The event, “Exploring Careers in Public Relations,” was presented by SJGC’s Office of Jobs and Internships and the Florida Public Relations Association’s (FPRA) Capital Chapter. The panelist’s driving message on Tuesday was ‘let’s keep more talent in Tallahassee.’ Asya M. Griffin, a fourth-year public relations student from Tallahassee, shined as the moderator to a mass of students attending the event in the SJGC Lecture Hall.
Public relations professors Dr. Bettye Grable and Dr. Deborah Thigpen, in attendance at the event, agree this is an excellent opportunity for J-School students to network and get the inside scoop on what to expect for careers in PR. Internship coordinator and student career advisor, Ms. Ranata Hughes is credited with creating the event. This event is just one of her methods to ensure SJGC students are equipped and connected to all available resources and connections available. The panelists involved in this conversation are successful public relations professionals from diverse backgrounds in their respective fields. Students got the opportunity to genuinely connect with the panel and hear their stories.
Tonja H. Ward is a strategic planning and digital content consultant and weekend announcer for praiseLive. Ward is also the co-founder of the Charlie & Tonja Ward Family Foundation.
Chirag Shah is the founder and CEO of The Current Agency and Made Equal Clothing Co., his digital and creative ad agency and clothing brand startup. Kelly Corder APR, CPRC, is the director of media relations for Sachs Media, where she manages several accounts, including Ben Crump Law and The Florida Bar. Nipa Eason is a creative director for SalterMitchell PR; she is an accomplished visual storyteller working for many top brands, such as Sony Pictures. Kyya Smith is an account coordinator for Salter Mitchell PR and is also a recent fall 2021 graduate of SJGC.
As the moderator, Asya made a positive impression on the panelists; they praised her for doing an outstanding job. Griffin prepared unique questions for each panelist based on their backgrounds, professional views, and industry experience. Griffin moderated the conversation so that each panelist could speak on their strengths and share meaningful experiences with the audience.
Griffin said she was well prepared despite it being her first time moderating a panel conversation. “Once I received the panelists’ names, I did research by looking at websites and asking around to get more information on their backgrounds,” said Griffin. “I ensured I knew what to ask and what information was useful. I also wanted to point out information that other students would want to know.”
Griffin is a public relations fellow with the Leon County Property Appraiser Fellowship for Innovation and Excellence in Property Assessment Program. Griffin stated that she received this opportunity by persistently contacting individuals on LinkedIn. The scholar contacted Valencia Scott, the Deputy Director of Public Relations at the Leon County Property Appraiser’s Office, where she works. She is receiving intensive hands-on experience in the public relations field as a college student.
Griffin suggests that SJGC students take advantage of school-sponsored events and connect with people currently in the FPRA capital chapter in Tallahassee. She advises students to “always put yourself out there” and not to fear reaching individuals for opportunities. Griffin aspires to work for a PR agency upon graduating in December 2023. Griffin serves as the event coordinator for the award-winning J-School Journals. She is also gaining real-world experience with SJGG’s PR Agency, working on the Miracle Hill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center account to help rebrand the facility. In addition to excelling academically, she enjoys helping others and serving her community.