and graduates from the program with a significant understanding of public relations and the work involved. Additionally, the work provided covers every aspect of communications—interns get a well-rounded education! They gain experience in marketing, advertising, social media, and public relations and, from there, can decide which subject they enjoy best. The team is happy to provide interns with specific responsibilities and jobs that fit their preferences, so they can truly enjoy the work they are doing each day. Overall, from one session, interns learn a great amount in all areas of the public relations field.

3. The Culture: Zimmerman/Edelson has many unique aspects that establish the company culture that makes this firm successful. The environment is extremely welcoming, the relationships are close, and the work ethic is efficient. Everyone has an open desk, which epitomizes how approachable each person is. Furthermore, the traditions play a germane role in company culture. For birthdays and other milestones, everyone gets together to enjoy the celebration. This portrays the relationships that exist within the company, which I instantly felt my first day. Everyone was so engaging and friendly that I felt comfortable discussing almost anything. I was immediately embraced with open arms and accepted as a member of the Zimmerman/Edelson team. Lastly, it is quite clear that the people here are diligent and efficient. Everyone gets their work done in a timely manner and is open about the projects they are doing. During the weekly Monday meetings, each member explains their plans for the next several days. People ask for help and offer assistance depending on their schedules in order to provide the best services for their clients. Overall, the company culture is derived from unity and efficiency- the perfect fit for an intern.

4. The Zimmtern Program: The #ZimmEdU intern program is unique in that it encourages the interns to form relationships, work outside of their comfort zone, and choose their tasks. It provides the perfect load of dependency and reliability and pushes interns to think and try new things. At the end of the session, interns give a presentation to the firm regarding what they have learned and done during their time with #ZimmEdU. It gives them the freedom to create one unique project, which can involve live streaming, blogging, and more. In addition, they are invited to go to events for the clients that the company is responsible for in order to get the full experience. Zimmerman/Edelson does a phenomenal job of recruiting students who fit the company culture, which is why I have become friends with the other interns. For instance, we get lunch, talk about work, discuss our social lives, and go to events, which creates the relationships needed to feel fully comfortable in the workplace! Overall, the #ZimmEdU program has made this experience very enjoyable and educational.

5. The Result: From writing press releases and photo captions to giving live interviews, I learned so much about the field of public relations. By my third week here, I had learned how to write on social media platforms for clients, how to write a variety of public relations documents, and the best strategies and tactics to advertise events. I’m not even halfway through the program, and I’m learning such a significant amount at the perfect pace. I am constantly being taught something compelling and new while improving my writing every day. Coming to Zimmerman/Edelson was definitely the right decision because I know how prepared I am going to be for the future and how much I enjoyed learning about the various elements in this field. Especially as a rising sophomore, I now have the experience that many students don’t receive until much later in their academic careers, and I know that I have the capability to succeed when I am truly dedicated and driven.

My First Week With #ZimmEdU

By Haylee Pollack

Starting a new job or internship can be stressful. You don’t know what to expect, and you don’t know if it will be worth your time and effort. But after finishing my first week at the firm, I have already taken away so much from this position. Here are five things I learned in my first week as a #Zimmtern in the ZimmEdU program:

1) Writing a press release

Sure, we’ve written a press release or two in my PR classes, but never to this extent. During my first few days as a #Zimmtern, I wrote four press releases for real clients. I learned how to format it correctly for the company and what needed to be included in every release (never forget a quote and the boilerplate). I already see a difference in my writing style, and I can thank this internship for giving me the opportunity to write a real press release and receive immediate feedback to help me grow.

2) Answering the phone and calling the media

Not going to lie: Talking on the phone stresses me out. As a millennial, I prefer texting and emailing. However, in public relations, communication over the phone is essential. During my first week as a #Zimmtern, I learned how to answer phones, what to say, what information I needed to get from the caller, and how to then transfer the call to the correct Zimmerman/Edelson Inc. employee. I learned how to communicate with the media and how to best represent our clients. I have to admit, I still need to work on this skill, but it’s only the first week, and I am confident that the rest of the summer will give me the time and experience to do so.

3) Writing photo captions

In just the past three days I have written countless photo captions. I did this in school a little bit, but not for real clients—or even with real pictures. As a #Zimmtern, I have an opportunity to write photo captions with real people and actual information, which is an experience I wouldn’t have gotten if I did not take on this internship. Z/E employees taught me the correct way to format a photo caption, including how to write the headline and subhead and how to attribute photos.

4) The Zimmerman/Edelson Inc. clipping process

On my second day as a #Zimmtern, I was taught all about the clipping process at the firm. This included how to work the scanner, cut out articles from newspapers and file clips. My favorite part about this lesson was the woman who taught it, Lynn. She really gave us insight into how much this internship can help us in the future, and she even told us more about herself. This definitely took made me feel more at ease on my second day. Thank you Lynn for giving us this lesson.

