From College to Ketner: Rob Fallen, NYC Intern

Hi Everyone! My name is Rob Fallen, and I am the new NYC Intern… coming at you remote from my childhood bedroom. I’m a Senior at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, but I grew up just outside of NYC! I’m an honors communication major with a double concentration in advertising and public relations with double minors in psychology and music.

Why PR?

Fresh out of high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. At Marist, I was placed into a program that helped me figure it all out. Thankfully, it brought me to an introductory PR course. Going into this course, saying I was terrified would be an understatement. My professor held weekly mock press events and challenged our writing skills, all in an introductory course?! Most people hated it, but it challenged me in a way I had never been challenged. From there, I was hooked.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to experience everything from PR writing to reputation management to communications research. PR has allowed me to not only be creative but be analytical in how I approach my work! My past intern experiences have been in non-profit, academia and social media analytics. I have enjoyed getting to know the quirks about these different industries, and now I am super excited to learn about the retail technology industry with the Ketner Group team!

Outside the Office

At Marist, I try to keep myself as busy as I can! My two favorite extracurriculars include Marist Orchestra and Marist PRSSA! I’ve been playing the violin for nearly 15 years, gratefully having the opportunity to continue at college. For PRSSA, I recently became our chapter’s president, which is quite an exciting opportunity as we transition back to “normal operations” this upcoming fall!

In my free time, though, you will probably find me perusing a record shop (or multiple) with a cold brew in hand. Over the past year, I’ve become a huge audiophile, expanding my vinyl record collection to cover my wacky taste in music. When I say wacky, I mean ranging from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Pathétique’ in B minor to trans-artist SOPHIE’s Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides. Yes… feel free to judge me.

What About Now?

Taking on your first professional internship is not an easy task, especially with the backdrop of a raging pandemic and political unrest. I’m thankful for the morale the Ketner Group team has had, reminding me to have resilience. Overall, I’m thrilled to learn all I can from the knowledgeable and humble team at Ketner!

jenny bradford aae ketner group

Get To Know Jenny Bradford, Our New Assistant Account Executive

Hello! My name is Jenny Bradford, and I am the newest full-time team member at Ketner Group!

So much has changed in our world since I wrote my intern intro blog at the beginning of 2020, but I am thrilled to still be with KG and taking on my new role as an assistant account executive.

In January of 2020, I became the first intern in the New York City office. I was part of a semester-long internship program hosted by my school, Marist College, that allowed us to experience life in the city before we graduated.

I had a few internships under my belt at the time, but I was ready to find a team I could see myself with long-term. I was hesitant to apply to KG at first because retail technology sounded daunting, but I’m so grateful that I gave it a try and joined the Ketner Group dream team. Now I can confidently say I’m becoming quite the ‘tech nerd.’

Navigating 2020 as a senior in college

While my Marist in Manhattan experience ended abruptly in March of 2020, my journey with Ketner Group did not.

I stayed on remotely throughout the year and into my last two semesters of college. While being a senior during a pandemic was not exactly ideal, having Ketner Group as a constant despite the chaos was a relief.

jenny-bradford-ketner-group-aae

I was still able to maintain a high-grade point average and navigate leading my school’s PRSSA Chapter through redefined opportunities for pre-professional growth.

My free time transitioned from dance team rehearsals and Poughkeepsie outings to lots of socially distant picnics and outdoor games. All of this taught me that it’s really not about what you’re doing, but rather who you’re with (even virtually!), and that’s a lesson I’ll cherish forever.

While I’ll miss doing my work from my dorm window that faces the Hudson River, I’m excited to move back to New York City with my older sister.

Crafting and exploring when I’m outside of the virtual office

As someone who’s not too keen on relaxation, “the city that never sleeps” is the perfect place for me in my twenties.

I’m determined to find the hidden gems and become a true New Yorker, but I’m also secretly excited to revisit all the tourist destinations each time someone comes to visit me. I already have a list of must-try restaurants and must-see views that’s growing rapidly. (Any favorites? Please, email them to me!)

When not out-and-about, I love to try new crafts. This year has been all about paint-by-numbers and embroidery. I’ve made way more than I can reasonably display, but it hasn’t stopped me from buying more kits…oops.

“Graduating” from intern to AAE

I am so excited to finally be a full-time member of Ketner Group Communications. It’s been an honor watching the company grow and acquire new clients in the past year and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Jenny Bradford

Jenny Bradford: The First NYC Intern

Hello! My name is Jenny Bradford and I am the new FIRST intern in the NYC office. I am currently a junior at Marist College, a mid-size college in Poughkeepsie, NY. I am majoring in communications with concentrations in public relations and advertising and minoring in business administration.

