David Gallagher’s #PRCareerLauncher series today features one of my favorite young professionals, Myreete Woolford. Thanks, David, for allowing me to share these Q&As with Culpwrit readers. This post is filled with great job search and career insights.
“…I knew that if I wanted to succeed here, I’d have to make a name for myself and breakthrough in an authentic way.”
These brief ‘career launcher’ profiles introduce readers to different people I’ve had the privilege of meeting at Ketchum or in the wider world of PR, and while they’re all well-received, the ones that usually get the gushing feedback are on those who are relatively new to the agency world and whose enthusiasm and personal experience are simply infectious. Meet Myreete Wolford.
Name: Myreete Wolford (No middle name. My first name is a combination of my grandmother’s names, Myrtle and Ethel. J).
Job: Assistant Account Executive for Business Development and Brand, Ketchum Chicago
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Current city: Chicago, IL
The name! I’ve been meaning to ask for a while but couldn’t find a polite way. Thank you. I know, I know.
How did you find your way into PR and more importantly, Ketchum?
My university roommate was changing her major because she didn’t fit the profile of a PR pro – someone who enjoys organization, planning, writing, etc. – but that seemed to describe me perfectly. I didn’t realize, until I switched into public relations, that The University of Alabama was a Top 5 US PRWeek program and would give me the connections to make my way to Ketchum. I did everything I could to get hired at Ketchum. I applied for 14 positions at eight different Ketchum offices all around the globe, but didn’t get an interview until I brought Ketchum’s Mindfire program to my PRSSA chapter. I was so dedicated to the program that I gained enough points for an informational interview with Ketchum Midwest Director Bill Zucker. Thanks to an opportune follow-up with a PRDaily piece, which I had secured based on my conversation with Bill, and a few recommendations from The Plank Center’s board members, my informational interview turned into a formal one and then an official offer landing me an offer in the Chicago office.
Lucky for us, you’re tenacious. What were you worried about, if anything, when starting at a big agency?
I knew Ketchum was big, but the people I had met made it seem tangible and accessible. I was excited about the opportunities that came with a global firm, but I knew that if I wanted to succeed here, I’d have to make a name for myself and breakthrough in an authentic way.
What advice do you have for those in school thinking about a career in PR?
- On getting a job: I’d say it’s all about timing and connections. Worry less about the actual job and worry more about creating experiences that can facilitate relationships. Taking the time to get to know professionals and mentors will result in much more than just asking for a job on the first meeting.
- On getting into public relations: Follow your passions and think big. PR has more to offer than what you’re taught in school, so be sure to research it.
- On being an intern: Even as an intern, you should feel a part of the team. If you are running for coffees and not having the chance to soak in everything that the industry has to offer, you are not in the right spot. Sure, you’ll have to start from the bottom to move up, but that is a blessing in disguise! Own the mundane tasks, be up for anything while still learning how to say no, and go above-and-beyond to let the world know your name – write blog posts, join office competitions, apply for things you don’t think you’ll get (you just might be surprised… see below).
So you won a contest to go the Cannes Lions festival this summer. What’s that all about?
Ketchum offers unique opportunities for employees of all levels to impact our firm with their passions. One example of this is the Cannes Lions Creativity Competition, which was an open ask to all Ketchumites on how they would promote Ketchum at Cannes. I’m an AAE and I almost didn’t apply because I thought there was no way they’d choose me over an SVP or someone who has been at Ketchum for more than two years! Turns out that ideas matter and the idea that won was my way of amping up social content surrounding Cannes through hyperlapse and timelapse videos. In June, I’ll have the opportunity to take my love for Ketchum to a global level and offer a fun social experience, facilitate global conversations and create content to benefit Ketchum well past the week at Cannes Lions. I’m very excited and honored to be the one creative chosen from around the world to support Ketchum’s leaders in France. As a member of the New Business Network and an Awards Captain, I know Cannes Lions is the epitome of what we all work toward; it’s in the back of our minds while planning and it’s the end goal for all award entries. Having the opportunity to represent Ketchum at Cannes is a dream come true: start to finish.
All that in two years. What’s next?
Personal and professional growth! The cool part about Ketchum is that you get opportunities find your passions and apply them to the culture. To be very specific, my three career goals for the near-future would be to assist the Midwest in building out Ketchum’s Outdoor Recreation offering, lead the Chicago intern program and to win an industry award. Personally, I plan to take photography, Spanish and archery classes!
Look out, Catniss Everdeen. Thanks, Myreete. My pleasure!