From Student to Change Agent

Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2018

I first walked onto this campus in 2016 as a transfer student from San Jose State who wanted to study journalism. This, though, however was just a vague explanation that I would tell all the new people around me.

 

In 2016, I couldn’t tell you that I was a first generation college student, queer, transgender, person of color.

 

Living authentically in my identity was put on the back burner until I could feel safe in my new environment. In 2017, we saw the most violent and deadly year for transgender people with 28 deaths, a majority being black trans women people of color. I needed a sense of security before I could open up and share my experiences with the people around me.

 

Now, I’m 10 weeks away from walking the graduation stage. I’m THIS close to being the proud parent of a journalism degree with a focus in public relations and a minor in photography.

 

Through my public relations classes, I have learned ways to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, like my own. I fought and rose through my classes with a fire for success. Now, I have the privilege of writing to you as the social media director for the highly competitive, Tehama Group Communications.

 

I can now reflect on my experience and see how much I have grown within my own identity. I’ve become, what I would consider, a successful student and I’m on my way to being a change agent.

 

I like the Metropolitan Group’s concept of a change agent and the power of voice:

“Voice is a critical catalyst for social change.”

 

I strive to be a change agent. I want to use my skills, voice and power to help empower marginalized communities and their members.

 

As I move that tassel from right to left, I will hunt to find my place in the public relations field where I can make a direct difference to the people I wish to serve.

by Jae Siqueiros

Photos by Jae Siqueiros

Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2016Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2018

How Being a Student Athlete Makes Me a Quick Hitter in the PR World

Anna Baytosh hitting a volleyball over the net

The ball drops.

 

In a single moment, the curtain falls on my career as a collegiate athlete. As my teammates saunter onto the court to wish the opposing team a good game, a feeling of accomplishment and pride overwhelms me, despite my team’s loss in the conference championship.

 

In this moment, I suddenly realize that I have spent the last nine years of my life playing a sport that is essentially a glorified version of “don’t let the balloon touch the floor.”

 

Fear not!

 

I have avoided dwelling over this life-changing event by focusing my efforts on the exciting path ahead.

 

I proudly accepted a job as an account executive and editor for Tehama Group Communications. At first, I’m sure the staff was hesitant to let a Wildcat loose in the office, but I’m pretty confident that I’ve gained everyone’s trust by now.

 

So, in the burgeoning days of this new life direction, I have consolidated my learned experiences as a collegiate athlete into four main skills that have guided me as a public relations professional:

 

 

  • Time management

 

I invite anyone who claims it is impossible to balance a social life, sleep schedule and heavy course load to consider the extra stress of an athletic commitment. Picture juggling these essentials while also enduring a weekly 12 hours of practice, three hours of weightlifting, two hours of analyzing game film and extensive travel on the weekends. Knowing how to manage your time and prioritize your tasks is vital when tackling the fast-paced world of PR.

 

 

  • Communication

 

Whether it is telling a teammate to focus on the game or asking a writer to reword a sentence, effective communication is key. In order to communicate clearly and effectively, you must keep in mind the current situation, everyone involved and all potential outcomes. Understanding how patience, tone and empathy are required to be a good communicator helps me collaborate with clients and team members of various personality types and backgrounds.

 

 

  • Leadership

 

Take this gaggle of girls and help them transition into a dependable, organized and motivated team. Molding the future faces of any program is an unspoken task bestowed upon every senior in his or her final season. In order to be a good leader, you must vocalize group strengths and weaknesses in a direct and respectful way while simultaneously leading by example. This is crucial now that I lead my own team of writers and creatives toward multiple project goals.

 

 

  • Adaptability

 

It’s no secret that coaches appreciate adaptable players who are comfortable performing within a constantly changing landscape. If they tell you to run the darn play again, you do it with no hesitation. Quickly analyze the last play, figure out how to fix it, then execute immediately because another ball is coming your way now. Being adaptable in the world of PR is absolutely essential in an environment that moves furiously fast, where new problems arise by the minute. A happy client is synonymous to a happy coach, and both are integral to a successful and gratifying outcome.