This semester, I am participating in a program where a few students are selected to live in the city as we intern locally and take a few online classes. So, that’s where Ketner Group comes in!

Why I Chose Public Relations

Choosing a major for college was a daunting task. As someone who loves to learn and try new things, picking something and sticking with it seemed impossible. Luckily, I found public relations. I was drawn to PR because I love to write and solve problems and the flexibility of options within the industry excited me.

My past intern experiences have been in non-profit, healthcare, real estate and financial PR. I have greatly enjoyed diving in to all these areas, so I am looking forward to learning about the retail technology field next.

My Background

I grew up in St. Louis, Mo. before moving to Yorktown, NY, where my family lives now. I am no stranger to moving, but getting the chance to live in the city on my own has already been incredible.

In My Free Time

At Marist, I am the Director of Chapter Programming for the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Additionally, I am a member of the Dance Ensemble, the Student Government Association, and The Circle, Marist’s primary newspaper.

This semester, however, I am excited to go to Broadway shows and concerts. I consider discount ticket shopping to be one of my most valuable skills. As a result of this, my friends and I deemed 2019 the “Year of Concerts” and we hope to see even more shows in 2020, while somehow spending less than we did in 2019 (wish us luck).

To date, I’ve been to more than 20 Broadway shows and this semester Hadestown and West Side Story are topping my dream to-do list. Besides that, I am eager to explore new areas of the city and hopefully eat some great food.

That’s All for Now

I’m thrilled to be the first intern with Ketner Group in NYC. I know I will take away invaluable professional and personal lessons from this great opportunity.

Anthony after successfully defending his thesis.

Anthony Czelusniak Joins Ketner Group

Hey all, I’m Anthony Czelusniak (SUH-lose-knee-ack), Ketner Group’s first Nashville intern. While I’m a journalist at heart, public relations enthralled me the moment I stepped into my first PR course. I’m a senior majoring in journalism with a concentration in public relations at Middle Tennessee State University. I’ve also found myself involved in experiences outside the classroom.

Maybe a Little Too Involved…

I say there’s no such thing, but my friends tell me I’m too busy. I’m the president of the MTSU PRSSA chapter, where I’ve taken the membership from two—the vice president and myself—to 12 and growing still. I also serve as editor-in-chief of Collage, MTSU’s premier creative arts journal. We collect and curate the best of what our creative students offer. From photography to prose, to sculpture and screenplays, Collage exists to show off the best MTSU has, and I am proud to lead the 25 member staff toward that goal.

However, the craziest endeavor I’ve taken part in was Investigating the Rationale for Social Media use by Nashville Nonprofitsmy undergraduate thesis. It’s exactly what it says on the tin, a look into how some Nashville nonprofits use social media. After 18 months of herculean effort, I successfully defended in December.

But Enough About School.

In my time off, I like to pretend to be a photographer. I even bought a fancy camera and everything. I also love to write poetry, putting a focus on breaking visual conventions within poetry. When I’m not trying to be an artist, you can find me neck-deep in the Nashville soccer scene. I’ve had season tickets to Nashville SC from day one, and on game days you can find me pitch side wondering when the last time the referee saw an optometrist.

Either that, or I’ll be wandering around in one of Tennessee’s beautiful wilderness areas. A peaceful break from a hectic life.

Choosing Ketner

It was my thesis adviser who told me about the Ketner Group internship. Just by reading the job description, I knew I had to be here. Seeing the words “paid internship” was such an inspiration that I had to apply right away. OK, not exactly.

After doing the research and learning about the culture of Ketner Group, I could tell this was a fun place to work. Somewhere that wasn’t full of stuck ups in suits. My first conversation with Kirsty reinforced that conclusion. The atmosphere at Ketner Group is unlike any other internship I’ve done. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of it.

working together

Four Things I Wish I Knew Before My First PR Internship

This blog post was provided by our intern, Andrew Stonebarger

Well, I’m roughly halfway through my summer at Ketner Group Communications and the internship continues to surprise me. I’ve already learned so much during my time here at KG. I’m sure the rest of the summer will be no different! Looking back, if I could talk to myself before I started as an intern, I would give these four pieces of advice. So, without further ado, Four Things I Wish I Knew Before my First PR Internship.

Be Open to New Industries

Internships are all about growth. Every day is a chance to improve and a chance to better yourself. However, growth results from putting yourself out there. If you aren’t willing to step out of your comfort zone, take a risk, and try something new, you are holding yourself back from reaching your full potential.

