There’s nothing we love more than our avid followers on Twitter and this month, we want you to meet Charlie, a Chicago PR boy we connected with online with a fellow passion for PR.
My name is Charlie Rice-Minoso (@ChiTownCharlie) and I’m a born-and-bred native of Chicago. I’m of Cuban, English and Irish decent, and in May of 2011, I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Public Relations and minors in Theater and Cultural Studies. I’ve currently wrapped up an internship at Ketchum, working in their Brand Practice and Food Communications division working on brands such as Kimberly Clark, Kellogg’s and ConAgra. I’ve recently received word that I will begin an internship in Weber Shandwick’s Consumer Marketing branch in February. In my spare time (what’s that?), I enjoy quality time with friends, boating, traveling and new adventures. I also volunteer for an equal rights organization that defends the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens of Illinois.
How did you get started in public relations and what attracted you to the industry?
Through my parents’ business, I’ve been in close proximity to public relations my entire life. My father is a former professional athlete and now works in the community relations division of his former team. So, from a very young age I’ve had the opportunity to attend functions and get that behind-the-scenes view that I would never be able to receive otherwise. So, after assisting my dad throughout the years, I knew that I wanted to do something like this professionally, but was never able to make the distinction of what industry that fell under.
Although my writing abilities and vocabulary have always been strong, it wasn’t until I joined a student organization on my college campus that I began to utilize different skills and abilities that I had been using when working with my parents. The more events I had produced, the stronger these skills became. As soon as I began planning our organization’s larger events, I knew that I wanted to use these abilities professionally. Once I had several of those accomplishments under my belt, I was referred to the academic advisor for my school’s public relations program. Once I met with her, I knew that it was meant to be.
What is your favorite part of working in public relations?
I would say that what I love most about a career in public relations is the need to be a jack of all trades, and as every PR girl knows, no two days in the industry are ever the same. Whether you’re working on a 1,200 person gala or researching Times Square’s rental rate, you never know what the day is going to throw at you.
What is the best PR advice you ever received?
A former professor of mine once told me that the best thing I could do as a public relations young professional is to intern anywhere that I could that was a fit with my career aspirations’”and I really could not agree more. As interns we have the luxury of taking this specific company for a ‘œtest drive’ and see whether or not we actually want to pursue a future in corporate marketing over lifestyle PR, or fashion over food communications. Through interning at a non-profit, to a small boutique firm, to a midsized agency, to two of the largest public relations firms in the industry, I’ve really been able to receive a well-rounded experience. Not only have each of these places added to my portfolio, but they have each taught me something that I will be able to implement throughout the entirety of my career.
What are your future PR aspirations?
Like any recent grad, I’m hoping to finally get my first position within the next six month to a year. For someone new to the workforce, I feel like being in a larger agency is one of the best environments to really become well versed in the industry. After all, if you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. I’m not sure if I’ll be in Chicago or in another major city, but I really feel that the agency world is the best place for me to be within the next few years of my career. Although I’m enjoying these large firms, I still plan on opening a business or two of my own down the road. Who knows!
Any advice for those looking to get into PR?
Aside from garnering a substantial amount of intern experience, I would highly recommend anyone in school to appropriately utilize the resources of their university. In all of the courses in my major, I made it a point to befriend all of my professors, as well as my advisors. They provided me with insight, advice, counseled me on what courses to take and have even provided me with stellar professional references. My good relationship with one of my professors even led me to my very first internship.
I also recommend becoming involved in a student organization. The entire purpose of on-campus groups is to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate leadership abilities and exercise business skills before entering the workforce. It was almost as though these were practice rounds before my internships, where I was able to get my feet wet and develop talents that I would utilize in the public relations industry.
And above anything else, always believe in yourself. Be your own best cheerleader! Because at the end of the day, if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?
Be sure to connect with Charlie on Twitter @ChiTownCharlie!