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!

INTRODUCING OUR NEW INTERN: MEGHAN FARRELL

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

Hey everyone! My name is Meghan Farrell, and I am a senior public relations major minoring in business at the University of Texas at Austin. I was born in Calgary, Alberta but moved to Houston, Texas about 14 years ago – what a change! I quickly grew to love the U.S., and appreciate that you can’t shovel humidity.

Moving to Austin for school has been an incredible journey, with the city feeling almost separate from the rest of the state. I have experienced so many new things, like kayaking below South Congress Bridge while the world’s largest urban bat colony flies above, and don’t even get me started on the food here – trust me, I won’t stop talking.

My love for public relations began my sophomore year of college when I realized it was all about stories. I love telling a good story to my friends, family, or whoever will lend their ear. It’s progressed to the point where friends will ask me to tell stories for them, even when I wasn’t there. Finding out there was a major where I could do what I already loved was the most relieving feeling, and once I began taking PR classes I felt at home.

Before beginning my internship at Ketner Group, I worked as a student assistant to the Public Affairs Director at UT’s Harry Ransom Center. Some of my daily tasks included drafting media advisories, creating media contact lists, and analyzing their social media statistics. I also learned a great deal about pitching to the media. I truly cherished my time spent there, and I encourage everyone to go check out their vast collections.

When I’m not writing papers, I like to spend my free time hanging by the water, watching Chopped, snuggling my cat Billy, or finding the next great restaurant in Austin. I also love returning to Houston to visit my family especially because of our newest addition to the Farrell clan, my 2-year-old niece Mila.

I am incredibly excited to be spending my summer with Ketner Group and look forward to the stories that lie ahead!

New Intern on the Block: Daniela Ramirez

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Photo provided by Daniela Ramirez.

This blog was provided by our intern, Daniela Ramirez.

Hello everyone! I’m Daniela Ramirez and I’m one of the new Ketner Group interns, it’s nice to e-meet you! I am currently in my final year at The University of Texas at Austin studying public relations. It’s hard to believe that I am a senior (cue the nostalgia) and already in my last two semesters of undergrad. Looking back as a curious freshman, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with public relations or the type of job I wanted to work in following graduation. Through previous internships and courses, I have been able to develop a trajectory and carve a more focused track. These experiences have led me to develop a more strategic outlook and make the most of my four years at the best school in the world (Hook ‘em!).

Having worked in a variety of communication and public relations roles in the beverage industry, music business working with niche, reggae-type artists and bands as well as non-profits, I have been able to widen my scope of knowledge and skills. I’m excited to work with the amazing team at Ketner Group and continue to develop my B2B communication skills, and not to mention, learn about some pretty cool retail technology! Having only been with the team for a short time, I already feel so welcomed and truly feel like a valuable asset.

Now, a little bit about myself. I’m from a small town near Fort Worth, Texas called Kennedale – maybe you’ve heard of it? That’s why I was so excited to move to Austin and really live in a place that I haven’t experienced before. I love everything about Austin and the energy that it offers; I don’t plan on leaving the city scene anytime soon (sorry, Mom!). I’m all about experiences and living in the moment. You can often find me seeking out the next place to try brunch, attending a concert in town or going to an improv comedy show. I love to meet new people and learn about their life. That’s what really intrigued me about studying public relations; it’s a discipline that’s all about sustaining relationships through authentic dialogue. It’s a field that’s conducive to learning and exploring new interests and allows you to build an arsenal of skills. I love diving into different industries and learning how they operate, hence the range of my internships. Overall, I’m an extrovert and love to surround myself with good company. I’m excited for the semester ahead and spending my time with Ketner Group. As a senior, I’m anxious as well as excited for what’s ahead, while ironically wanting time to slow down at the same time.

Looking forward, I hope to work in the agency world so I can continue to gain varied experience in one industry and widen my scope of knowledge. I can already see that interning at Ketner Group will make my public relations undergrad experience memorable and one-of-a-kind, and I am very excited for the wonderful opportunity!

What a Classroom Can’t Teach You, An Internship Can

This blog was written by our intern, Kamilla Rahman.

As a college student I often find myself slaving for hours and hours in a textbook and trying to shove as much information as I can into my brain in order to do well on an exam. This is simply how college is structured; you’re given information, you’re expected to learn it, you’re tested over the materials and by the end of the semester you are dubbed proficient in that area of study. If a class isn’t focused around exams, the process will be the same except your proficiency in the subject matter will be based off of a project or a series of assignments.

Don’t get me wrong, I have learned more than I can imagine during my time in college. But how much can someone learn in the confines of a textbook, case study or hypothetical situation given by a professor? Not enough.

