Fall 2020 Intern Spotlight: Lissy Shortall

At RLF, we are committed to providing opportunities and real-world experience to the next generation of PR practitioners. So, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt it was important to continue our internship program this fall, albeit largely remotely. Meet Lissy Shortall, our fall 2020 intern!headshot of Lissy Shortall

“My name is Lissy Shortall and I am a junior strategic communications major at Elon University with a minor in multimedia authoring. I am originally from Rhode Island and wanted to experience something different than the tiny state I grew up in, hence I ended up touring out-of-state schools and absolutely fell in love with Elon where I have continued to cherish my experiences. While I am very devoted to academics, I also have 2 part-time jobs on campus as a student technician as well as a group exercise instructor. When I’m not in class, you’ll often find me in the library, taking strolls across campus or listening to Hozier at the lake.”

What made you want to pursue communications?

I’m very much a people person as well as a creative, so communications felt like a no-brainer. With each experience I’ve had, my love for communications has only been further affirmed! I love the fact that communications is involved in every industry in some way, shape, or form; it is a constantly evolving field so there are always new things to learn which draws me in even more.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I ask myself this question every day! I’m currently in a very unique place in my life in which I do not feel particularly tied to any one location. On one hand, this is awesome because the world is my oyster, on the other, it is a little scary since the world is so big! I would most ideally end up working on lifestyle, health, and/or fitness brands in a small PR agency that has a very family-like feel to combine my passion for health and wellness with communications.

What is your favorite part of the RLF internship program?

My favorite part so far is the hands-on approach to the tasks. I really enjoy the fact that, under the guidance and feedback of the RLF team, I get to see some many projects through from start to finish. In classes, I often only do one piece of the communications experience and do not work with actual clients. At RLF, I get to be involved with the entire process of research, writing and outreach which is exciting.

What is your favorite quote?

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music” – Friedrich Nietzsche

What is your favorite movie?

I’m a sucker for Jake Gyllenhaal movies and my favorite would have to be Donnie Darko! I’ve probably watched it more than 25 times at this point.

If you could travel anywhere where would you go?

Something about Australia has always intrigued me and is at the top of my list! I’ve never left the country, but I would go everywhere if I could.

My Journey as an Intern in the PR World: What I Have Learned

By Lindsay Silverman

I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. As a child, I was one of those kids who ran around the house pretending to be an FBI agent or recording news segments on my desktop computer (does anyone have those anymore?). I played every sport and never stuck with just one. But one thing remained consistent, and that was my ability to read a room and connect with people. When I got to college, I once again was on a path of not knowing what I desired for a career. The pressure was astounding. But when I walked into my very first PR class junior year, I knew: I am supposed to tell people’s stories.

During spring break, I applied to 80 internships (Yeah, I know, the Gen Z mentality is a bit hyperbolic.) I made sure to personally email all of the places I wanted to apply to — no job boards allowed.lindsay silverman, intern, pet friendly office, RLF Communications

However, when I first stumbled upon RLF’s website, I knew it was the place for me. From its motto of being respected, liked, and feared, to its design work — I was obsessed, to say the least; and I hadn’t even met these people yet!

And then the interview happened. I was completely out of my comfort zone, this being the first virtual interview I had ever done. My voice was shaking and I was unsure of my answers, speaking to the 4 faces on the screen in front of me. All of these faces were so kind and engaged, and I felt like a fish out of water.

Towards the end of the interview, it was just me and two Communications Managers. I asked them why they do what they do, and they said: “Because we yearn to tell people’s stories. The look on someone’s face when you impact them can’t be compared.” And that’s when I knew: I had to work at RLF. I made sure to narrate that I felt the same way, and in those moments, I had never felt more connected to people through a screen then I did right then.

