Member Spotlight: Jon Kovach Jr.

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Name: Jon Kovach Jr.
Position/Company: Manager of Innovation
Location: Heber City, Utah
Education: Communication & Business, Utah Valley University
Social Media Handle: @jonkovachjr

How and when did you first become interested in PR and communications?
While earning my associates degree in business at the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, UT, a two-year trade school, I took a class entitled “Business Communications” where I learned the essential tools for strategic messaging. While in the class, we were challenged to send a letter of request to our supervisors and to generate feedback. Applying all that I had learned from class and from the text book, I crafted a message asking for a raise and generating a leadership position promotion for myself. I was granted the job and the raise upon my request. It was then I discovered my passion for business communication and it was both several instructors of mine who insisted I study public relations.

How did you find internships/jobs?
During my undergrad, I completed 5 internships with several national and international brands including: Cotopaxi (an online, outdoor retailer), Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors in Salt Lake City, and Spectrum Science Communications in Washington, D.C.

What was the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced yet in my career has been taking the leap from one industry of comfort to another new and interesting industry. Though public relations and corporate communication can be virtually equivalent in it’s demands, the adjustments in creativity and strategy have really stretched me as a professional and has challenged me to learn more and more every day.

What has been the most valuable thing you have learned through classes or experience?
The most valuable thing I’ve learned is quality-created relationships is vital to your success. You can pitch ideas all day. You can write up media alerts and construct strategies all day long. But without true, quality relationships brokered through trust, interest and respect, you cannot truly succeed.

What has been the best piece of advice you have received?
The best advice I have receive is to couple your learning between mentor and mentee relationships with the power of a mastermind group or accountability group. I’ve learned that mentors aren’t always going to be the Master Yoda’s in your life. Therefore, learning all that you can from mentor figures, researching their every move, and applying what you learned is only half the effort. You don’t just need a mentor in life. You need a mastermind group to hold you accountable to your goals and to achieve the success inspired to you by your mentors. In the past 12 months and because of the accountability in my mastermind group, I have written a book, pre-launched a podcast, started two businesses, and have climbed the ranks in my profession.

Do you have any advice for future PR pros?
Be curious. Ask lots of questions. Be willing to go out into the world and learn. Develop a habit of researching everything. Become a master Googler. Without natural curiosity and a hunger to learn, you will face the same mundane patterns in your life. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. In order to achieve things, you’ve never done before, you must take action in ways you’ve never done before.

What do you think is the best benefit of PRSA and the New Pros section?
The greatest benefit of PRSA and the New Pros section is the MyPRSA Communities. I love pushing out questions to the general body of professionals in PR throughout the globe in MyPRSA. It is the closest thing to a virtual mastermind for PR pros. I use this discussion board so often because I always get feedback from different people and have wonderful, educated discoveries from those who have experience.

Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting your career?
If I knew everything then my career wouldn’t be fulfilling. No. Your career is something you need to strive to learn new things every day. I read about a book per week. With each new book and the many discoveries, I find new ways to increase my professionalism and develop stronger relationships.

Tell us a little-known fact about yourself.
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 12 years old. It started with helping my mom with a vending machine business. Then I had a lawn care business at age 14. At age 16, I became a local DJ and Master of Ceremonies. Hundreds of events later, I have dabbled in international micro financing. Currently, I own a recreational tackle football league in Utah, a network marketing team through 3-Worx, and a private consulting business for professional development and strategic business planning. I also travel and do public speaking to various groups and organizations. So many things to learn and try so that I can be a better professional in PR and communication.

If you are interested in being featured, or interested in nominating someone to be featured as a part of our #MemberSpotlight, please complete the following form.

 

Member Spotlight: Meet Rebecca Hansen

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Name:
Rebecca Hansen

Position/Company:
Marketing and Community Relations Lead at Sky Zone Greensboro

Location:
Greensboro, NC

Education:
B.S. Communication, East Carolina University & M.S. Public Relations, Syracuse University

Social Media Handle:
@RebeccaHansenPR


 

What made you interested in PR and communications?

I was involved in a lot of communication-centric activities in high school like morning announcements, forensics (public speaking) and drama. When it came time to apply to universities, I wanted something that would allow me to merge my writing, speaking and design skills all in one.

How did you find internships/jobs?

  • College of Human Ecology at East Carolina University Internship: Saw an online posting with ECU.
  • Semple Solutions Internship (Small PR Firm): Owner came to speak to my PRSSA group.
  • Syracuse Stage Internship: Sought out an entertainment-focused PR internship by utilizing the Newhouse Career Center (Syracuse University).
  • Dassault Falcon Jet Internship: Networked within the company and created a custom internship.
  • Sky Zone Greensboro Job: Looked on Indeed for communication jobs within North Carolina.

