Tag Archives: public relations

You Give Love (and PR) A Bad Name

If you haven’t already heard, cheating is not the reason marriages break up. No, the real reason behind many a divorce is a force much more sinister than extramarital sexual urges… that’s right, I’m talking about Rogers Communications.

 Rogers Logos

Yes, it’s not enough that they gouge us on service fees and spray-paint our sidewalks (really? didn’t you learn from MLSE eight months ago?), now they’re coming into our homes and breaking up our marriages. Imagine coming home one night after a long, hard day at work, and you walk into your bedroom only to find your wife in bed with all of Rogers Communications. If that sort of thing turns you on, you’re probably on the wrong website.

If you haven’t already heard, Gabriela Nagy “blames a Rogers cellphone bill for breaking up her marriage… Nagy claims a unilateral decision by Rogers to consolidate her household’s bills allowed her husband to discover she was having an affair. That, she says, led to the “destruction” of her marriage.”

 Gabriela Nagy

Here’s a thought: Maybe the marriage was already destroyed when Nagy decided and proceeded to have an affair, and not when the husband found out about it. I’m pretty sure that the old adage “It’s not illegal unless you’re caught” doesn’t hold up in a court of law.

Now, Nagy “is launching a campaign to improve privacy protection in Ontario… [and] looking for other frustrated customers to join her lawsuit against the telecommunications giant for what she claims was a breach of her privacy.”

Is she? Is she really? Or is there more to this already-ridiculous story? Well, when a story in Toronto transcends being ridiculous and begins bordering on being offensive, there’s always a safe guess as to why: J.P. Pampena.

 JP Pampena

First off, let me say that this entire story stinks. Reeks. It’s a wonder Pampena can come near it, what with his heightened sense of smell. But then again, this is the same publicist who orchestrated the messy soap opera that surrounded Toronto’s baby Kaylee case in 2009 and 2010.

 Jay Sherman

In reading up on Nagy’s case, it seems abundantly clear that Pampena is behind much of this media-attention-grabbing circus:

  • Nagy showing up for interviews dressed all in black, wearing a wig and dark glasses
  • Suing Rogers for $600,000 (is that all your marriage was worth to you?)
  • Launching a Facebook campaign dubbed Citizens Helping Individuals Reform Privacy Policies (CHIRPP)
  • Mentioning she has switched to Bell and is much happier with their privacy protections

 This has sleaze written all over it, and it’s a goddamn shame. It’s a shame that this woman is attempting to profit from her own immorality, while trying to paint a sympathetic picture of herself (though acknowledging herself she won’t win many sympathy points). It’s a shame that Rogers – giant, evil corporation that they are – has to deal with this bullshit, likely meaning that somewhere down the line, us “regular” customers will have to pay some sort of price for all this. And it’s a real shame that J.P. Pampena is giving publicists and public relations practitioners everywhere a terrible name.

It should be noted that Pampena is also the same publicist that infiltrated the Molson Canadian Rocks SARS Toronto Benefit Concert, doing media interviews and taking credit for an event he had little – if nothing – to do with. He’s drawn the ire of well-respected PR practitioners all over Toronto, and with good reason. He was even called out (albeit anonymously) on Inside PR, a leading Canadian podcast on the state and future of public relations, by then-hosts Terry Fallis, Dave Jones, and Martin Waxman.

Interestingly, Inside PR has also been the basis of discussions on why publicists should not be a part of any story, unless extenuating circumstances call for it. Obviously, Pampena missed that episode. Wonder why….

(Another interesting note on Pampena – who, by the way, is also registered to run for Mayor of Toronto in the 2010 election – is that though he claims to be blind (26 years and counting…), his Twitter page has him spotting a celebrity in Pearson Airport.

Five Professional Advantages To Being Unemployed

Three weeks before my wedding, my position in the PR department of a non-profit arts organization was eliminated. The good news was it meant more time for me to help plan a wedding for more people than I’ll ever know. The bad news, of course, was my unemployment.

I have a hard time believing claims that losing a job is “the best thing to happen to me.” However, there are certainly more advantages to being unemployed than one might consider. Here are five:

  • Re-Evaluate Your Resume
    When I lost my job, I realized my resume hadn’t been updated since I was hired. I spent weeks afterward recalling all my accomplishments at work, and putting them down on paper coherently. I wrote and re-wrote, edited and re-edited. But that wasn’t enough.