My experience at RLF has proven how important storytelling ties into the work that we do. Our clients give us the opportunity to shape narratives and change lives. I’ve really examined that in my coworkers here at RLF, in that each of them has an intense desire to make positive change. It is truly inspiring to work with such a dedicated, intellectual bunch who genuinely care for each other and their clients.

Throughout my first time at RLF, I have uncovered new skills and elaborated on my existing ones. I have discovered the hidden mysteries of pitching to national media, and how to pick the brains of journalists. I have learned how to use media database Cision to do extensive research and keep track of media coverage, which is something I didn’t know I would enjoy. I have perfected my writing skills by writing press releases and extending my creative freedoms with our social media postings. All of these things, I have done with success thanks to the confidence that the environment of RLF instills. In the time remaining with RLF, I hope to become as respected, liked, and feared as the rest of my coworkers at the hardworking agency I now call a temporary home.

Note: Lindsay has accepted a part-time position at RLF as she completes her senior year at Elon University.

Reflection on an Internship Disrupted

By Reilly Welsh

The beginning of May signals the end of something else: my time here at RLF. As a senior in college, I envisioned the last month of the semester including many more “lasts.” The onset of COVID-19 here in the United States quickly derailed my plans for the final months of my senior year, and as a result, I have had to adapt to a variety of changes, especially in my academic and professional lives. Even so, my internship at RLF has been incredible and unlike any experience I have had before – for a variety of a reasons.

person at computerIn the middle of March, I prepared to travel home for spring break with plans to return to school the following week to finish out my spring semester. Within days, it became clear that flying back to North Carolina would not be safe for myself or for others. I made the decision to stay with my family while transitioning to online coursework and a remote internship.

Although I never could have envisioned my internship would play out the way it has, I could not be more grateful for my time at RLF. Despite spending half of my time working in a different state, I have continued to build upon my skill set each day. I’ve had various professional experiences over the past four years, and while I have grown from each one, I can say with confidence that my experience at RLF has been the perfect send-off as I graduate and look toward job opportunities. When I applied for this internship last fall, I could not have predicted how much this role would advance my abilities.

In my previous internships, I got my first taste of the public relations world, creating media lists, producing copy and content for social media platforms and working on the occasional press release. At RLF, I have done all of these things and more. I have pitched local and national media, written copy for radio commercials, written articles for client newsletters and blogs and crafted social media posts for RLF as well as its clients. As a journalism-turned-strategic communications major, writing has always been a passion of mine, and I knew I wanted it to play a central role in my career. I loved having so many opportunities to hone my skills in a variety of contexts.

Undeniably, this is a difficult and uncertain time to go into the workforce, with the job market taking an unexpected downturn in response to the onset of COVID-19. I do not know what is to come in the following weeks and months, but I feel confident knowing that my four months at RLF have strengthened my foundation in the world of communications. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to every member of the team at RLF for their guidance and support throughout the semester. I look forward to seeing how I will take what I have learned over the past few months into my next role as I begin my career.

Spring Intern Spotlight – Angela Freckleton

RLF’s internship program gives college students the opportunity to gain real world experience in an integrated communications agency. Over the course of the semester, interns learn practical knowledge by woAngela Freckleton workingrking closely with qualified professionals on a variety of client accounts.

This spring, RLF has two interns on our team. This spotlight is on Angela Freckleton.

“I am a sophomore at the illustrious Bennett College, majoring in political science and minoring in theater—quite the combination, I know. I currently hold two vice president positions: one in a newly formed organization named Belles Growing Green, which aims to increase environmental awareness, and the other in the NAACP chapter on our campus. I am also offering my services in designing a curriculum for a class that will be starting in the fall of 2020 entitled ‘Reclaiming Democracy.’”

What are your favorite foods?

Sushi is pretty great, and I love a nice burger, but I’ve got to say that there’s no meal for me like a good old-fashioned American breakfast. Pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, the works! I could probably eat pancakes every day for the rest of my life and not get tired of them.

What are you passionate about?

