By Kelsey Gilroy
Joining Hawk Communications was a last-minute decision that benefitted me in more ways than I ever imagined. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t know what Hawk Communications was when I signed up. On the first day of the semester I decided to drop a class and needed something to replace it. After emailing Professor Green (who also happens to be my academic advisor), he encouraged me to join this student-run public relations firm. I had absolutely no prior experience in public relations but was excited to learn.
I found that many people in the class were either public relations majors or have taken this class before, so I was a little weary of my skills. I have never had an experience like this and didn’t know the first thing about client management! After hearing from a variety of local clients and picking my top choices to work with, I ended up helping out with the New Jersey Warriors hockey team and the Garden State Wine Growers Association.
The New Jersey Warriors account got an early start this semester so I was able to jump right into creating content for their social channels. My groupmates were extremely helpful and taught me many things I had not known before about pitching ideas to clients and reaching out to an audience. Co-founder of the Warriors hockey program Ted Curtin has gone out of his way to teach us new things and bring in guest speakers to share their personal experiences in the industry. It is evident that he truly cares about the students working on the Warriors social channels and makes sure that we have all the connections we need.
When Professor Green assigned me to work on the Garden State Wine Growers Instagram account and was looking for an account lead, I decided to step up and take the leadership position. Although I did not have experience with this before, I felt it would be best to learn firsthand. This leap of faith out of my comfort zone has taught me so much and has definitely benefited me by giving me experience with working directly with a client and my teammates. My team members and I met weekly over Zoom with Tom Cosentino, the executive director of the GSWGA. In these meetings, we brainstormed ways of increasing engagement on the Instagram account. Being the account lead has taught me so much about client management, communication, and organization. From scheduling meetings to pitching new ideas, I gained leadership experience that will help me.
My involvement in Hawk Communications has given me the industry-related experience that I have been looking for. I was concerned about graduating college without an internship or any relevant work experience, and now because of Hawk Communications I have client management skills that I am able to put on my resume and have expanded my network. This is quite possibly the most beneficial course that I have taken at Montclair State University and I am very thankful to my teammates, Ted Curtin, Tom Cosentino, and Professor Green for teaching me so much about public relations and giving me this opportunity.