By: Grace Kindl, VP of Fundraising and Community Outreach
PRSA Cleveland Student Day gave aspiring Public Relations Professionals a brief look into non-profit, healthcare, sports public relations sectors, as well as DEI initiatives within branding. Aspiring pros were given the opportunity to network with speakers, employers and other PR students.
Izzy Esler and Sydney Stone spoke about their experiences with City Dogs, a nonprofit organization focused on finding homes for “bully breeds” like pit bulls. They shared some of the challenges the organization faces, such as the nationwide shelter capacity crisis and the effect that has on open intake shelters such as their own. One of the biggest challenges is working with dogs that are often “the most challenging to get adopted.” To solve some of these problems, they have special lowered adoption rates and stage photoshoots with the dogs in fun costumes. Esler and Stone showed many of the students how PR can be used for good in organizations like City Dogs.
Marcus Thomas LLC
Joy Smith, senior equity and inclusion manager, represented Marcus Thomas LLC in her talk about “Why Inclusive Marketing Matters.” Smith provided a variety of data and examples to show how important it is to use PR platforms to make a statement about world issues. She also gave three key ways to speak up: “stay in your lane, take a risk and own your brand’s DNA.” Smith used this opportunity to discuss the infamous Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial and the “missed opportunity for authenticity.” She then compared it to a more recent Pepsi commercial featuring Chlöe Bailey. In the recent commercial, Pepsi stayed in their lane and appealed to their target audience with Bailey. Smith also discussed Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. This campaign was a risk on Dove’s end, but they stayed in their lane and stayed true to their brand’s DNA while remaining authentic, making it a successful campaign.
Andrea Pacetti, director, public & media relations at Cleveland Clinic, related her work to topics most students were very familiar with: abortion and COVID-19. Pacetti opened up about her experience with the New York Times following the overturning of Roe v Wade. During this time, Cleveland Clinic was the “only willing hospital system” to do a story on abortion as healthcare. The Clinic allowed photographers into the maternal fetal ward to take authentic photos that spoke to the severity of the topic. Pacetti also spoke about the first reported case of COVID-19, located in Cleveland. Representatives of Cleveland Clinic were preparing for a press conference with the mayor when they were told the news. She took this opportunity to tell students about the urgent need for communications, both internal and external, and the chaos that ensued following the news. Cleveland Clinic took another risk by allowing certain media into the ICU to show them what was really going on, as an attempt to stop the spread of misinformation.