BY: ALLISON KNOUSE
PRSSA-UD members at the general meeting on May 2 had the opportunity to hear from Michelle Conron of Cashman and Associates, a public relations firm in Philadelphia specializing in brand management and special events.
Rather than coming with a presentation, Conron wanted to make her talk more interactive and catered to what members wanted to know about her and her job. She asked everyone about their dream jobs and what we specifically wanted to hear from her.
Conron didn’t have a background in public relations coming out of college. She initially majored in business but found it too boring, she said. She eventually transferred to Philadelphia University to major in fashion management.
During this time, she also became Nicole Cashman’s nanny and business assistant and helped Cashman start her own firm, which was to become Cashman and Associates. One of Conron’s other jobs before her current role was doing PR at a book agency, where she had a client who wrote a novel about the first head transplant surgery.
Photo courtesy of: cashmanandassociates.com
Conron said that on a typical day, her job requires her to outline what coordinators need for their accounts, and figuring out what she needs to accomplish for her clients, such as writing press releases. However, no two days are the same at an agency.
“Agency life is crazy,” she said. “You need to create boundaries for yourself, because you’ll get sucked in.”
Even when going out to bars in the city, Conron said she makes sure to watch what she does because you never know whose eyes are on you—she always sees people she does business with, because PR is about “knowing people and making connections.”
One way Conron manages a work-life balance is to turn her e-mails off at night and on weekends.
“It helps me relax and then be on my creative game come the work week,” she said.
She said that while some agencies will “let you churn and burn,” Cashman and Associates tries its best to offer its employees a good work-life balance, but a client can throw you for a loop at the last minute anytime.
Conron also offered some invaluable advice for those looking for internships. She emphasized the importance of sending a thank you note after an interview; she won’t hire anyone who doesn’t send one.
She also said that knowing what you want out of an internship is always a good thing, and it’s important to speak up if you have an idea—even if you’re eavesdropping!
“Problem solving is huge,” Conron said. “If you can’t identify problems, you can’t fix them.”
Allison Knouse is a senior Mass Communication major with minors in journalism and advertising and an active member of PRSSA-UD. You can find her with an iced coffee in hand, tweeting on her social media ambassador account, @BlueHenAllisonK. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn!