Thirteen “Windy City Ducks” from the SOJC’s public relations program traveled to Chicago in June to visit top PR agencies. Standing in front of “The Bean” (left to right) are Katie Wagner, Maggie Beyer, Amanda Maxwell, Julia Hofmann, Olivia Determan, Madison Hamilton, Quinn Blackwolf and Kimerly Duyck.

Story by Karalyn Arnett
Photos by Kelli Matthews

I will never regret the decision to send my resume and cover letter to apply for the UO School of Journalism and Communication’s 2017 #WindyCityDucks public relations trip. I was one of 13 Ducks who took on the City of Chicago with open arms.

Fueled by constant curiosity, I couldn’t stop looking around when we first arrived. Dunkin Donuts (instead of Starbucks) stood on every corner. The buildings were so tall they made me feel dizzy when looking up. And the public relations professionals inside these buildings were nothing short of inspiring.

The trip could not have gotten off to a better start, as we had tickets for the Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres game.

The next morning, though, was when our trip really took off. The first agency visit was at Edelman Chicago. The culture of the office makes it a place where employees can explore, have fun, be challenged and get rewarded for hard work. I found this commonality at all of the companies we toured.

As the week went on, we visited with Porter Novelli, Fleishman Hillard, Golin, Starwood Retail Partners, Chicago Cubs, The Field Museum, The Second City and KemperLesnik. At every visit, someone talked about curiosity and the importance of using curiosity to learn about clients.  This helps the team move forward on a project and to figure out what is trending.

I now know that you should incorporate curiosity into your professional workplace more often than not. Small changes in your daily routine can make an impact on your projects and client relationships. Read the morning paper and Google your client every day to stay up to date on what is being said.

Lucy Taben, assistant account executive at Porter Novelli, recommends subscribing to The Skimm for daily, easy-to-read highlights of the most important news. Small steps like these can benefit you in the long run.

During our week in Chicago, curiosity fueled our questions, power walks through downtown between agencies and friendship. My most valuable take-aways from this trip were:

  1. Put yourself out there.
  2. Don’t be afraid to take a handful of different jobs to discover your interests.
  3. And, of course, stay curious.

Karalyn Arnett is a senior in the SOJC majoring public relations.  She works as a communications intern for the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, where she is learning how to promote financial aid on campus via social media and tabling events. She is interested in social media strategy and public relations in the sports world. Follower her on Twitter and Instagram @KarArnett and view her profile on LinkedIn.