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Students network with pros at Communication Career Day

by Susie Contreras, staff writer


Students networking at Communication Career Day 2005 were treated to breakfast, lunch, and a breathtaking view from the 20th floor of the Pioneer Plaza. Organized every year by the College of Communication, COM Career Day is an event hosted by the communication clubs: the Public Relations Student Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators, and Akamai Advertising.



Five presentations with guest speakers were scheduled for the day: Media Training, with Chuck E. Little; Media Progression, with Bill Brennan; Business Attire Fashion Show, with Kehaulani Christian; How an Ad Agency Works, with Michael Moody; and an alumni panel discussion featuring four former HPU students. Earlene Dowell, founding president of PRSSA, said the objectives of the workshops were to offer students an opportunity to visit with alumni, faculty, and business professionals in a business environment.

Chuck E. Little, the deputy director for Public Affairs for the U.S. Marine Corps, talked to students about the importance of maintaining a personal relationship with the news media when working in public relations. He started with the value of honesty. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled oil over hundreds of miles of Alaskan coast. PR executives remained honest about the company’s involvement in the accident, and according to Little, the honesty paid off. News media were not as critical of Exxon as they would have been had Exxon lied.

Little was careful to warn students against playing favorites when developing personal relationships with the news media, but he joked that he did make an exception for his wife who is a newscaster for KSSK radio. He made it clear that his PR job for the Marines came first, and he never revealed classified information, even to his wife.

Little said that the No. 1 rule when dealing with the news media is that there is no off the record, and that before speaking with a reporter one should always double check one’s answers. Mainly, Little advised students that when preparing for a career in media relations, they should be proactive with the news media.

The next presentation was a business attire fashion show hosted by Miss Hawai‘i 2002, Kehaulani Christian, who brought her Miss Hawai‘i friends to model women’s business attire. HPU students, Loren Moreno and Philip Nufer, modeled men’s business attire. All the clothes for the show were donated by Guess and Tommy Bahama.

Christian said it is important to dress conservatively in the business world, but people should still show their personality in the way they dress. According to Christian, women should have very basic hair and makeup, minimal jewelry, and always wear pantyhose with a skirt. Christian, who works for Christian Dior Perfumes as a makeup artist, also said the best makeup colors to use are browns and neutrals: keep makeup simple.

During lunch, the alumni panel, which consisted of four former HPU students, was introduced. Matt Bedard, who graduated last year with a B.A. in public relations, shared his experiences as the Public Relations and Marketing coordinator for Hitchhike Records, the record label for Jake Shehihiefeiha, Hawai‘i’s famous ukelele player.

Lisa Cripe graduated HPU with an MBA this year. She talked about her current job as assistant vice president of Marketing and Communications for Aloha United Way.
Malia Smith, who graduated in 2002 with an M.A. in communication, is chief of staff for Senator Bob Hogue and was also an adjunct professor at HPU. Smith brought an experienced perspective to the panel. She talked about the hardships of going to graduate school, holding a full-time job, and raising a family.

Patrick Parsons, the fourth member of the panel, graduated with a B.A. in advertising and is currently enrolled in the MACOM program at HPU. He is also an account executive for Milici Valenti Ng Pack Advertising.

Other guest speakers included Bill Brennan, press secretary for the Office of the Mayor and Michael Moody, account advisor at Heinrich the agency.



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