Written by Riley Burns, account executive for Cowbucker 

At the end of finals week, a group of excited Ducks took on San Francisco where insight was gained and valuable relationships were formed.

The first day we met in the lobby of the hotel eager to start our tours. As part of the gold team, our first stop was the PAC-12 networks where we met with a few staff members including VP of Communications Wes Mallette. Wes spoke about the mission of the PAC-12 to celebrate universities and their athletes, the importance of being great face to face communicators and different strategies regarding crisis communication. In addition to referencing public relations as the best field to be entering into, one of his most impactful pieces of closing advice was, “People will hear what you say, but they’ll believe what you do.” The PAC-12 was an energizing start to the trip and left us feeling inspired.

Next, we headed to Inner Circle Labs, a boutique agency representing technology clients with a focus on telling “future of” stories. Here we met with a panel of experts from both the Inner Circle Labs team as well as a couple of their clients. A common theme touched on by all panelists was the importance of getting the media interested in your narrative through pitching. Director of Marketing at Samasource Ashley Grabill said, “Your media relationships are your currency and if you don’t have them, you’re broke.” Inner Circle Labs was a great representation of boutique agency life and culture.

Day one ended with a visit to Stitch Fix, where we spoke with members of the influencer outreach team and explored the company’s many floors. During our discussion, a couple speakers emphasized the importance of taking a data analytics class in preparation for entry-level positions. Following Stitch Fix was the alumni mixer which was a great opportunity to chat with professionals from companies on both tours. Staff from companies that were not visited on either tour also attended, including The OutCast Agency, Zeno Group and Edelman.

Our second day began at Twitter where we heard from a diverse panel of people on the communications team including interns, members of the content strategy team and others. We were first given some clarification on what Twitter is intended for, which SOJC alum Kayla Glanville described as an open, real-time platform that instantly connects people everywhere with what is happening now. The presentation ended with each expert panelist leaving us with one piece of advice. A favorite of mine included the importance of being yourself rather than becoming what a company wants you to be and to always trust the timing of your own process.

After a great morning at Twitter we headed to Salesforce where we were fortunate to hear from a panel comprising all SOJC alumni, including Chief Communications Officer Corey duBrowa. Each panelist described the collaborative “Ohana” company culture, details on their respective tasks and how the SOJC prepared them for the workforce. Corey imparted his wisdom to us throughout the session, ending with an emphasis on remaining curious and maintaining a commitment to learning well after graduation.

Fleishman Hillard was our last stop and included another panel of staff with two UO alumni. Each panelist described the collaborative culture at FH as well as answered questions. Lindsey Wallach, an SOJC alum and recruiter in the office, placed emphasis on being intentional in your job search, steering away from clichés like referring to yourself as “detail-oriented” and being confident in interviews. The visit to Fleishman Hillard provided great insight into what daily tasks in an entry level position generally entail.

Our experience to San Francisco was not only helpful in terms of how to navigate the application process as well as present ourselves professionally once in a position, but the importance of curating a journey that makes sense for us individually. Many thanks to Kelli Matthews, Courtney Munther and the many alumni who gave their time, shared personal anecdotes and imparted their wisdom. As always, Go Ducks!

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