Tag Archives: Intern

Santa Claus, Samantha Jones, Olivia Pope… and My Summer Public Relations Internship

First days are filled with different emotions, feelings and thoughts. We’ve all experienced those first day jitters. For me: new experiences and people have always taken me a little longer to adjust because I’m quiet and shy. When I learned I would be starting my public relations internship at Franco Public Relations Group, I didn’t feel those nervous feelings that I usually experience.

I received this opportunity through my best friend’s internship with City Connect and its new program spearheaded by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent GDYT. Many people tell me I waited too long to get a public relations internship, but after this experience, I couldn’t disagree more. When I officially declared my minor in January 2015, there were many internship opportunities for credit, but I wanted an experience. I didn’t want a public relations internship where I was filing papers like some of my friends, or bored all day answering phones; I wanted a real picture of the profession itself and of course the TV lover in me wanted to see if the profession was really as glamorous as portrayed by Samantha Jones  in Sex in the City, or as drama-filled as it is portrayed by Olivia Pope in Scandal.

In my short time, six weeks to be exact, I have learned a lot, acquired skills, and experienced every day operations at a Detroit public relations agency including:

Those traditional public relations fundamentals every public relations intern is exposed to…

  • Media monitoring
  • Clipping news stories from different media outlets
  • Drafting calendar listings
  • Distributing news releases

Then there were the more fun aspects of a public relations internship…

  • Putting together GMRENCEN-branded selfie sticks
  • Creating Coney Island Hard Beer media kits for Powers Distributing
  • Participating in a team leadership assessment activity
  • And of course, becoming one of Santa’s elves for a Salvation Army Christmas in July segment on WDIV-TV.

But before I knew it, my six-week program and my first official public relations internship was coming to an end and I had an experience that none of my friends can say they had.

Little did I know my experience was not over yet. Transforming into one of Santa’s elves must have made a good impression on Santa because on my very last day I was in for a surprise. Mid-way through the day, I was offered an official fall public relations internship with Franco. Of course, I accepted immediately turning what I originally thought to be a short summer internship experience into much more.

Interns Christian, Sasha and Megan transforming into Santa’s elves during The Salvation Army’s Christmas in July TV segment on WDIV- Channel 4 four o’clock news

Interns Christian, Sasha and Megan transforming into Santa’s elves during The Salvation Army’s Christmas in July TV segment on WDIV- Channel 4 four o’clock news

As for exploring whether Samantha Jones and Olivia Pope’s characters really do the public relations profession any justice – I found that every day isn’t filled with celebrities and huge grand openings, and every night isn’t filled with trying to cover up a client’s horrible secret …thankfully.

What was your first internship experience like? I’d love to know.  Share in the comment section below.

Christian Harper is a PR Coordinator for Franco Public Relations Group and Oakland University student. You can reach her at 313-567-5093 or harper@franco.com.

The Unseen “Clause” in my Summer Intern Contract

This may shock people that know me, but before I was an ambitious automotive intern with dreams of public relations domination, my original passion was theater. Years of dance lessons, four years of high school theater including ten plays and musicals, community theater, eight years of voice lessons and a brief run at a vocal performance major in college had me looking towards the bright lights of the Metropolitan Opera House and Broadway rather than the headlights of the new Chevy Silverado.

I was told in my interview for Franco to expect the unexpected, that I would have a wide variety of experiences during my time as a summer intern, and inwardly I laughed- after all the crazy parts I’ve played from Mama Morton in Chicago to an institutionalized Lucy of Peanuts fame (she set the Little Red Haired Girl’s hair on fire in a fit of jealousy over Charlie Brown-yes this is a real play) what could they possibly throw at me that was weirder than anything that I’d already done on stage?

Then the phone call came from Dan, “Hey Meg, we’re going to need you to play Santa on live TV today.” Suddenly I found myself watching YouTube clips of professional actors doing their best Ho Ho Ho like Tim Allen’s sassy version from one of my favorite childhood movies (does this count as professional development?).  Add to this an authentic Santa Claus costume from my coworker Marie Stawasz, complete with fake eyebrows and an oddly comforting smell of Polish grandfathers and Stawasz Christmases past. Rosy blush applied from our resident make up expert Elizabeth, newspaper belly stuffing and horn rimmed glasses from Alex and I was ready for my debut.

