Perfectly PR: Nicole Graney

In high school, she stumbled upon a job in public relations at a small communications company through some of her parents’ friends. Now a second-year college student, she is already president-elect of PRSSA, the Public Relations Student Society of America, at the University of Florida. Even with a long fall semester ahead of her, she is overcome with excitement about bringing members of the organization closer together. Nicole Graney carved time out of her busy schedule to sit down with us so we can discuss her involvement, her predictions and her wisdom.

Her Campus (HCUFL): What have you been involved in recently, and how did you learn from it?

Nicole Graney (NG): This summer, I was a campaign assistant for the Kathleen Passidomo Florida Senate campaign. There, I worked a lot with community outreach. We built relationships between the candidate and community leaders, members of the business community and constituents. I got a comprehensive campaigning experience, from staffing meet-the-candidate events and two Fourth of July parades, to creating social media content.

HCUFL: Starting your freshman year, did you ever see yourself as president of PRSSA? Did you ever see yourself getting that involved?

NG: The second I walked into my first PRSSA meeting, I realized how special the organization is. I heard about it a little through the work I did in high school when I would meet professionals, but when I walked into the room, I knew I wanted to have some sort of impact. I could never have imagined getting this involved this quickly because I am going to be a junior when I take the position over, which I never planned. It’s very exciting.

HCUFL: Do you see becoming involved in school, especially college, a challenge?

NG: Becoming involved itself is pretty easy because everybody is willing to help you. But once you’re involved, making an impact is the difficult part because a lot of the time you’re faced with choosing between spending time with your friends and spending time with your organization. Keeping all the balls in the air academically and extracurricularly and personally is the main challenge.

HCUFL: What do you see as the largest obstacle the field of public relations has to overcome or will eventually face?

NC: I think that right now, there is a lot of distrust towards the media in general. So I do think that is the biggest obstacle for PR because we have to work very closely with journalists, as they are the ones who are ultimately getting our message across. We can use social media on our own accounts, but having that other party that is well trusted by the public to vouch for us and to talk about our clients when they are doing something important is important to us.  

HCUFL: Why are you passionate about PR? What makes it interesting to you?

NG: My favorite part of public relations is the relationships you get to build because that is really what it is. It’s a relationship-building industry. Even if you’re not speaking directly to someone, the messages that you create and the stories that you tell [are] about you trying to connect with people in different demographics and different countries. It’s amazing how many people you could have an impact on.

HCUFL: What advice would you give to a student who doesn’t know if they’re interested in communications?

NG: Well, first to join PRSSA, of course. Honestly the best way to find out is to just try to get experience. Even if you don’t want to commit to an internship, you can find job shadowing opportunities through the CJC (College of Journalism and Communications) or even speaking to older students is very valuable.

By being so responsible and professional, Nicole makes us feel the need to get our life together. She truly epitomizes the idea that working hard and being kind allows incredible opportunities to present themselves. Her success in the field she is passionate about is a testament to how important it is to intertwine what you love into your career goals.


Picture Credits:

Allison Curry