As a public relations major I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to understand a target market, write in AP style, research media and create campaigns for clients. My class work is graded by a professor or a teacher’s assistant and not assessed by a real client. I’m given a grade and that grade doesn’t hold much meaning besides it affecting my GPA. Because I write a press release and it receives a 93, does that mean if it was distributed to a media list it would be covered by a variety of journalists? Probably not.

Many times the best way to learn is simply by doing. The classroom provides the basic skills needed to have a career, but an internship provides the experience to have a successful one. My internship has given me the opportunity to fine-tune my writing skills in a way I know my writing classes simply cannot. It’s given me the opportunity to create REAL content for REAL clients, which is something only an internship can provide. It’s allowed me to work in a fast-paced environment and helped me understand what to expect in the future. With school, you learn a lot of general, yet important, things about your major, but internships give you the chance to figure out where you actually want to take your career.

Internship experience is truly irreplaceable. Without an internship, I would feel like I was being thrown out into the world after graduation. On some level, that is still how I feel, but I’m much more confident that I’ll have a grasp of what I want to do and where I want to begin when the time comes.

The New Adventures of Old Christine

Hey y’all! My name is Christine Hanna and I am the new intern for Ketner Group. I am currently a senior corporate communications major at The University of Texas at Austin. I have lived in this amazing city my whole life and define myself as a true “Austinite.”

headshot christineBefore joining the Ketner team I was primarily focused in the non-profit realm. I spent the past year as the program and development intern for the non-profit Marathon Kids. During my time at Marathon Kids, I concentrated on planning events and managing social media platforms. My love for non-profit stemmed from my first internship at Superhero Kids where my main tasks included planning events for the children at the Dell Children’s oncology unit, staffing volunteers for the annual run, and raising awareness through social media. Superhero Kids will always play a major role in my life.

I think it is crucial to try different avenues of real world experience before you graduate, so during the summer of
my junior year I worked for Carr Development. I loved being a part of the business world, but it made me realize my passion for the communication field.

And that is why I cannot wait to start me new adventure at Ketner Group! It is only the first day and I already can tell that this office is special. To celebrate my first day the whole team went out to lunch together, and they let me pick the restaurant! Yes, the new intern got to pick the restaurant. I can say from experience that not many offices have this warm of a welcome! Like I said earlier I have primarily focused on non-profit, so I am excited to see what the agency life has to offer.

Now, here is the fun stuff and interesting tidbits about myself:

  • I am a twin! But my sister and I look and act nothing alike! I am a tall brunette and she is a short redhead.
  • I am a cancer survivor! I would say this is what I am most proud of. I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer my senior year of high school and had my last doctor’s appointment at MD Anderson during my freshman year of college. I still would not take back my experience, because it taught me so much about myself. That is why the organization Superhero Kids will always play a pivotal role in my life.
  • I am an avid runner. I have completed two half-marathons.
  • Do you have a sweet tooth? If the answer is yes then we will be best friends.
  • I grew up going to Port Aransas, Texas. I LOVE to fish. My dad is the biggest “guys guy”, but he ended up only with twin girls. So growing up, he taught us all his favorite outdoor activities.
  • I am a big FOODIE. My favorite restaurant this month is Elizabeth Street Café.
  • I am a coffee addict!

As I enter into my final summer as a student, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Ketner Team. I can already tell they will teach me so much about the PR and marketing world that you can only gain through firsthand experience.

 

What to do on the first day of your summer internship

You’re probably feeling some nerves. Finals are finally over and summer is finally here but the first day of a summer internship is likely making you feel a little anxious.

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courtesy of Creative Commons

Lucky for you, I’m here to share some good news. Having both experienced the first day as an intern (four times!) and a boss (twice!), everyone feels excited and a little nervous about the first day.

Plus, an internship is a great opportunity to uncover your strengths and try out a variety of projects. It will help you get the job you want and it will also help you understand who you are and what you can offer.

In order to help you prepare for that first day, and the days to come, I’ve come up with three Do’s to ensure you make a great first impression and create a lasting positive impression. Say hello to a guaranteed recommendation!

Do: Ask Questions

Curiosity shows engagement and interest. The first day is all about getting the lay of the land. Questions will help you figure out how the company is run and how you can best support the goals your employer is hoping you can help achieve. Your questions should be aimed at understanding first and achieving second. Questions will help you to understand how the company works and what you’ll do. But they’ll also help you figure out how you can best succeed on a project you’ve been assigned. Remember, you’re interning to support the company but you’re also interning in order to learn! Questions ensure you impact the company the best way you can and prepare you for your next job.