One way to step out of that comfort zone as an intern begins before you even accept an offer. Don’t be afraid to apply for internships that force you out of your comfort zone. In my intro blog, I write about my passion for sports. Naturally, when I accepted an internship in retail technology PR, I was nervous. How would I last a whole summer working in an industry I had no previous experience in and no real knowledge of? Turn’s out, the industry had so much depth and intrigue that I would end up liking it.

You will never realize how interesting an industry is until you dive head first into it. By stepping outside of my comfort zone and taking an internship in retail technology PR, I found a new industry that I enjoy. Retail technology plays a role in every purchase you make and the industry continues to grow and change every day. With innovations and inventions pulling the industry forward, you never know what’s in store.

There’s a world of opportunity out there. Some of it may seem scary, and that’s because it is. Trying something new is scary, but by stepping out of your comfort zone and taking that challenge head-on, you are setting yourself up for growth and success. Who knows, you may find your new dream career or your newest passion from it.

The CEO’s Door is Always Open

As an intern, you’re low on the totem pole. So, what are the odds you get to interact with the big-time executives, directors, and CEOs? To my surprise, the odds were good; I had a meeting planned with the president and founder of Ketner Group – Jeff Ketner – within the first week. One of the biggest things to look for in a strong business is accessibility to senior leadership. The chance to interact and work with company leadership will go a long way in your growth as an intern. 

Whether it is an in-depth, hour-long meeting or five minutes to share a coffee, take advantage of every opportunity you get to interact and work with your senior leadership. Those executives, directors, and CEOs can make a world of a difference. They have been in your shoes before, their mentorship can offer you so much. Whether it’s about work or life in general, these are the people you want in your corner and rooting for you.

Another tip I’ve learned: don’t be afraid to speak up in staff-wide meetings to share your ideas, but do so sparingly. You don’t want to come across as a know-it-all. Share ideas you know add value to the discussion. Share your ideas that help solve problems, and be someone who helps add to the solution and makes an impact rather than a bystander. This will help prove to the entire company that you care about the situation, want to make a difference, and have the skills and knowledge to solve problems and generate effective solutions.

If I could go back, I would tell myself not to be afraid of senior leadership, but to use them as a resource to build you up. They usually have decades of experience, tons of advice, and countless stories to share. Taking the time to meet and interact with them will go a long way toward your growth as a PR professional.

Good Research Skills Go a Long Way

It doesn’t matter what career field you go into, research will play a role in your day-to-day responsibilities. You may not work in a lab running science experiments, but good research skills go a long way towards success in a PR internship. Everyone working in PR needs to have strong research skills to communicate effectively in a variety of subjects.

Before you can succeed in an internship, you have to get an internship. Researching background information on the company you are applying to, their clients, and their methods will be essential in your PR internship hunt. This will allow you to tailor your resume, cover letter, and interview to that specific company. I promise companies will notice these efforts and reward you for it. This may seem obvious, but doing so will go a long way in helping you stand out as a candidate.

Even after you’ve secured the internship, being able to conduct effective and comprehensive research is very important. If you stepped out of your comfort zone and took an internship in a new industry, your research skills will help you make a smooth transition. Being able to conduct effective research will allow you to become an expert on a subject quicker than anyone else.

As a PR Intern, you are preparing yourself for the responsibilities and day-to-day tasks of a PR professional. Even as a PR pro, research is important. It helps you keep track of new and emerging markets and is essential if you want to create and contribute content to your publications. It is important to develop these skills over time – the earlier the better. Improving your research skills as an intern will go a long way as you become more advanced in the field.

Be Open About Your Weaknesses 

I’ve said it a few times in this blog, but I’ll say it again, internships are all about growth and developing your skills in your desired career field. I’ve been asked in every interview to date, “what are your weaknesses?” When you answer this question, be honest. It will go a long way toward developing your skills. Employers take that question very seriously, and if you’re hired, employers will give you a chance to improve and work on those weaknesses.

The best employers will listen to your weaknesses and set you up with the opportunity to improve on them. For me, one of my biggest weaknesses as a PR Intern was my writing. I was open and honest about this during my interview with Ketner Group and here I am writing blogs, bylines and press releases on a daily basis. Ketner Group listened to my weaknesses and tailored my internship experience to help me work on them.

If your employer isn’t helping you work on your weaknesses, they and you aren’t giving yourself the chance to improve and turn those weaknesses into strengths. Being open about your weaknesses is key to reaching your full potential and taking your abilities to the next level level. Being honest about your weaknesses demonstrates that you are introspective and driven. This transparency will go a long way as you improve your internship experience and develop your abilities as a PR pro.

