Name: Zach Dugan
Hometown: Lockport, NY
Major: Public Relations
Not only is Zach the Executive Director of Penn State’s student-run public relations firm, Happy Valley Communications, but he also carries a full course load, is the Director of Creative Production for PRSSA and is one of the Student Liaisons for the AD/PR Alumni Board.
Zach shared with Her Campus his advice and perspective on the PR industry.
HC: What does being Executive Director of HVC entail?
Zach: As the Executive Director, I am responsible for overseeing all firm operations and activities. This includes maintaining all client relationships, meeting with new potential clients, overseeing and evaluating the staff, and working alongside my fellow directors to ensure a positive experience for both the staff members and the clients we partner with.
HC: Why PR?
Zach: PR, in my opinion, is the renaissance career … no two days in PR are ever the same, and having the opportunity to be creative while accomplishing meaningful goals, is the best job in the world. This means finding and using different methods to reach your audience, or get you message across, and this all adds to the excitement of PR. It takes a certain kind of person, but if you are one, then you will most likely love waking up for work. To put it simply, I made a graphic a while back to explain PR.
HC: Can you give us a typical day in your shoes as Executive Director?
Zach: That honestly depends on the day. During the week before classes, I came back to State College and spent the week meeting with clients, scheduling the semester, planning recruitment materials and emailing from dusk till dawn. As the semester gets underway and we hire our staff, I will continue to manage firm operations and assist the account teams in any way necessary. Plus, I would bet I would continue to email from dusk till dawn, daily, just from the love of the job.
HC: What internship did you complete this summer? What is the best piece of advice you took away from your internship?
Zach: During this summer I was fortunate enough to work with The Dow Chemical Company in their Public/Government Affairs department. Many questioned this choice at first, as did I, but I could not of asked for a better experience. Something I now try to tell every PR major is that New York PR agencies are not the only option in this line of work. Corporations, Non-Profits, and more need PR people; plus the work you do is extremely similar to agency. If you are lucky, you may even change your perception of an industry you were never interested in before.
HC: What other organizations are you involved in?
Zach: During the school year, I am also involved with The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as the Director of Creative Production. In this role, I work to support the chapter in creating print/video promotional materials (like the 2012 PRSSA Promo Video). And I am one of the Student Liaisons for the AD/PR Alumni Board in the College of Communications.
HC: Do you have any advice for aspiring public relations young professionals?
Zach: Take hold of every opportunity, even if you have to make it.