Network, Network, Network!: Video Transcript

Tina McCormack Beaty (Communication major, Miami, 2005) [an Account Supervisor at Porter Novelli]: I chose Miami after doing a lot of research as a high school student. I knew I wanted a school with a strong communications program. So, after looking at a lot of different schools and understanding their culture plus their academic foundation in communications, I came and toured Miami and just basically fell in love with both the campus, the current students that I spoke to just randomly on the street; stopped them, asked them what their experience was as an undergraduate and then I was able to speak to some of the professors as I was taking my tour in the communications school and they just exuded a passion for the teaching that they were doing. I kind of knew this was the place I should go.

I came to Miami knowing that I wanted to enter the communications field, but that was a huge umbrella and I learned how big of a landscape the communications field is in my first year at Miami. So, I kind of looked at different paths within the communications field and through my studies, and specifically through the internships I was able to have while at Miami, that really helped me hone, within communications, I wanted to focus on public relations and so that's kind of where I've taken my career path.

I chose my area of study because as I took classes in it and as I took internships in it and as I understood more of what that field of study would mean in a true career path, I fell in love with it to be completely honest. To have the blend of speaking with people and creating change through words and storytelling, to understand what a brand is; it's more than just a logo, but it's this entire ecosystem that you're affecting and to be part of a team that does that was something that I fell in love with early on and my classes at Miami kind of strengthened that so I jumped into a career based on that.

I had a lot of professors and Miami alumni who truly impacted me as a person and also the path that I was choosing for my career. One of the professors, Mark Lacker, really just — there are some professors that will exude excitement for the topic that they are teaching; he was one of those, Howard Kleiman was one of those and just being able to be in their classrooms and learn from them made me want to go out into the real world and kind of take those learnings and make them bigger and better and kind of make a difference in the world through public relations and through working on things they were teaching us about. I also had the opportunity to do Laws Hall while I was a student, which I know isn't a program anymore, but it was a fabulous example of how Miami connects a real-world experience with alumni and with outside opportunity - bringing it to students. So, through those connections and connections that helped me make further connections, kind of making that my network, really strengthened who I was as a Miami student and where I've gotten to today.

I had the opportunity to be part of the Laws Hall program while at Miami, and I was in the London-based program, which was a phenomenal opportunity to be able to not only get an internship experience, we had PepsiCo as a client, working on their Copella juice line that was launching in the UK, so that was a phenomenal hands-on experience that a Miami alumni had brought to the school to make that connection with PepsiCo, but the opportunity that Miami gave us to go to London and be overseas and just the experience you gain outside the classroom that way was probably one of the best experiences I had while I was a student.

Currently, I am Account Supervisor at Porter Novelli, which is a global PR agency. I work in our Food and Beverage practice, leading consumer accounts through PR, strategy, and branding. My Miami experience qualified me for that position through the internships that I was able to have while I was a student. Also my academic coursework kind of compounded to have me feel confident to go out into the marketplace and get that first job, which kind of allowed me to slowly climb up the ladder to get a second job, which finally did bring me to my current position of being at Porter Novelli; being at that large PR agency, which really was a goal of mine throughout my career.

Upon graduation, I had a job in DC at the digital publishing company called FierceMarkets. There, I was a PR coordinator doing a lot of event planning for industry events that would take us to Vegas, New York, anywhere that the industry thought leadership was happening we would put on networking events; that was my position. That was a fabulous opportunity because I was still learning the foundation of a lot of things I learned in my coursework and my internships; really I saw come to fruition in that first job. The experience there allowed me to become the Director of Communications at a children's charity; I was brought on to re-brand the organization, which spanned six states. From there, I moved to a small agency, also in DC, where I had a mix of nonprofit clients as well as for-profit clients. So, that kind of blended from my in-house experience at the nonprofit and that really helped me see I was interested in working at a large agency with big brands. From there, I was able to gain my current position of Account Supervisor at Porter Novelli.

