Sunday, October 23, 2016

CPRS Hamilton: What it Means to you as a PR Student

In Week Four of professor Tim Tuck's Principles of Public Relations (PR) class, board members Kimberly Sopko and Toni Shelton explained to the students just what CPRS Hamilton is, and why we should join. From a PR student's perspective, here is why I decided to become a student member of CPRS Hamilton. 

Hint: I believed that it would elevate my résumé and advance my knowledge of the PR practice as I forge ahead into the industry!

Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Hamilton

As stated on their website, CPRS Hamilton is the "voice for the professional development, promotion and recognition of professional public relations practitioners in Hamilton, Halton, Niagara and Southwestern Ontario."

But I'm not yet a professional PR practitioner! Am I still eligible for membership? 

As a student of Mohawk College's PR Graduate Certificate Program - Yes, you are! Sopko and Shelton explained that membership applicants must devote most of their work-for-pay time to the practice of PR, have a degree or be in the process of getting a degree in public relations, or be a career teacher or administrator engaged in PR or communications education at an accredited post-secondary institution. 

Isn't the membership fee a whopping $350? 

A perk of being a student member is that membership only costs $30 for the first year, plus the year after that!

Personally, the member benefits are what convinced me to join CPRS Hamilton, because they all are designed to assist me in becoming a well-rounded PR professional. 

Throughout the year, there will be: 
  • Networking opportunities that will help me build a professional network with fellow PR students and local PR professionals
  • Professional development events, including webinars and luncheons
  • Potential job leads and volunteer opportunities in national and local sites
  • Student discounted rates for the National Canadian Public Relations Conference
  • Student awards - local and national
  • Access to a mentorship progra

CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Program

Each year, the mentorship committee pairs more than a dozen mentors and mentees after careful consideration of each individual's areas of interest.

On October 7, applications closed for the 2016-17 mentorship program, and I received the great news that I was successfully selected as a mentee! The first mentorship event was October 12 at The Hamilton Spectator, and the purpose of this event was to meet the program participants and participate in a speed networking/mentoring circuit. To prepare for the event, I looked through each of the mentors biographies to begin the vetting process. At the event,  I had approximately five minutes with each mentor to finalize my top three picks. Interested in knowing who my mentor is? Feel free to ask me in class!

Upcoming CPRS Hamilton Events

As part of the mentorship program, I will be attending an event on November 3, called "Choose your own adventure: Career paths in PR." Mentees will have the opportunity to learn more about different sectors of the PR practice, including corporate, government, healthcare and education, and freelance and agency.

However, there are other events that YOU can get involved in! On November 15, CPRS Hamilton presents, "Advanced Writing and Brand Journalism," in partnership with Ragan Communications, Inc., at Hamilton's Waterfront Banquet and Conference Centre, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Publisher and CEO Mark Ragan will be leading attendees through a two-part workshop on Advanced Writing and Brand Journalism which will include successful Canadian PR case studies. Keep in mind that this may be a great event to ask for as an early Christmas gift, since the event fee is not quite - ahem - student-friendly!

Connect with CPRS Hamilton

Stay up-to-date on future CPRS Hamilton events and learn more about the organization:


Canadian Public Relations Society
CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Program

Monday, October 17, 2016

Want to travel and get your Masters? Brandon Waller explains how you can!

What if I told you you could turn your eight month postgrad certificate in Public Relations from Mohawk College into a MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations; sounds like a dream eh?

Well it's a reality, thanks to a new partnership agreement between Mohawk college and Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh Scotland you can turn your postgraduate certificate into a Masters degree in as little as twelve months. 

"Mohawk College has researched and verified the credentials of Queen Margaret University," said Linda Basso, pathways co-ordinator at Mohawk College, "and we are happy to announce that Queen Margaret University has surpassed our expectations"

This past Friday past and current PR students from Mohawk College were invited to attend an information session about the program and had an opportunity to have any questions they had answered by either Greig Lawson, international recruitment officer, or by Sally Chalmers, programme leader of the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations program.