Being a political science major and all, I find myself burning up at the thought of injustice, whether it be in America’s public school system or our Supreme Court. I want to change the way certain rules and regulations are set up within various parts of the community around me, whether by actively participating in community outreach, offering my services through volunteer work or creating new means of progress for those individuals who may need more help than others.

What is your dream job? 

It sounds silly, but…to be Barbie. I always thought it was so cool how she was able to do it all—astronaut, singer, doctor, zoologist—and she lived magnificently while doing it! My dream job doesn’t even really exist, I don’t think. It would just consist of me being able to do everything I want to do all at once, like a super-capable profession ninja. Award-winning animator/psychologist by day, supersonic film-maker/university president by night.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love anything and everything to do with the arts. Writing has always been a pastime of mine, ever since I was a child. I’ve written music and prose alike, as well as theatrical monologues for performances. I also love drawing and painting. I’m not a Picasso quite yet, but I’m not too bad either. Whenever I have time, I do my best to keep up with these artistic endeavors of mine. They always calm me down after a busy day.

What is your favorite part about the RLF internship program? 

I love how RLF’s open environment really enables me to dive deep into researching and analyzing statistics for our clients. The staff makes me feel comfortable in my space, while also reminding me that it’s okay to come into theirs any time I have a question or concern. I also appreciate the time and respect everyone puts into making sure a job is well done, no matter how big or small the task may seem. It’s nice to come to a place where you know you and the work you’re doing are cared for.

Who is your most influential role model? 

This is such a hard one! I really have three: my academic advisor, Gwendolyn Bookman, who is an extraordinary woman in every sense of the word; Janelle Monae, my favorite artist of all time (she’s never been afraid to showcase who she is, too, which is absolutely mesmerizing to witness); and my beautiful mother, who is quite literally the strongest person on the face of the earth.

Spring Intern Spotlight – Reilly Welsh

spring intern Reilly Welsh works on her laptop while sitting on a chair

Classrooms are an effective way to learn the basics of public relations and marketing, but companies are looking for applicants with practical, real-world experience. This is one of the reasons why RLF likes to fully engage our interns and give them a true agency experience. Students can apply their skills on real client accounts, work with both mid-level and senior communications professionals and bring new strengths and ideas to the RLF team.

This spring, we welcome two new interns to our team. Here is a chance to learn a little more about Reilly Welsh.

“I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and I am currently a senior at Elon University majoring in strategic communications with a minor in multimedia authoring. At Elon, I am a Communications Fellow, a tour guide and a member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority. I love traveling, trying out new restaurants and spending time with family and friends. After graduation this spring, I am looking forward to jumping into the workforce and beginning my career in public relations and advertising.”

What has been your favorite part about working at RLF?

My experience at RLF has been incredible and there have been so many highlights throughout my time here! In addition to being part of such a friendly and supportive team (dogs included), I really value the opportunities I am given to work on a variety of projects, including writing press releases, feature stories, social media copy and more.

Do you have any pets?

My family has a 9-month-old Coton de Tulear puppy named Vito that we got this past summer. He is super playful and fun to be around! It is hard being away from him when I’m at school, but I always look forward to receiving pictures of him from my mom.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is just about all Italian food – especially a really great margherita pizza or ravioli. I also have a really big sweet tooth, especially for chocolate in just about any form.

What is your favorite place you’ve visited?

While studying abroad in London during the fall of my junior year, a few of my closest friends and I chose to go to Interlaken, Switzerland, for our final weekend excursion of the semester. It was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. We went paragliding (despite my fear of heights, and I’m so glad I challenged myself to do it), went on gorgeous scenic walks and had some amazing food (including both categories of my favorite foods that I mentioned above). It was the perfect trip to finish off the semester and one I will always cherish.

Who is your most influential role model?

