The best part of interning is the people you meet, especially those who intern along side of you. That being said, meet Tegan Zimmerman, a now Chicago PR girl I interned with in New York City several summers ago. Tegan has a BA in Communication Studies and Journalism from the University of Iowa and jump-started her career in public relations with various internships in both New York City and Chicago. Currently, Tegan is an Account Executive at Vivid Ascent, an integrated public relations agency in Chicago where her client work ranges from consumer brands and university programs to movies and celebrity athletes.
How did you get started in public relations and what attracted you to the industry?
I got started in public relations on accident! I was working on my journalism degree and stumbled across a poster for PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) in the journalism building. After joining the organization, I realized that PR was a better fit for me.
Along with writing, public relations gives me the opportunity to work with a variety of clients on a multitude of campaigns. I am still fascinated by the field and feel that I always will be because it is continuously changing.
What has been the highlight of your PR career thus far?
It is hard to name one highlight but I have truly enjoyed working with a variety of clients over the past few years. From consumer brands and universities to professional athletes and non-profits, I am always learning new things. My current clients are financial based, so it has been a fun and interesting challenge to study the markets and see how it all works.
What is the best PR advice you’ve ever received?
The best PR advice I have ever received is know your audience. You can’t communicate a message correctly if you don’t know much about the audience you are trying to communicate to. Also, never underestimate the importance of listening. In a field that tends to contain more extroverts, listening is just as important as speaking.
Any advice for those looking to get into PR?
Public relations is not always glamorous so be prepared to work hard. Experience reigns supreme. Get involved and try to obtain as many internships as you can. It is also important to stay on top of the news and current events. This is crucial and your clients will expect this from you. Try to read at least one news outlet everyday. The Wall Street Journal is a must for me.