Jorielle J. Nunag is an Associate Consultant at FleishmanHillard HighRoad and is based in Toronto, Ontario. She has won the Student of the Year award from CPRS and IABC and graduated from the Centennial College PR program.
How did you get into public relations?
If I could pinpoint when my career in PR began, it would probably be when I was in my second year at Queen’s University, completing an undergraduate degree in Sociology. I even remember the night, truthfully. I’m sure everyone tends to experience an existential crisis towards the end of “the best time of your life” and when “adulthood” encroaches. I attended a media and journalism conference and I had so much fun meeting people and talking about the media landscape. Then I remember sitting down with myself and reflecting on all the things I enjoyed in life.
The list was as follows: chatting and getting to know different people, writing, continually learning and growing, travelling and experiencing new and different things. After beginning my career in PR, I would say that the list still rings true in everything I’ve done to date.
Like Steve Jobs said, “In life, as in all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” This is true for me and I definitely recognize how lucky I am to have found it so early.
Did you find your education provided a helpful background when you started your career?
I did the PR graduate diploma at Centennial College and I can honestly say that not only did it set a foundation for my career in PR, but a strong one at that. The program has a lineup of notable and experienced professionals as professors, introduces you to the PR societies relevant to the field, and teaches you the skills that can genuinely catapult your career into the student spotlight early. I owe a lot to that program, so in short — yes.
What are some important lessons you learned while job hunting?
The most important thing I learned while job hunting is probably the fact that you are vetting companies just as much as they are vetting you. I think the way you’re treated and the culture of people you surround yourself with is so important in a place you’re looking to find, essentially a career-home. You’re about to dedicate a lot of your time somewhere, so you need to really know it’s where you want to be.
What skills does one need to survive in the PR industry?
If someone has the answer to this… they should definitely shoot me a message, haha!
All jokes aside, I would say you just have to be an extremely resilient and versatile person with the ability and willingness to adapt to constantly changing situations and expectations. Also, someone who is open to constantly improving and learning from each experience.
It’s challenging and sometimes, as in a lot of challenges in life, you can really feel defeated at times — that being said, all the accomplishments that you end up compiling for yourself; be that killing it at media relations or getting a pat on the back from a higher-up or client, is such a rewarding feeling. In any industry, passion and hunger are driving factors.
What do you most enjoy about working in PR?
Hands down, I would say the network of people I’ve been able to surround myself with and have had the opportunity to learn from. I’m currently working at FleishmanHillard HighRoad and my experience at the firm to-date has been so invaluable it’s insane — I feel like I can’t fully put it into words.
Not only have I learned a lot from the various experiences I’ve been privy to but I’ve been trusted with responsibilities and given roles on various projects that have proven to be so meaningful and fulfilling.
Have you found there to be any particular challenges being a woman in PR?
Being a leader, in its entirety, comes with challenges and I find striving to be a strong and driven woman comes with hardships that ring true in absolutely any industry — for a variety of factors and reasons that society is fully aware of. It can be difficult navigating your conduct, especially when you’re young.
All that being said, in my experience, if you continue to work hard, prove your capabilities and surround yourself with like-minded people with the same passions, your ability to handle adversity will be conducive to the opportunities you’re given.
How vital have you found networking to be?
I consider networking absolutely vital, for so many reasons it’s almost impossible to count. The relationships you build, the information you learn, the pathways you open for yourself — it’s all part of the networking dance.
I attribute networking to so much of what I’ve experienced in my career to date and though I’m fully aware that I’m quite new, I would argue that a strong network of professionals is the surest way to raise your profile and gain experience in the areas you want to gain experience in. My advice is to always take the time to network. Understandably, it might not be for everyone but the beauty of networking is the more the merrier so you can bring someone you’re comfortable with!
During my internship at FHR, I actually spearheaded a small committee aimed at networking (coined, “The Engagement League”), with the objective of gaining more visibility and encouraging participation within various student-targeted events, such as the types of events hosted by CPRS and IABC, or speaking opportunities as a whole. I think this is also a testament to the opportunities I’ve been given, working at FHR, and how open management is to ideas from people despite how early in your career you may be.
What is your best piece of advice for someone who wants to work at a PR firm?
Really try to get a good gauge of the culture of the company you’re thinking of working for and whether that aligns with what you want out of your career. Talk to people and do your research. Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to find a good fit right away and other times it’ll take a bit more time — but don’t be too hard on yourself and know that everything you go through, in the end, is a gain in the overall picture of your career.