Q&A with Karen Kacir, the Newest Addition to Our Team

April 30, 2018

by Karen Kacir

Following 11 months in Colombia as an English teacher for the Peace Corps, former intern Karen Kacir is back with the Curley & Pynn team as our newest communications specialist.

Read on to learn more about this quick-witted member of our office family.

What motivated you to pursue a career in public relations?

I’ve always been fascinated by creative storytelling.  Having come of age in the era of social media, I was drawn to businesses and nonprofits that used compelling narratives to cut through the clutter and make themselves heard.  I liked the idea of learning to communicate smarter, not louder.

What is your favorite memory of being in Colombia with the Peace Corps?

I had the chance to live with three host families during my time in Colombia.  Without a doubt, the members of my families were some of my closest friends.  One of my host moms, Gloria, has a special place in my heart – she could sense when I was having a bad day (or, could understand my broken Spanish when I tried to communicate that I was feeling down) and would brighten it up without fail.  Once, to cheer me up, she took me on a hike through the pueblo in a downpour.  When her concerned neighbors asked what she was doing, she replied that it was the perfect weather for a walk.  Her humor, kindness and indefatigable optimism stand out very clearly in my mind as a highlight of my time at site.

If you had to present on any topic without preparation, what would it be?

I could probably lead a presentation on all things related to bullet journaling, including how to make the journal itself out of printer paper, embroidery floss and a record sleeve.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Swing dancing!

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I would want to be able to teleport and take other people with me.  Not only would it eliminate my commute, but I’d also have the ability to spend more time with my loved ones scattered around the globe.


Five Tips for Landing Your Dream Internship

April 25, 2018

by Stefania Markowicz

My time with Curley & Pynn as an intern has come to an end, so I’d like to offer some tips for students or recent graduates looking to land a fabulous internship (hopefully this one!).

  1. Personalize your online profiles – and keep them clean.

I guarantee employers will “Google” your name during the application process, so make sure that your online profiles are clean and informative.  And, after you land the internship or job, keep updating your online presence.  Your profiles should be an authentic display of your character both in and out of the office.

  1. Try something outside your comfort zone.

Prior to joining the C&P team, I was sure I never wanted to work at an agency.  Silly me.  This was, in part, because I was nervous that I would be overwhelmed with work and deadlines.  But nerves are good – a sign that what you are doing is important.  Turns out, I really enjoyed the agency environment.  In just four months, I was exposed to a broad range of essential PR skills, from writing and research to media outreach, and those skills were applied in several different PR sectors, from high tech to tourism.  So, challenge yourself.  Walk the edge.  Diversify.  Only then, will you succeed.

  1. Pay attention to the details.

C&P juggles many client projects, which is why efficiency is important.  Before submitting them to your supervisor, make sure first drafts are as close to final as possible.  That means fact-checking your information and triple-checking your grammar and punctuation.  The same applies to internship or job application materials – it’s not a great reflection of your skills if your resume and cover letter are full of typos.

  1. Go above and beyond.

Whether you’re assigned a project at work or an assignment at school, always give 101 percent. That extra 1 percent is a testament to your effort, dedication and passion, and will set you apart when applying to top internships and jobs.

  1. Network.  Network.  Network.

Those co-workers and colleagues who were impressed with your work?  Yeah, they’re going to be the people recommending you for the next opportunity.  While you might have the qualifications, nothing beats the recommendation of a former supervisor to help you land the job.  Leverage your network of school and internship contacts to learn more about possible opportunities.  The PR industry in Orlando is a small world.

These tips have served me well in securing five internships along the way to pursuing my bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from the University of Central Florida.  As my journey continues with just two more semesters to complete, the next step is to determine which career path I’ll pursue.

After experiencing this internship program, C&P might just be part of my path.

The last four months I’ve spent at C&P have exceeded all my expectations.  I’m leaving this internship as a better communicator, all because of the incredible (and quirky) team here.


Death

April 17, 2018

by Roger Pynn

One thing you can look forward to when you die is that you won’t have to read the news.  After all, it is pretty depressing.

