Over the last six weeks, we have had the opportunity to gain real experience in the PR agency workplace through our internship at SourceCode. Our time here has been incredible, as we have been able to immerse ourselves in the agency dynamic and discover the type of PR we would be interested in pursuing after our college graduation. In addition to working closely with our account teams and attending weekly meetings, we have had the opportunity to participate in the PR Council Agency Ready Certification program. This program provided us with the opportunity to gain more exposure into the world of public relations and learn from the nation’s top PR professionals all who work in agencies of various sizes and industries..

In this week’s panel discussion entitled: “Large or Small – What is the Right Size Agency for You?” we heard from Darlene Doyle, Chief Client Officer at PAN Communications; Brinton Flowers, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Flowers Welch Communications Group; Melissa Kinch, Partner, Managing Director and North American Portfolio Leader, Technology and Food, Agriculture & Ingredients and Chief People Officer (Interim) at Ketchum; and Grete Lavrenz, General Manager at Carmichael Lynch Relate, about the various types of agencies and finding the best fit for you.

Regardless of size, client roster or leadership, we learned quickly it’s all about the community. Whether it be the clients or your co-workers and managers, the people you work with truly make the place. Melissa Kinch from Ketchum spoke about the value of finding an agency that has a sense of community with clients and how having a desire to continue to grow that relationship is what will bring success to the account. As interns, we feel very lucky to have found a company with such a strong sense of community that has made us feel so welcomed and an asset to the team. We have learned a great deal in our time at SourceCode about building and maintaining relationships and recognized how important it is to get to know the people you work with holistically, beyond the work they do every day.

Being a part of this community has helped prepare us professionally for post-graduation, professional life. The panel gave us insight we can use to stand out as an applicant when we begin applying for full time jobs. In addition, we learned that in this industry, good writing skills are critical; how we use writing to communicate is just as important as what we are writing. Communication has to be deliberate in such a fast paced work environment. While this may sound uneasy to some, being “comfortable in chaos”, as Brinton Flowers from Flowers Communications Group said, is a quality that most people in this business have. No two days in this industry are the same which is arguably the most exciting part of working in PR! The usual 9-5 doesn’t apply here and being comfortable with that kind of environment is something to consider before going into this field beyond an internship. Luckily, we have both learned here at SourceCode that we fit that criteria. Our experience has been very diverse as all of our days are different, and working with a variety of clients has given each of us the opportunity to have varied experiences from each other as well.

Our biggest takeaway from this panel, and what we have learned throughout our internship, is to be constantly curious and open to learning something new every day. Darlene Doyle from PAN Communications explained how this is the best mentality to have when exploring new opportunities and roles because you never know where you might find yourself working. We know that the skills we’ve acquired during our internship have provided us with critical real world experience that will serve us well upon graduation. We’ve learned that taking advantage of every opportunity that presents itself is the key to discovering our passions and the direction that we want to take our professional careers. We can confidently say that, due to the incredible mentorship and guidance we’ve received from our colleagues and managers, our respective internships at SourceCode have been nothing short of a truly engaging and quality agency experience.