Working in PR is not like Samantha Jones, holding a clipboard outside a hot event. Oh it's so much more than that. Yes, there's glamour but we learn that there are a lot of long hours and hard work. This week we chat with hip + urban girl, Aly Robb on what it's like working at the PR agency - High Road Communications in Toronto and how she broke into the field.
What made you want to become the PR Superstar you are?
Superstar? I don’t think I’m quite there yet! But in terms of inspirations, I’ve have two people point me in the right direction. The first was my Mom – who was in Communications herself, so growing up I attended and volunteered at the events that she put on and I loved all of the behind-the-scenes craziness! The second was my current VP at High Road. She introduced me to the world of digital and still continues to amaze me with everything she knows. Both are a huge support and are helping me become a smarty-pants, just like them!
Everyone wants to know about the perks! Can you tell us the perks of your job?
The number #1 perk for me is getting to work with the fabulous folks at High Road. I’ve never been surrounded by such talented and amazing people – who not only teach and inspire me every day, but keep me laughing and enjoying what I do, constantly! Some people have one soul mate, I’ve found a hundred!
What is a typical schedule of someone working in PR?
On your first day of PR, you learn a valuable lesson: there’s no such thing as a typical schedule! From brainstorms and deadlines, to events and product launches, you learn very quickly to hit the ground running and prioritize your day as best as you can. In agency, you have multiple clients and multiple deadlines, so you have to learn to adapt and move quickly so that everyone gets the attention they need.
What are some of the disadvantages of your job, that maybe we don't think about?
I don’t think there are any disadvantages if agency is the right fit for you. For some people, the hectic schedules and fast-paced environment isn’t what they’re looking for in a career, for others, it’s what they thrive on – so I think it comes down to whatever is best for you.
How competitive is it to get into the industry?
Agency PR is very competitive – especially for junior roles; however, as digital/social media continues to grow within organizations, it’s a new opportunity for people who are starting out to create a niche for themselves.
What did you study in University/College? Would you have done anything differently?
I went to the University of Western Ontario and majored in English and MIT (Media, Information and Technoculture), with a minor in Writing. I then went on to do a diploma in Public Relations from Western as well. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without the foundation these programs gave to me.
Where are your favourite places to hang out in Toronto?
My favourite places are dependent on the season. I’m a summer gal, so you can always find me on a patio or playing some extreme bocce with my friends on Toronto Island. From Ossington to Distillery, as long as I have good company, everywhere is perfect to me!
Best places to shop in the city?
I work a block away from Queen Street and I love the convenience of the lunchtime shop. I’m a sucker for H&M and Zara, because I can get away with buying items that may only be in for one season, without wiping out my paycheck!
Tell us about your neighbourhood and what you like best about it.
I live in the Yonge/Davisville area and love how it’s a little north of all the craziness but I can get downtown quickly. It makes me feel like I live in a small town within a big city – so I get the best of both worlds!
What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out what they want to do?
My advice for hip + urban girls is to take your time to find what you love. So many people get out of school and worry about finding any job so they can begin the career phase of their lives. You need to find a job that gets you excited to go into work each morning and it’s worth the effort it takes to find that career that makes you happy and fulfilled. When you have found your dream job, everything just clicks and you know it’s where you are supposed to be!
For more information, check out: www.highroad.com and Aly's blog: www.sevendayfool.wordpress.com. You can also tweet her @aly_robb
The hip + urban girl of the week is someone who encompasses a fabulous attitude, job and lifestyle. We will feature a mix of entrepreneurs and urban professionals who are inspiring to follow. Know someone we should meet? Tell us in our comments!