Recent graduates of KPU’s Public Relations Diploma Program work for some of the most respected PR firms and organizations across Canada, and around the world. Below, graduates share what they learned during their time at KPU and how it helped prepare them for their exciting jobs in communications and public relations.
Kwantlen's PR program has been very good to me; In just two years, through their hands-on approach to learning and a fantastic teaching staff, I was equipped with the skills I needed to come out of the gate swinging. Since then, I've had no problem finding great work opportunities, and have always felt confident approaching new challenges with the foundation of experience I gained through the program. I've worked in a variety of different fields - from video games to non-profit to real estate - and at no point have I felt unprepared or incapable. This is a fantastic way to begin a career in public relations or communications. I am currently a Communications Coordinator with the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.
KPU's program offers real world experience on major class assignments and as a result, I got to test drive industry segments before making a career commitment. By the time I left the program I'd made great contacts and leveraged what I learned about digital media to put me on the path to my current role as a tech writer and senior media analyst in San Francisco. The PR program gave me the confidence to openly discuss business strategy and trends and those discussions have been published in Mashable and The New York Times.
In 1998, I graduated from KPU with a diploma in Journalism and Public Relations. Since then, I’ve honed my experience in public relations and communications while managing media, public relations and marketing communications for the BC Lottery Corporation, developing issues management strategies and enhancing customer satisfaction for Coast Capital Savings Credit Union, and implementing marketing communications initiatives for Starbucks Coffee Company. In 2010, I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University to round out my education. I currently work as a senior consultant at Acumen Communications Group and teach public relations and strategic communications within the School of Business at British Columbia Institute of Technology. My education at KPU gave me the foundation I needed to be a successful and sought after public relations practitioner.
After a one-year contract with BC Centre for Disease Control following my graduation, it was time for a change and took the skills I learned from the Public Relations diploma program half way around the globe. I landed a job with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide Taipei as an Account Executive managing international corporate clients' PR activities in Taiwan. I eventually returned to Vancouver and recently accepted the Associate position with NATIONAL Public Relations, Canada's largest public relations firm with offices located across the country. There is never a dull moment working at NATIONAL Public Relations. One minute I would be on the phone pitching to the media and the next minute I would be running around in my heels hanging up banners and greeting reporters at an event. In between all this, I'm currently blogging for the Chinese edition of Vancouver Sun sharing fun and exciting events around town with Asian readers.
A quick online personality test pointed me to the field of Public Relations and led me to KPU's outstanding PR Diploma Program. I quit my full-time job and decided to enroll right away. It was one of the best decisions of my life. KPU provides both theory and practical communications and PR skills critical to becoming successful post-grad, including specialized PR writing, design, public speaking, event coordination, and crisis management. Its roster of instructors is comprised of experienced practitioners in the field.
After graduation, I landed a job with a Vancouver PR agency where I worked for three years, before dabbling in a bit of corporate communications at a post-secondary school. Currently, I freelance full-time and work with clients in the restaurant, lifestyle, travel, technology, and retail industries. People are sometimes afraid of becoming a solo practitioner, but setting up my own PR consulting business was definitely a lifestyle choice. It gives me freedom to choose my clients, network whenever possible, and flexibility in terms of schedule.
I always look back at KPU’s teachings for guidance or say “What would Terri do?” Many of my past instructors had their own businesses, and gave great life advice and examples.
Since graduating from KPU’s PR diploma program back in 2008, I have had some amazing experiences working with organizations that truly inspire me. My professional experiences in the field of Public Relations have now lead me to the opportunity to work for a Social Media PR firm, tMedia (tmedia.com), working with renowned tech maven Tod Maffin. I am at the cusp of a new frontier in PR/Marketing working with tMedia, where we develop social media platforms for growing businesses and corporate companies alike. At tMedia, I’ve had the opportunity to be the project lead working with CityTV Breakfast Television to tweet out exciting new segments for their shows, working with new social media platforms that are changing the face of Public Relations.
It’s been a whirlwind. And all this experience could not have come to play without my educational background in Public Relations from KPU. In the PR program, we were taught so many hands-on skills that provided us with the right tools to go out there and “play”. With the experience I now have in the industry, I’ve decided to go back to school and pursue my BA in Professional Communication at Royal Roads University. My diploma in Public Relations is directly transferable into third year studies at Royal Roads. I highly recommend this program to anyone who has the passion for Public Relations. It’s an exciting road and I’m only just beginning.
I am an Assistant Consultant in Hill & Knowlton's Vancouver office. Since joining the agency last year, I have worked on a wide range of clients such as The Canadian Gene Cure Foundation, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Don Docksteader Motors, Royal Canadian Mint, Labatt and CedarStone. My responsibilities mainly include research, media relations, writing and event support. My most recent client is Rivers Inlet Hakai Pass Salmon Enhancement Association. I am writing a position paper on the economic value of the Rivers Inlet fishing lodges business to Port Hardy and the District.
Since graduating, I have taken the position as PR/Marketing Director for Mayne Island Resort and Beach Homes. I was fortunate to become involved in this project from day one because it has been one of the most exciting and educational experiences ever! I consider myself to be more a “project manager” because I am responsible for coordinating with all the stakeholders in the project including the designers, architects, realtors, buyers, investors, lawyers, etc.
I started doing media relations and freelance writing from home. I charged $500/article and $30 - $50/hour for the media relations. I have coordinated five fundraising events in the past two years, including three events for PACE, and I am planning the Third Annual Exotic Dancers for Cancer to be held on February 26th at the Drake Showlounge from 4 p.m. till midnight. I also coordinated a conference for the BCCEW. Currently I am doing contract work for PACE Society – creating a newsletter, assessing their website, and planning a donor appreciation event. In March, I will be taking on a part-time position with PACE Society as their Organizational Development Coordinator – creating and distributing communications materials, and creating and building relationships with their donor community.
I am the Information Coordinator for the Arbutus Lands Visioning Process with James Hoggan and Associates. I have been working on the project for about a month now and it’s really exciting to be part of such a community oriented project. During the program and following graduation I gained experience working in the corporate world of PR at Telus and ICBC, and it has been so refreshing to work in an agency where things are done very differently (good different!). I am currently located downtown, which is great if you want an office with an amazing view, but not so great if you have a shopping problem (which I do!).
After the PR program, I transferred to the BBA program at KPU. I'm in my last term, and it's been a great experience, lots of real life experience, and lots of work. On the side, I have also done PR projects for different non-profits, and small clients. After I finish the program, I'm going to travel for a few months, and then I'm moving to Colombia to work for an international advertising agency.
After a short PR/Media Relations contract at the City of Surrey following my graduation in 2001, I was lucky to land a Communications position at the Rick Hansen Man In Motion Foundation, where I have now been for nearly five years in a variety of Marketing/Communications roles. Last October, I completed my BA in Communications from Royal Roads University and was appointed to the position of Manager - Advertising, Promotions, and Collateral at the Foundation. In this role, I am responsible for the advertising and promotions for the annual Rick Hansen Wheels In Motion campaign and am managing all collateral/promotional requirements for the Foundation as a whole.