Summer Intern Spotlight: Jhanay Davis

In the recent 2014 State of the Internship Report, almost 37 percent of college students voted public relations and marketing agencies their preferred place to hold an internship, making our industry the most popular among students.
At RLF, we take pride in making our internship program a robust learning experience for students interested in a career in communications. Because of the smaller size of our agency, interns get hands-on experience by joining meetings and brainstorming sessions, pitching local and national media outlets, and drafting social media posts.
Our final summer intern spotlight is on Jhanay.

Jhanay Davis

I’m Jhanay Davis, an Atlanta native and recent graduate of Bennett College with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies. I’ll be attending graduate school in the fall at American University in Washington, D.C., to study strategic communication.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

The world is full of exciting places and I would be thrilled if I ever had the chance to visit Fiji. It’s such a beautiful country in the South Pacific. I’ve always wanted to travel there and immerse myself in the nature, culture and, of course, the food.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I must admit that I have broken the record for winning the most Grammy awards for Best R&B Shower Performance.

What activities or organizations are you involved in?

I’m a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

I absolutely love music and it’s very difficult to pick one song that I could call my theme song, but I would have to say the one song that best represents me right now is called “I Can” by Nas. Unconventional, I know. But it just reminds me to stay focused on the things that I want to accomplish in life and to remain humble, as well as grateful.

If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

There are so many people in the world to choose from but I would have dinner with Aretha Franklin. I have always loved her music since I was kid and I would love to talk to her about her experiences.
 
To apply for an internship at RLF, please send cover letters, resumes and writing samples to interns@rlfcommunications.com.
 

New Team Member Spotlight: Ross Pfenning


RLF welcomes Ross Pfenning to the team as a communications specialist. Ross recently worked as a corporate marketing associate for CSOFT International in Beijing, China. He graduated from Davidson College with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies.
To get to know Ross better, we asked him a few questions:

Tell us a little about your work experience and what attracted you to RLF.

After graduating from Davidson College, I decided to pack my bags and head east – well, west technically, but it’s all relative – to search for opportunities in China. Initially performing business development and marketing duties for an international consulting startup, I moved on to a large international translation and localization company headquartered in Beijing. There I performed a range of marketing and communications tasks, but was relied upon primarily for my writing and creative abilities, producing everything from white papers to blog posts to magazine ads. To be part of such a small marketing team for such a large company afforded me many opportunities to expand and further my skills, more so than a person of my age or experience level could expect to find in the U.S. at the time. Ultimately, living in China provided me a host of unique and eye-opening experiences, but the one I am most thankful for is the discovery of my passion for marketing-related work.
And that brings me to RLF. Upon returning to the U.S., I knew I wanted to be in an agency setting. RLF embodies precisely the type of organization I want to be a part of. With such experienced and knowledgeable people on staff, it is a place where I can both learn new skills and contribute my existing abilities to enhance the success of not only RLF, but also its clients. I am excited to be onboard and look forward to the opportunities ahead.

What’s your favorite way to spend your free time?

Breathing fresh air! Yes, after spending three years of my life coating my lungs in particulate matter and smog, I am incredibly grateful for North Carolina’s blue skies and clean air. I enjoy running, hiking up the Appalachian Trail, or just lazing on the beach. Give me a good book and a well-designed playlist and I’ll be happy for hours, though I might take periodic breaks to jump in the pool/lake/ocean – whichever body of water I happen to be near at the time.

What is the last book you read?

I am currently working on several books, one of which is “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising” by Luke Sullivan. As an aspiring copywriter with a passion for bringing creative ideas to life, I am very much enjoying the comical prose, peppered with cynicism. It is both enlightening and somewhat humbling to learn what masterpieces some of the earlier advertising minds were able to produce. However, finding original and compelling ways to reach my audience is a challenge I am delighted to take on.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

“Kaleidoscope” by Tiësto, featuring Jónsi. If you haven’t heard it, you should. Okay, the song takes some patience as it has a pretty slow build, but the wait is entirely worth it and the anticipation only makes the ‘drop’ more spectacular. Jónsi, responsible for the vocals in the song, is also the lead singer of one of my favorite bands, Sigur Rós. Hearing him sing in English is a bit of a treat because most of his stuff is either in Icelandic or some made-up, incoherent babble that simply sounds nice (but isn’t the kind of thing you can really sing along to). Tiësto’s contribution of cool synths and a steady dance beat takes the song to another level, delivering a unique combination of sounds both soothing and electrifying that packs everything I want into a single song.