By: Anna Baytosh

Photo provided by Chico State Sports Information Department

How Public Relations Contributes to my Side Business

Nick DJaying in at a nightclub in Chico

When I am not speaking in front of the agency, writing press releases or taking trips to the coffee machine, I can be found with two turntables and a microphone making crowds of anywhere from 100 to over 1000 people put their hands in the air.

 

I am incredibly lucky to make a profit on the weekends doing what I love. My range of clientele as a disc jockey ranges from weddings, nightclubs and private events. I am able to do this every weekend due to my knowledge in public relations. When the lights turn off, the crowd is silent and the record stops spinning, I am locked away creating media lists, pitching to local venues and strategizing my next big night. Promotion is a huge part of the DJ business and knowing social media strategy is vital if you want to have any chance at succeeding.

 

Branding yourself is also just as important. Your voice on your social media must appeal to the right demographic in order to get a response. Also, you must keep your clients happy because they are the ones that pay you. In PR the same concept applies when working for a company. You can only hit the right demographic with the right voice, branding and social media. Only then will your client’s profits begin to advance.

 

Signing contracts with a client for a wedding or an event is very similar to working with clients in Tehama Group Communications. The first meeting consists of getting to know the client and learning about their vision for their event. Just like being an account executive, as a DJ it is my job to make that vision become a reality.

 

This hobby is an opportunity that not many people have and has taught me how to read and respond to an audience.

Nick Djaying at The Beach Nightclub in Chico

By: Nick Rizzo

Both photos provided by: Emily Hilbers

Bridging the Gap Between Farm and Table

Pistachios in shell

As the daughter of a third generation citrus, pistachio and walnut farmer, I have been exposed to the agriculture industry my entire life. This lifestyle has shaped the way I see and interact with the world. I am often shocked by how removed people are from where their food comes from, especially in my own generation. I try to educate as many people as I can on the importance of the agriculture industry, particularly in California. However, I am only one person so I cannot reach everyone.  

I was practically shocked by how unaware someone my age was on how food gets from the field and into their local grocery store when talking to a classmate about the severity of the drought in California. The area where I am from in the south valley was hit especially hard by the drought. I was telling this person that many of my family’s citrus, walnut and pistachio groves would likely die if we didn’t get water soon. This loss would be financially devastating since tree crops, such as citrus and nuts, take years to mature to peak production age. My classmate then suggested that my family go to Costco and buy flats of water bottles to water the trees.

This may not sound like a crazy idea to many people but let me put it into perspective for you… to water one acre of pistachios, which is about the size of a football field, it takes about three acre-feet of water per year. To clarify an “acre foot” is the amount of water it takes to cover an acre of land in one foot of water. Simple enough? Now think about how an acre-foot of water is equivalent to 325,850 gallons. This means that to water that one little pistachio grove it would require 977,550 gallons of water…or approximately 7,331,625 Costco water bottles!

Some people get upset about how much water nut trees and other commodities require to produce bountiful crops. However, let me ask you this, is feeding your country and your family a waste of water?

I hate to burst the bubbles of some people out there but no, food does not come from the grocery store! I’m not saying that everyone needs to be an expert on farming practices, all I’m asking for is a little consciousness and appreciation for the people who are working to put food on your plate everyday.

With the growth of the PR industry I have hope for the future of agriculture in California. As PR professionals, our goal is to connect companies to their publics. I hope to use my knowledge of public relations and agriculture to help bridge the gap between farm and table in an effort to connect people with their food. So next time you sit down to a meal take a moment to appreciate the farmer who put it in front of you.