    The great thing about being unemployed is that you can freely pass your resume around for scrutiny. Sure, you can re-write a resume until the cows come home (farmers have resumes?) but why not share the wealth? Reach out to professionals in your industry or sector, and ask them to read your resume and offer suggestions. Talk to your colleagues and those in higher positions. And don’t be shy! After all, you won’t be hiring yourself.

    As it stands now, I have had my resume go through most of my friends in PR. I’ve sent my resume to former managers and directors, looking for their feedback. My parents have helped me by sending my resume to their friends, soliciting their feedback as well. I consider every suggestion made, and my resume is richer for having done so.

  • Interview, Informationally
    Ah yes, the wily, elusive, and intimidating informational interview. In reality, none of those three adjectives should apply. Informationals are pretty easy to come by and usually quite relaxed and informal. While I wasn’t completely sold on the concept when I first began making the rounds, I quickly warmed to the idea.

    Whenever an organization I contacted would come back to me saying no positions are available, I’d ask to meet with someone in their Communications department, regardless. It reflects a genuine interest and enthusiasm on my part, but it’s also a strategic way of learning about the inner-workings of a company. There’s only so much you can glean from websites and news releases.

    The informational interview is also a no-pressure chance to ask questions you might not ask in a formal job interview: Curious about the salary expectations for someone with your experience? Ask away. Ever wondered what qualifications are truly needed for the positions you seek? Ask away. Want to know how the VP of Communications for SomeCompany Ltd got the position? Where they went to school? What they suggest you learn to get ahead? ASK!

  • Network Network Network. And then Network some more.
    This goes hand-in-hand with the first two points. When I send out a resume for someone to have a look at, I know they’ll offer some useful suggestions. I also know that it’s one more person who will have read my resume, seen my qualifications, and learned about my professional career to that point. That’s one more person who may be able to throw my name out somewhere.

    The same idea applies to everyone I meet for informationals, even more so. Now there’s someone who is not only aware of who I am and what I’ve accomplished, but they have spent some time talking to me, getting to know me, and learning how I think and act. This is – in fact – even more useful as it’s safe to assume an informational interview takes place with someone within your desired industry. That’s another person who can throw your name out to potential employers, with the added bonus of being able to vouch for your character as well. Furthermore, should a position ever open in that person’s organization, a good impression will keep you at the top of their pile.

    Besides that, I follow fellow PR folk on Twitter and LinkedIn, so I know who is doing what. Attending conferences and talks is a great way to meet people in your industry. Go for drinks with a friend and their coworkers. You never know who or what will lead where.

  • Here, Take My Card.
    Simple and cheap. Make yourself a business card. I found out very quickly after having lost my job that networking is difficult without a business card.

    A business card is a classic reminder of who you are and what you do, and it fits in everyone’s front pocket. If you’re unemployed, all you need is your name and contact info, with a brief line about what you do. For example, on my card there is contact information broken up by a single line reading: Communications. Public Relations. Branding. Writing. Editing. Who I am, what I do, where to reach me.

  • Freelance Is Not A Four-Letter Word
    Stay sharp by offering your skills to others. This is not about the money, but about staying in the loop. Offer your services to a friend’s company, or a non-profit organization, or even your dad’s repair shop. Freelancing between jobs can be fun, keeps you on your toes and allows to dabble in a variety of areas.

While being unemployed is never fun, there are ways to use that time to your professional advantage. I’ve been doing my best to stay busy and stay relevant, and I’m pretty happy with the results so far. While not working full-time at the moment, I have a few things on the go and am always looking at new opportunities. Meanwhile, I’ve met with everyone from coordinators and managers, to VPs and Presidents. I’ve had my resume edited by people whom I’d only ever seen on the news. Now they know my first name, where I went to school and what I’m capable of on the job.

Being unemployed hasn’t been the greatest thing to happen to me, but it’s certainly far from the worst. Best of luck to all!

PS
As of this writing, for #HAPPOTO, I remain unemployed but open to all opportunities.