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Nelson Mandela. As a South African citizen and resident for 10 years, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for all that Madiba did for the country in his lifetime. I am inspired by his determination to unite a nation and awed by his ability to forgive those who treated him so poorly. I would have loved the opportunity to sit with him for even a couple of hours just to get a sense of what such a selfless person must be like. He contributed to not only the development of South Africa, but that of the world as well.

Spring Intern Spotlight: Allie Andrews

Although social media was originally created to connect with old friends and network with new faces, it has become a vital asset to PR professionals. Sharing current, interesting information is key to building a professional presence and virtual network.
At RLF, interns are an integral part of our social media strategies. From brainstorming Twitter posts to drafting Facebook content, interns have the opportunity to learn and perfect messaging tactics and skills.
Our last intern spotlight is on Allie.

Allie Andrews

I am currently a senior at Elon University, with a major in strategic communications and a minor in business administration. I am from Cumberland, Maine, a small town just outside the city of Portland. Aside from my passion for public relations and social media, I love to play soccer, ski, read, and spend time with friends and family.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

If I could travel anywhere in the world right now, it would have to be Australia. I studied abroad in London in the fall of 2012 and I absolutely loved it. I would definitely jump at the chance to go back! However, if I had the opportunity to explore somewhere new, Australia would be first on my list.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m not sure if this qualifies as a hidden talent, but I have the ability to memorize movie lines after watching them once. I can do the same with song lyrics. I love watching movies and listen to a variety of music, so this may play a part in it!

What activities or organizations are you involved in?

I am a member of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) and I love it! There are so many opportunities with different projects and committees. I am also a member of Lambda Pi Eta and Sigma Sigma Sigma. While I lived in London, I was an international correspondent for The Pendulum, Elon’s student news organization. I got the chance to write about some of my experiences while living and interning in the city.

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

If I could pick one theme song, it would be “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. I learned how to play this song on the piano when I was younger, and it has been one of my favorites ever since!

What advice would you give someone looking for a PR internship?

My advice to someone looking for a PR internship is to get involved. Through different organizations at school, you can gain experience in areas that interest you that can serve as valuable assets when applying for an internship. Whether it is joining a PR committee, or participating in a club or team, getting involved introduces you to new people to build connections with while allowing you to gain experiences and skills outside of the classroom.
Follow Allie online at @AllieAnd5.
 
To apply for an internship at RLF, please send cover letters, resumes and writing samples to interns@rlfcommunications.com.

Spring Intern Spotlight: Alexandra Obradovich

One of the most important ways to build relationships is through networking. Not only can networking connect you with businesses, organizations and individuals in your field, but it can also lead to informational interviews, jobs and career development opportunities.
At RLF, we work side-by-side with our interns on a daily basis. We encourage them to pick our brains about agency life, work experience and the PR industry as a whole. We also urge them to attend networking events on school campuses, talk to career services departments, and reach out to industry pros for informational interviews to build their knowledge base and grow as young professionals.
Today, our intern spotlight is on Alexandra.

Alexandra Obradovich

I am a senior marketing and entrepreneurship double major at Elon University. I’m originally from Pittsburgh Pa., home of Steeler Nation football! In my free time I enjoy running, playing lacrosse and spending time with friends.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

During the fall semester of my junior year I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, and I would love to return to the city that was my home for the best four months of my life! While abroad I had the opportunity to meet local students and immerse myself in Catalan culture.

Do you have any hidden talents? 

Although it’s not exactly a hidden talent, I could happily eat sushi for every meal. There is an awesome sushi restaurant on Elon’s campus that I eat at more than three times a week. I can never get enough!

What activities or organizations are you involved in?

It is extremely easy to get involved in student organizations and clubs at Elon. I am currently the president of the girl’s club lacrosse team, a phase-four member of the Isabella Cannon Leadership Program, and a mentor for Elon’s S.M.A.R.T. Mentoring Program. I am also involved in Pi Sigma Epsilon, the professional marketing fraternity on Elon’s campus.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? 

