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.

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”

Reflection on a Career: A Q&A with David French

By Jenna Barone

To earn college credit for interning with RLF, my career counselor at Elon requires all students to interview work colleagues for industry insight. I love interning with RLF, but I can’t say I was exactly psyched to write a seven-page paper detailing the work environment and my colleagues. Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to interview one of RLF’s two vice presidents, David French, who kindly agreed to let me bombard him with questions about his career development and position at RLF. David made the assignment easy by providing me with excellent snippets of advice, reflection, and stories when answering each question.

After completing the assignment, my internship supervisor suggested using David’s interview answers as the basis for a blog post. Students who aspire to work in the field of public relations and seasoned professionals alike can relate to the sequence of events making up David’s career path and how it influenced his professional development. My main take away—work hard and find the fun, and everything really does come full circle.

What is appealing about your job?

“I enjoy the challenge of devising communications solutions to an organizational issue, concern, or need. In essence, it’s why I chose this as my career. Since I’ve been on the agency side, I’ve really enjoyed the diversity of clients because there’s always something new to learn. I’ve worked with healthcare companies, nonprofit organizations, banks, small businesses, etc. Each client has very different organizational needs and specialized strategic communications solutions. I love that my job requires life-long learning. I can’t think of anything deadlier than doing the same thing for the same organization day-in-and-day-out for the entirety of my career. I would be bored out of my mind.”

What are some of the challenges of your job?

“A lot of the same things that appeal to me are at times also the challenges. This is true in life, too. Clients can be difficult; they can be resistant to our best attempts to help and guide them. I’ve had to work on honing my skill at diplomacy! Sometimes we walk a fine line between what we know is right for the client and what they think they want. You have to be able to convey your case in a professional and respectful way.”

What do you read to keep up with the professional industry?

“I read pretty much everything in my inbox from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). As a member, I receive newsletters, magazines, print/online material, etc. I also consider myself a voracious consumer of news media. It helps you spot public mood, opinion, trends, and if you can somehow relate them to a client or their business, then it can be very beneficial. I am partially a counselor in my job, not just a technician. It’s important to stay up on current social, political, economic, and business trends.”

What skills are vital to your job?

“I think this will be true until the end of time—first and foremost, good writing skills are important regardless of the career you choose. I don’t think anyone comes out of college a fantastic writer but knowing the fundamentals will help your skills develop over time. At some point, you will have to be able to write, inform, educate, and persuade using several different writing formats in the field of communications.

“Second, you need to understand client perspectives. Never project on them what you want to hear, see, or read. This requires understanding the client and their culture to communicate a message or call to action aimed at a particular audience. And this all comes back to writing—everything starts with something written. Because we’re communicating on behalf of clients to an audience, we also need to figure out what’s going to resonate with, catch the attention of, or lead the consumer to taking an action. It’s difficult to communicate unless you understand what touches people and what’s meaningful to them.

“Lastly, it’s important to have great presentation and persuasion skills. We don’t realize how many times a day we’re trying to convey a message and persuade someone, both personally and professionally. These are fundamental and foundational skills.”

What’s your advice for a student just starting out?

“When I was in college, there was no PR degree—people came into the industry with an English, communications, humanities, or journalism background. I’m very happy to see that internships have almost become a requirement in school. Internships are fantastic and provide the opportunity to polish your communications skills, whether on campus or through other organizations. I think there’s great value in internships in building a network and making yourself known.

“I’ve always felt the smaller agencies (big enough, but not massive) or nonprofit organizations are a great place to begin a career. The need is there, but the staff and the resources are usually not, so you often get to try out a lot of different things—figuring out what you like and don’t like. My starting out at a nonprofit afforded me this opportunity, but you must be aware and alert to take initiative. I know several young people just starting out who felt stuck and pigeonholed in a specific role when working in large organizations or large agencies.

“In terms of my portfolio, I always tried to show a diversity of tasks—various kinds of writing, publications, projects, videos I had produced, etc. When looking at your work, ask yourself the question: ‘So what?’ Because people who are looking at your portfolio are going to be asking, ‘Why should I hire you?’ Make sure to show results or outcomes, not just output. Everything you do doesn’t have to be a home run, but it’s important to say and to show the objective, here’s how it was or wasn’t met, and what you learned or would do differently.”

How did you begin your career, and what was your career path?

“I sort of back-doored it. I originally went to college with the intention of becoming a veterinarian. But I did not have the math and science skills to pursue this career path.

“The decision to think about an alternative career path came to me early in my sophomore year of college. I happened to be taking a communications class, and I really got along with the professor who happened to be the head of the department. When I was in high school, I participated in a summer workshop in North Carolina for radio, television, and motion pictures. Based on my writing skills and interests in high school, my professor encouraged me to look into communications. I soon became interested in journalism, also.

“During college, I completed two internships in the news department of two different television stations. After the second internship, I knew for sure I didn’t want to stay in television news. I still liked to write, but there had to be something better for me.

