Roundtable with the PRIA NSW Young Guns

Telum caught up with a few of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) NSW Young Guns to find out their thoughts on the main concerns for emerging practitioners during these challenging times; how they can continue with professional development in isolation; and, where they see the opportunities for the future. You can watch the full 20-minute video chat here. Joining us on the roundtable was:
  • Maya Ivanovic, Co-Chair of the NSW PRIA Young Guns and Account Manager at Palin Communications.
  • Brian Olson, Director at Blend Public Relations.
  • Rosy Lone, Project Officer at the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
Key insights from the round table included:
  • Journalists are still hungry for interesting stories that don’t sit inside the coronavirus space. 
  • Tactics that PRs can employ to activate in the digital space with video, content, and social to make PR more impactful across a variety of channels.
  • How emerging practitioners can use the plethora of online resources currently available to find out what they are passionate about, and what they might like to specialise in. 
Our panellists are working in three very distinct areas of communications, with Maya in Healthcare PR in agency-land, Rosy in a government role in regional Australia, and Brian recently launching his own agency. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic raise concerns for each of them, but also present opportunities to reframe how they can approach their work for the better.

Brian launched Blend Public Relations in March and is currently working with Taylors Wines as a foundation client, along with Calabria Family Wines on its grape-spirit based hand sanitiser initiative. He understands emerging practitioners are going to feel uncertain about their current position but says that now is the time to step out of comfort zones and build relationships.

“We should lean into that uncertainty of having your job on the line to pressure you to go out and do things totally differently and talk to people in new ways.

“I can spend 30 minutes on a video chat with somebody I haven’t met before. I’ll get a bottle of wine and courier it off to a journo and say, 'hey let’s have a video chat and we can workshop pitches or story ideas'.

“To those people starting out, reach out to as many people as you can and start building your network because now is a really great chance to captivate people while they’re looking at their emails all day long,” Brian said.

Rosy has been with the NSW Department of Primary Industries for a little over a year, working with key stakeholders across the Murray Darling Basin including on the response team for the NSW Native Fish Drought. The government sector has the reputation of providing job security for its workforce, however a large portion of public servants, including Rosy, are currently in contract roles. She is continually finding new ways to improve the work she is doing, even in isolation, to help safeguard her role during these uncertain times.

“We have emerging practitioners who might be lucky enough to have full time roles, which is wonderful. And then you’ve got contract workers. I am not a full-time staff member. I am on a contract. And that is something that is in the back of my mind all the time.

“Now that we are at home, I’m constantly looking at new ways to do my job better. My advice to young practitioners in government roles is: don’t get complacent. We have so much to learn, so we have to stay hungry.

Maya Ivanovic has been with healthcare public relations agency Palin Communications for almost five years and is also the Co-Chair of the PRIA NSW Young Guns. She sees the role of industry associations like PRIA as immensely important during these times to provide a community of support. The Young Guns are stepping up to ensure their members don’t feel stranded during the lock down.

“One of our key focuses at the moment is mental health and just making sure that people are taking that time to self-care, to communicate how they’re feeling, and just make sure they are staying in touch with their networks during this time of isolation. We are currently focused on trying to progress some workshops on mental health.

"We also have a Facebook group, which is a place to share events, workshops, insights, other musings, memes, but it’s also a great place to talk about how you’re feeling and debrief with people who are like-minded and in the same position as you," Maya said. 

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