Merging

I think working for a plant business has given me a lot more insight into the real world than just expanding my public relations experience.

Maintaining relationships within a business is similar to how NPK maintains their plants – attention, care and a willingness to improve the situation. Although I understand this metaphor is a bit cliche, bear with me.

Small business means there’s no higher-higher up to fix the problems that are created at the “lower” level. There are also fewer opportunities to delegate tasks to employees when you only have 15 on staff. The past week has shown that working for and with a small business can be very exciting and inspiring, but it can also be very hard.

Within my position as PR intern, I have the opportunity to make decisions regarding social media and implement some ideas, but all in all I can not stray from what the owners of the company want – no matter how much I may want to push it. In regard to the analogy, this is where I’ve had to learn basic upkeep for business relationships.

All in all, working for a small business means that you have to be open to different and new ideas. You need to be flexible and understanding, but also know when to go forward with your gut ideas.

This strategy has to be used all throughout the company’s relationships, whether they are within or with clients. This past week especially highlighted the strengths and struggles of having a small business.

I attended a sales call for a new potential client with one of our owners Tuesday, who took the time and care to ensure a great quote was created for the customer just as a member of his team would. We then went to a wholesale flower market so he could personally pick up an orchid arrangement to send to a client for a grand opening they were hosting. From there, we went back to the office for a one on one meeting. There alone exhibits what it takes from a small business to execute care, attention and a willingness to improve.

The next day I assisted with the installation of one of the largest exterior designs that NPK has done to date. Two of the owners, along with two supervisors and three employees, were on site to ensure the day went according to plan. Because the original plan hadn’t been executed to the client’s standards, NPK took special care to ensure that this install would. I would have to think that knowledge would give any client the relief that their investment would be exactly as they envisioned it with the design team.

Each step within a business isn’t easy, especially when ideas or projections do not go to plan. But being able to keep your integrity and respect towards your employees and your clients will also put you at a position that no other company can touch.

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I enjoyed having the opportunity this week to be able to see this side of the company, because I think it’s important to highlight all parts. Along with all of the above, I was also able to get a lot of great pictures and work done for our social media as well as attend the rooftop bar grand opening for our account at the Loews Hotel.

The Loews Hotel had a BEAUTIFUL rooftop grand opening! Every part of it had my coworker Leah and me in awe. Along with the beautiful layout and the classiness of the whole party, there were acrobats and five different bands in different corners of the roof. Because I’m a huge music geek I had to stop and listen to each one and they were all great and from different genres and styles. It was a really exciting and interesting night to be a part of.

It’s so cool how each day leads me to new opportunities to explore all of the company I work for. Small business is the way to go for more hands on experience and I’m feeling lucky that I am having the summer to experience that.

 

 

Community

I wanted to post a blog today about something uplifting. Was going to post my weekly Spotify playlist. But, honestly, I can’t even listen to it right now. I woke up and did my usual routine, went to my internship. I couldn’t move on to do any work because my mind is so racked with thoughts about the lives that were taken Wednesday night.

It’s hard to think of what to write about, but I don’t know how to cope and make sense of things without putting it in words. And it’s not going to make sense, it never will, because terrorism and racism and hate do not make sense.

These 9 innocent lives were taken in a church, where you should be safe and you should feel sheltered. And they were taken because of a spineless, terrifying reason.

We live in a world where hate is on our doorsteps everyday. We can’t walk out of our front doors without seeing it on our streets or in our headlines. We can’t feel safe to let our children be alone. We can’t feel safe now, even in our houses of religion. And yes, we. We all are afraid. We all are mourning. We all need to be a community, because we all need this to end.

This isn’t politics. This isn’t black and white and Asian and Middle Eastern nor is it Christians vs Muslims vs Judaism. This is forgetting the media, this is forgetting the asinine explanations. This is forgetting that there’s anyone who may think to detract that we are a country made up of all different individuals. I hope that this is finally the last straw. I’m sick of the black community living in fear. I’m sick of any American not feeling like they belong, or they’re unsafe. I’m seriously so tired of all of this and I’m really tired of not doing anything about it.

I know I’m tired of seeing our people gunned down. I know I’m sick of hearing these reports what seems weekly. 9 lives. 9 people. 9 families affected. 9 groups of friends. 9 careers. 9 partners. 9 of everything that you take for granted in your life, they will no longer ever see. Their families will no longer feel safe. Their community will no longer be light hearted, joyous. Their church will never feel the same.

