Illinois State University’s PRSSA Chapter was fortunate enough to tour the offices of Skirt PR and Zeno Group in Chicago on Friday, Feb. 21.
Skirt PR was the first stop of the day. The office was decorated with hues of pink, bright lights, jeweled pumps, and a wall of handbags. Vice President Lauren Berg was kind enough to sit down with us and chat over mini cupcakes. She explained her role and responsibilities at the agency. After Berg interned at a law firm, she told us she realized she “wanted to work with people, not paper.” She then became an intern at Skirt PR and has been there ever since.
As she shared her experiences, samples of Skirt PR’s work circulated the glass conference table. BirchBox, Warby Parker, Gilt Groupe, Oliver Peoples and Indie Lee are just a few of the brands for which they have worked. When Berg finished, she opened the floor to any questions we had.
In our Q-and-A with Berg, she provided great advice on the industry, internships and chasing dreams. One standout piece of advice is to make yourself indispensable as an intern if you are working at an agency with few job openings. Berg said that when Skirt has interns they cannot imagine losing, they create roles on the team in order to keep their talent and work ethic.
Before we left, she led us through their office and explained the history to us. Skirt PR’s office is actually in an apartment where the founder and president Adrienne Eckert Petersen used to live with her sister. Petersen’s former bedroom is now her office, and is decorated with flowers, fashion sketches, and beautifully packaged product. Berg’s office is in Petersen’s sister’s old bedroom. Her office is decorated with Indie Lee products, a pinstriped couch, and incense reeds. Each Skirt PR staff member also has a Barbie at her desk, a fun touch that reflects the agency’s clients and culture.
Our next stop was the Aon Center in the heart of the Loop. Members ate lunch in the building before heading to Zeno Group’s offices on the 52nd floor. Members were welcomed into a conference room by five Zeno Group employees: human resources coordinator Kate Aherne, senior account executive and ISU alumna Erin Brophy, corporate account executive Lyndsey Slawkowki, digital community specialist Kenzie Grob, and digital community moderator TJ Prince. They briefly explained the history of Zeno Group and their responsibilities. Part of the presentation was dedicated to case studies of some of the projects and campaigns they have worked on over the past year. Some of Zeno’s clients include Pizza Hut, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Kmart, DreamWorks, and Kia Motors.
Kate and the other team members also talked about Zeno’s internship program and offered tips on how to stand out among the many applicants. The program is three months long with an opportunity to extend for another three months if the intern is successful. Interns dive right in and are assigned to work with a client to get as much real world experience as you can with your time at Zeno Group.
After a great discussion, members received a quick tour of the newly renovated office. All of the interns sit together in one area of the office. A favorite aspect of the office for many was the wall of encouragement. A cork board was covered in thank you notes from different departments to people who went above and beyond. The culture of Zeno Group was undeniably welcoming and supportive.
Overall, the trip to Chicago was very insightful and a great professional development experience. ISU PRSSA members should take advantage of these invaluable opportunities to network!
By Ashley Bushala
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.