Pop-Up Pedagogy: Myths, Mystiques, and Mandatories for Young Women Working in Communication

popup pedagogy

The GVSU Advertising and Public Relations program celebrated that March is Women’s History Month by hosting an event specifically for young women beginning their career in communications. On March 15, Pop Up Pedagogy addressed the “myths, mystiques, and mandatories” that come with being a woman in communications and the professional world.

CJ DeVries, Owner and Operator of GRNow and Owner of Innovative Social Exchange, and Julie Lankes, Creative Director and CEO at BOXBOOM Creative, collaborated as hosts for the evening out of a desire to help young women just starting their professional lives. The hosts expressed they were once in that position, too, and wished they had received this kind of guidance as a student.

The event addressed some of the challenges women face in the professional realm that men don’t, as well as tips for making a good impression and working effectively.

As with other Pop Up Pedagogy events, this was an interactive workshop. Seven female communications professionals (listed below) were seated among the students in attendance. DeVries and Lankes shared insights and advice from their own experience before presenting a break-out topic for conversation at the individual tables.

Some topics of discussion included:

  • What makes you memorable?
  • Practice your handshake!
  • Learn to accept a compliment
  • Advice for interview attire

“The goal I had with this event was to bring in a bunch of successful and wonderful women from many different backgrounds and jobs to meet students and share what they’ve experienced, as well as be mentors for students,” said student Kelly Darcy, who assisted Professor Frank Blossom as the project manager for the event.

What made the event so powerful was the spirit of mentorship and camaraderie built by the roundtable discussions throughout the night. It exemplified the aphorism “Empowered women empower women.”

Students who weren’t able to attend can still benefit from wisdom that was shared. A film crew was on hand to capture footage from the evening for a video, and a booklet is being created with the information discussed. Lankes suggested setting up a Facebook group where female professionals and students could continue dialogue based on the themes covered at the event. Students who would like to be part of this group can email kierstynnlyon@gmail.com with their interest.

Check out #APRSpeaker on Twitter for more insights and quotations from this and other APR events. A Facebook Live stream of the Pop Up Pedagogy event is available on the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations Facebook page. (Link to video: Facebook LiveStream video

Thank you to these professionals who contributed to the evening’s discussions and shared their time and experience with GVSU students.

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Agency Spotlight: Spectacle Creative Media

Burned out from corporate culture, Tamaryn Tobian started Spectacle Creative Media in 2011. At that time, she knew that she wanted to use her creative talents and knowledge of public relations, advertising, and marketing to serve an emerging independent film industry in Michigan. Tobian graduated college as Facebook was going to market and before Twitter hatched. After making the decision to leave her big-box corporate advertising and marketing job, she started picking up more freelance and PR clients.

 

Tobian wanted to work with content creators, and she knew that if she was going to work in PR, then she was going to do it on her terms. It was important to her to create a healthy work/life balance that allows her to take on projects and clients that she was truly passionate about while also creating an in which she and others can grow and thrive.

 

Today, Spectacle Creative Media has become a known PR and brand strategy firm in Grand Rapids. They help filmmakers, distributors, entertainment & tech companies, authors, publishers, small businesses, and nonprofits discover their spark. The team at Spectacle is made up of storytellers, dreamers, strategy makers, and action takers. They include:

 

Tamaryn Tobian—Owner, Publicist & Brand Strategist

Kellen Parker—Graphic Designer & Web Developer

Jade Villanueva—Associate Publicist

Emily Oldenkamp—Associate Publicist

 

Spectacle Creative Media offers a variety of services including unit publicity for films, film distribution publicity, media training workshops, traditional public relations and advertising solutions. Spectacle has worked with a range of clients including, the upcoming faith-based film, God Bless the Broken Road, Joel Potrykus’ 2014 SXSW world premiere film, BUZZARD, Chicago nonprofit WomenOnCall, CineScout, SetHero, Stage32, Joseph Scott Anthony, Ralph Lister, Sheri Beth Dusek, and more. Tobian is also helping to organize the Grand Rapids Film Society, whose mission it is to create a thriving film culture around independent, documentary and world cinema in Grand Rapids.

 

We asked Tobian what advice she has for students starting out in the PR field, “I think it’s important for students to be versed in many of content creation. The days of just issuing a press release are over,” she says. “A fresh face in PR should know how to write—extremely well and creatively—add copy writing and creative writing to your class load. And if you have room, photography, video editing or design class (or two). PR is ever-changing, and as visual content continues to grow in importance, it’s important to be well rounded and know how to style online content and have an eye for design. Being multi-skilled, especially in a small firm, is required. But most importantly, be willing to keep learning. As media and business models at outlets continue to shift, even seasoned pros are having to hone up on new skill sets.

 

We also asked Tobian what she looks for in potential employees and interns. “I look for people who aren’t afraid of jumping in—those who embrace hard work and who are excited with no two days being the same. One week our team may be on a film set, another we may be with a client at a film festival and still another we may be updating boring spreadsheets—you have to be excited about all of it,” says Tobian.