Local Artists can now hit the FM Radio Dial.

Are you a local musician? Have you ever thought about getting to hear your own music on the radio? Well now you can. As of January 2016 a platform for local hamilton artists can now hear their authentic,  home crafted music on FM Radio.

With the new digital era, indie recording artists continuously struggle to get their music heard across the globe, and even in their own cities. What would have not even been a thought that would cross the average musicians mind in this day and age, is now more than possible.

Want the platform? Marc Tupuhi, The Hum Fm founder says, "This is literally the music of the people on your street".The Hum 106.7 FM, is a radio station playing most genres of local music. It is not just a pop station, this is no 99.9 Kiss FM, this is the station that will play any, and all songs, as long as they are created by local talent.

Now go, get out there, and start to get the music you put your blood, sweat and tears into, out there for the public to hear!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

IABC Taking Hamilton by Bike

On September 28, 2016 a few of the students in our class attended out first International Association of Business Communicators event in downtown Hamilton at CoMotion On King. At the event we heard a presentation by SoBi Hamilton. Coming from Niagara I have never really seen much of a bicycle sharing program so this was a new experience for me. To my surprise, I really enjoyed hearing about how the company started here in Hamilton and the tactics they used to make their Nonprofit organization thrive among the city. One of the tactics that stood out to me the most is the idea of each individual bicycle having it's own name. I found this to be unique and a fantastic way of promoting the bicycles around the city. They discussed how because of this people are enticed to look for a specific bike they have seen online. Speaking of online promotion I enjoyed the way that SoBi bikes has used social media to display their products and services they have used primarily Instagram to reach a wide audience and it has been proved valuable to their business.

Another experience I took from this event was networking opportunities. With attending this event I was able to meet new individuals working in the field of Public Relations and are members of he IABC. Along with that I was able to continue fostering relationships with a few individuals I have already met. I find that events like this one allowed for a laid back environment to have a conversation with people who as a new students some may find it to be intimidating.

All in all I found the event to be informative and a great experience as a new student in the field. I would recommend attending at least one event to all student because it provides you with added experience at networking and allows you to also foster relationships with your classmates.

Brittany Foote-Szambor. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Department vs. Agencies Assignment

The department vs. agencies assignment was an important assignment that was completed in the communications technologies course. Upon completing this assignment, we were able to confidently consult and recommend services based on the needs of the client; we were also able to understand the difference between a structured PR department within an organization and a PR agency. Learning about the benefits of each of these gave my classmates and I an idea of whether or not we would like to work client side or agency side and of course both have their pros and cons.

This assignment was completed as an example of how The Fruity Drink Company should structure their organization. As an independent PR consultant, it is important to recognize the type of organization you are advising when consulting. Would they be better suited having an internal PR department or a PR agency? Not everyone is the same.

A structured PR department can work best when they have access to top management, have a high level of influence and when they have authority. Structuring a PR department within an organization is beneficial because those who work within the company can specialize in one area and focus on specialized tasks rather than a variety of different accounts and projects (like an agency would). Specialists within a department know your product best and would be up to speed with any and all information regarding the company.

Don’t get me wrong, agencies can be efficient as well and these people know what they are doing; benefits to having a PR agency handling your company image is that they come equipped with a variety of expertise and skills, credibility, extensive resources and objectivity. PR agencies would be a great option for organizations who are doing one off projects because of an agency’s extensive amount of resources that reach far beyond a department's capability.

Upon completing the assignment with my partner Donna, we found that building an internal PR department is the best way to maintain a consistent public relations image for The Fruity Drink Company. In class we learned that in cases like this building a department would be a better option because the cost associated with an agency can be costly. Departments are able to work closely on areas of the company that need to be improved and also work closely on projects with other employees. The communication within the organization stays within the organization unless advised otherwise.

