By: Meaghan Shaw
Last Tuesday, mother-daughter duo Claudia and Arielle D’Avanzo of Creative Communications Consultants visited PRSSA to share advice on starting out in the PR field.
Claudia, an Auburn graduate, has worked in PR for 30 years and started CreativeCommunications Consultants in 1998. “There’s lots of different ways to describe what we do,” she said, but among the descriptions she favors are a “boutique marketing communications firm” and “brand communications consultancy.”
Arielle – a self-proclaimed “Bulldog” – graduated from UGA in 2012 with a major in public relations and a minor in Spanish. She worked with Edelman in Washington, D.C., after graduation for the food and nutrition team, with a focus on health-centered campaigns. After transferring to New York from D.C., she came back to Atlanta. Arielle has been with CCC for four years now and is an Account Director.
Arielle’s personal advice to the members of PRSSA was to “land that first internship.”
“It doesn’t have to be the perfect fit,” Arielle said. “It doesn’t have to be everything that you are hoping for, but it’s something to start building your network up.”
Arielle, who herself had agency, nonprofit, paid and unpaid internships before graduation, urged members to apply for internships because they show credibility, drive and motivation.
The pair brought with them advice they compiled from friends and colleagues they worked with over the years, people whose companies ran the gamut from InterContinental Hotels Group to Scout Marketing to The Bitter Southerner. Some were freelance practitioners. However, each person had shared a piece of advice that stuck with the D’Avanzo women, which they brought in front of PRSSA.
Claudia shared that it is important for interns to treat their internships like a “real job.” A good way to do this, she shared, is to “ask questions about other parts of the business.” Not only does asking questions lead to a “big-picture” understanding of a project, it keeps interns engaged and helps them bring more to the table.
When asked about big agencies and small agencies, the D’Avanzo women had positive things to say about both. However, Claudia emphasized the importance of working for a large agency.
“If you can get a big-name company on your resume, for starts, that’s always good,” Claudia said. “It gives you street cred.”
For current PRSSA members, Arielle recommended going on PRSSA’s agency tours.
“I would definitely recommend it,” Arielle said. “It’s really good just to kind of see what agencies are out there, what you kind of mesh with, what feels like a good fit for you.”