The Canadian Public Relations Society

Mentee Introduction: Julie Phillips

In Mentorship on October 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm

When I first received the email from Jeremy Berry in May 2010 titled, “AN INVITATION: CPRS Calgary Mentorship Program”, I knew I had to apply. Judi Gunter and Dan Muys had both told me about the program and I was anxious to begin my transition from a University of Calgary Honours Communications student to a real world PR practitioner. I was equipped with a carefully crafted resume and I had managed to write a couple of  strong cover letters that got me in the door at a non-profit and a local theatre company for interviews, but nothing had panned out. Since I began my career in the professional news industry in Edmonton, I figured I could probably use a bit of help navigating Calgary’s communications field.

The Mentorship application was simple: new graduates submitted a Twitter-length response (no more than 140 characters) detailing why they would be an ideal candidate for the program. A brilliant strategy on Mr. Berry’s part – not only did it save time reading applications, it was also a good way to see if candidates could communicate effectively in the concise style of a new medium.

Here’s what I wrote: “Julie, a U of C communications grad with media experience who loves writing, events, research, and people, seeks mentor to continue to grow!”

I was worried it came across a bit too much like a personal ad”(“Julie loves cooking, personal growth and the great outdoors…”), but I guess it did the trick. Within a couple of weeks, I received a phone call from my mentor, media relations specialist and PR consultant Daorcey LeBray. Daorcey and I got together for our first meeting at the end of June and have since met numerous times at different points of my career search. Beyond just checking my resumes and providing feedback on job postings, Daorcey has been great to talk to about various issues in communications. So far, we have covered: media research strategies; social media, traditional news, and the changing media landscape; politics; blogging and challenges of graduating with a “theoretical” degree versus a “practical” one.

While I haven’t found the right “fit” yet for my first career position, I’m glad I used the 2010 summer to volunteer, get out in the community, meet people, produce videos, help with the election, join a Board of Directors, read extensively, go to job interviews, and to meet frequently with Daorcey and other great mentors in my life. I now have a way better idea of what I want out of a career, what motivates me and what sort of environment I will thrive in. I am looking forward to what the next eight months of the CPRS Mentorship Program will bring!

Julie Phillips, Mentee
CPRS Mentorship Program

  1. I enjoyed Daorcey on Naheed “how to pronounce my name” Nenshi’s YouTube video which I watched today, tipped off by Don Braid in his blog. What a hoot! Just guessing that the election you helped with was Nenshi’s. What a bang up job Team Purple did! Congratulations.

    I’m sure you are going to find the right fit for your first career position….and you’re making a good point there. There’s “just a job” jobs, which you take while you’re still looking for that first “this is it!” job, in which you feel you’ve set foot on the career path. When you’re just getting started, I think it’s okay to move around a bit in search of the right fit.

    Most mentors won’t have that ‘dream job’ for you, but they can help you like Daorcey’s is doing and they can also help keep your spirits up.

    You’re doing all the right things, Julie

  2. Thanks for your post, Julie. Glad to hear the mentorship program is helping you in the search for that perfect PR job.

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