My greatest role model is definitely my mom. She is incredibly selfless and supportive, and she is the most positive person I know. No matter how stressed or worried I am in any given situation, I can always count on her to keep me focused on all of the good things in my life and not to let myself get overwhelmed by things that are out of my control. I try my best to apply her optimistic attitude in my day-to-day life, no matter what kind of day I am having.

5 Things I Learned from My Campus Greensboro Experience

By Lauren Shur

campus greensboro, intern
Lauren Shur and some other Campus Greensboro fellows prepare for SkyWild.

When I was looking for an internship this summer, my career advisor mentioned that I should apply to Campus Greensboro. Campus Greensboro is a program created by Action Greensboro to help prepare college students for their professional careers and inspire them to live in Greensboro post-graduation. I thought this sounded like a good idea, but there was one potential problem: My career advisor told me about the program just a few days before the application was due. I quickly applied to the program and submitted my résumé and cover letter to multiple organizations in the area. I never thought that this last-minute process would lead to me learning an extensive amount of information about myself and this wonderful community. Here are the top five things I learned from my experience as a Campus Greensboro fellow:

  1. Be yourself in interviews. I applied to three different internships through Campus Greensboro. All three employers reached out to me for an interview. This gave me the confidence to believe in myself. I went into each interview and fully showed who I am as a person and tried to have a normal conversation. In one interview we even talked about how Kim Kardashian is now in the AP Style guide. After showing my personality in each interview, I was offered the position from all three employers.
  2. The best kind of learning is learning through experiences. Through Campus Greensboro, I have had first-hand experiences that are different from anything I could learn in a classroom. All of the fellows participated in a two-day training from the Center for Creative Leadership. The games and activities we completed helped me learn more about myself and others so that I can become the best leader I can be. Also, fellows meet every Tuesday night to participate in different activities around Greensboro. Each activity has helped me learn more about myself and others. One day, one-third of us went to SkyWild, a treetop adventure course, where I used the leadership skills that I had been taught to help my friend face her fears.
  3. One can learn a vast amount of information from others’ experiences. Campus Greensboro provides each fellow with a mentor from the community. Because there are 106 fellows, some mentors are paired with two mentees. I have a co-mentee who is a year older than me and we have become great friends. My favorite part of the mentorship is learning about the ups and downs of her internship experience. She is interning at a hotel learning about customer service, event planning and hospitality. Her organization is larger than mine and it is interesting learning about how she can make herself known in a bigger organization. She also is graduating from college in a year and is giving me good tips on how to prepare for post-grad life.
  4. Informational interviews are extremely advantageous. I have been able to learn about networking and do some networking myself through Campus Greensboro. I have started to ask people more questions about their careers and how they got to where they are today. For example, this summer I met my friend’s uncle who is a creative designer and website designer for his own marketing company. I was able to use my skills to learn more about how he got to where he is today, what software he uses and about the creative side of marketing. This information is beneficial in helping me to figure out what career path I will take in the future.
  5. Midsize cities bring a variety of fun activities and a sense of community. I am from Atlanta, which is very different from Greensboro. I am used to a large metropolitan area with activities occurring frequently. I originally thought that a smaller city such as Greensboro would not have as many activities to take part in over the summer. Luckily, I was proven wrong. Greensboro has a plethora of fun events and activities as well as great places to eat. The best part about Greensboro is that city’s small population creates a large sense of community.

All in all, this program has helped me to become more confident in my abilities and learn more about myself as a young professional. I have found new ways I can continue to improve my skills. As a rising junior, I have to make a choice in a couple of years about where I want to work. I am constantly searching for a spot that will feel like home. This summer led me to see the incredible sense of community that Greensboro has. While I may not ultimately end up in Greensboro, I now know that I want this sense of community wherever I go. After this insightful summer, I can now call Greensboro my second home.

Summer Intern Spotlight – Grace McMeekin

Classrooms are an effective way to learn the basics of the communications industry, buinternt companies are always looking to hire people with real-world experience. This is part of why RLF likes to engage students in our immersion-style internship program. Students have the opportunity to work on real client accounts, try a variety of new things and bring their own strengths to the RLF team.