5) Communication with others

On my first day as a #Zimmtern, I wasn’t sure how to approach other employees to ask if they needed help with anything—I didn’t know if I should email, message, etc. I found that any method is fine, since everyone in the office is so nice, friendly and willing to help you grow. I started off by helping Jill, but by day three I had helped almost everyone on the first floor with a photo caption, press release, phone call or other task. The main thing I learned from this was that I shouldn’t be shy, and that having more work to do makes the day go by faster and makes the experience much more enjoyable. Always ask people if they need help. And if nobody does… read Newsday.

If you are debating whether to pursue an internship in PR—such as one with the ZimmEd U program—I recommend you do. It will be worth your time and will only be beneficial to you in the future.

The Hofstra PRSSA 2016 Regional Conference

By Jessica Avenia

Check out Jessica’s previous post about networking at the Hofstra PRSSA ‘Welcome to NY’ Mixer

We are constantly reminded about the importance of interning while at school and I agree; students should always look for opportunities to grow and better themselves professionally. I also believe students should be encouraged to join professional organizations just as much as they are encouraged to look for internships. Recently, I attended the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Regional Conference at Hofstra University, and I hope my experience will inspire students to find additional ways to be involved outside of the classroom, aside from getting an internship.

The PRSSA 2016 Regional Conference was an all-day event with the first workshop starting at 9:00 a.m. and the conference wrapping up around 5:00 p.m. To kick-off the weekend, the Welcome to New York Networking Mixer was well-attended the night prior. Several workshops were held throughout the day featuring panelists from various industries, including fashion, technology, entertainment, travel and tourism, international, nonprofit and more. There was definitely something there for everyone!

I chose to attend Live from NY! Entertainment PR in the City; Eat, Sleep and Travel: PR in the Food and Travel Industry; and Como se Dice PR? workshops. I was most excited about the travel PR workshop because I plan to work in the travel and tourism industry. I did, however, discover a new interest by attending the Como se Dice PR workshop. Despite being fluent in Spanish, it had never occurred to me to pursue a career in this fast-growing market, which shows how joining a professional organization and attending events like this one can help you define your interests and guide you towards the right career path.

All the panelists offered great insight on their industry, their own perspective on how to break in and many helpful PR tips. In addition to all the amazing panelists, the luncheon was accompanied by an encouraging keynote speech delivered by Edelman Vice President Ashley Chauvin. Mrs. Chauvin addressed the changing landscape of the PR industry, and stressed the idea that to be a great PR practitioner we must learn to be great storytellers—we must be aware of our surroundings and capture the moments that make a story connect with our audience.

Overall, my experience at the Hofstra PRSSA Regional Conference inspired me to work harder by meeting successful individuals who did more than just go to class when they were in my position. I’ve learned that it is important to stay connected and join professional groups that will support your career goals.

Networking at the Hofstra PRSSA “Welcome to NY” Mixer

By Jessica Avenia

Recently, I joined fellow public relations students at Hofstra’s PRSSA Regional Conference, which kicked-off with the “Welcome to New York” Networking Mixer. It was the perfect way to launch the conference because it gave us a chance to connect with young professionals in a laid-back atmosphere next to the Empire State Building, a novel experience for students visiting from out of state.

As graduate committee chair for the Hofstra PRSSA chapter, I was in charge of securing the venue and executing the final details of the event. This responsibility gave me hands-on experience on the event planning side of public relations. It also allowed me to take a step back to observe the interactions taking place with plenty of networking tips to takeaway.

I enjoy meeting new people and consider myself a friendly person, but I absolutely dread going to networking events and having to talk about myself with strangers. The pressure can be overwhelming, as though somehow you don’t fit in because you’re still a student.

That right there is the wrong mindset to have.

Remember, every professional started where you are. Some might be natural networkers, but they most probably learned through experience until they got it right. The key is being confident in what you know, asking questions about what you don’t know and listening to your peers. At the mixer, I actually encountered someone with whom I had a few mutual friends. Once you find that connection, you go with it, engage in conversation and just be yourself. Experiences as a student are interesting and valid, as long as you express passion and eagerness to learn.

Networking can be intimidating for students who are breaking into the field and lack work experience to share. I think school events are the perfect place to build confidence and get accustomed to comfortably introducing yourself to professionals. A few students and I noticed others missing out on this great opportunity by not approaching any of the professionals. We decided two of us would make introductions throughout the night to ensure each student connected with at least one professional. Once they realized most of the professionals were recent Hofstra graduates who not long ago were in the same shoes, they started to let their guard down and enjoyed the rest of the night conversing, asking questions and even exchanging business cards.

The Hofstra PRSSA “Welcome to New York” Networking Mixer was undeniably a wonderful learning experience, and I am thankful I was able to be a part of it. The guests were friendly, approachable and very excited to share their PR stories with us. I now feel that I can go to any networking event and present myself with confidence and not be intimidated by going up to a professional and introducing myself.