IT PAYS TO PRACTICE
Written by Maureen Boeing (BA, Communication, 1989, CIC, CISR )
Maureen is owner of Maureen Boeing Consulting, a firm specializing in insurance operations and automation consulting business, started after spending 22 years in insurance agencies.
It pays to practice.
When I was in college, let’s just say more than a few years ago, I was able to participate in the co-op program in the Communication Arts department at UC. In fact, being able to participate in that program was a primary reason for attending UC and selecting Communication Arts as my major. I wanted to find my way into the wonderful world of advertising, public relations and co-op.
I was fortunate to find a home at two different (literally and figuratively) businesses during my co-op experience. Starting at the March of Dimes, I received an initiation to the business world via the non-profit sector, which is an absolutely great way to get practice at so many things. Many non-profits ask (need?) their staff to wear many hats, so from day one, I was learning how to put my writing skills into practice on press releases, my organization skills into practice finalizing details on an upcoming fundraiser (ever heard of the Walk America now called the March for Babies?) and also putting my communication skills into reaching out to volunteers at meetings, on the phone and even bringing messages to the media in person (ever heard of Jail N Bail?). Non-profit work is hard and it takes dedicated people – especially those who believe the world is a better place when we gather together to achieve a common goal.
After six months of non-profit work, I had the opportunity to practice my skills in the corporate sector, working at a Cincinnati based company, LensCrafters (now part of Luxottica). Public relations was a small part of their marketing department, but I had the chance to work with a PR expert who was committed to making a difference in the company. Considering LensCrafters was started by former P&G marketing execs, that was a lofty goal. Working with little budget and co-op students as her staff, we created the first Give the Gift of Sight program to collect used eyeglasses to benefit the Lions Club. I practiced my PR skills by organizing the very first campaign. It continued to grow as co-op students followed me, and in fact, the work we co-op students did to help grow the PR department at LensCrafters resulted in the hiring of a second full time PR staff person.
I’m so glad to see the co-op program is alive and well at UC in the Communication program again. It is a great opportunity to practice the skills learned in the classroom and come out of college with experience.