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!

Intern Series: Career Fairs

This blog post has been provided by our intern, Meghan Farrell.

It’s that time of the year again, a day that can fill students with dread – the career fair. Getting dressed up in our slacks and uncomfortable shoes, printing out (hopefully enough) resumes for everyone we speak to and waiting in line nervously, wondering how to stand out from the other hundred plus students in attendance, are just a few things we worry about. But career fairs shouldn’t be something you avoid. These events can be the perfect opportunity to meet your future employer and get meaningful networking experience. And with UT’s Moody College of Communications Career Fair on September 26, we thought it would be the perfect time to roll out some advice on how to tackle these opportunities.

Do Some Research

It’s okay if you don’t recognize every company attending the career fair. However, doing some research ahead of time on the businesses in attendance is imperative, even ones that might not necessarily be on your radar. This is one of the only opportunities where all of these businesses will be in the same place, so make the most of it and explore your options fully. While you don’t need to know every detail about each company, it makes a big difference when you are familiar with what they do. Visit their website or blog and get an idea of the type of work they do. You can ask them about a certain client or case study, or an open position they have listed; this will show that you didn’t come unprepared. It demonstrates that you are interested in what they do and have taken the time to learn about them beforehand. As you wait in those long lines to speak to someone, bring along notes to review so when it’s your turn to shine, you have lots of ammo for the conversation. On top of that, some colleges provide information on every company that will be in attendance on their app, so see if your school offers it and use it to your advantage!

Dress the Part

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” may sound cliché or lame, but it can make or break a company’s first impression of you. The representatives at each booth came dressed for the part, so you should too. While formal business attire has become less common for employees today, it still plays a part in making a lasting impression on prospective employers. They want to see that you made the effort to get ready for the event, take your career seriously, and that if hired, you would be able to dress professionally. UT also requires that you arrive in professional dress, so don’t make the mistake of preparing for the career fair only to be asked to leave because you showed up in jeans.

Exchange Information

It can be awkward deciding the right time to give someone your resume or business card, but recruiters want them! Even if it turns out you don’t qualify for the position, ask them to hold onto your resume in case something opens up. That company may be looking for someone for a position in the future and remember you and think, “Wow, this person I met at the UT career fair would be perfect for this role, let me go find their resume and contact them.” You worked hard on those materials so hand them out! Even ask for their card; they probably have a stack of about 200 in their office so I’m sure they would love to get rid of one.

Follow Up

A very important step that many students forget is to follow up after the career fair. If you had a particularly memorable or exciting conversation with someone, go ahead and shoot them an email explaining how great it was to meet them. This will lead to the beginning of a professional relationship with that person, and even if you don’t end up working together, it’s always beneficial to have another contact in your field. Even if you felt like the conversation didn’t go so well or was a bit awkward, contact them anyways. It never hurts to let them know you appreciated speaking with them, because at the end of the day they took the time out of their schedule to be at the career fair, too.

Take A Deep Breath

Career fairs can be very nerve-racking, but at the end of the day they are an amazing opportunity to learn about the companies in your area. They give you valuable pitching experience, something that is very beneficial in our field, and provide insight into the real working world. If you want to get hired, you are going to need to learn to vouch for yourself, so get out there and tell these employers why you would be valuable to their company. You have a lot to offer as a young professional, so take a deep breath and take that bull that is the career fair by the horns.

What I’ve Learned at Ketner Group

This blog post was written by our intern, Daniela Ramirez. 

Find an Internship to Help You Develop These Four Skills

Senior year has held lots of great memories for me, from interning at Ketner Group to finishing my capstone project during my last semester of college. Working at Ketner Group throughout my senior year has been a wonderful experience as I gained a variety of skills, whether I realized it at the time or not. I believe a few of the skills I have learned along the way have been particularly critical in prepping me for the next phase of my career.

Teamwork
Teamwork really does make the dream work. What I have appreciated the most about Ketner Group is the team-oriented approach. They tackle everything with teamwork and include members of the team from every level, which has allowed me to gain experience in real client work. I never feel intimidated to ask questions, go to a team member to understand something better or pick their brain about a certain subject.

