By Lisa Bonatz, Account Coordinator

Lisa Bonatz graduation picture

When The Rock belted, “It’s about drive; it’s about power. [You] stay hungry. [You] devour,” I firmly believe he was offering insight on excelling at The Hoffman Agency.

I will not feign that my internship was easy. Balancing a full-time job while finishing two degrees, working as a director at my student agency (ranked No. 1 in the nation by PRSSA … can I get a “Roll Tide”), working on three student exec boards, teaching cycling and barre classes, and clinical volunteering takes goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. Thankfully, those are all things a successful PR student has in their back pocket.

While I did not construct a specific framework for my last semester, I have learned intricate time management skills and gained the ability to set priorities. Throughout my chaotic days, I have stayed hungry. Unafraid of challenges, I seek out opportunities to make an impact on my team by bringing more than the direct “ask” to the table and anticipating problems. This approach has worked well for me: I received my dream position at Hoffman, the Barban Scholar award at Alabama and was named the Most Outstanding Senior in Human Environmental Sciences (#humblebrag).

Adults love to ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Throughout my life, I have replied eagerly and decisively, but have rarely given the same answer twice. With my broad range of interests, I have dreaded the day when I would be forced to sacrifice the euphoria of rich, diverse learning for monotonous, restricted study. This mindset is what has made me fall in love with Hoffman. Each client team opens my eyes to a different world. From semiconductors to credit union regulations, I have benefited from the wisdom of senior executives and satiated my desire for learning.

Perhaps it is my yearning for new knowledge that causes me to love creating coverage reports. Compiling lists of industry news and client mentions may sound like a mundane task, but I thoroughly enjoy it. I mean … an excuse to read an abundance of random information? Sign me up! While I have always been prone toward the creative side of PR, delving into analytical pursuits has expanded my skills and interests. Any creative knows that brevity is the soul of wit. I attempt to bring my brevity, soul and wit into every deliverable (and Teams chat).

Although I have an obvious lack of fear for responsibility, I entered this industry with a deep paranoia about making mistakes. When I received edits on my first deliverable from my team, my heart sank. Looking back, all I can think is, “Girl, why?!” We work in teams for mutual benefit. News flash: college seniors do not walk into an agency with the experience of a seasoned industry veteran (and even they seek out feedback!). Our Executive Vice President Kymra Knuth shared that the goal should be offering your best work for feedback … not no feedback. This advice has really helped shape me into a more receptive learner.

My best advice to others just starting out a career in tech PR is to unabashedly seek insight and shape your role. If you need help, ask for it. If you want to do more (or less) of something, tell your manager. I have had the privilege of learning from amazing people because I reached out to them. Because I vocalized my desires, I have shaped a role that is my quintessential fusion of art and media. Too many communications professionals do not communicate their own needs. Don’t be one of them.

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