By: Abby Peltzer

Photo provided by Pexels.com

How my love of storytelling evolved into a passion for PR

Writing on notebook and books spread on the table

The frost is melting, the flowers are blooming and birds are singing. This can only mean one thing, spring is just around the corner. For many people this means it’s time for picnicking, kite flying and the annual closet cleaning. But for many graduating seniors, like myself, it is time to start thinking about your future and take some time to reflect on the past.

 

Four years ago when I was desperately trying to figure which major was the right one for me. I had already decided that Chico State was the perfect fit for my school but I struggled with committing to one field of study. I did what any stressed and confused seventeen year old would do, I made a list.

 

On this list I wrote down things I was good at, things I liked doing and useful skills I thought could be applied to a career.

 

My most prominent strength has always been writing. I started telling fictional stories before I could even write the alphabet. As a toddler I employed my mom as my own personal scribe to write these stories for me. As I grew older I realized how incredible the power of storytelling truly is. It can create worlds, birth characters and shape the intellectual minds of society.

 

I knew that storytelling needed to be a major part of my future. I was also good at organizing, juggling multiple commitments and rallying groups of people together. But what else was I good at? I could talk to people with ease and loved to help those in need. Could these attributes really be applied to a major? Apparently, yes.

 

To my surprise and delight, I found public relations, a field of study that perfectly combined all of my strengths.

 

PR uses unique methods to produce a story worthy of attention. It helps companies who have something important to say find their voice. After graduating in May, I hope to work for an organization that is dedicated to changing the world for the better. This is the ideal way I wish to exercise my love of helping others and use the skill set I have developed through Tehama Group Communications.

 

It can be difficult to focus on writing when life gets busy. Whether it be school assignments, shifts at work or your pesky Calico kitty using your notebook as a bed, make time to indulge your creative side.

By choosing a major in Journalism with a focus in public relations and a minor in creative writing I have been fortunate enough to be able to combine my education with my passion.

 

I feel lucky to have found a career path that has allowed me to interact with people daily, organize events, brainstorm ideas and of course, tell stories.

By: Alisa Thorsen

Both images provided by Alisa Thorsen

Flying Feelings

A plane flying through clouds with a sunset in distance.

Can you imagine your body being forced back into its chair, as an invisible weight is pushing you down further and further? You peek out the small, round window as the world around you races by. The passenger next to you shifts to look out the window as well, blocking your view. Forced to just feel, you can sense your body lifting upward. Now reclined in your chair, your head facing toward the heavens, the feeling of total lift gives you pause. Weightless. Free. Flight.

 

I was able to calculate how many times I’ve had this experience at over 150 in the year 2017 alone. Every time I went through the process of flying anywhere, I found that I had new experiences and new skills.  The following is a list of the top four skills I was to gather while traveling:

 

Organization: The amount of organizational skill that goes into packing a single, carry-on suitcase meant to hold a week’s worth of clothes is on par to playing advanced tetris.

 

Time Management: When you’re traveling with a family of five, you need to know how to plan out how long it takes to get to the airport, print tickets, go through security, find the gate and have spare time in case of a mishap somewhere in between. Not to mention the need to be there 30 minutes before the plane takes off, as that is usually the time when the boarding process begins.

 

Patience: Not only can finding the right plane and price be frustrating, but the line for security can take up time and patience, especially when the anxiety of not making it on time to your flight is involved. This is in addition to the patience one sometimes needs when you’re on the plane and may not be next your ideal seat-mate.  

 

Communication: When dealing with airlines and airports you’re not entirely familiar with, it’s always best to be able to thoroughly communicate with signs and employees. The need for directions, services and idle chats can become important in settings where you’re dealing with time-sensitive transportation.  

 

While this is not an exhaustive list of the things I have learned from my travels, it does give indication to my ability to learn, adapt and read my surroundings. These are the fundamental elements that I believe are key to a successful career in public relations.  They are also key to improving myself not just on the planes I fly on, but in everyday situations.

By: Holly Kraeber

Photo provided by: Holly Kraeber

Why are Photographers so Expensive?