My first PR internship has been an eye-opening experience. Looking back on the summer so far, I’ve learned so much and it’s not even over yet! There is always something to improve on and an internship is a great place to work on your craft. So going back to a couple of months ago, I’d let myself know that even though the first internship may seem scary, the lessons to be learned and the experiences to be had make it well worth it. In the end, I get to watch my skills and development as an emerging PR professional unfold.

Andrew-UT

Finding My Way: Andrew Stonebarger

This blog post was provided by our intern Andrew Stonebarger

Finding My Way to Austin

Hello everyone! My name is Andrew Stonebarger, and I am a senior public relations student at The University of Texas at Austin. I was born in Nashville, TN, but I grew up in Syracuse, NY. Fun fact about Syracuse: it is one of the snowiest cities in America with an average snowfall of 123.8 inches per year! After living in basically the tundra for 13 years, I knew I needed to go to school in the south, so I packed my bags, drove 26 hours and found my way to Austin.

Moving 26 hours away to go to college was a tough task, but I’ve learned a lot because of it. In my time at UT, I have grown as a person, just as much, if not more, than I have as an intellectual. In addition, I found such a unique campus atmosphere that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Austin is a one-of-a-kind place with an amazing balance between college town and metropolitan city.  It has truly become my home away from home and has helped me grow so much more than I imagined. This is a special city; it’s hard to imagine my life and college experience anywhere else.

Finding My Passions

My journey to where I am today as a public relations major wasn’t easy. I entered UT Austin as an actuarial science major. I found myself bored and struggling. In turn, I started taking new classes and I found myself in PR 101. I thought to myself, “you’re a good public speaker; this’ll be a breeze.” I was dumbfounded when the professors first words were, “if you’re here because you’re a good public speaker and you think that’s PR, you are in for a rude awakening.” My heart was beating out of my chest, but I stuck with the class and grew to love it. The class was confusing, but refreshing. As I took more classes, my passion grew and I found myself in a new major.

PR allowed for a sense of creativity that I hadn’t experienced before. Every problem in mathematics had the same solution with different numbers, but in public relations, every problem requires innovation that allows me to express that creativity. As I finish my college career, I look back and hope one day I can shed light on what PR actually is to younger generations. Eventually, I want to introduce communications to a high school curriculum.

Outside of the Office

Beyond academics and work, I have a ton of hobbies. I play for Texas Men’s Volleyball. This year we went to Denver for NCVF Nationals and finished 9th! Other than volleyball, I play chess and I still can’t beat my Dad so clearly I need to practice more. I also love the NBA and college football. If you want to talk Finals or Free Agency, I’ll tell you where every star is going to end up or if you want to talk college football, I’ll tell you why UT is winning The National Championship this year.

Finding My Way to Ketner Group

As the summer drew closer, my nerves were growing. It was April and I still hadn’t secured an internship yet. I had an interview with Ketner Group and just had a gut feeling when I finished it. The gut feeling screamed, “Ketner Group is where you should be this summer!” When I got the offer, I was ecstatic. I knew once that happened, this was going to be an amazing summer. I’m only in my first week, but I have a good feeling about Ketner Group. Finding my way here is a huge step in the right direction; I can feel it.

I’m so excited to get to work here at Ketner Group Communications. I know there is a lot of knowledge at Ketner Group and there’s so much I can learn. I have a great feeling about this summer and am so excited to get started!

Katie Stone, Intern at Ketner Group

Meet Our New Intern: Katie Stone

This blog post was provided by our intern Katie Stone

Getting To Know Me

Hello everyone! My name is Katie Stone and I am the new intern at Ketner Group Communications. I recently graduated summa cum laude from Texas State University where I received my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Public Relations. 

I am originally from Katy, Texas (yeah, I know, Katie from Katy). Even though there isn’t a whole lot to do in Katy, I love visiting home so I can spend time with my family. I also like to visit our crazy boxer mix Daisy. Though I have lived in Texas my whole life, I have been lucky enough to travel to many places. I have hiked through national parks in the United States and zip-lined through the Costa Rican canopy. I’ve eaten fish and chips in London and walked the streets of Rome. I hope to go even more places in the future. When I’m not traveling or visiting family, I love reading, cooking and binge watching the newest shows on Netflix.

How Did I Get Here?

Before joining Ketner Group, I did six different internships with companies and organizations such as the Freedom of Information Foundation, Leadhub and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. At these internships, I learned a lot about running the perfect social media campaign, developing digital content people will actually click on, and the ins-and-outs of event planning.

While working internships and going to class, I was also heavily involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). While in PRSSA, I served as secretary on our executive board. I was also the Communications Director for the PRSSA 2018 National Conference – the largest annual gathering of public relations students and professionals in the world. Though I had a crazy schedule, the skills I learned made every minute worth it.

