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By: Emma Garten

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PRSA Colorado Shadow Day 2015

Every year when spring rolls around, we host two students for Colorado PRSA Shadow Day. It’s an opportunity for college students to spend a day with a local PR firm or in-house communications team and learn more about what goes on in the communications world. It’s a wonderful and unique opportunity for students to get hands-on experience before they graduate.

We love food at Linhart PR, which is why our Shadow Day always begins with a bagel breakfast so our team can welcome the students. From there, students work on a variety of projects throughout the day, and attend a PRSA luncheon to engage in a larger discussion about public relations and current affairs.

This year, we hosted two students: Hannah Downs from Black Hills State University, and Jose Salas from Metropolitan State University of Denver. They entered our office energetic and ready to learn. While we could tell you all about the experience, we figured you should here it straight from them. Here’s what Hannah and Jose said about Shadow Day:

Hannah Downs, Black Hills State University:

Why I’m here today at the PRSA Shadow Day? I want to be “that” person. The person who can help companies convey the message audiences will listen to. I want to be the person who takes a company who has doesn’t have the best reputation and fixes it… fixes it through great communication, support and direction.

Companies find it harder and harder to communicate with audiences. Distractions are everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and busy lives get in the way of effective communication between companies and their audiences. Audiences hear brands like the mumble of mom’s voice saying “clean your room”, but those audiences, just like kids, have learned to tune it out. Public relations professionals are trained to get those audiences to listen. That’s why many successful businesses have PR professionals.

Shadow Day is all about communication, support and direction- just like PR. Throughout this opportunity and the exposure to PR, I now have a better understanding of how one team of creative individuals can take each of their specialties and work together to design a communication strategy, convey a message and leave an impact on not just one individual, but many.

It’s not, I want to be that person anymore. It’s I will … I will be that person.

Jose Salas, Metropolitan State University of Denver:

Only nine credits left until the past four years of hard work, missed appointments and forgotten friends come to an end. The light is finally at the end of the tunnel.

Marilyn Starret, my public relations professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, brought up the PRSA Shadow Day opportunity during class for students to join an event that would be a huge career investment, so I figured, what do I have to lose?

I couldn’t sleep the night before I had to be at Linhart PR due to the anticipation. I asked my wife to help me pick an outfit, as if I was going on my first date. I was so excited because Linhart PR was my first choice for Shadow Day and the only thing I knew was that this was the place I wanted to be. Would it be a traditional corporate setting? Would they be hip and laid back? Would I be overdressed? It was time to find out.

I felt welcome from the moment I stepped out of the elevator. A TV showed a welcome message for Hannah Downs from Black Hills State University and me. Candi, at the front desk, greeted me within seconds and grabbed my undivided attention from the moment she mentioned there were bagels and coffee waiting for us.

I learned everything I needed to know about Linhart PR from the first five minutes I spent in the cafe. The comradery among the staff was energetic and addicting. I found myself laughing with them as if I had known them for years. The culture was everything and anything I could have imagined it to be.

I loved the fact that we got to work on actual projects. The simple fact that we were included in the process of a “real world” project made me feel right at home. This wasn’t just a “watch and listen” experience. We got our own desk for the day and interacted with members of the company almost every single moment.

The luncheon was the best part of the day. Not just because of the food, but the speakers who presented on topics related to public relations and the networking opportunities we had were top-notch.

I only have nine credits left until graduation and it feels as if everything is coming together. Nine more months and I’ll be on the job hunt looking for a company like Linhart PR to join.

I am so thankful for organizations like PRSA and Linhart PR, among others, for opening their doors to students from all over the country and for giving us the opportunity to experience the world of public relations before making the final leap to graduation.

Would I recommend PRSA’s Shadow Day to other students? Absolutely. Was the $15 worth it? Every penny. Will I sign up to attend next year? You betcha! But as Jake Kubie, Senior Account Executive at Linhart PR, brought up during the luncheon, hopefully I can be hosting my own student next year.

Hannah Downs and Jose Salas

Hannah Downs and Jose Salas

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