How Musical Theatre Has Made Me Successful in PR

Photo of me as light board operator for the musical Reefer Madness in 2015.

A Little Bit of Background

When I started attending Chico State four and half years ago, I was declared as a musical theatre major. I was involved in theatre growing up and participated in my schools choir program, but there was one day in particular when I fell in love with theatre. I was a junior in high school and our choir class took a trip to New York City. I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway as a 16-year-old and decided that night that I would pursue musical theatre.

Little did I know what I was getting myself in to. Theatre is an extremely tough industry. You are constantly being given constructive criticism, and sometimes it’s not constructive, you’re just being told that you’re not good enough. As much as it is hard, it is rewarding and makes me feel free and full of passion.

Adding Public Relations As My Major

After three years of studying as a musical theatre major, I decided to add a second major that would pave a more stable career path for me since the world of theatre can be so hit or miss. I started thinking about what I enjoy and do well.

Through many conversations with my friends and family and some great advice from Tehama Group Communications alum, Alek Irvin, I decided to major in public relations.

I soon began realizing how much musical theatre had prepared me for PR. I also had no idea when I first began that I would absolutely fall in love with it and decide to pursue PR instead of theatre.

Photo of me as Granny in Stephen Sondeim’s Into the Woods- Fall 2016. Courtesy of Mallory Maria Prucha.

How Musical Theatre Prepared Me For PR

Public speaking

Understanding even the smallest detail

Building relationships

Learning quickly


Constructive criticism

Resume building

Energy (keeping it high!)


Active listening

Time management

Innovative ways to stand out


Never giving up

Seamless delivery

All of the skills listed above I learned and practiced as a musical theatre major and have implemented all of them in regards to PR.

During my interview for Tehama Group Communications, I was asked how I would handle being constructively evaluated multiple times in the semester by other agency members. I instantly thought about how theatre had trained me for this. I was so used to constantly receiving feedback about my work, the thought of enduring that in TGC did not intimidate me.

Musical theatre also taught me how to feel confident in my public speaking skills and forced me to learn time management. When you’re in a theatre production at Chico State, most rehearsals run from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. I would go to school all day, attend rehearsal at night, and then start on my homework some time after 10 p.m.

Now being a part of TGC, it has been easier for me to figure out how to efficiently manage my time between work and meetings.

Looking forward to graduation in May, I feel lucky to be a double major. I have learned so much about myself and have been able to transfer my skills from one major to the other more than I ever expected.

Alumni Spotlight: Sara Pimentel


Photo’s by Sara Pimentel.

With May approaching, many of our graduating staffers have begun job hunting and looking to alumni and recent graduates for guidance and direction on what is wanted in a public relations agency. We hear in classes or from internships the importance in making connections. Creating connections is valuable in any field of work but especially in public relations.

Networking is Key

Networking is a valuable skill because it opens opportunities with future clients, PR pros, news outlets and journalists. In TGC we create personal relations with our clients, but it can be easy to forget that the most important relationships we make are with our fellow interns. A great way to network is through the connections that we make with alumni in our agency. Our alumni provided our agency with guidance and growth and it is valuable to stay connected with their lives.

Sara Pimentel, alumna of TGC, graduated from California State University, Chico in Spring 2016. She served TGC for two semesters as an Account Executive and Editorial Director for eight different clients. Since graduation she moved to San Francisco and worked for two different PR companies. She interned for SHIFT Communications and was recently employed as an Assistant Account Executive at Finn Partners. She faced some difficulty transitioning from the small town of Chico to the Bay Area because she had to start from scratch, but was is also exciting for that same reason. She got to recreate herself and build new relations with those surrounding her.

Enjoy what you do

Sara emphasized that when choosing a job, it is important to keep in mind that you need to enjoy going to work every day. On her job search the core culture values she looked for was a company that was understanding, fun, supportive, spontaneous and open. These core values are what led to the beginning of her career at SHIFT Communications.

Sara was thankful for her experience interning with TGC and working on multiple accounts because it prepared her for an unusual experience interning with SHIFT. She worked on 7 to 9 different client accounts simultaneously.

“My team knew it was a lot,” Pimentel said. “But they trusted me, and I was able to do it.”

A company’s culture is everything


Moving away can be tough you are given a clean slate, starting a new job can be challenging. Sara said the most important lesson she learned from working at SHIFT is the value of being honest.