My taste in music is usually dependent on the season, but my ultimate theme song would have to be “The Good Stuff’ by Kenny Chesney. My friends and I have a longstanding tradition of attending his concerts every summer in Pittsburgh and this song truly reminds me of home.

What advice would you give someone looking for a PR internship?

My advice for someone trying to land a PR internship would be to understand the importance of networking. Networking is a great way to get your foot in the door at a company you’re really interested in. By simply reaching out to a friend or visiting your university’s career service office, you can gain valuable contacts that help you start or grow your career.
Follow Alexandra online at alexandratobradovich.wordpress.com.
 
To apply for an internship at RLF, please send cover letters, resumes and writing samples to interns@rlfcommunications.com.

Spring Intern Spotlight: Kara Damiano

Once you’ve decided on a career in public relations, what’s next? Well, there are still many different industries and areas to choose from within the field. For instance, do you want to work for a nonprofit? A government organization? How about a fortune 500 company?
At RLF, we offer interns an inside look at a full-service, strategic communications agency where we work in a variety of industries with companies both large and small. And by exposing students to different aspects of agency life, we can help them narrow down a specific career path based on their interests and goals.
This spring, we are excited to welcome back fall intern Victoria Dolan, as well as introduce three new interns to the team: Kara Damiano, Allie Andrews and Alexandra Obradovich. Our first spotlight is on Kara.

Kara Damiano

I’m a senior at Elon University majoring in strategic communications with minors in business administration and leadership studies. I’m originally from North Reading, Mass., which is just 20 miles north of Boston. My internship and extracurricular activities at Elon keep me very busy, but when I have free time I enjoy being active and traveling with friends and family. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be back to Italy. I studied abroad in Florence the first semester of my junior year and absolutely fell in love. Since the day I was born, I was immersed in Italian culture. My parents were born in Italy and raised my sisters and me with rich family values. It was incredible to travel back to the country that has played such a big role in my character, and experience the joyful, welcoming way of life there. Needless to say the food there was delicious too… I’ve been craving it since the moment I left!

Do you have any hidden talents? 

People wouldn’t expect it, but I can eat a lot in one sitting. One time I finished a one-pound burger in less than 15 minutes!

What activities or organizations are you involved in?

I absolutely hate being bored and always try to get involved in as much as possible. At Elon, I am an account executive for Live Oak Communications (Elon’s student-run PR agency), a university guide for the Admissions Office, the historian reporter and recruitment chair of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America), and I am also a member of Zeta Tau Alpha. This semester, I will be spending my time choreographing a Greek Week Dance for Zeta Tau Alpha, which is a five-minute production featuring more than 50 girls and performed in front of our peers!

If you had a theme song, what would it be? 

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston! As a girl who spent more than 15 hours a week in dance classes growing up, I have a passion for dancing. When “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” comes on, people can’t help but dance to it! It is one of those songs that can instantly make you be happy and want to have fun.

What advice would you give someone looking for a PR internship?

Never underestimate the power of networking. Almost every opportunity I have had in the industry, I obtained by reaching out to people I had mutual connections with. Contacting people that work at companies you are interested in prior to applying there is a great way to make yourself stand out from other applicants. Even if the conversation doesn’t lead to an internship, it’s still great interview practice!
Follow Kara online at @KaraDamiano or karadamiano.wordpress.com.
 
To apply for an internship at RLF, please send cover letters, resumes and writing samples to interns@rlfcommunications.com.

New Team Member Spotlight: Steffany Reeve


Steffany Reeve recently joined the RLF team as a Director of Lifestyle & Consumer Brands. She previously served as the manager of marketing and advertising at the Greensboro Science Center.
To get to know her a little better, we asked her a few questions:

Tell us a little about your past work experience and what attracted you to RLF.