To incoming students, the advice I would offer is to come to Miami with an open mind and know that you are going to get a great foundation; your education, your core classes, things like that. Be ready to learn everything and anything that you can. Network, network, network! Network with your current students, with your professors, with alumni that you're able to reach out to, but my single biggest suggestion would be internships; even if they're small internships, externships; from freshmen year on fight for them, find them, ask for them; the more experience you can get in the 'real world' on top of your Miami education will just really help set you apart once you get into the real world. Plus, it's exciting to take your coursework and actually apply it in a real-world setting in kind of real time.

One of the greatest strengths I learned at Miami was to network. To network with current students, to network with professors, to network with anyone I came in contact with within the industry. Being involved in students organizations, like the Public Relations Student Society of America while I was on campus; any time a speaker came, the topics maybe weren't quite what I wanted my career to go into, but I would always try to be one of those students who would stay after and talk to them; just to learn a little bit more, to meet them, to try to network with them.

Current students, even friends; you're having a good time as a student and you don't even quite think you are networking, but fast forward a few years now out of school, there are people that I re-connect with on LinkedIn or something like that, where we might trade some industry know-how, or blogs, readings, things like that; I've had people reach out to me because of job opportunities in DC and through that Miami connection I absolutely want to try to help them as much as possible. So sometimes even when you don't know you're networking, just anywhere within that Miami connection, it always kind of helps open doors. I've actually been surprised sometimes at how many doors it has opened for me or how I even was able to open a door for someone without even realizing it, just because I struck up a conversation because we had a Miami connection.

If I were to fast-forward to 10 years from now, where I see myself is exactly what I'm doing right now, just in a more senior leadership capacity. I absolutely love what I do and I love the idea of public relations. I like being able to hear a client's need and want; sometimes they don't even know what they want and that's the best challenge to figure out what they want and need, to set the strategy for that and be able to tell a story and convince an audience. If you can create change, that is an impact that you're making; no matter if it's about a product or it's about a government program, or it's about a nonprofit, to be able to impact the end user and the listener I think is an awesome power and something that PR really allows you to do in creative ways. I think my education at Miami really set me up for success or at least made me fall in love with the idea of this. So, 10 years from now I hope to be at a partner level at an agency setting strategy for clients, both entrepreneurial clients that are small and have small budgets, but really help them 'bootstrap' and get their story told in addition to working with large clients to tell a global story.

If I could share a few things with current students it would be to absolutely enjoy your time at Miami; four years go by really quickly. Have fun with the internships, get experience in your academic field, but have fun while you're doing it. Now is the time to figure out what you want your career to be. Take an internship that you're not sure about. I had the opportunity to have a radio internship doing communications for a radio station; thought I would want to do that, realized that was not for me, but what a phenomenal opportunity; I was able to weed that out of my career path. But then also outside of the classroom and outside of studying and internships, have fun! Join some organizations, have fun with your current classmates because as you graduate and they become your former classmates they will become your best friends for life. Go to UDF and get milkshakes when it's way too late out; just do some fun things that create memories. Run around Wal-Mart and try to get costumes for fraternity parties, things that you will have memories 10, 20 years from now, that's really part of the special experience too.

Outside of classes and internships, one of the most powerful things that I was able to do as a student when it came to learning my trade, my industry, my craft and if I had a passion for all of that was getting involved in student organizations. It really creates a community of like-minded people. It was awesome to be able to join, for me, PRSSA, and get involved and be able to go to speakers, but not just as a member; to really get ingrained in the organization, to join a committee, and then I was able to join the executive board and through that became president of the organization, and I was able to serve on one of the client accounts for PR Visions, which was the student-run PR agency within that student group of PRSSA.

That, to me, was a phenomenal experience; I gained so much knowledge and just being able to chat with people that were also thinking through the industry as a student, but probably one of the most powerful things coming out of being part of that student group was the ability that when I was sitting in interviews, especially, you know, first interviews right out of school, I had a binder and I could talk about all of my internships and my coursework and things like that, but being able to also tell them that I was part of this student organization and here's what we did and here's how we did it, I think they could truly see how excited I was about the industry and I could hit them over the head and tell them I was, but being able to talk about my experience being part of that student group was phenomenal when it came to job hunting, but I really looked forward to every Monday night and the meetings that we had. I'm still in contact with a lot of people I served with on the executive board, so I didn't know that going into it, but I look back and it's one of the most valuable things I did at school.

[April 2013]