Giving Back To The Future

us-and-them-by-jeff-macnellyWhile we are all busy with the day-to-day of work and life, a few recent events underscored the importance of taking the time to stop for a moment to look both back and forward and seek out ways of playing a tangible role in furthering a chosen field.  In 1991, while still working in radio, I made my first dedicated attempt to find a job in public relations. There was at that time, you might recall, a recession going on and I experienced many, many doors slammed in my face, sometimes quite rudely.  I persevered, however, by seeking out willing mentors and ‘few and far’ between “allies”, building relationships and making the connections that helped me eventually find employment in the industry.

That initial career-change adversity helped shape a resolve to assist the next generation of PR practitioners in finding their way. It is a priority shared by my colleagues and firm.  In recent weeks, we have had the good fortune to host students from Wayne State University and Michigan State University at Tanner Friedman, walking them through what it will take to successfully prepare for and transition to a successful and rewarding career.  Similarly, we are currently taking a close look at our intern program and how it might evolve to provide even greater value to our future student colleagues. Regular job shadows are also an ongoing part of our modus operandi and DNA.

Particularly rewarding in recent days was being asked to participate in the Adcraft Club’s 2013 AdCon – a conference for students in the creative industries held last Saturday at the Center for Creative Studies. Hundreds of future PR, advertising and marketing agency professionals were provided with the wonderful opportunity to listen to industry pros discuss their career paths and respective fields.  On a PR panel of four, I had the good fortune to speak to three separate groups of students, sharing best practices and job rewards and realities.  All were greatly engaged, bright and motivated (remember, this was a Saturday)!

And finally, Thursday night the 2013 annual dinner for Detroit Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) was held at MotorCity Casino Hotel – an organization our firm joined upon our inception and one we serve proudly (including in leadership roles).  It is one more way we are giving back to an industry and the people that work within it – both today and tomorrow.  Because, in the end and ultimately, it’s not just about us (and billables and profits).  Rather, it is (with a nod to Pink Floyd) about us and them.