On Monday, Nov. 19, CEO of Weber Shandwick, Andy Polansky visited the University of Florida to answer questions about the industry and share his advice to students. As the chief executive officer of Weber Shandwick, one of the world's leading communication and marketing services, Polansky focuses on client services, collaboration, and the value of firm's culture, while also striving to recruit a diverse group of employees in order to breed innovation. In the process, he has made Weber Shandwick an award-winning agency that is continuously paving the way for the public relations industry. During the Q&A, he left students with the following advice:
1. Mix it up.
During your undergraduate career, make sure to expand your knowledge on different topics. Don't just take public relations classes; expand your horizons and venture into politics, multicultural studies, business, etc. This will not only make you more well-rounded but allows you to contribute more to your place of work.
2. Have a voice.
Believe in something and stand behind your beliefs. If you're passionate about a specific topic, use your platform and be knowledgeable about what you're saying. When applying for positions, use your values to your advantage. Research the company and if there is something that you both value, bring it up in a conversation! It will make you stand out and show that you are passionate about the company.
3. Have breadth in your experiences.
Make sure to seize every opportunity and gain as much experience as you can. The different experiences you have can create new outlooks and ideas that you can share.
4. Test the waters and find your people.
Whether your heart is set on an agency, corporate, or non-profit work, stay open-minded and test out different areas of PR. Keep in mind that what's most important is the people that you work with. Ask yourself, "Do they uplift you and make work an enjoyable environment to be in?" If the people around you don't make work an enjoyable one, it's okay to say goodbye.
5. Be mindful of potential growth opportunity.
Make sure there is room to grow within your organization or company. Is your place of work going to give you opportunities, or will they keep the same person in position even if you could do a better job?
Written by Jada Crespo
Photo taken by Jackson Chabot