It’s sad that it’s not what we hear in the media. We hear race, we hear divide, we hear possible petitions for the killer. We don’t hear – What happened was just wrong, with no explanations. What happened is something we need to end. What happened should bring us to silence. What happened should make you go home to your family, grieve with them for your fellow Americans’ lives, and then hold them and be thankful for them. The black community is afraid, and it shouldn’t ever be that way. No community should feel threatened. No lives should be considered on a weighted scale.

What happened at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church should not spend a week in the news and disappear but rather be held and remembered everyday, a lesson in the long road we have to teach future generations that we are all equal. We are all a community. And we do all stand together.

I read posts on social media yesterday that hurt, that I felt detracted from the victims and their families. The words focused on dividing all of our communities, which I understand will happen in times of great distress and sadness. But, I can’t stand by that and feel okay. The community of Charleston needs all of the love it can – and what race it comes from is not going to matter. We need to be the ones to ban together if we want this hate to end. It’s not going to be one community. It’s going to be all of us.

A lot of men and women fought too hard for this to regress. I just feel like that needs to be remembered.

My thoughts and prayers are with Reverend Pickney’s, 41, family and the congregation. For Tywanza Sanders, 26. For Cynthia Hurd, 54. For Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45. For Reverend Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49. For Susie Jackson, 87. For Ethel Lance, 70. For Reverend Daniel Simmons Senior, 74. For Myra Thompson, 59. And with the survivors, who are brave beyond compare.

Speak up against and about this.

 

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Balance and Adjustments

It might not be a typical work week if a few changes aren’t made to the schedule. This week stayed very true to that – it was a balance of adjustments.

The beginning of the week was filled with preparation for the property maintenance expo that NPK was scheduled to attend for Thursday and Friday. We still had some project work to do for the lead sign which meant navigating around downtown Chicago for craft shops. With ideas stemming from just about every medium we passed, my coworker Leah and I headed back to the studio with cut out letters and twine in hand. After attempting to create a leader from the twine, our idea became a no go. Which, what a lesson in not just creativity but how it truly is to work for a company. In classes, we use our creativity and run with it hoping that it results in the 4.0 we’re aiming for (or at least close). But in business, your creativity has to include plan a, plan b, and at least 10 more after that. It’s amazing how quickly you think up new ideas to roll with when it means something as important as keeping an account or ensuring that whatever your working on will gain positive reviews.

Anyway, no twine. Then, after taking a breather to think of new directions to take, we received an email detailing the postponement of the expo. Disappointing but also, more time! Time can either be a blessing or a curse for creatives, but in this case I’d lean with a blessing.

This past week I also worked on fine tuning the content for the NPK biographies of each member of our staff which will be out by the end of this week . Writing up 14 features is not an easy task! Especially when each person has such distinctive personalities – it’s always important to stay true to that.

Public relations is full of these little collaborations. Within my own company I collaborate with each person to ensure that I’m depicting NPK like they view it and they work with me to also use the social media instruments to show their side. With the outside world, I collaborate with other media specialists to correctly make the changes that are needed, like website design.

That’s one of the biggest lessons to take from this experience so far – you can do nothing truly successful without collaborating with those around you and those who may be able to lend you a helping hand. Also, I have my own desk and desk plant now. So collaboration is going to come in handy to keep her alive.

 

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greenery

Collection this week focuses on contemporary rock, 60s/70s rock, and of course some hip hop/rap. Feeling kind of nostalgic this week for old songs I used to listen to put on tracks like “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, “Can’t You See”, etc.

Pretty obsessed with Florence + The Machine’s newest album even if it’s way different than her last one – Alabama Shakes newest album is the best that’s even out right now so if you’re looking for some good listening, I’d go there. Loving covers this week of Stay With Me from Angus and Julia Stone out of Australia. Rocket Man, keeping with the old jams, from My Morning Jacket is ridiculous. A couple new artists to look for – Broods out of Australia, James Bay (like a James Morrison), and new for me – Best Coast.

Check out:

James Bay – Hold Back the River

Eric Church – A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young

Rae Sremmurd – This Could Be Us

Ben Howard – Old Pine

Angus and Julia Stone – Santa Monica Dream

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