[By Justine Newcombe]

So you are interested in working for a PR agency, but do you know what you are signing up for? Or, maybe you want to go down a different route and get into government relations. Lauren Tedesco, a Sheridan Public Relations and Corporate Communications (PRCC) graduate of 2008 spills on her experience at a PR agency, and how she earned the role of director of communications to the president of the Treasury Board. Did I mention she is also the Performance Techniques for Media Relations professor? Let’s take a look at her PR journey.

Reflecting back, Tedesco notes that social media is the biggest change in the PRCC program since 2008. “When I was in the program, we briefly covered social media, but to give context, I had joined Facebook the year before when invites were exclusive to those with university email addresses and I still wasn’t on Twitter. Today, news is immediate and public relations can thrive – or die – in the world of social media,” said Tedesco. As social media has become an essential component of PR, it is no surprise that it has been incorporated into the program.

Tedesco describes working at a PR agency as a sort of PR boot camp, with long hours and intense work. While the work is hard, it allows for great insight into the field. “I was in a junior position at the time, but had the chance to see my team work closely with clients and handle the pressure – everything from launch parties to negotiating with reporters to clients complaining there was too much bread on their sandwich,” she said.

After working for an agency, Tedesco set her sights on the political side of PR. Through networking and persistence, she was able to get a job as a communications advisor for the minister of Economic Development, and has since worked her way up to become the director of communications to the president of the Treasury Board. Her advice for anyone looking to get into government PR? Network. “It can feel painful and awkward, even inauthentic,” said Tedesco. “Don’t force it – just embrace it when you find a good lead.”

(Photo by Lauren Tedesco)