Do: Dress the Part

Ah, the blessing and the curse of clothing. No matter whether you love it or hate it, our clothes represent who we are and reflect our opinion of any situation. For the first day of your summer internship, you’ll want to dress to reflect your respect of your new organization and fit in with the company culture. Did everyone wear jeans and a t-shirt when you interviewed? Go for a tailored but relaxed look: black slacks, a knee length dress or a sweater and blouse. Consider wearing your new suit as separates and save the jeans for your second month on the job. Did everyone wear suits and tie when you interviewed? Match their clothes and find yourself something equally buttoned up. Nordstrom Rack and Neiman Marcus Last Call are great resources for a college budget.

Do: Your Homework

Help make your first day less stressful and ensure you make a great first impression by spending an hour or so preparing for your job. First, you’ll want to get familiar with your company: check out the website, make sure you know the name of your new employer and figure out the route you’ll travel to get to the office. Second, set some expectations and goals for your work. How do you want this job to help you get your next job? How do you want this job to set you up for your dream career? What do you want to learn? Who do you want to meet? By understanding these answers before you even set foot in the office, you’ll ensure you achieve what you want. That makes for a better future and a more fun, relaxing present.

Now, you have the tools you need to start your new internship. By encouraging yourself to ask questions, dressing for success and doing you’re homework, you’re guaranteed to have a great first day. And remember, you already completed the hardest part of getting ready for your first day: you were hired. You’re already well on your way.

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.

Why Our New Intern, Mia, Decided on a PR Career

I don’t know exactly when I decided that the public relations industry was a fit for me. I did watch a lot of Sex and the City my freshman year of college, so there may be a correlation there.

I wanted to live Samantha Jones’s glamorous (fake) life. Little did I know that Samantha Jones’s fabulously glamorous life was an unrealistic version of what the public relations industry really is.

I was disappointed to find out that not everyone in PR rubs elbows with the elite and lives in million dollar condos, but the more I learned about the industry I was able to forgive Samantha for deceiving me all those years. Maybe this industry was right for me even without all the glamour. Who needs $500 Manolo Blahnik shoes, anyway?

As my undergraduate public relations education almost comes to a close I’m excited and nervous for what this industry has in store for me. I will be graduating in December with a public relations degree and business foundations certificate and look forward to using my education and experience to become a great PR professional.

My course work thus far has been a well-rounded mix of advertising, business and public relations classes, and I’ve worked with teams to create a PR plan for Animal Trustees of Austin — a local animal welfare non-profit as well as a hypothetical media plan for another local Austin business.

Outside of class, I’ve had experience in various industries such as special events, journalism, production and public relations. I worked at Study Breaks Magazine where I gained experience in social media as well as journalistic writing. Last year, I interned for Cultivate PR, a boutique lifestyle public relations firm that ignited my passion for food and was fortunate enough to meet Top Chef winner, Paul Qui and Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko. After my internship at Cultivate, I had opportunity to drop everything during the summer of 2012 and move to NYC to intern for a production and branding agency, inVNT, which I eagerly and willingly took. I won’t lie; before I left I thought that I might actually have the glamorous life of Samantha Jones, even if it was just for the summer. However, as amazing as my summer in the “Big Apple” was, it was no Sex and the City. It was more work than anything, maybe a little glamour, but most importantly, a tremendous experience.

I’m extremely excited to use my skills and experiences at Ketner Group. I’m so happy to be part of the team. I feel at home even on my second day.

Ketner Group Journey- The Beginning

My name is Catherine Mitchell and I’m a senior public relations student at UT Austin. Knowing that graduation is slowly sneaking up on me in December, I decided that I needed more experience in the public relations Industry before I could truly know which path to choose when I graduate. This leads me to the beginning of my journey with Ketner Group!

I have held previous PR internships with outstanding companies, but still I longed for experience in an actual agency whose sole purpose was PR and marketing. I had been to quite a few interviews at other agencies, but when I walked through the door here at Ketner Group I instantly felt at ease. Everyone at the office was friendly and energetic. My interview didn’t feel like a formal “what are your strengths and weakness” type interview, but more of a two-way conversation where I felt comfortable to be myself and got to learn more about the people in the agency. Choosing the place I wanted to intern was a no-brainer!

Ketner Group deals mainly with B2B technology clients, which is definitely a different field of PR that I imagined myself working in. However, I have found that I really enjoy learning about different IT developments implemented by Ketner Group’s clients.

Merely seeing how a public relations professional spends his/her day at work has provided me
great insight into the field. The opportunity to sit in on conference calls and meetings with
clients has shown me how to build and maintain strong relationships with clients. I have learned through observation the importance of presenting knowledgeable council to the client while still maintaining a casual enough tone to keep the meeting friendly.  When I’m at the office I literally feel like a little sponge trying to absorb all the information I can!

Being surrounded by professionals who really love what they do has made interning at Ketner Group a really positive experience thus far. People really aren’t lying when they say the best way to learn is through experience. I now know that I enjoy working in a boutique agency where everyone is more than coworkers- they’re friends.