Meet our newest addition to the team: Madeleine Hatley

This blog post was written by our intern, Madeleine Hatley.

Hi, everyone! My name is Madeleine Hatley and I am a senior public relations major at the University of Texas at Austin. Coming from the small town of Paris, Texas, I was ready to head to a larger city with more growth opportunities and also more things to do other than take pictures in front of the world’s third largest Eiffel Tower complete with a cowboy hat.  During my spare time, I love seeing live music, discovering new restaurants, and taking my adorably fluffy Corgi, Oliver, to Zilker Park.

Prior to joining the Ketner Group team, I mainly worked in politics. My past experience has taught me that internships are vital to figure out what best suits your personality and what path you want your career to follow.

My first internship was with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at Texans for Greg Abbott. I mainly worked on his social media, press releases regarding the governor and event scheduling. It was a great first internship in that I learned how to further develop my writing skills and got the opportunity to represent a single client via social media.

This past semester I was an intern at Axiom Strategies, a political consulting and public relations agency. I got the chance to represent and write for House and Senate members and meet lots of interesting people. I also got experience helping with crisis management and handling tricky situations that can easily escalate online and by word-of-mouth.

My cute puppy, Oliver. I wish he was still this size!

However, after two political internships, I decided it was time for a change of pace. I imagined I could be the real-life Kerry Washington in Scandal, but the job was far less glamorous than I imagined. The political sphere did not allow me to connect with people how I like to nor did it allow me to utilize much that I had learned in college. I felt like a small fish in a very large pond.

This is one of the reasons I think my internship at Ketner Group will be so valuable. The people here are so welcoming, actually care about your ideas and want to help you learn. On my first day, they ordered pizza for me and we all got the chance to get to know each other a little better over lunch. If my first day is anything like the rest of my internship, I know I will love it here. It took me long enough to find an internship that suited me!

Trial and error is the key to college internships. Get your first or second (maybe even third) internship out of the way to find which path you want to take. Internships give you real world experience so you aren’t forced to be in a field you dislike for the rest of your life. Try, try and try again until you get your dream internship that leads to your dream job.

As for my dream job after graduation, I would love to work in an agency setting that allows me to grow as a writer, team member and professional. I am a native Texan, so I would love to stay in Austin or move to Dallas to be closer to home.

I am very much looking forward to my time here and hope to learn valuable skills I can carry with me to my future career!


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 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.

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.



New Intern on the Block: Daniela Ramirez

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!

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.


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!

Surprise! You’re in Public Relations.

“Surprise!” is what should be written on your diploma upon college graduation. As is the case for many careers, public relations is one thing taught and another in practice. Earlier this month, I accepted an invitation to speak to the University of Texas’ student-run Tower PR group and was brought back to my college days—days of hope, dreams and eagerness to start a fabulous life in PR.

After meeting such wonderful, enthusiastic future PR professionals at UT, I started comparing what I thought a career in PR would look like at 21 to what it actually is after nearly 5 years of going from internships to account coordinator and executive roles to senior account manager. Now I love my job and I’m sure I chose the best career for me, but one thing is certain: At 21, I had not even a clue what I was in for.

“PR is glamorous.” SURPRISE! It’s not. At all. PR professionals get no public credit for the good work we do, and that’s the way it should be. You work hard all day to win positive publicity for your clients (hardly ever for yourself), and a job well done may or may not be met with praise. PR is very much a “behind the scenes” or “backstage” role, so people who crave being the star of the show should think twice about choosing this underappreciated career.

“PR is all about party planning.” SURPRISE! I wish I could plan parties for a living. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been approached by someone wanting to get into event planning. Party planning is a large, successful industry and is mastered by event planners, designers, caterers and others. It’s a whole other tamale. In fact, it’s on a whole other plate. In PR, you’re immersed in activities such as crafting a corporate message, managing client relationships with media and analysts, and writing case studies, press releases and articles. On the rare occasion that a client throws a party and needs your help, they will likely be looking for your assistance in promoting the party to a targeted community. Continue reading

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.

New KG Intern Sara on Her PR Degree and Internships

“What’s your major?”
“Public relations.”
Classic response: “Great! …What’s public relations?”

Needless to say, a typical explanatory conversation with fellow students, family members and friendly coffee house employees gets old. But to be honest, I wasn’t even sure what public relations was until I came into my freshman year as a PR major at the University of Texas at Austin. I knew Samantha on “Sex and the City” was in public relations. She seemed to have a cool job. Why not go for it?

As a junior public relations major at UT, I have learned that this business is demanding, fast-paced and a daily challenge. This was definitely the industry for me! The fall semester has just begun, but my Public Relations Techniques course is turning out to be one of my favorite classes. In this group project-based class, we work on analyzing and suggesting ways to enhance a specific non-profit organization in the Austin area. I am so excited to work with Ventana del Soul, a local non-profit that works with socio-economically disadvantaged families and at-risk youth in Austin to provide training services and job coaching in the culinary arts industry. As a firm believer that food (more specifically, chocolate) can fix almost anything, I can’t think of a better organization to provide public relations advice and counsel.

Outside of classes, I’ve gained experience by working with the College of Communication Career Services (CCS), the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center and the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) and I was ready to see what life was like at a public relations firm. During my time at the CCS, I worked on promoting the event to students and faculty of the university and wrote press releases to send out to The Daily Texan and other neighboring university newspapers. At the ACVB, I worked on various sales proposals in order to bring more meetings, conferences and conventions to the city of Austin. From the moment I moved to Austin three years ago I have been hungry to learn more about this city and what makes it tick. Working at the ACVB only encouraged my obsession with the “Live Music Capital of the World” and I gained valuable knowledge of the city and the hardworking people who help to make it the greatest town in Texas.

I am very passionate about environmental conservation and I hope to one day be able to use my PR degree to promote sustainable and ecologically friendly products and organizations. My internship at Ketner Group will allow me to hone my PR skills in a professional setting and I am so excited to be a part of the team!

The Family Business

By Andrew Ketner, Intern

When I was growing up, I had no idea what my Dad did for a living. I knew that he went to work every morning with a briefcase and came home every evening in time for dinner. I distinctly remember an episode from my sixth grade Spanish class in which our teacher asked each student to state the occupation of his or her Dad. When it was my turn to speak, I frantically flipped through the pages of my mind’s Spanish-English dictionary and stumbled upon what I thought at the time was a suitable if somewhat incorrect answer: “A businessman.”

Fast-forward ten years, and I am now a proud employee of my Dad’s formerly unknown business. I never thought I would work for my Dad, much less for a PR firm, but I guess you could say that I didn’t have a choice. I was about to embark on a 7-week study abroad program last summer and was trying to find a job under the broad heading of “prelaw” that I could hold down for the remaining five weeks until the start of the fall semester. Turns out that no one wanted to hire me just for five weeks (surprise). So, whether it was because he didn’t want a jobless son or because he simply wanted to increase the male quotient at the office (see this former blog post), Dad hired me.

Fortunately for the both of us, I ended up really liking the short-lived gig and have been working at the Ketner Group since I graduated from The University of Texas this past May. I still plan on going to law school next fall, but decided very quickly after college Continue reading