While interning at ComEd this summer I was introduced to the Dollars for Doers program from the corporate relations team at their parent company, Exelon. This program finds a way to benefit the employees, corporation and the community. Dollars for Doers rewards the employees for their volunteer work by donating grants to non-profit organizations of the employee’s choice. It allows them to support a wide-range of causes and support all areas of the community. They gave 1.1 million dollars in 2018 to non-profit organizations that employees chose. That makes an impact in every corner of society and helps the causes employees felt passionate about. It incentivized me to volunteer while I was there and I’m so happy that I did because I was able to work with and learn about so many great causes. I worked with AIDS Run Walk Chicago, Chicagoland Military Roll Call, Feed My Starving Children and others which really educated me on causes I didn’t know much about before.
I received two grants, which I gave to Project Oz, an organization that helps homeless and runaway youth in the Bloomington-Normal area. Corporate social responsibility is a big deal at ComEd and Exelon, who have been trying to separate themselves from being just the electric company for awhile and this helps that. As a regulated utility, they have to show they are conscious of the environmental impacts they have so they will have so they offer plenty of volunteer events for employees to get hours for the Dollars for Doers program. They see that people view them as a company that just takes their money, so they try to give back in all of these different places to show they understand the impact they can make and that all causes matter.
It shows how ComEd cares about the communities that it serves and how they want to make a difference in lives. It also shows employees how they want to support them and the causes they hold dear. By rewarding employees for their work in the community by giving more back to the community, it makes the company look great to the benefit of all.
By: Josh Pozniak
As many public relations majors know, a degree in PR is highly versatile. While there are the pros of being flexible within different companies, for me, it just furthered my struggle with finding my niche. Within PRSSA, I had opportunities to visit various PR agencies and hear from both corporate and institutional PR representatives. As informative and engaging each session and meeting was, I still needed to fully become immersed in the culture of public relations to understand precisely where I would fit post-graduation, and that’s when I decided to take a leap and start searching for internships.
In all honesty, my internship search was based entirely on proximity. I applied to any internship that was close by, no matter the company, and as risky as that was, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The company that gave me the best offer was Marcfirst, a non-profit organization working to provide independence and acceptance to children and adults with disabilities. Beginning the first day of the job, I came in greeted with smiles, hugs, and cupcakes (my supervisor was a big sweets person)! Each day was new and exciting, whether I started the day spending hours creating design templates on Canva or measuring the increase/reductions of donor and donation amounts. I learned so much in just the four short months that I dedicated to the job, but not all of what I learned showed off my skillsets in PR. The majority of what I came to understand was what interns, employees, and management deserve within the workplace. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that spending countless hours sorting through excel files or working with numbers would be enjoyable. The culture of Marcfirst is so welcoming, dedicated, and inspiring. Marcfirst is the only company where an intern, like myself, could have lunch and build a friendship with the CEO of a company. My supervisor would have snack bins in her office that she would fill daily so that every time someone would come for a meeting or a quick visit, they could grab a snack or “pick-me-up” for all their hard work. The vice president would make sure each person working at Marcfirst was given a shirt and goodie-bag from the CEO to the custodians and interns.
Marcfirst is a caring group of people who are genuinely working to better the lives of the residents and make the community a more welcoming and accepting environment. I am so thankful that I was able to understand my worth as an intern while also learning valuable skills that I will take with me in my career. I highly recommend looking at the company’s goals and culture before accepting an offer. If I hadn’t been so lucky, I could have ended up with an organization that didn’t value and respect me, and it would have entirely shaped my idea on the world of public relations.
By: Gabriella Solis
I found public relations after visiting an open house during a college visit. My plan, originally, was to major in psychology. I have always had an interest in others and how they think. I was also passionate about helping others. After visiting the psychology table, I decided to look around. I saw the public relations table. I knew someone from high school that graduated a year before me that went into public relations. Not knowing much about it, my mom and I walked over to hear more about this career.