From there we were able to pull information directly from the case study in order to determine the primary needs of The Fruity Drink Company which were: community relations, media relations and issues management. This exercise enabled us to recognize the needs of the client and advise them on services that would be useful to improve the perception of company. We also learned that building a department within The Fruity Drink Company would be more cost effective in the long run as well. Using what we learned in class, we were able to comprehensively and confidently explain our reasoning behind each of these services and provide the best possible advice to our case study client.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hamilton Hive: Networking In the Public Relations Industry

Written by Donna-Marie Ieluzzi

Have you ever heard the phrase, "it's not about what you know-it's about who you know" and you laughed and moved merrily along your way because paying for an education to know "everything" about the field you're studying was good enough for you? From a public relations perspective, you begin to acknowledge that who you know plays an integral part of being a public relations practitioner. In this field, building a network and sense of community is critical. When public relations is analyzed for what it is, the relations aspect is always highlighted the most, because that's what it's all about! Surely, it is about what you know, but who you know and the people you meet somehow always make more of a difference. As a student, we have the opportunity to start developing and nurturing these relations and learn more about our future profession, whether that be through a peer, educator, mentor, specialist or professional.

At our level, sometimes it's difficult to source the right individuals to collaborate with, learn from or simply build a relationship with. Hamilton Hive is a haven for young aspiring professionals to advance their careers and networks. The Hive's objective is to serve the Hamilton community's emerging professionals through mentorship and networking in their respective field. There are many ways that Hamilton Hive proves itself to be a great resource for engaging young leaders and professionals. 

They have their own online  mentorship program called Hive Connect that connects mentors and mentees with one another through the Hive's social platform. A video on this program and how to join can be found on their YouTube channel (and below).

Hamilton Hive will also be holding a conference called "HIVEX" on November 5th at the Cotton Factory to host a full day of activities meant to engage working professionals, post-secondary students, recent grads, entrepreneurs, artists, freelancers and more with their networks, community and field. This event is intended for engagement, which is the day's theme, through thought provoking presentations and workshops. For more information and a full schedule/itinerary, visit

Hamilton Hive promotes the youth of Hamilton; the young individuals who are future ready, driven and ambitious. By taking pride in Hamilton's young aspiring and emerging professionals, the Hive also takes pride in our future and how we will continue to nurture the communities we grow in and grow from. As mentioned before, it is very much so about who you know, and the Hive takes that notion to the next level.

Hamilton Hive's website is A great visit for Hamiltonians looking to contribute to the Hive and build their own!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Eric Bergman: Truth VS. Transparency

December 1st, I had the opportunity to attend an IABC event where Master Communicator, Eric Bergman, discussed being truthful versus being transparent- because there is actually a difference.

Here are the 3 main topics Eric spoke about at the event about being a transparent business communicator:

1. On Polarization

Polarization is the opposition of sides. Our goal as communicators is to neutralize these sides through forming an unformed opinion or changing an opinion.

People don’t remember what you say; they remember what they thought about what you said. As long as someone has an emotional attachment, you won’t be able to change his or her mind. To reverse this, make them compare their logic and your logic to create a reasonable, rational, logical opinion. Chances are you will be able to neutralize the polarization.

2. On Transparency

Trust comes from transparency. If you are going to manage polarization, you must answer questions. However, transparency means, “ask me anything you want”, NOT “that’s a good question but let me tell you what’s really important”. Short answers are easier to remember, and answering the question clearly will generate a more positive response.

There are a choice 3 answers to every question:

1. No I don’t have the answer, but I will find out.
2. Yes I know the answer, it’s….
3. Yes I know the answer, but I can’t discuss it.

3. The Art of Answering Questions

The more you try to educate everyone, the less they understand. Ironic, isn’t it?

There is a lot of logic to be explored in Q&A’s, but sometimes business communicators get in the way when answering. Keep “PAS” in mind:
P= pause
A= answer
S= stop

Any question should be able to be answered in 10 words or less. Eric has recorded business communicators answering questions and showed it to them afterwards- he then recommends to do 10 pushups for every word you go over 10 words. You’ll put more value in your words and use less filler.

A big thank you to Eric Bergman for the great tips!

- Jessica Cabral