Time Management
The great thing about Ketner Group is that you are not solely assigned to one client so I’ve been able to work on a variety of projects and tasks. A valuable result of working on a multiple clients has been learning to manage my time, making the most out of deadlines and priorities.

Media Relations
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about media relations is how big of a role research plays. Pitching media is nothing if you haven’t taken the time to research the best targets for a particular opportunity or idea. Being smart about the journalists you reach out to and making sure the information you are pitching them is relevant and appropriate is key for achieving media relations success.

Messaging
A big part of PR is looking at the bigger picture and understanding the noteworthy takeaways. When putting together customized pitches or content, understanding the overarching message and goals will help grab journalist’s and the reader’s attention.

Land an Internship to Help Gain These Skills
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a team that challenges me everyday and pushes me to continue learning. I believe this is something everyone should look for an internship.

When seeking an internship, go after opportunities that spark your interest and relate to your passion. If you want to work at a non-profit in the long run, intern at a non-profit, but if you’re interested in working at a PR agency or corporation after graduation, find an agency or corporation with a strong internship program. A good place to start your search is by joining student organizations that are relevant to your major and attend events with companies, events or individuals that are of interest to your work. These opportunities are a great way to learn more about their day-to-day and will help you get your foot in the door.

Ultimately, make the most of your four years and put yourself out there; the more internships you do, the more you will learn and get a better idea of what you want to do after school. Before you know it, these opportunities will be gone and it will be time to enter the job market.

 

 

Ice Cream’s Biggest Fan (and our new Intern): Meet Cambria!

Hello! My name is Cambria Sawyer, and I am thrilled to be joining the Ketner team as their newest intern! And yes, Cambria as in the font, wine, California town, and the heavy-progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria- but I am actually named after an old sailing ship in Rhode Island. My middle name is one of the most commonly chosen for children in China, but I’ll let you guess about that one!

CambriaWords are some of my favorite things on this earth. You can use them for good or evil, express your deepest thoughts and feelings, ask for ice cream (very important use of words), harness them to become closer to someone or push them farther away, motivate people toward life-changing action and a million other things. Words are powerful but also mischievous- it is not always known what effect they will have, and I think that is so dang cool. It’s truly a science to figure out how to best approach communication, and I think that is why I am so drawn to the fields of PR and marketing- they are mysterious and very, very fun.

My first major try at figuring out words came last year when I ran the promotion, marketing and creative aspects of a local non-profit’s 5K. We decided to call it the Record Run (themed around breaking a new world record every year), and broke the world record for the number of pennies collected for charity with over 500,000 pennies. Although it was my greatest challenge yet, I had an absolute blast branding the race, contacting media and strategizing for how to get more runners at the starting line. If you’ve ever wondered what half a million pennies look like, you can check it out here.

During my internship freshman year at the Frank Erwin Events Center, I had the Cambriaopportunity to approach marketing from an entirely different angle. Between holding interviews, analyzing social media response, and blog-writing, the learning curve was steep and also totally awesome. Plus, getting to high-five practically every professional fighter in the UFC was an added bonus.

Of course, there are a few completely non PR-related things that play a considerably large role in my personality, so here you have it:

  • I am six feet tall, but I am an absolute sucker for a pair of high heels.
  • My younger brother has a severe form of Tourette Syndrome. He and I have become ambassadors for the Tourette Association of America to help raise awareness and funding for the disorder. I am also currently writing a book about my family’s journey with Tourette’s (there are just way too many good stories for them to go untold).
  • If you give me ice cream, we are friends.
  • I absolutely love to travel and try new things. If you want to go on an adventure, the answer is almost always yes.
  • I am a drummer- I spent seven years in percussion, and four years playing tenors (55 lbs) on drumline. My next step is to learn steel drums!

Going into my sophomore year at The University of Texas at Austin as a PR major, I could not be more excited about the adventures that await me both on and off-campus. I am so thrilled to have been welcomed here at Ketner Group, and am excited to see what I can learn from such a talented team!