Meet our second summer intern, Grace McMeekin.

“I am a rising senior at Elon University, where I am pursuing a degree in strategic communications and minoring in French and professional writing studies. At Elon, I write for Spoon University and run social media for the English department. In the fall, I will begin my role as Student Internship Office Assistant. I live about half an hour outside of Boston and am a huge Boston sports fan.”

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I see myself living with friends and working for a small or midsized full-service agency in Boston. I really like the agency lifestyle and collaborating with professionals who all share a common goal. Also, I grew up outside of Boston and have always loved the city.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

I think I could have Chipotle for every meal for the rest of my life not only because it is delicious, but also because there are a variety of ingredients you can add to it. I always get a burrito bowl with brown rice, chicken, corn salsa, mild salsa, cheese and guacamole.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy swimming, running and going to the gym. I’m currently training for a triathlon. My next goal is to run a half marathon. I also like going to the movies, watching my favorite show, New Girl, and trying out new restaurants with friends.

What is your favorite part about the RLF internship program? 

The RLF internship program lets you experience what it’s like to work in an agency setting. I feel like a valued, useful member of the team, not just an intern. I am always busy, but never overwhelmed. The RLF team is very helpful and is always willing to answer any questions I might have.

Who is your most influential role model? 

My most influential role model is my dad. He has a positive outlook, is a diligent worker and is always willing to help others. My dad works in marketing, so I had exposure to the industry and agency culture while growing up. I never intended to follow in his footsteps, but I have always loved writing, strategizing and working with people. Therefore, it made sense that I would pursue a career in communications.


Summer Intern Spotlight – Lauren Shur

The best way to learn many skills is not through a classroom or a lecture, but through hands-on experience. That’s why we feel it is so important that our interns get to the opportunity to try as many facets of life in a PR firm as possible, whether it’s helping to research costs for a new campaign idea, drafting news releases or participaRLF internting in our social activities.

This summer, we have two interns working with us. Today we introduce you to Lauren Shur.

“I am a rising junior at Elon University, where I am pursuing a degree in strategic communications and minoring in professional sales and sports management. At Elon, I work as the PR director for two Elon Student TV shows: Win Stuff, a game show and Etalk, a pop-culture talk show. I am also an active member of Public Relations Student Society of America and Sigma Kappa Sorority. In my free time, I love eating delicious meals with my friends, watching The Bachelor and posting to social media. I will be spending Fall 2019 studying strategic communications in Copenhagen, Denmark.”

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I will be 25 years old. I see myself as a more independent and confident person than I am today. I will have graduated from Elon University three years prior. I hope to be living with a friend in an apartment in North Carolina (preferably Charlotte) and working at a job in either public relations, marketing, or advertising. I see myself enjoying a job in which I can use my creativity to help others.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, I would undoubtedly choose chicken nuggets, French fries with a side of honey mustard. When I went out to eat during my childhood, I would only order this meal. I spent about ten years of my life eating this meal once a week; therefore, I think I could enjoy eating it for a lifetime.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I love to hang out with my friends and check out restaurants in the area. I love catching up over a delicious meal. Also, every Monday night you can find me watching The Bachelor franchise and tweeting along as I have an unhealthy obsession with this show. Lastly, I love Duke basketball and think March is the best month of the year because of March Madness. Whenever I am free, I will be watching their games and learning all about the players on social media.

What is your favorite part about the RLF internship program?

My favorite part of the RLF internship program is the comfortable, creative, and intimate company culture. I love how I am getting to know this group of individuals who are there to help me succeed. RLF truly fosters an environment in which I feel comfortable sharing my creativity with others. RLF’s culture will continue to help me learn and grow as a communications specialist and as a person. In addition, Monty has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Nigel who is the same breed as my dog. He reminds me so much of my dog, Cooper, and it makes me happy since I am not with Cooper this summer.

