In just a few hours, our country will celebrate Thanksgiving, a day when we remember our blessings and reconnect with friends and family.
(Left to Right) Friends Nancy Nolley, Jannette Watts, me, WFAA Anchor/Reporter Marcus Moore, and Stacey Hascoe, during a celebration of a successful contract at WFAA, Sept. 2, 2016.
This great holiday also lends itself to another celebration for small businesses to share with their clients, customers and vendors. Without their support and business, Thanksgiving would have a lot less “Thanks” in it.
In that spirit, I wrote this prayer for my clients to express my deep appreciation for the opportunity to work on their behalf, to help solve their media relations and other communications’ problems. Beyond that, I care for their overall well-being.
"A Thanksgiving Prayer for My Clients"
I appreciate you!!!!
I pray that your Thanksgiving is filled with fun, relaxation, and love, from family and friends. And, that you continue to enjoy good health, peace, prosperity, and great success in all of your endeavors. Also, I desire that your vendors’ and suppliers’ families and friends receive an ocean full of peace, prosperity, success, and, good health.
Thank you for turning to Harvest Reapers Communications to assist with your communications’ needs, and for believing in my boutique agency when you could have easily gone in a different direction. You are a busy professional running your own corporation, agency, consultancy, or nonprofit, and your life is flooded with decisions, data and dilemmas. I am grateful that you turned to me, in the midst of all of that, when you needed a proven, experienced, highly-skilled consultant.
The Careers/Job Hunt edition (March 2012) of Public Relations Tactics includes an article I wrote. The path of perseverance: Carving out a new career explores the journeys of three former journalists who transitioned successfully to public relations.
Below are additional insights from some of the story's subjects and an audio excerpt of my interview with Yolette Garcia, Assistant Dean, External Affairs and Outreach, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Southern Methodist University.
Ginger Anderson is a career development facilitator with RESCARE, Inc.
Ginger Anderson is a career development facilitator with RESCARE, Inc. and works at the Richardson Workforce Center in Richardson, Texas.
Q: What are the first steps a career changer should take when beginning a job search?
A: Before you start a job search, know what your minimum personal budget is and what salary range will meet that. Don’t expect to make what you did at your last job. Ask yourself ‘what is the absolute minimum I can live on'? Anything above that is gravy.
Q: How can the career changer obtain experience in a new industry?
A: Do volunteer work to hone the skills you need. We have to show the employer that we are trying to increase our skills... Then during the interview, tell the hiring manager that you are willing to learn from the bottom up—it’s the best way to learn about a new industry. Assure the prospective employer that you are there to help the company grow and obtain it goals.
Wiley Henry has transitioned from journalism to PR.
Wiley Henry, a portrait artist, photographer and former newspaper editor, went through a period of unemployment until he landed a senior account services specialist/writer job.
Q: Was your faith tested [during your unemployment]? A: Oh yes, definitely tested. I stayed on bended knees hoping and praying that the Lord would open a door for me. And He did. And it was definitely a faith-tester ... . Every time I thought I was getting close to landing a job, it failed. It didn’t come through.
And also, just when unemployment [benefits] were about to run out, that’s when I got the call from Deidre [Malone, who hired him to work for her firm, Memphis-based The Carter Malone Group LLC]. I had about a month left [of unemployment benefits]. That’s God... .
We are taught in church that God is an on-time God [and] that He was will be there when you least expect Him to be. I’m a living witness that He will be right there.
Before she founded her PR firm in Memphis, Tenn., Deidre Malone was a broadcast journalist.
Deidre Malone runs her own PR firm, The Carter Malone Group LLC, based in Memphis, Tennessee. She hired Wiley Henry to help her firm's clients.
Q: What advice do you have for journalists who may be considering PR? A: Seek a mentor. When you are a journalist sometimes you have an affinity to not want to deal with public relations professionals. This is an awesome career to have … .
A great deal of what we do is strategic communications. I recommend they seek out small PR firms that may need assistance like Wiley ... . You can learn to pitch and put together a communications strategy. That’s something you can learn.
Here is an audio excerpt from my January 2012 interview with her:
Anthony HIcks, APR, is PR director at a Memphis nonprofit.
Anthony Hicks, APR, is director of public relations and development at Shelby Residential and Vocational Services in Memphis. Hicks, formerly a staff reporter at the Arkansas Gazette, has advice for journalists or anyone else considering a job in PR.
Q: Do you have any regrets about PR? A: The biggest challenge is managing expectations of senior executives. Unfortunately, public relations is a difficult field to understand if you are not experienced in it. Consequently, many organizational leaders do not have experience in public relations. That means the public relations person is expected to work miracles.
Have a thick skin. Be strategic. Always be strategic.
Q: Why get the APR (Accreditation in PR credential)? A: I got it because I wanted to be recognized as the best in my field. I wanted to know for myself that I had the best skills that my industry required and I wanted some authentication. You have to be in PR for a while to get it. I knew it would be a valuable commodity to have. PR is highly competitive so anything you can do to differentiate yourself, the better off you are.
Q: Any other advice? A: Before and after joining a company, learn its business thoroughly. Once hired you will consistently use your innate news gathering skills to identify programs and initiatives in the company that will make good news stories -- adapted to the press release format. A reporter’s instinct will serve you well in public relations and media relations. Understand that once you make the transition, reporters are not publicists for the company you work for.
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.
She previously worked for a variety of news media organizations as an editor and journalist, including The Associated Press in Mississippi and Texas. She was news director at WLOK-AM and WGKX KIX-106 FM in Memphis. Learn more