Despite my current dedication to the field, I knew nothing about public relations before I went to college. When I started at Texas State, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I needed to select a major. I selected Mass Communication and Public Relations at random. Thankfully, I fell in love with it.

I couldn’t be more excited to get started in my new position at Ketner Group Communications. I’m eager to work with the KG team and to learn about communications in the retail technology industry!

Intern Series: Starting a New Position

This blog post was written by our intern, Meghan Farrell. 

Starting a new position can be a daunting experience. You don’t know the company culture yet, you have many new faces and names to learn and you aren’t quite sure what an Account Executive even does. These are all common worries that new employees have when starting a new position – and that’s completely normal. However, there are some tips to keep in mind that will help make starting your new job less stressful. Let’s talk about some ways to successfully prepare for starting a new position.

Do Some Digging

Although you probably learned about the position during the interview, it doesn’t hurt to do some digging. Check out the company’s LinkedIn or team page on its website and find someone with a similar position as you. Once you find that person, check out some of the work they have been doing or subjects they have been writing about. This can help you access what you’re in for or topics that might be relevant to learn more about before your start date. At the very least, research some of the publications the company works with or shares on its social platforms and get familiar with the trends in your respective industry. By doing prior research, you will have a better idea of the dialogue that occurs in your new position.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Unknown

Starting a new position usually means doing things you have never done before – and that’s a good thing! You want a job that challenges and pushes you into the unknown because that will help you grow as a professional. You never want to get too comfortable with what you are doing because you then risk getting left behind. Take on some things you aren’t familiar with because getting as much experience as possible is beneficial, even if it doesn’t seem to fit your current role or field. Volunteer to help with clients you haven’t worked with before or projects that are new to you when you have the time. Through taking advantage of these opportunities, you will get familiar with the things the company does on a daily basis.

Confidence is Key

Although you are the new guy or girl at the company, that doesn’t make you less important than other employees. You have the skills and qualities that the job requires and you were chosen over many other applicants. Remember that when you begin your new position. It’s normal to feel like you’re at the bottom of the food chain as the new employee, especially when you’re young, but you have worked hard to be where you are and deserve to be there just as much as everyone else. However, there is a fine line between being confident in yourself and coming off as cocky, so make sure to keep that in mind. You want to let other employees know that you mean business without leaving a bad taste in their mouths because you will be working closely.

There’s No “I” in Team

No matter the position you are starting, you always want to be a team player. While being able to work individually is important, being able to work in a team setting is key and will benefit you throughout your job, especially as the new employee. Employers want to hire people who will increase the value of the organization as a whole, and that can’t be done single handedly. It requires the help and collaboration of many people, and you want to be a part of that. Additionally, the more you network, the more resources you will have as you adjust to your new role.

Hit the Ground Running

Although you may be nervous, the best tactic to start off strong at a new position is to hit the ground running. Find areas that may need improvement within the company and make suggestions on how to make them more frictionless. If there was a program that your previous job used to speed up daily tasks, let your employer know! Do research on ways other companies are doing things and suggest them at the next staff meeting. There are plenty of things you can do that let your employer know you are innovative and want to contribute to the advancement of the company.

As scary as starting a new position can be, it’s ultimately a positive thing and a great opportunity to grow as a professional. So, when you’re walking in on your first day with sweaty palms, remember some of these tips and tricks to get off to a good start. Good luck!

ketner-group-communications-logo-master

Ketner Group Seeking a Spring 2019 Intern

Ketner Group is currently seeking a driven, hard-working intern for the Spring 2019 semester to support our team, with the possibility of an extended offer as a summer intern. The paid internship begins in January 2019, offering a flexible schedule of 15-20 hours per week. Between collaborating with our energetic and creative team and gaining real-world agency experience supporting our B2B clients, the intern will have many opportunities for growth.

Qualifications:

  • Entering or currently in junior or senior year of undergraduate studies
  • Possess strong writing and communication skills
  • Willingness to work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Organized and detail-oriented
  • Previous public relations and/or communications internship experience is required, preferably with an agency
  • Ability to learn quickly and adapt to our team’s work culture

Responsibilities will include:

  • Researching media and analysts
  • Editing and/or writing client press releases and marketing materials
  • Managing editorial opportunities
  • Compiling award and speaking calendar
  • Building media lists
  • Crafting blog content for clients and internal use
  • Developing social media posts for client and internal use
  • Participating in staff meetings
  • Assisting with other duties as assigned

Application instructions: 

Please send a resume and cover letter, along with writing samples, to Mariana Fischbach at [email protected]; no phone calls, please.