Camera in hand with golden light at the beginning of a walkway

I am writing this as a photographer and a public relations executive. I have seen how photographers can make a huge impact in PR campaigns, but I also know that good quality photos don’t come at a low cost.

 

Public relations firms use photographers in order to enhance company image. Unfortunately, this is not always affordable. Hiring a photographer can be a huge investment. Many people think, “What?! But they’re just taking photos with a nice camera! I could do that.”

 

Photographers are expensive for many reasons. They are business owners and owning a business does not come at a low price. As business owners, photographers must obtain the necessary licenses that are purchased and renewed once a year.

 

The most important thing that a photographer could do is to get their name out there and doing so can be costly. This can be done using a variety of mediums: Google Ads, business cards, a website, etc.,and all of which cost money at one time or another.

 

Photographers must also have many official documents, for they are essential in order to communicate clear messages to clients in a professional way. Creating these documents is very time consuming, yet important because photographers need both customized and personalized contracts, receipts, timelines, etc., which represent how they want to do business. Creating these documents allows photographers to use and send them to their clients, depending on the need of the client.

 

In order for photographers to be successful, they must stay sharp and up to date on their knowledge of the business. It is important to take classes in order to learn about both photography and being a business owner. This is very time consuming, but it is important to be prepared for all situations.

 

Photographers have to obtain quality camera equipment such as camera bodies, lenses, storage for the equipment, storage for all memory and props for indoor and outdoor sessions.

All good things must come to an end. Technology does fail, so costly replacements or repairs may be necessary.

 

Photographers must know how to make their clients feel comfortable while also remembering every pose to give them. Good photographers tend to give constant compliments and affirmations that their clients are doing great. They must do this while also making sure their camera settings create the best amount of background blur while making sure the subject is still sharp. The settings must be tweaked every time the photographer moves in order to match the light that is entering the camera. The photographer must also make sure that the photo does not look too warm or too cold. Then, the photographer must make sure that they are getting a variety of shots. This entails wide, medium and close shots of subject(s).

 

Many people think that photographers are paid for the amount of hours that they are on-site taking photos. They do not see the outside hours that go into the beautiful photos selected. Editing entails four main steps:

 

  1. Backing up photos. This involves putting photos on different storage devices to ensure that they can not disappear.
  2. Culling. Culling is the process of picking the best photos. This can take some time comparing and contrasting different parts of the photo that make it good versus great.
  3. Editing collectively. This means that the photographer adds as edit style to place on all of the photos to make sure they have the same look.
  4. Editing individually. This entails going through each photo and adjusting settings specifically to flatter that photo. (cropping, straightening, brightening, etc)

Christa Boynton holding camera to her eye in orchard

Although, photographers spend a lot of time taking photos and editing, they spend a large chunk of their time:

  • Learning about technique
  • Updating their online portfolio
  • Updating their social media presence
  • Conducting client meetings
  • Replying to inquiries
  • Creating documents
  • Developing their brand
  • Creating packages

In reality, photographers earn a lot less than the dollar sign that they charge due to the amount of investments and hours they put in.

By: Christa Boynton

Featured image provided by Maider Izeta on The Adventure Junkies

Second image provided by Christa Boynton, taken by Tiffany Rivas

The Difference Between B2B vs. B2C Public Relations

Two people shaking hands over brown table, there is a woman taking notes and there are several other documents on the table. It seems like they are closing a deal and there is also a laptop on the table.

A public relations specialist is often referred to as a jack- of- all- trades because when it comes to PR there are a wide variety of skills you master in order to be successful. Just like there are many different skills you must have as a PR specialist, you must also be well versed in the different areas of the industry.

When you think of public relations, the first thing that comes to mind is B2C PR whether you realize it or not. Although B2C is more commonly thought of, B2B PR is just as important. There are many differences between the two ranging from their goals to their influencers, but these differences can be boiled down to who the audience is and how they are targeted.

Essentially all sectors in PR benefit from B2B and B2C PR whether its lifestyle, health, food or tech. So, what’s the difference?

