Name: Sarah Pazdziora
Title: Account Executive
Reason you got into PR:
I was waiting tables one night after class when I heard one of my fellow servers talking about how she hated her PR program. I will be the first to say I didn’t quite know what public relations was, but I was struggling to find passion in my own chosen career path as a teacher. I was listening in on the conversation and quickly found out that I might just like this “PR” profession that she hated so much. After I clocked out, I went home and started researching the ins and outs of public relations and the program my university offered. In a matter of hours I was convinced that this was what I was meant to do. I felt energized by the case studies I read on various crisis situations and the intricate way PR professionals aid businesses from brand development to large-scale campaigns and beyond. That night I called my parents to tell them that I wasn’t a teacher, I was a Public Relations Practitioner. I think they still struggle to understand what exactly it is I do, but they immediately saw how passionate I was about school the following semester when I enrolled in my first PR class. At Central Michigan University the Public Relations program is extensive and one of the most intricate degree programs on campus because it integrates PR, broadcast, journalism, advertising, communications and design. My guidance counselor told me that it would take me longer to graduate if I switched, which can be daunting as a student, but I didn’t care— I was hooked after my first day in PR 101, when I read about the Johnson & Johnson Tylenol crisis. So, in a roundabout way, eavesdropping while rolling silverware at Bob Evans got me into PR.
Biggest career break:
I’d say it was when I became an Account Executive. I went from executing logistics to creating and driving my own projects. One project I’m particularly proud of is the Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative launch in West Michigan. I planned and managed seven events in seven different West Michigan counties in two days. This was an effort to introduce the statewide initiative, a five-year, $5 million small business lending commitment, to the region. I supported my client by creating a grassroots approach that connected them and their partners with the small business owners that would benefit from the initiative. My plan increased awareness and understanding of micro-lending and positioned the initiative as an opportunity for small business owners in West Michigan. I got to work with so many wonderful people in the community and I feel that it really broke the ice as a newcomer in Grand Rapids.
At work, I'm proudest when I can:
Stop for a moment and check-in with my coworkers. I make it a point to ask how they are doing to find out what’s new in their lives. Sometimes just stopping to ask how their kids are or how that chili cook-off went over the past weekend is just enough to let them know you care. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be proud of during the work day when you’re working with tight deadlines and you accomplish the task with plenty time to spare, but I think nowadays people don’t take the time to stop and get to know their coworkers. I’m proud of myself for knowing who I work with and creating strong relationships with them.
I'm a creative person; I enjoy drawing and painting— so all reality aside, I would love to open my own studio someday. That being said, right now I am happy where I am at, growing in the profession I am passionate about. However, you may see my work in ArtPrize one day…