There are endless paths that students can take when they graduate college. Narrowing that down to communications agencies, the possibilities can be overwhelming. Having the opportunity to learn from and ask questions of top industry leaders is something I certainly wish I had the chance to do when I was in college.

At this year’s PR Council InternFest, 100 interns from Member agencies heard from industry leaders in the food and beverage, diversity and inclusion, tech and B2B, and earned media sectors. Students sat in on presentations, demonstrations and discussions to get a better sense of potential paths they can take at an agency.

Soon Mee Kim, Porter Novelli, explained how diversity and inclusion in the industry isn’t just trendy – it’s a transformative, moral imperative. Laura Russo, FleishmanHillard, gave examples of how crucial earned media relations is, emphasizing the importance of being a versatile and multifaceted communications professional. Pablo Olay, Padilla, demonstrated the magic of Padilla’s test kitchen and showed the need for compelling visuals in food and beverage spaces. Sandra Fathi, Affect, shared the difference between B2B and B2C for the students, how the tech field is expanding and emphasized that storytelling is behind it all. Each session was different from the next, just like the sectors themselves.

When opportunities to network and learn from industry veterans like those in the room, you need to seize them. I know I certainly used to be shy, but after being in this role with so many terrific opportunities to learn from leaders in this space I’ve been able to understand firsthand the importance of putting yourself out there. Shaking hands can lead to learning something, which can lead to a conversation that might change your perspective.

With all of that being said, the interns that attended our event asked bright and insightful questions and were eager to learn about the communications industry. Passionate students become eager employees, who will help the industry continue to transform, evolve and become a place for this next generation to one day lead.

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