Wayne State University’s PRSSA chapter kicked off its agency tour season with an amazing and informative visit to Fleishman Hillard in Downtown Detroit. Fleishman Hillard is a large-sized global agency with 85 offices around the world and over 2,700 employees worldwide. The Downtown Detroit office, located at the One Detroit Center, has 57 employees.
Our host for the day was Nady Bilani, who is an account executive at the firm. Additionally, Nady is a former WSU PRSSA member and graduate of the PR program at Wayne State University.
We were able to hear from employees who worked in several service areas that Fleishman Hillard offers, including social media and crisis communications. At first sight, I could tell this firm had a collaborative work environment. Everyone who spoke expressed their enthusiasm about working with great, dynamic people and clients.
Later, I learned that the culture of Fleishman Hillard encourages the development of growth. Fleishman Hillard’s approach to PR is data-centric. Their model is “Data First, Ideas Second.”
1. Making connections is important. Detroit is a small market (PR-wise) and you will most likely run into the same people throughout your career. Fleishman Hillard offered a breakout session, where each attendee was able to converse with an employee in a different area of the agency. This was an excellent opportunity to ask questions about the agency or how to break into the industry. Each individual I met with stressed the importance of good writing in order to be successful in the PR field.
2. You can use an agency to find your niche and the right culture for you. Working at a full service agency will introduce you to various aspects of PR and hopefully will allow you to find what you are excited about doing on a daily basis. When searching for the right opportunity, culture matters. Find a place that has the right fit for you. (Internships are key to learning about an organization’s culture and the necessary skills for a successful PR life.)
3. Be hungry and humble. When working for an agency, be hungry to learn and humble enough to know that you do not know everything.
WSU’s PRSSA offers exciting agency tours where you never know what you can get out of them. During this particular tour, I was able to win a Target gift card by simply answering a question regarding social media. More than that, I was able to make great contacts that will be useful in my career journey. Do not miss these opportunities to build connections and open doors for future career moves.
Thank you, Fleishman Hillard, for hosting our PRSSA chapter and allowing us to learn and laugh!
Kevin Hardges is a graduate student in the Public Relations and Organizational Communication program at Wayne State. He is currently interning at Van Dyke Horn Public Relations. You may connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.