The Power of Experience
The work experience young professionals undergo early in their careers has a profound impact on their professional direction and establishes the groundwork for competitive workforce skills and network development.
When I did my first internship, I felt that I did not have much to contribute, as I was a young professional who lacked experience in the public relations industry in a foreign country, Italy. In saying this, also note that I spoke another language that I had recently learned at that time. This internship was complementary to my university studies in Italy to give me the full experience and exposure to the “real world” of the workplace in the fields of public relations, corporate relations, culture, and diversity. And it was a paid internship!
In my case, my internship was a very short one, but it was full of great experiences. It allowed me to immerse myself in the best practices of the corporate social responsibility world carried out by companies in Milan, Italy. I had the opportunity to meet clients, community partners, government representatives, participate in events and helped coordinate corporate, social, and community events. This experience helped me identify the exact direction I wanted to take in my professional career.
The skills that I acquired and the knowledge that I gained were immeasurable. My office colleagues and supervisor, with whom I remain connected on LinkedIn, were key to help me hone my professional skills such as teamwork, effective communication, commitment, and responsibility. I also learned that it was okay to make mistakes, as long as I fixed them or made an effort not to repeat them in the future.
That internship experience significantly changed my professional future, established a competitive resume, and catapulted me to better and interesting job positions after that one. With the mentorship I received, my confidence and skills increased professionally, and at the end of my internship period, I felt how much I had grown and learned. It gives me the confidence I need to excel in the career I had chosen.
My past experiences are an example of how important it is to increase access to opportunities for young people. Through my current role as Director of Alliance Development and Events at J Strategies, I look forward to mentoring and contributing towards the professional development of young BIPOC leaders through our EXCEED Fellowship. The J Strategies EXCEED Fellowship will be transformative to the lives and careers of young people, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
What is the EXCEED Fellowship?
The J Strategies EXCEED Fellowship program facilitates entry for BIPOC students and young professionals into a political and professional network. The program will provide work experience, professional development, leadership training, and the opportunity to grow within the company. Participants will gain experience developing relationships with industry leaders, honing media and public relations skills, as well as legislative advocacy in New York and the northeast. Fellows will work closely with experienced professionals well-versed in public relations, government affairs, business development, alliance development, event planning, community relations, and strategic social media.
Why BIPOC young professionals?
J Strategies values an inclusive environment where we learn from one another. We embrace diversity across races, religions, political perspectives, gender identities, LGBTQ+ status, and nationality.
In the Diversity Dialogues by Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), acknowledges that the PR industry struggles to attract young Black, Asian, and Hispanic professionals to pursue public relations. To bridge this gap, and create spaces for professional growth and opportunity, J Strategies is creating two annual fellowship positions that focus on professional development, networking, and empowerment.
What will the EXCEED Fellowship experience look like?
During the year-long fellowship, participants will learn to build relationships with elected officials and community partners, communicate with advocacy groups, coordinate events, draft social media, conduct research, and provide staff support. The program also includes HR and business management training and access to virtual networking events. The fellowship concludes with a capstone project that outlines a strategic alliance development campaign for a pro-bono client. The program will provide mentorship from senior-level team members at J Strategies, weekly skills training sessions, and the opportunity to advance internally. The curriculum will allow a structured and cohesive educational and professional experience from start to finish.
If you are a young BIPOC professional interested in the Public Relations field – apply now to join the J Strategies team!
J Strategies, Inc. is an innovative firm that combines alliance development, event planning, and communications strategies with traditional government affairs. With offices in Albany, New York City, Boston, and DC, this program is currently remote, but applicants should be based in the New York Metro Area or Capital Region.
Francisca Cruz is the Director of Alliance Development & Events at J Strategies.