“If you have too much on your plate, tell someone,” she said. Pimentel chose SHIFT because of their supportive culture. Finding a supportive agency was valuable to her, she emphasizes how important it is to not be afraid to tell someone you are feeling overwhelmed, you are a team and they are there to help.

Change is good

She has just begun working for Finn Partners, and so far she loves it because it allows her to be more creative. Finn works with consumer technology clients, so she is familiar with the space and the products, but it’s still a new world.

San Francisco has become her home and she does not see herself moving away for a long time. She hopes to become even more confident in her abilities and eventually have people looking to her for advice.

Work with what you have

Her advice to graduating students is: “Know what you want, but be flexible. You have to go with the flow. Some things will happen just like you dreamed they would, but a lot won’t, and you have to make that work.”

Written by, Hope Lumbley.

The Benefits of Site Visits

Students visit with J&PR alumna Kari Miskit, Director of Public Relations at Visit Sacramento

Understanding a field before starting to work in it is crucial to leading a successful career. What does an average day on the job look like? How is the company culture? Am I asking the right type of questions?

Fortunately for students, Chico State’s Department of Journalism and Public relations provides numerous opportunities to network and get to know the field. One of these opportunities is through site visits.

Students visit with J&PR alumna Kari Miskit, Director of Public Relations at Visit Sacramento
Students visit with J&PR alumna Kari Miskit, Director of Public Relations at Visit Sacramento

On site visits, professors and advisers within the department take groups of around 10-20 public relations students to visit two to three companies in one day. The visits are usually a combination of PR agencies and corporate in-house sites, and they are often at the workplaces of Chico State alumni. Students get the opportunity to tour the office, get to know the company and meet staff who give them guidance for life after graduation.

This can be an incredibly rewarding experience for students planning to enter the public relations field. They learn best practices for landing a job, expand their knowledge on different industries and even meet with human resources to discuss job and internship opportunities

Students visit with J&PR alumna Kelsey Eidbo, Senior Account Executive at Infinite Global
Students visit with J&PR alumna Kelsey Eidbo, Senior Account Executive at Infinite Global

Most of the department-organized site visits have been in San Francisco and Sacramento given Chico’s location, but there were two trips to New York in spring 2011 and 2016. This semester there have already been site visits to both San Francisco and Sacramento.

On the San Francisco site visit, students visited Getaround, Foursquare, and Infinite Global. In Sacramento, they were able to tour Fleishman Hillard, 3Fold Communications, and Visit Sacramento. This is a great mix of agency and in-house PR setting. Each company offered a unique insight to students on public relations and opportunities within the field.

The Chico State Department of Journalism and Public Relations prides itself on being an informative segway from college life to career life. As a student within the department, I can say that the program has prepared me well for my job search after graduation. In order to grow and build your skill set, it is important to take any opportunity to learn that is thrown your way.

Written by Cassie Porter, Editor







Using Social Media Professionally

Blog ImageTechnology is constantly evolving and it seems almost impossible to keep up with all of the changes. Social media is one major component that has continued to grow with the changes in technology. Aside from being used for just social communication, social media has proven to be an effective way for companies and professionals to market and expand their networks. 

When using social media for a company, it is smart to create a page that consumers can easily “like” or “follow”. According to Forbes, some of the benefits of social media marketing are:

  • Strengthened brand recognition: Increased visibility through social media is vital to help the company grow. Customers can then easily recognize the brand and the content it promotes. 
  • Improved customer loyalty: With business social media profiles, customers are more likely to remain loyal to that company because they have the ability to directly connect and engage.
  • Show a higher level of customer service: Social media allows businesses to gain that extra step in customer service. Direct engagement allows for customers to easily voice their opinions and for the company to take action immediately. By responding quickly and truthfully, companies can maintain a transparent and trustworthy image with their consumers.