Meg sc

I have to admit, even as a “seasoned professional” I was pretty nervous to step into “the beard.” During my character research I had stumbled on Joe’s blog about being Marshall the Molar for Delta Dental; if you’ve never met Joe, let’s just say this guy makes every Disney male hero run for the hills. This guy fishes, hunts, and played a loveable (healthy) tooth, so I knew I was in for a Game of Thrones type battle for Franco Volunteer Mascot domination.

Santa Collage

Public relations, like theater is full of surprises and my road to mascot dominance was anything but simple. Remember the mall Santa from your childhood? That warm and friendly Grandpa-esque figure that seemed so full of Christmas cheer? What you didn’t know at the time was Santa’s cheeks were red not from blush or inner joy but because he was dying of heat exhaustion. Seriously that suit is hot, and not in a Mean Girls “Jingle Bell Rock” way, but a “I feel like I’m in an oven and being cooked from the inside out kind of hot.” Also beards? How do you men do it? Over the course of a few hours I estimate that I accidentally and unwillingly ingested countless stray Santa beard hairs (does this fall under workman’s comp?).

After all of this and the fact that my fellow employees recorded the whole thing and posted it all over social media to live on in Christmas and intern infamy,  I have to admit that I would do it all again in a sweaty Christmas cheer minute. Between the strange looks and reactions from people on the street on the way back to the office to making the news anchors crack up when I gave them a thumbs up as an answer about a potential Tigers win- I wouldn’t trade any of it. Because when you grow up as a theater kid who was better versed in musical soundtracks than current pop hits and you count Yul Brenner and Judy Garland as personal heroes at age seven, the love of performing never truly goes away, even for a PR intern who spends her day researching steel and soft top convertible covers.

There’s a famous quote by William Shakespeare that says something like “All the World’s A Stage,” so taking old Bill’s words to heart, I will continue to seek new and unique “stages” and opportunities during my time here at Franco- who knows maybe next I’ll get to be an Easter bunny in December, after all even Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis had to start somewhere.

Megan Winans is a PR Coordinator for Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at 313-567-5060 or winans@franco.com.

Making it permanent – My experiences transitioning from intern to employee

Coming to Franco last September as an intern, I was happy to hit the ground running. Just after the Labor Day weekend, I was introduced to my colleagues as they hurried around the office, catching up from the weekend and running through their to-do lists. After getting set up and acquainted with the office and the maze of the GM Renaissance Center, I was pulled in to learn about a few projects that I would be supporting throughout my internship.

The first week was just how I imagined life in a PR agency: busy, fast-paced and exciting. I was so happy to be a part of Franco, working on projects that have such a huge impact on the metro Detroit community. The 2012 Comerica Hatch Detroit competition was coming to a close with a fury of media attention, and The Salvation Army’s 2012 Red Kettle Campaign was in the planning stages, preparing for its November kick off.

Working on these projects, I learned valuable lessons that I use every day at Franco. Although today I work with a different client list,
many in different industries, my experience as an intern influences the way I approach every task. From improving time management to building on my writing and networking skills, I finished my internship ready for increased responsibilities and excited to officially join the amazing Franco family.

The Salvation Army Red KettleCampaign was among the first assignments I assisted with as an intern atFranco. Former Red Wing Kirk Maltby and announcer Ken Kal helped out during abell ringing competition with other Red Wings alumni and staff.

Today, long after both Hatch and the Red Kettle campaign have passed (and are approaching once again), I am working as an assistant account executive and still learning new ways to better serve our clients. So much has changed in my nine months at Franco: my title, clients, tasks and a few desks. But, I can say that one thing has remained the same, my excitement to arrive every day to something new at a company that strives for excellence on all fronts, from our client work to our company culture.

Dan Horn is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5008 or horn@franco.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @DanHorn90.