BPR Professional Development Tour in NYC

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Bobcat Promotions visiting Edelman.

By Jennifer Alvord

NEW YORK — A trip to New York City means more than finding 99-cent pizza, $30 drinks, tickets to a Broadway show, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and tipping a Disney character in Times Square for a selfie.

Those were mere sideshows to the main event of the Second Annual Bobcat Promotions Professional Development trip to the Big Apple.

A dozen members of the student-run public relations firm visited top public relations firms, including Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard and Ogilvy PR, along with the United Nations and the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Tyler Mahan, a PR senior, said that it was “the best trip ever,” and he is now considering a move to New York City to pursue his career.

“I was inspired more than ever to join the public relations industry,” Mahan said. “Every agency was better than the last, in my opinion, and I’m now driven to gain more experience through internships and Bobcat Promotions than ever.”

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A breathtaking view from the top of the Rockefeller Center. Photo by: Jennifer Alvord

At Edelman, the BPR team met with Texas State alum Christopher Henry, a former executive director with the student firm. Henry works with the public affairs team and is working with client Microsoft. He was part of a panel of young Edelman staff members who work in different departments and discussed their career path to the world’s largest PR firm.

Henry also was part of a group of alumni who shared their personal experiences in seeking employment in New York and handling day-to-day living in the city. Among the alumni guests were sisters Kendall and Kelby Schmidt and Natalie Schorn.

The BPR team was joined during a visit to Fleishman-Hillard by graduate students from Syracuse University. The most impressive presentation involved the firm’s handling of content marketing through social media. A Fleishman digital team has a newsroom-like space called The Daily Planet and connect the relevance of news events to their clients, then write posts accordingly.

Ashley DeBolt, executive director of Bobcat Promotions, participated in her second professional development tour. She once again recognized the real value in working in the media capital of the world.

“If you get a job in the city, working one year is virtually like working 10 years anywhere else,” DeBolt said.

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The Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by: Jennifer Alvord

After meetings with firms, members of Bobcat Promotions also had many opportunities to explore the city.

The group visited various New York City landmarks, including Central Park, Times Square, The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, The Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty.

Members quickly learned that the subway waits for no one. While getting on (or trying to get on) the train, two people got left behind at the platform because the doors closed on them.

PR senior Larisa Gawlik said, “I just remember thinking, ‘This can’t be happening’ as I turned around and realized the doors shut on them.”

Gawlik said that everyone was so worried that they weren’t going to be able to find the rest of the group because cell phone service is unpredictable underground. “Once we got ahold of them and got them back to the same train platform it was hysterical,” Gawlik said.

Members also walked from Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn, which was an experience DeBolt said was her favorite.

While at the United Nations, members attended a fast-paced noon briefing directed by Stephane Dujarric, director of communications for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Dujarric visited with BPR as he had done during the inaugural trip. The group visited exhibit and rooms that have held Security Council meetings and General Assembly gatherings.

A trip highlight at the UN was visiting with actor Josh Lucas, who was filming for a new television show outside the UN. The actor who played Reese Witherspoon’s love interest in “Sweet Home Alabama” and also starred in “American Psycho” graciously posed for countless selfies.

“Meeting Josh Lucas was a great experience,” Mahan said. “He was really nice to us all and took so many pictures with us. I definitely recommend going to New York. It’s a great experience and there’s always something to do and somewhere to go.”

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