What sold me was all the things that were possible with a PR degree. Public relations wasn’t just about writing press releases or cold calling to pitch to media, it was evolving into a digital age of social media, influencers, and shared content. I was hooked and knew that is what I decided to major in.
That is when I found Illinois State. My mom found that the school had a public relations program, and a well established one too. The public relations program equips you with the essential skills needed to pursue a degree in public relations. It also gives you the freedom to I took a campus visit and knew that Illinois State University was the right school for me.
Fast forward four years later, I now hold the position of PRSSA’s chapter president at Illinois State. I joined my freshman year just trying to learn more about what public relations was. This organization has taught me countless skills that are needed in the PR world such as networking, how to properly organize your resume, and social media skills. There are also a lot of lessons I learned from outside of chapter meetings. Time management is an important skill to have, especially in a leadership position.
I also learned to always ask questions. PRSSA is a safe space where no question is worth being ignored. PRSSA wants to help you grow professionally and go into an interview, an internship, or simply networking with confidence. We want you to feel prepared and qualified for any situation.
As my time as President, I have made it my goal to help those who need it. Whether it is to find an internship
By: Megan Pellock
From LinkedIn workshops to International Conference, Illinois State University’s PRSSA chapter is jam packed with professional opportunities for students of any major. Some of the largest and most highly anticipated events of each semester in PRSSA are the fabulous and informative public relations and marketing agency tours. These tours cater to extraordinarily driven students who are ready to dive headfirst into their careers. ISU’s PRSSA chapter has been lucky enough to attend agency tours at global public relations and marketing agencies such as Golin, Ketchum, Fleishman Hillard, and even Weber Shandwick. Although these tours are filled with excitement and enthusiasm, they can also be a bit intimidating. As a third-year ISU PRSSA member and avid agency tour attendee, I’m here to explain the five emotional stages of agency tours as I have seen and experienced firsthand.
The very first emotion felt leading up to an agency tour is most certainly overwhelming confidence. You have completed extensive research on the organization, and feel as though you know the ins and outs of the agencies like the back of your hand. You have your questions completely prepared for the Q&A portion of the tour, fresh resumes printed, and business cards at the ready. You are taking all the steps necessary to ensure you are completely prepped and confident when you step through the doors of each agency.
The second emotional stage of an agency tour happens on your drive to the location of the organization. This emotion is pure, unadulterated nervousness. Are you actually dressed in business casual clothing? Did you do enough research on each company? Will you make it to the agency on time, or will you get pulled over because your chauffeur is driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit? Bona fide panic and anxiousness are felt on the way to an agency tour.
Emotional stage number three is attentiveness. You become quiet and focused as you enter the agency and begin listening to the experienced professionals discuss their organization in depth. You are wholeheartedly interested in every single word these people are saying, and you don’t want to miss a thing. Hearing from frontline and successful employees is what you attended the tour for in the first place. All of your research and preparation has led you to this moment, and you are sure to take notes on every piece of information and advice these professionals are giving you.
Agency tour emotional stage number four is the most uncomfortable, and most commonly experienced stage of any agency tour. This stage revolves around the feeling of self-doubt. The self-doubt stage tends to occur right in the middle of the tour, when you are learning just how meticulous public relations and marking agency work can be. Some of the questions you may ask yourself at this point could revolve around your competence, if the PR field is right for you, if you can handle this type of job, etc. But not to worry! This feeling does not last forever.
The fifth and final emotional stage of an agency tour is excitement. Although you may have felt a bit overwhelmed hearing all that goes into a career in PR or marketing, you leave the agency tour feeling excited about what your future holds. You put aside the feelings of nervousness and intimidation, and look forward to what’s ahead of you. I see this feeling in every person who has attended an ISU PRSSA agency tour, and have felt this emotion myself. The fifth emotional stage of agency tours reminds all who attend that you are good enough, and that you can do this!
By: Mattie Bean
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.