Business to Business

  • Targets specific business audience
  • Emphasizes building trust & credibility within a brand
  • Focuses on selling products between two businesses
  • Sells the business

Business to Consumer

  • Targets general public
  • Promotes a product or service
  • Creates strong brand awareness
  • Sells a product

So why is B2B PR just as important as B2C, if not more? B2B is extremely relationship driven. It focuses on building your brand’s credibility and enhancing your company’s reputation with potential business partners and investors. B2B also aims to position your company uniquely and add value to your brand. Without it, it’s easy for your company to get lost in a sea of competitors.

B2C PR uses emotion to convince consumers they need a product. Consumers are driven by trends, price and desire. On the other hand, businesses are driven by profitability and decreasing costs. B2B PR focuses on providing substantial content and educating their audience to help them make an informed purchasing decision.

Regardless of their differences, their underlying need for PR is the same.

By Salma Hegab

Image provided by Pixabay.com

Study Abroad and Public Relations

A picture of a beautiful European building with words edited onto the picture that reads "Study Abroad and Public Relations"

The passport to public relations and communications is global. In a career that involves understanding everyone’s point of view and background, it is crucial to immerse ourselves well outside of our comfort zones.

Growing up with a Latin heritage in California gave me a general idea of a few cultural differences between two neighboring countries. However, it wasn’t until I visited Europe for the first time in the summer of 2017 that I received some of the biggest culture shock of my life. I found that the things that helped me most on my first solo journey were my willingness to adapt and ability to understand the environment.

Whether I was sitting on the sidewalk with my favorite tapas in Barcelona or watching well-dressed people bustle up and down the Underground in London, I couldn’t help but appreciate the different ways of life I would see in each city. Their unique lifestyles taught me the importance of understanding your audience in public relations. This reflects on how to choose your social media content, and understand your target audience, but most importantly, in my discovery for a passion in learning all about how the citizens of the world function, I found my calling. Travel public relations. I want to help people break down their own borders and come away with a life changing experience that is all their own.

My father got me a passport when I was five years old, and made the effort to take us somewhere new every year. I was lucky enough to travel across Mexico and Canada, but now I’m ready to be global citizen and public relations professional.

By:Roxanna Necoechea

Break the Block

A blonde woman with her hair in a bun looking down in distress with an open laptop, notebooks and other supplies on a desk with her hand on her forehead

Writer’s block… more like a writer’s nightmare. Try these tricks to break the block.

Staring at a blank page for hours, days or even weeks can be terrible. Your brain hurts and your vision becomes blurry. Every writer’s’ worst nightmare is having writer’s block.  Try these tricks to get past your block.  

  1. Free write  

Write about anything on your mind, even write about how you don’t know what to write.  Write about your day or a dream you had. The goal of a free write is to get your mind thinking about anything and hopefully it will spark an idea.

     1. Take a break

Stop staring at the blank page. It will only make you go crazy and fall deeper into your writer’s block. Go for a walk or watch your favorite show on Netflix. Take a few hours or days off from writing. When you get back to it try to forget how difficult it was before and have an open mind.

     2. Brainstorm

Make a list of ideas. Start with broad topics and narrow it down to more specific ideas. The list should be from your stream of consciousness, so just bullet point what comes to your mind.

     3. Say “see you later” to all the distractions

That means turning off that cell phone and hiding it in a different room. Try to limit all technology unless it’s the laptop or computer you are using to write. Don’t have your favorite television show on in the background while you work. Stay focused on writing all your ideas.

     4. Get your body moving

The worst feeling is being frustrated with yourself for not having any idea on what to write. Go outside and get some fresh air or do your favorite activity to get your body moving. Exercise is a great escape for a lot of people, give it a try and clear your mind.

Lastly, when you finally get back to writing, forget about all the frustrations you had before because it will only hold you back. Best of luck!

By: Angelina Castillo