What has been the most valuable thing you have learned through classes or experience?

I was skeptical to take a social media class because I thought as a millennial, I knew pretty much everything about Facebook and Twitter, but I took a class at Newhouse (Syracuse University) and learned to deep-dive into analytics and read demographics to benefit a brand.

What has been the best piece of advice you have received?

Read your material out loud so it’s easier to catch typos or awkward-sounding phrases.

Do you have any advice of your own for future PR pros?

Take advantage of any learning opportunity, whether or not you’ll think it’ll help you at the moment. It may benefit you in the future!

What do you think is the best benefit of PRSA and the New Pros section?

The network is incredible! Many seasoned professionals are willing to mentor recent graduates.

Why did you decide to get your Master’s in PR?

There were a few factors that played into my decision to get my Master’s degree. Due to my academic record, I received a scholarship to one of the most prestigious communication schools in the country. Second, I felt like having another degree under my belt would make me stand out from the competition.

Is there anything you wish you would have known before becoming a new professional?

I should have started applying for jobs sooner than I did. Although I didn’t mind moving back with my parents right after graduation, there was a slight competition among my classmates to be the first to find a full-time job.

New Pros Spotlight: PRSA Charlotte

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Connecting with other new pros is an important benefit of PRSA membership for many members. PRSA chapters across the country have organized groups within their chapter to help them connect on a local level, like the New Professionals section does nationally. We will feature a q&a each month to showcase chapters’ new professional groups. This month we spoke with Seth Kingdon, PRSA Charlotte’s New Professionals Committee Chair.

PRSA Charlotte’s New Professionals group works to plan events and workshops to help Charlotte’s young professionals gain a deeper understanding of the PR industry. The committee is made up of nine members, led by Seth.

“We, as a committee, want to cultivate great PR professionals in Charlotte. To make this happen we strive to offer helpful resources and one-of-a-kind opportunities for our members so they can blossom into successful public relations practitioners,” Seth said.

According to PRSA Charlotte New Pro member Justin Taylor, “Being part of PRSA has not only expanded my network, but has given me a great amount of support as a young professional. This support ranges from when I was a recent college graduate on the job hunt to building important skills to be successful in both my professional and personal life.”

Here are some of the questions we had for Seth about PRSA Charlotte’s New Pros group.

The Edge: Could you tell us about the programming and resources you put together for your members?

Seth Kingdon: Our committee initial began by establishing a shared vision for providing professional development opportunities for New Pros and students. We planned a networking event because we saw the value of meeting other new professionals and students in the Charlotte-metro area. We scheduled professional development workshops throughout the year because we all need tools to do our job better. Our committee’s future endeavors include establishing a mentorship program with local PRSSA chapters and pro-bono campaigns and projects.

Overall, we offer networking events and workshops. However, on a deeper level, we recruit new professionals to come to monthly PRSA Charlotte luncheons where they can meet experience PR practitioners from organizations like Duke Energy, Bank of America, Food Lion, Luquire George Andrews and Taylor. We believe mentorship drives a successful PR career, so we encourage our members to find a mentor and to be a mentor.

TE: How many members/participants do you have?

SK: It’s hard to know how many New Professionals are scattered throughout Charlotte, but approximately 20 professionals and students generally attend our meetings.

TE: How do you engage new or potential members?

SK: We each personally reach out to students and meet people at other networking events and invite them to PRSA gatherings.

TE: How does your group fit into the bigger picture of the chapter?

SK: Our New Professional section brings a unique perspective to the overall PRSA Charlotte chapter by offering millennial insight, inventive concepts and an energetic atmosphere for success.

TE: What is the best way for New Pros to get involved in the PR community?

SK: First and foremost, attend events so you can meet professionals. Second, it is important to continually build your skill set and be self-taught on important PR topics so you can offer knowledge and insight. Third, establish relationships with two or three professionals—your age and older—who are your “go to” for questions. As you do these things and progress through your professional career, you will consistently learn and be a marketable public relations professional.

TE: And finally, what advice do you have for New Pros for using PRSA to their best advantage?

SK: Meet and develop relationships with as many PR professionals as you can. Build a strong network you trust to contact with questions or advice. Especially connect with those who have more experience than you—even if it feels intimidating.

Is your chapter doing great things for New Pros? Do you know a New Pro doing great work in and outside of PRSA? Let us know!

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