Mentor: Leah Davies

Profession: Community Relations and Alumni Affairs Coordinator

Location: The Star

Date: December 15, 2017

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


Mentor Visit Assessment #1

My first mentor visit with Leah Davies was a great starting point for our mentorship, as we discussed our roles as mentor and mentee and established some long term goals for our time together. We also exchanged ideas and chose a specific path for my original work.

In discussing ideas for my original work, I learned that public relations is more related to marketing than I originally perceived, but in a different way. My original plan was to write a press release, as that was the most specific idea I could come up with using my surface-level knowledge of PR. When I expressed this to Leah, she suggested expanding the idea into a press kit, complete with a press release, backgrounder, and fact sheet. As she continued to explain what these documents were and showed me examples, I realized that all of the documents focused on providing factual and relevant background information to media organizations for publication. This is how I found that PR is more about marketing a brand and its viewpoints, beliefs, and morals to the public rather than a product to customers. By providing the press with accurate information that paints the organization in a positive light, you eliminate the risk of a particular publication tarnishing the organization’s reputation. Finding out more about these documents helped clarify the role of PR professionals in branding and how writing relates to it; by providing reliable information straight from the source, the risk of a negative image of the organization goes down significantly. There also remains an opportunity for the organization to present information to the public any way they please, perhaps emphasizing a certain attitude or positive element of the company.

Furthermore, in learning more about Leah’s role in the Cowboys organization, I learned the importance of engaging the surrounding community. Creating and maintaining positive and engaging relationships with an organization’s public is the literal job description of a PR professional, so actively reaching out and creating opportunities to involve the local community in events with the organization is an optimal way to go about pushing for those relationships. As Community Relations Coordinator, it is Leah’s work that creates the positive reputation of the Cowboys in Frisco; if an organization moves into a city and makes no effort to show its citizens that it cares about them, what kind of reputation will that create? On the other hand, involving the Cowboys in local events and showing Frisco citizens that they support students, local charities, and small businesses creates a positive name for the Cowboys. From talking about the kind of work that Leah does within PR for the Cowboys, I gained knowledge of the importance of outreach in relationship creation and maintenance, and I plan on taking this knowledge with me as I continue into college and the professional world.

Overall, this mentor visit allowed me to create a clearer vision of where I want to go in my future PR endeavors and what I want my future career in PR to look like. I now have a deeper understanding of how important human-to-human relationships are in reputation management, and I hope to gain more hands-on experience with this idea as I continue into my mentorship with Leah.