However, one thing you won’t read about is something many find depressing while they are still alive … death.

After monkeying with their publication of the news of death back in 2013 when it did away with the tradition of printing “Deaths in Central Florida,” the Orlando Sentinel brought back a limited version … but instead of treating it like news, they charged for even the simple three-line notices that include the deceased’s name, age, city and the name of their funeral home so friends could at least call to inquire about funeral services.

Last week they simply buried the whole thought that the dearly departed might matter to the paper’s readers, trading the space for large display ads.  The classified ad department told me that the average obituary takes up 36 lines at a cost of $505.  They do have a handy tool that allows you to write your loved one’s story, paste the text into a template and find out what it will cost … if you don’t die from the sticker shock yourself.

I’m an old news hound.  I made my living as a journalist for a long time.  I wrote a lot of obits in my day.  And I’ve read them every day of my life ever since … not out of morbid curiosity, but because if a friend has passed, I want to know it.  My bet is that I’m not unlike a lot of people … especially when they reach their 60s and 70s and going to funerals becomes a more routine part of life.

A quick check at OrlandoSentinel.com/opinion/letters doesn’t seem to show it, but the print edition has had at least a couple of passionate letters to the editor on this subject, including this:

I understand it costs a lot to run a newspaper.  It also costs to lose subscribers … whether it is due to their death or the disgust of families who dump their subscriptions … offended by decisions like this that choke every last dime out of the readers that real advertisers are trying to reach.


A Lesson from College Football: the Camera is Always On

January 4, 2018

by Katie Gomes

For many Americans, the holiday season is synonymous with college football.  From bowl games to playoffs, there are numerous opportunities to kick back and relax, and watch America’s favorite sport.  Last week, college football also provided an opportunity for America to learn a valuable lesson in public relations when University of Texas’ head football coach, Tom Herman, was caught mocking University of Missouri’s quarterback, Drew Lock … on national television.

As a Missouri native and fan of Mizzou, our 33-16 loss to the Longhorns was a shame to see, but even worse was Herman’s disrespectful gesture, waltzing along the sideline while imitating Lock’s touchdown celebration move.

Not only did he exhibit poor sportsmanship, but he also encouraged the team to join.  Before the display ended, fans were already reacting on social media, either in disgust or in defense of Herman’s actions.

Whether he meant to openly taunt Mizzou or was genuinely caught red-handed, what Coach Herman quickly learned was a lesson we often teach in Curley & Pynn’s Message Matrix® program: “assume the cameras are always rolling.”

But wait … there’s more:  role models should model the best behavior.

Here’s to hoping other teams take note as they prepare to compete in the championship game next week.


The Making of a Holiday Message

December 18, 2017

by Dan Ward

Each year, Curley & Pynn attempts (and usually succeeds) to develop a holiday card that ties back either to the practice of public relations or, more frequently, to issues that have made news in the past year.

We mailed a “hanging chad” card after the 2000 election, made fun of news polls that missed so badly in 2016, and lampooned the ACA rollout by launching our own FrostyCare Marketplace.

This year, we set out to find something from 2017 that we could turn into a positive, and hopefully funny, holiday message.  And we failed.  We pored through headline after headline, and became increasingly depressed.  Political fights, natural disasters and dozens of harassment claims do not lend themselves to fun, festive jokes.

And then it came to us.  What we all need after a year of depressing headlines is what we all turn to (some of us secretly) to lift our spirits … pictures of kittens and puppies!

And so we present the C&P 2017 holiday card, featuring headshots of our own four-legged friends and family.  We hope it brings you a little “Paws-itivity” for the year ahead.  And we also hope you can pay it forward with a little pawsitivity of your own.  Share photos of your own furry, fuzzy family members with the tags #CandP #Pawsitivity.  We can all use some positive news and images this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our thanks to Jim Hobart and Macbeth Studios for a fun, tail-wagging photo shoot!


Location, Location, Location

November 21, 2017

by Dan Ward

When planning a special event, the walk-through is critical. You look at the space and account for placement of signage, locations for media and VIPs, sight lines for cameras, background music that could interfere with your plans, including anything outside of your control that could impact your event.