 Social media can also be utilized by individuals from a professional standpoint. LinkedIn is a social media channel that is specifically geared toward professionals. Users can easily connect with other businesses and individuals in order to promote themselves on LinkedIn. One advantage is that users can join groups that are directly related to specific companies and interests. Here are some ways using groups can be beneficial according to the LinkedIn Official Blog:

  • Join groups that relate to your industry: Topics can range from broad to more general, so it is easy for users to find a group that interests them. By joining and participating in groups, users can more effectively network and connect with other professionals. 
  • Become a top influencer: By joining a group and regularly posting relevant content, a user can become a top influencer of the group, meaning that other group users view them as an asset to the group.
  • Start a discussion: Creating a discussion within a group can get other members involved and can help promote a specific topic. Users can also share discussions on other social media sites in order to gain additional publicity and engagement.

In order to improve a professional image, individuals and companies can utilize social media to help network and engage with consumers and professionals.

-By Rachael DiCicco, Social Media Director

Tips on Landing an Internship After College

The rule is we all go to college to land our dream job. The truth is, that rarely happens. We have to gain experience through internships before moving up to our dream job.

It also involves a lot of waiting and interviews with countless companies.

I have been on four site visits to numerous companies including Zynga, Brocade and Airfoil. I have also been able to speak with company representatives from FleishmanHillard and GeekWire.

All the people I have spoken to recommend applying three months before graduation. They also recommend internships during college to gain experience and taking courses that will put you ahead of other applicants.

I have found a few tips that are helping me apply for internships.

Shaking hands in internship process
Photo credit: Chantal Richards

1. LinkedIn

Having a profile on LinkedIn helps connect you to different companies around the world. A LinkedIn profile should have everything up to date and be consistent in the job descriptions. Be as detailed as possible. Also, ask for recommendations and endorsements from your connections because this will promote your skills to potential employers.

2. Get a lot of experience

Experience is what sets you apart from other applicants. The more work you can show off in your portfolio, the better. This can also include work from classes that pertains to the internship you are hoping to land.

3. Walk the walk and talk the talk

Selling yourself starts with the way you present yourself. First impressions are everything when trying to land an internship. This includes dressing appropriately, minimizing cursing and being early to scheduled interviews. It also includes how you present yourself publicly on your social media.

4. Research companies

Researching the company you see yourself working in is key. You have to look at the culture of the company and the mission statement, as well as organize a site visit to see how the atmosphere in the office is. If you don’t see yourself fitting into the company, move on to a company you do see yourself being a part of.

5. Spread your net as far and wide as possible

Being able to land the internship you want includes applying for as many as possible. It might not be the ideal one you want, but as my motto goes: Spread your net wide because a fish is bound to bite.

Applying for internships is tough, but it does pay off because we all have to start somewhere.

Benefits of Working for a Nonprofit

This past summer I moved to Santa Barbara and interned for a nonprofit called Dream Foundation. Dream Foundation is the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults who have been given a year or less life expectancy. The foundation fulfills dreams from lifelong dreams to basic need items, bedside reunions or meaningful experiences with loved ones.

dream foundation employees
Photo credit: Jen Basulto

At Dream Foundation, I was the communications intern and was given many responsibilities that varied from writing press releases, producing web content and pitching to the media. Of all the internships I have had over the years — and I have had many — this is hands down the most rewarding and beneficial work experience I have had thus far.

Nonprofits are sometimes overlooked because of the low pay that comes with working there, but it’s here where young professionals can gain the experience they need. “The fact is, nonprofits can offer fantastic opportunities for individuals who are willing to work hard to make the world a better place,” says Rebecca Andruszka, a writer for The Daily Muse, a website that offers career advice. Here are my top three reasons you should consider working or interning for a nonprofit.

1. The experience is a resume builder and you will expand your skills

Most nonprofits don’t have the funding needed to be able to hire all the employees they need. This means the staff and interns they have will have many responsibilities and a heavy workload. Many of the responsibilities aren’t specific to what your job title is and more often than not, cross over into different departments. This allows for more hands-on opportunities.

Photo credit: Jen Basulto

2. Expanding your network

Most nonprofits have a team of board members that is highly involved in the activities of the foundation and also have many corporations who sponsor, offer services or volunteer for the foundation. This is beneficial for both employees and interns because you will get the opportunity to network with these people who are of great importance to the foundation.

3. Meet talented and passionate people

People who work in nonprofits are some of the most amazing people you will ever get to meet. They are good at what they do and don’t do it just for the money. They truly work hard to make the world a better place and to bring happiness to those who need it most.

So the next time you’re searching for an internship or job, consider working for a nonprofit to gain valuable experience while making the world a better place.