FROM BIG CITY TO THE BIG SKY: PUBLIC RELATIONS IN MONTANA
I caught the public relations bug my sophomore year of college. Or maybe it was my freshman year? I’m not sure, it seems so long ago. The fact is – I was bitten and I was smitten.
My love of PR has taken me to some pretty amazing places. When I was in college, I had the privilege of working with GLAAD as their Media Awards Intern. Through that internship, I learned how to work with talent, put on a red carpet event and interact with the media. I also learned what it is like to stand a mere three feet from Jennifer Lawrence (Spoiler alert: You sweat. A lot.).
After graduating, I was lucky enough to land a job at a fantastic PR firm in Seattle. However, it didn’t take long before the big city lights began to dim and I longed for something different: Somewhere quieter, where I wasn’t constantly awakened by karaoke music blasting from two nearby bars.
And so with little money to my name (and lots of coffee), I packed up my things and drove back to my hometown of Kalispell, Montana, determined to start over.
I’ll admit, I was hesitant at first. Surely, my degree in Journalism – Public Relations would go to waste in Montana. Public relations firms don’t exist in small Montana towns, I thought … or did they?
Expecting little, I googled “public relations in Montana.” To my amazement, there was an agency, Big Sky Public Relations, located in my hometown of Kalispell. And better yet, they were hiring! Seizing the opportunity, I applied with my fingers (and toes) crossed.
That was roughly two months ago. Today, I am proud to say I am an Account Coordinator at Big Sky Public Relations.
My time as an Account Coordinator has been amazing so far. I assist with everything from media relations and event coordination to writing and client support. It’s been a huge learning experience thus far, full of fun, excitement (and coffee, of course!) It’s been rewarding getting to know the Montana local media and engaging with the firm’s wide array of clients.
To be honest, I still miss Seattle sometimes. I miss the endless numbers of coffee shops, the public transit system and the diversity. But at the same time, it is hard to complain when surrounded by the beautiful mountains, clean air and friendly people of Montana. And unlike Seattle, where I basically lived in my email inbox, the connections I’ve made here feel so much more personal. I love it that I can call a reporter on the phone or stop by the office to visit. Most of all, I love the people of Montana. Whether clients or media connections, Montanans place more value in handshakes and hellos than in hastily written emails.
Being able to practice my passion for PR in Montana has been a gift. To me, PR isn’t just about coming up with a snappy tweet, or a creative brochure. It’s a love language: It’s that cold glass of water after a long day of work, the extra scoop of ice cream in my to top of the cone. I love how PR is able to connect people with their passions through various social channels and techniques, and I am grateful that I continue to be a part of that.
Sure, I caught the public relations bug, but the great thing about bugs is that, sometimes, they travel with you and end up where you do. And I’m happy to have ended up in Montana again.