This entry is a part of our alumni biography series, which profiles graduates of the Media Studies program at the University of Guelph-Humber. For more information about Alumni Services, please visit https://www.guelphhumber.ca/alumni
Name: Lauren Pires
Guelph-Humber program: Media Studies – Public Relations
Year of graduation: 2012
Current occupation: Community Programs Coordinator, Etsy Canada
Favourite Guelph-Humber course:
Probably my Presentations and Persuasion course in third year – every other week was terrifying when we had to present our speeches in front of the class, but it was super fun hearing everyone else’s speeches too. And shout out to Contemporary Narrative, because Greg Kelley was the best.
What did you like most about Guelph-Humber?:
I really liked the small class sizes – I can’t imagine being able to have the kind of attention or relationship with professors that GH offers, at another university with classes of 200-plus. It felt like a much more personal experience being in a small campus, small community, etc.
How did Guelph-Humber help you prepare for life after school?:
The combination of a university degree with the practical experience of a college diploma is more useful than some people realize. My PR Writing class didn’t just teach me how to write a press release, it taught me how to pitch a journalist so I could get press coverage in the National Post, FASHION magazine’s website and Refinery29 when I did my fourth-year internship. Even though I eventually decided straight-up PR and publicity wasn’t for me, the skills I learned at GH were transferable and applicable to the wider field of communication, community programs and event management that I’ve been working in for four years.
What’s your advice for future and recent graduates?:
My advice has a back-story: when I took Event Management, I hated almost everything about it and so assumed I’d hate doing events. It was the only thing (besides stats) I absolutely wasn’t interested in and planned to avoid at all costs for future jobs.
But a year after graduating, I was still looking for a paying job in my field, so I applied to do PR and marketing for an arts festival. I figured the PR side of events might be better than the actual production of them.
I didn’t get the PR role, but the festival offered me the event coordinator role they were also hiring for – which I took because it was only a four-month contract and I needed the experience. I loved it so much that I stayed three and a half years, leaving only because I got an amazing events-based role at Etsy.
So my advice is: don’t knock it ’til you try it, and don’t only go for what you think you want. I loved the people, the environment, and the actual work I was doing at my job, which was completely different from my class experience. Stay open to the opportunities that come around, because you never know where they might lead!
Favourite Guelph-Humber memory:
Aside from all the times with friends, in one of my PR Writing classes, we had an assignment to create a brochure for a cult or similar organization we make up. My friend and I made up a cult based on the teachings of Hello Kitty, and that brochure remains one of my favourite things I’ve ever written.