“While still in college, I found a local chapter of a professional organization called the International Association of Business Communicators. I was able to get my hands on a list of members, and I called several of them to introduce myself. Ten people agreed to meet with me and offer career guidance. This is why I always feel obligated to talk to any student who’s making career decisions. I built a network, and through that network, I landed my first job at a nonprofit in Raleigh.

“For three years, I helped produce television and radio spots while writing for their monthly publication. I expanded my network. Two people I met later became my future bosses and one of them my mentor. Next, I took a job as a public information officer in a state government department for the next four years. My mentor then called me up and offered to refer me to Burlington Industries where I started my next job managing corporate media relations for the largest textile company in the world, at the time. After four years there, my mentor hired me at his own company where I worked for the next 15 years. I started out doing external communication, moved to internal communication and eventually ran the company’s charitable foundation.

“Next, I worked for the Trone agency in High Point, North Carolina. This marked my transition from organizational business communications to agency life. Here, I met Monty, who was my boss as president of Trone PR. We worked together for a little over three years until Monty founded RLF Communications. I eventually joined him, and I’ve now been at RLF for seven years.”


Summer Intern Spotlight – Jenna Barone

RLF believes that internships provide valuable training and experience to the next generation of PR and marketing professionals, so we have worked hard to create a comprehensive internship program. Students get a taste for agency life by working closely with our team on a variety of client accounts. Throughout the course of a summer or semester, interns enhance their skills in preparation for a career in public relations, marketing, or advertising.

This summer, RLF welcomes two new interns: Jenna Barone and Piper Anderson. Our first intern spotlight is on Jenna Barone.

“I live in the suburbs of St. Louis and am majoring in strategic communications at Elon University. In addition to interning at RLF this summer, I am also participating in the Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program. As a rising senior, I hope to travel the summer after graduation before jumping into the work force and pursuing a career in public relations.”

Continue reading “Summer Intern Spotlight – Jenna Barone”

A Reflection On My Internship

By Taylor Lord
This post is bittersweet, as it signals the beginning of an end of an incredible experience. When I first applied for an internship at RLF Communications, I was interested in the hands-on learning and the opportunity to work on different accounts with industry professionals. I could have never imagined all the good times of laughing with my co-workers, playing with the dogs as they roam around the office or heading to the rooftop deck after a long day.
Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t spend the entire internship socializing. Through these short months, I worked on four different client accounts, gaining a greater understanding of what it means to be a PR professional. Each day is different – sometimes, I create media lists or research speaking opportunities. Other days, I write blog posts or find articles to share on Twitter.
Continue reading “A Reflection On My Internship”

Fall Intern Spotlight – Taylor Lord

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 working closely with qualified professionals on a variety of client accounts.
This fall, RLF has two new interns that have joined the team: Taylor Lord and Camille Vargas. Our first intern spotlight is on Taylor Lord.
“I’m a native of the Tar Heel state, born and raised in Raleigh. I am a senior at High Point University, majoring in Spanish and strategic communication.”
Continue reading “Fall Intern Spotlight – Taylor Lord”

Summer Intern Spotlight – Bennett Marlow

By Madison Croxson
As the summer season rages on at RLF and new projects emerge daily, we are grateful to have our innovative, hardworking interns on hand. They have now reached the midway point of the internship program, and we have enjoyed watching them sharpen their skills and become more entwined in our company culture.
Each of our interns has the opportunity to work in different disciplines on a variety of client accounts. Learn more about them and their experience thus far at RLF in our 2017 Intern Spotlight Summer Series.
Our second featured intern of the summer is Bennett Marlow.
“I’m a junior at North Carolina State University and I’m majoring in communications with a concentration in media. I’ve lived in Greensboro my whole life and I love dinosaurs.”
Continue reading “Summer Intern Spotlight – Bennett Marlow”

Spring Intern Spotlight: Wesley Gray Smith

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 its helping to research costs for a new campaign idea, drafting news releases or participating in our social activities.
This spring, we have two interns working with us. This week, we introduce you to Wesley Gray Smith.
“I am a senior public relations and history major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m originally from Shelby, North Carolina. It’s a small town famous for bluegrass and delicious BBQ.”
Continue reading “Spring Intern Spotlight: Wesley Gray Smith”

The Bookshelf – Undaunted Courage

By Monty Hagler
(Part of a continuing series on the books that made the journey to RLF’s new office space)
My father gave me a copy of Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose in 1996. The book focuses on the Lewis & Clark expedition to explore the American West and bring back a weimg_5299alth of knowledge that transformed our country and confirmed the incredible value of Thomas Jefferson’s deal for the Louisiana Purchase.
Ambrose captures how difficult the task was in 1803 as the expedition had to overcome numerous obstacles. Malaria. Leaking canoes. Hostile Indian tribes. Unnavigable rivers. Paralyzing cold. Grizzly bears. Lost supplies. But nothing could stop the small, determined Corp of Discovery. They pushed forward. Took notes on botany, geography, ethnology and zoology. Filled journals with observations on weather, rocks and people. Discovered and described 178 new plants and 122 species and sub-species of animals. Drew maps and recorded the most direct, convenient route across the continent.
Continue reading “The Bookshelf – Undaunted Courage”