A publication of the Illinois State University Chapter of PRSSA
Alumni Spotlight: Brendan Griffith By Brittany Martin
Brendan Griffith, an Illinois State University graduate and PRSSA alumnus, quickly put the experience he gained as a PRSSA member to use. Griffith started in a media relations position at Fishman Public Relations in Northbrook, Ill. He then moved on to work for Reputation Partners and remains with the company two and a half years later. Reputation Partners is a boutique Chicago public relations firm where he is currently a senior associate. In this position, he oversees a variety of client programs from healthcare to commercial retail and real estate for local, national and international clients. While at Illinois State, Griffith gained an abundance of public relations experience with the three internships he held. Griffith interned for Alumni Relations at ISU, Good Shepherd Hospital as a communications and government relations intern and finally for the Special Olympics as the communications and publications intern. To gain some insight from our inspiring alumnus, we asked Griffith a few questions about his experience and lessons learned in the public relations industry to date. What made you want to be in the public relations industry? I originally went to ISU as an aspiring education major with the goal of landing a job post-graduation as a high school teacher. Two years went by filled with classwork and practicum experiences before I realized there was one small problem – I didn’t enjoy the act of teaching. Already in my junior year, I began exploring alternative fields through conversations with various family friends when I finally learned about public relations from my cousin’s wife. After receiving more real-world insight on the profession, along with reviewing the School of Communication’s website, I decided to pursue public relations. While my interest in teaching may have faded, the idea of educating remained a focal point. I already had a passion for writing and I saw PR as a way to help companies educate their audiences by crafting various campaigns and messages designed to enhance and/or protect their overall reputation with the public. Fast-forward to now and I couldn’t be happier with the career change.
Brendan Griffith, ISU Alumnus How did your experience in ISU PRSSA’s Chapter help prepare you for the world of public relations, post-graduation? I realize this more now, but looking back on my time in PRSSA, the best assets were all the individuals sitting around me in Schroeder Hall at weekly meetings. Everyone always talks about the importance of networking with professionals and creating relationships with those close to you on a daily basis and it’s really true. ISU PRSSA shared details of internship experiences in various public relations industries, highlighted what the work was like on Chicago agency tours and showcased professional development opportunities pursued by its members. The Chapter and its members helped give a more well-rounded view of a growing profession that has so much to offer. Fun fact: I ended up working with someone who was in PRSSA with me, so you never know which classmates could turn into colleagues. If you could give current PRSSA members a bit of advice they don’t always hear on succeeding in the public relations industry, what would it be? Far too often, students hear the same advice over and over again. I know I did. Complete as many internships as possible to set yourself apart. Sign up for professional development seminars/classes to enhance your skills. Attend industry trade shows, conferences and events to meet and network with other professionals. (Continued on page 2)