Who is your most influential role model?

I have two answers to this question. The role model that I know personally is my mother. My mom and I are very close and talk every day. She is the most selfless person I have met. When I am going through tough times, she will drop everything that is going on with her and will focus on making sure that I am okay and feel loved. My other role model, who I have sadly never met, is Ellen DeGeneres. I have been watching The Ellen Show for many years. She is genuinely herself and does not care what others think. She never gives up when times get hard. DeGeneres spends her life giving to others and making others smile. I aspire to be more like her.

Spring Intern Spotlight – Chloe Tagariello

At RLF, we have designed our internship program to offer students a holistic agency experience, exposing them to both the challenging and rewarding aspects of public relations. Throughout the course of a semester, interns gain firsthand experience and acquire the skills need to help them begin a career in public relations, marketing or advertising. This spring we are proud to have two interns on our team. Our second intern spotlight highlights Chloe Tagariello. 

I’m a New Yorker who hates the cold, which is why I started looking at colleges in North Carolina. I landed on Elon University, and am currently a senior strategic communications major, with majors in Italian Studies and International and Global Studies. I love sushi, traveling and spending my summers on the beach/boat with friends.”

What is your favorite part about working at RLF?

So far, my favorite part about working at RLF has been the company culture. We celebrated National Soup Day right after I started, and everyone in the office made a soup to bring in to share with one another. The environment, even on the busiest days, never lacks friendliness. Everyone works together as a team, spring intern, RLF internshipand I’ve felt like a part of that team from the moment I started my internship. There hasn’t been one day at RLF where I didn’t feel valued, and that can be rare to find in an internship.

What is your dream job?

When I was younger my mom and I would always watch the travel network and shows like No Reservations. Since then, for as long as I can remember having a “dream job,” it’s always been to be a travel TV show host. I love to travel to new places because I love experiencing new cultures. Being able to constantly travel, meet new people and try new foods while being paid doesn’t sound like a bad gig.

What is your favorite experience?

My favorite experience so far has been my study abroad in Florence, Italy. The excitement of weekend trips and new experiences never died, but nothing beat the feeling of being able to call Florence home. Every plane, bus or train ride came with lots of time to reflect, and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I created some of my fondest memories and met some of my best friends abroad, but I also found my happiest self (as cheesy as that sounds). Even on the worst days, I’ve never been so happy.

What is your favorite trip you’ve ever taken and why?

 Two summers ago I visited Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Berlin with my best friend Shannon. This was the first time either of us had traveled without our parents, and that felt pretty cool. We were vulnerable and broke, but it didn’t matter. There’s nothing I would have changed and there’s nobody else I would have wanted with me on that trip. Every moment of that trip brings me happiness, especially because it was spent with my best friend.

If you could live in another country, where would you live?

While I was studying abroad, my best friend from high school, Emily, and I went to Lisbon, Portugal, for a weekend. Even though we were only there for a short time, some of my favorite memories abroad are from my time in Lisbon. Everything exceeded my expectations, but I was especially surprised by how diverse this city was. The people, the food, the neighborhoods all came with their own authenticity, yet I felt comfortable in every setting I found myself in. Packing my bags and moving to Lisbon is something that I hope I do one day.

Spring Intern Spotlight – Maggie Hayes

The best way to learn many skills is not through a classroom or a lecture, but through hands-on experience. At RLF, we feel it’s important to give our interns the opportunity to try as many things as possible, whether that’s building media lists, writing press releases or ad copy or pitching reporters.intern

This spring we have three interns joining us. Meet Maggie Hayes, a senior at Elon University.

“I am from New Jersey and came down south to avoid the cold weather. I am majoring in strategic communications with a minor in sociology. My favorite things are binge watching TV shows, reading and traveling.”

Continue reading “Spring Intern Spotlight – Maggie Hayes”