I have worked in a variety of leadership positions in marketing, public relations and advertising in both nonprofit and corporate organizations for the last 15 years. My career began in the field of market research where I was responsible for creating surveys, analyzing results, testing ad copy and provided consulting to clients in the tourism industry and in higher education. I left my position at D.K. Shifflet & Associates to join MCI WorldCom where I worked with the company’s in-house ad agency to improve ad creative and later joined the Gannett Corporation where I worked as a marketing consultant and researcher for the company’s Broadcast Division. In 2007, my husband and I moved to Greensboro and I found my skills in marketing, media relations and advertising a perfect fit for the director of marketing and community relations position at the Greensboro Children’s Museum. In this role, I was responsible for developing and implementing marketing campaigns that rebranded the organization, rolled out a new website, launched the Edible Schoolyard and increased awareness of the Museum.
Most recently, I served as the manager of marketing and advertising at the Greensboro Science Center where I developed and executed strategic marketing campaigns for the organization.  This position was both rewarding and challenging, in that it required working with a variety of teams and partners, managing multiple projects and tapped into my skills and experience in creative design, advertising development, writing, media buying, public relations and social media outreach. While I worked on multiple campaigns in this role, my favorite was the launch of the Carolina SciQuarium that attracted a record number of visitors and garnered national media coverage.
My passion for developing marketing and public relations strategies to help businesses grow and strengthen their brands ultimately led me to RLF Communications. Having worked with Monty and several of the other staff while at the Science Center, I was impressed with the team’s pool of talent and the level of expertise and commitment RLF offers clients. As a new member, I look forward to adding to the staff’s arsenal of knowledge and experience and to working with the company’s Lifestyle and Consumer clients.

Why do you enjoy working in public relations?

I enjoy helping organizations discover better ways to connect with their target audience, identify ways to grow and improve their brands and get recognition for things they are doing right. Whether this involves working with companies to enhance their social media outreach, improve media coverage, develop creative messages and collateral pieces, assist with rebranding or to plan special events, I like it all. Additionally, I enjoy being a counselor to companies and take this role very seriously. I feel privileged to be entrusted with this role and always have client’s best interests in mind. It’s rewarding to help others reach their goals and an exciting challenge to find creative, resourceful and out-the box ways to do to this.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?

Free time….ha!  What’s that?  No really, I have free time, but it is just classified differently now that I have three amazing, but very active children ages 5 and 2 1/2 (twin boys). I love spending time playing with all of them and capturing photos of their precious moments, but I also love to travel, scuba dive, hike, run, read and go on romantic dates with my husband David.

Are you involved in any community organizations, nonprofits or industry associations? If so, which ones and in what way?

I am a member of the PRSA Tarheel Chapter and belong to several online advertising and marketing groups such as ADPRO, Marketing Directors Support Group and the Content Marketing Support Group. I believe it’s important to be knowledgeable of current trends and stay connected with others in the field who can be great resources, potential partners, collaborators and clients.

What is the last book you read?

The last book I read was The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. It is a fascinating memoir that recounts the unconventional life of the author and her deeply dysfunctional family. I admire Walls for sharing the details of her poverty-stricken and eccentric life and think she is an inspiration to anyone who seeks a better life.  Instead of letting the multitude of challenges she faced take her down, she used these experiences to make herself a stronger person and a successful businesswoman. The book is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of triumph against all odds and a wonderful read. I would highly recommend it to anyone.  You won’t think your family is dysfunctional after reading this story!

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

Picking just one theme song is difficult, but I would say U2’s “Beautiful Day” is a good one.  Every time I hear it, it makes me smile and brightens my day no matter what has happened. I would classify myself as an eternal optimist, which is a trait that can work for and against me – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is too short not to cherish every moment. Other possible them songs could be ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” (I love to dance) and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” (I have faith that life gets better with each passing day and if something gets you down, you can’t stop believing that things will improve).

If you could have dinner with any one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

This is a hard question to narrow down, so instead I’d like to tell you my top three choices. If we were all together at once, it would make for one fascinating and memorable evening!

  • Albert Einstein – to get a sense of how his mind works and to ask him what he thinks of the world today.
  • Dr. Seuss – to tell him how much I enjoy his brilliance and the creativity of his books that I read to my children every night.
  • Ellen Degeneres – I find her such a fascinating and hysterically funny woman; I know she would keep me laughing the entire dinner. There is something to be said for a woman who believes in the power of laughter and dance to lift your spirits.