Unfortunately, the event planners at The Weather Channel missed a couple of steps, and it offers a lesson for all of us.

The Weather Channel set up a live stream to broadcast the implosion of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, with what appeared to be a great wide shot of the dome.  Everything was great for about 40 minutes, right up until the first explosion.  That is when a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) bus pulled up directly in front of the camera.

So instead of a livestream of a massive demolition, viewers saw a bus … with some dust in the background.

Lesson: for your next event, make sure your audience has an unobstructed view.


Dangers of Cut & Paste

September 26, 2017

by Roger Pynn

I always feel bad when I’m reviewing résumés and come across an applicant who self-eliminates with a stupid mistake.  I feel bad because I long ago decided it isn’t my job to teach someone to read what they write before sticking it in the mail.

Today’s example was a chap who appeared to be a pretty good fit for a job we have open (see description below if you are someone interested in joining a really good PR firm that demands excellence of itself to provide excellent service to excellent clients).  However, he sent a cover letter along with his résumé and some writing samples in which he clearly had cut and pasted a paragraph from another cover letter he’s using in his job search.

His opening paragraph was OK: I am writing to express my interest in the position of Communication Specialist with Curley & Pynn. As a communications professional with over a decade of experience reaching out to the public I know what it takes to get people talking.

But two paragraphs down things went south: I will love to be able to bring my assets to The Florida Bar Foundation as your next Marketing Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator.  I am excited about this opportunity and welcome the opportunity to discuss with you my credentials. Please contact me to arrange an interview. I look forward to meeting you and thank you for your consideration.

No … the boldface and underlines were not his, but added for emphasis.  I just wanted to make sure you saw it.  I let slide that this guy actually said, “I will love to be able to …”  Lord, this guy has a college degree!  Albeit, from an online school I’ve never heard of before.  He positions himself as a Seasoned bilingual communications professional experienced in network, cable and local news, with both English-language and Spanish-language speaking audiences.

Now … to the real reason I wrote this post.  We’re looking for good talent.  Please see below, email us or pass the word.  Extra points to those that get our name right.


It’s time to stop “working” and start getting paid to do what you love.  At Curley & Pynn – The Strategic Firm®, our award-winning team of creative thinkers is excited to offer you this opportunity.  As a communications specialist, you can do big things in an environment that will challenge you to contribute 100 percent every day, while empowering you to succeed.

Our specialists play a critical role in the implementation of communications strategies for clients from varied industries.  No two days are the same at Curley & Pynn, but there are several things you can expect to do:

  • Research, research, research.  It’s the bedrock of every communications plan.
  • Write compelling stories about our clients, their products and services for news releases, blogs, social media posts and more.
  • Publicize those stories by pitching them to news media, developing eye-catching collateral, planning and executing events, and more.
  • Brainstorm new and innovative ideas that bring our strategies to life.

What you need:

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, public relations, journalism or a related field.
  • Overwhelming desire to grow your career.
  • Writing skills stronger than the Hulk.
  • Annoying obsession with details.
  • No fear to call a reporter, get rejected and call again.
  • Confidence to raise your hand and take responsibility for new projects.
  • Penchant for to-do lists and ability to juggle.

Ideally, you’ve had some on-the-job experience and are ready for the next step in your career.  Solid internships and a high level of maturity go a long way, too.  Experience with graphic design and digital marketing will earn you bonus points.

What we have:

  • Experienced, friendly and enthusiastic mentors who will always have your back and are invested in helping you grow.
  • Long-standing relationships with some of Florida’s most well-respected organizations, including globally recognized brands.
  • Generous benefits:  a competitive salary, health benefits, three weeks of paid vacation time, financial support for professional development activities and reimbursement for continuing education.
  • Work-hard, play-hard mentality, which often leads to cookie breaks, birthday celebrations, happy hour and more.

Interested?  Email your resume, writing samples and a meaningful cover letter to Dan Ward at dward@thestrategicfirm.com.  In your cover letter, tell us which of the Five Steps to Professional Success you have applied on the job.


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