The New Super Excited Intern

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Hi, my name is Kamilla Rahman and as you can gather from the title, I’m the new intern for Ketner Group. I’m currently a sophomore public relations major at The University of Texas at Austin  hailing from the great city of Dallas, Texas.  I’m an account executive for Texas Tower Public Relations, the only student run PR firm on campus, working exclusively with non-profits in the Austin area. Additionally I’m on the social media committee for ORANGE Magazine and UT’s PRSSA chapter, as well as a member of the Texas Belles.

During my freshman year I interned with eduCAUTION, inc., a short film that enlightens the issues with the student debt crisis in America, helping out with promotions and event planning for the premiere at SXSWedu in 2014. The film gained quite a lot of attention from the media and other film festivals, and it was really rewarding to see my team’s hard work pay off.

After freshman year I became a marketing intern for Rahman Financial. I worked alongside my dad and the marketing team to refurbish their marketing strategies by researching potential clients, analyzing turn key technologies and redesigning their brochures and business cards. Though working for my dad seemed mundane at first, it was a great opportunity to learn about marketing in the financial world and about my father’s profession.

During the first semester of my sophomore year I worked as a marketing intern for UT’s Frank Erwin Center. I got the chance to work many special events including concerts and UT basketball games to ensure sponsored advertising ran during the events. During my time at the Erwin Center, I assisted the publicist with the Erwin Center’s Applause blog, grass roots marketing plans and much more. Sitting courtside at basketball games and up close to the stage at concerts made working at the Erwin Center an unforgettable experience.

Once the second semester of my sophomore year started, I was determined to find an internship at an agency. After weeks of stressing myself out from emailing a plethora of companies in the Austin area and sifting through tons of internship databases, I stumbled upon Ketner Group PR + Marketing. I emailed them, and I actually received an email back in a timely manner. Honestly, I was shocked. I was ecstatic when I received a phone interview. I was basically floored when I got a second interview. And I can’t even begin to explain my excitement once I was actually offered the internship.

I knew I wanted to intern at the Ketner Group the moment I had my phone interview with Kathleen. She was so sweet on the phone and made the interview surprisingly fun, rather than dreadful. Once I had my second interview with Catherine, I had the chance to meet Jeff and Sara. Everyone was so nice, and I got a chance to learn what retail technology really is, and what Ketner Group does for their clients. There is a lot of technology powering today’s leading retailers, and Ketner Group sits right at the heart of it!

During my interview I could really tell that everyone enjoyed their work and the people around them. And that’s the number one thing I’m looking forward to while interning at Ketner Group. For me personally and thinking about my future career and job, I think liking your job, the people around you.

Get to know Erica, one of the new Ketner Group interns!

Ketner Group has had some pretty awesome interns, and this summer is no different. Meet Erica, one of KG’s two new summer 2011 interns. We asked our AIs (Awesome Interns) to contribute to the blog, and here is the first post in the new series, “The KG Intern Experience.”

It all started at the ripe age of 13 – an age when you’re socially awkward, chubby and snaggle-toothed. From the comfort of my bedroom, I ran the largest and most profitable PR agency in the world. Now, I didn’t know it was a PR agency at the time, so I just called it “Events x Erica.” I thought I was pretty clever using the “x” sign to signify the word “by.” I still do – don’t judge.

Anyway, I independently managed every last detail of my extravagant parties, including booking guests, promotional activities and music selection. I was even my own caterer. What can I say? We independently-owned PR agencies have to stick to our budgets!

Needless to say, I was a PR enthusiast from a young age. Fast forward eight years, and I am now a senior majoring in public relations at The University of Texas at Austin. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to work with wonderful industry professionals, such as Rogers & Cowan, Film Independent, Giant Noise – and now, Ketner Group!

I’m a self-proclaimed soup-junkie, dog whisperer and film critic. An ideal day would be watching a Ben Stiller movie (why haven’t you gotten an Oscar yet?!), eating tomato basil soup and simultaneously snuggling with my dogs, Gaston and Bree.

I’m so excited to be a part of the team and can’t wait to dive into all that is Ketner Group!