Catching up with Chapter Alumni Danielle Pransky

Danielle Pranksy was the President and Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at Montclair for the 2017 to 2018 academic year. She’s currently earning her Master’s Degree in Public and Organizational Relations at Montclair State University, as well as interning with Summit Health Management—the parent company of Summit Medical Group, one of the largest healthcare organizations in New Jersey—in their Communications and Marketing Department.

Danielle has successfully completed various internships. Her experience ranges across the board from marketing to editorial positions in areas like lifestyle, entertainment, beauty, and healthcare. I sat down with her recently to catch up and get some insight on her experiences.

HCM: Of all your internships so far, what was your favorite experience?

Danielle: Over the summer, I had an internship at a boutique public relations agency in the city, Purple PR. I was on the digital team in the beauty department, and that experience really gave me a good foundation of the current digital side of PR and where the industry is heading. Then there is this internship that I have now, at Summit, which is my first corporate internship. I’m learning a lot from doing multiple tasks across their marketing team which includes writing and editing editorial features, marketing initiatives and public relations things as well. So I would say those are the two internships I’ve had that have especially helped me grow.

HCM: How do you feel about your grad school experience so far?

Danielle: It’s been a really great experience. I started my graduate program intending to continue my education in public relations but have found it contributes to so much more. The organizational relations aspect adds an understanding behind the internal structure of organizations. The program offers a well-rounded approach to studying internal and external communication. It’s also a great experience because my peers all have unique backgrounds and everyone’s of different ages. People have come from all different industries and interests whether they have been working for 15 years and decided to go back to school or they just graduated - it’s just a good group of diverse students and I have really learned from not only my classes but from them as well.

In her former position as President and Editor-in-Chief, Pransky learned important leadership skills and she feels that these skills are very helpful in her professional life as well.

HCM: How do you apply the skills you learned from being our former Her Campus President in the professional world?

Danielle: During undergrad, I completed my minor in Leadership Development. It was an exciting program because it focused on not only developing your professional skills but personal skills as well. When I had the opportunity to take on the leadership role at Her Campus, I was able to apply what I was learning from my minor to a real-life experience. Being president/EIC helped me figure out what makes a team work, how to run an organization in an effective or non-effective way, and overall it was a good trial and error experience. Being a leader involves a lot of personal development, you learn how you connect with people and how to help other people connect. So from being in this role and then going out into the real world, everything I learned helped me be a better team player and just be more aware of my approach. Having the Her Campus experience really gave me good insight into how an organization could run. You’ll always make mistakes, but what matters is learning from them, being aware, and adjusting.

HCM: What advice would you give to a college student who is still figuring out exactly what she wants to do with her life and what advice would you give to the girl who has her whole life planned out already?

Danielle: I am a planner... come my junior year of college I realized it was almost a little bit too much. I had to take a step back and tell myself that changing my mind is completely ok and if things don’t work out according to plan it’s for the best. By not confining myself to a “set” plan, I’m able to be more open-minded and give myself more room to grow and learn other things. I still think it’s important to plan and have an idea of where I want to go, but my point is that it doesn’t need to be so set in stone. Once I let myself dabble around with different areas that interested me, I found no matter what, it all connects to the bigger picture. It’s also important to not be so hard on yourself. Have drive but college is stressful enough, don’t put more pressure on yourself. You’ll figure it out as long as you’re putting your best foot forward.

HCM: Whether it’s PR or journalism or really anything in the media industry, it’s all known to be very competitive, so what advice would you give to anyone looking to stand out and go into these industries?

Danielle: The great thing about media, PR, communication, and all that jazz - is that every company needs it and on top of in-house opportunities, there are a lot of agencies as well. HCM girls have come to me concerned that their resume isn’t good enough, that they don’t have enough internships, that they don’t know how to stand out… I say utilize everything you do in college. Clubs, volunteering, projects, even class work, you can make so beneficial and you can put these things on your resume. Get involved in organizations, showcase projects in a portfolio, show that you’re involved and you’re passionate. Really just utilize all the resources that are around you. It just comes down to making an effort.

Many college girls all around the world dream of working for doing some type of media (writing, social media, video, graphics, etc) for fashion, beauty, or entertainment companies. Old stereotypes can make these industries seem very intimidating and bring out insecurities. Pransky shared some advice for navigating these stereotypes within the industry.

HCM: There are a lot of stereotypes that girls working in media, editorial, fashion and beauty industries are seen as catty or stuck up (like “The Devil Wears Prada”). In your experience with these industries, would you say that these stereotypes are present or not?

Danielle: I really did have a great experience at Purple PR. The agency had numerous departments - lifestyle, travel, beauty, fashion... I was in beauty and I really did enjoy my time there. I think the fashion department adhered a little bit more to some of those stereotypes, but you see it every industry. People will be bossy and catty and you can’t be sensitive about it. It’s hard not to take offense but at the end of the day, as long as you know you’re doing your job, don’t take things personally or be open to the criticism. It might not be told to you in the nicest way but maybe you could be doing something better. You bring up “The Devil Wears Prada”, sure Andy wasn’t completely at fault but she knew she had to step it up and open her mind in order to gain the respect she deserved. It always depends on the situation but like I said before just put your best foot forward and if someone is being unreasonably rude, you just have to shake it off. I personally like to kill ‘em with kindness… but still act with strength and integrity. My aunt introduced me to a quote that defined the words grit and grace - grit being strength of character and courage and grace being moral strength, generosity and kindness. Those values are what I really try to live by.

HCM: Here’s something that a lot of people going into these industries struggle with - what suggestions would you give to someone who always compares herself to to others?

Danielle: So this was also me in college... I’m more competitive with myself than with other people, if that makes sense. I compare myself to ideas that I feel like I’m not achieving and I have compared myself to others as well. I’ve never been too much of a jealous or competitive person but I’m always hard on myself and at times I really get in my own head, it’s something I’m still working on to this day. I remind myself that everyone has their own path, everyone does things differently, and everyone is going to get to where they’re going based off of the effort they put in and the steps they take. What’s important is working on yourself day-by-day because you enjoy growing and evolving not because of the comparisons you make to other people. Figure out your interests and what you like, and don’t like, and what you idolize about your own character. Don’t put yourself down. The less time you spend comparing, the more time you can spend unlocking the best parts of yourself. You hold the key to your own greatness.  

Danielle will always be a valuable mentor and inspiration for Her Campus at Montclair. We are so proud of her journey so far and we can’t wait to see what’s next as she takes on the world by storm!