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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Boatner Champions Diversity at IBM BY KRISTA WATSON LOYOLA UNIVERSITY, CHICAGO Betsy Plank’s Legacy Lives Through #BetsyDay and #30DaysofBetsy Q: What was most memorable about your experience on the PRSSA National Committee? A: I had so many memorable experiences given my three years on National Committee, but my most memorable has to be as National President at the National Conference in Detroit. The vibe, the energy, the professionals, the students and the Conference itself was such an amazing time. Detroit in 2008 was a terrific host city. The speakers were some of the best I’d ever seen both for PRSA and PRSSA. Overall, it was a National and International Conference to remember. was directly influenced by my involvement, activities and the experience I acquired while in PRSSA. I knew I wanted to be in the public relations field, I just didn’t know to what extent or what exactly I would be doing. Through PRSSA, I was exposed to so many aspects of public relations and so many people in public relations. It definitely shaped who I am and what I do today. Q: What do your responsibilities include as the digital experience manager for IBM’s Global Technology Services? A: As digital experience manager, I am responsible for driving and executing a consistent “always on” experience across social media venues for enterprise information technology. By leveraging social media channels, I am providing IT professionals and influencers with relevant content, and driving awareness and visibility for our infrastructure business, specifically enterprise mobility and business continuity. Global Technology Services are the men and women who design, run and build all the infrastructure for Q: Before your term as National President, you served as vice president of advocacy. As a founding member of IBM’s Marketing and Communications Diversity Council, what advice can you offer young professionals to incorporate more diversity in the workplace? A: My definition of diversity simply means [being] different, so however you are different is what you, as a young professional, bring to work every day. The key is [knowing] how to make your differences work for you and aid you in your career. Q: How did becoming a member of PRSSA influence your career? A: My current career, not job, Photo courtesy of Brandi Boatner. 12 WWW.PRSSA.PRSA.ORG/FORUM Q: In 140 characters or less, what advice can you offer aspiring public relations professionals? A: Be yourself. Know yourself. Establish a brand. Be curious. Be different. Your samples should include work that showcases your skills, pieces that tell a story. When thinking about what you should put in your portfolio, think outside the box. “It doesn’t matter if it’s not in public relations. History and English papers can be included as long as it’s well-written,” Kacskos says. POINT PARK UNIVERSITY 4. The Interview Where Can I Find Internships? 1. Within Your University The career center at your school is there to help you secure jobs and/or internships. Janet Kacskos, director of communications for Millersville University, hires four or five interns in her university office. “You sometimes have your best resources on campus. Agencies are limited in hiring interns; many are needed on campus and we provide a lot of handson experience.” the world’s economy. Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced working with technology on a global scale? A: Everyone uses technology on a global scale, so I would say there are some challenges in being a digital communicator for a services business without having a tangible product we promote or sell. My team at worldwide oversees 70 countries. IBM Global Technology Services sells services that are delivered by some of the brightest minds and people in the world. The challenges we face sometimes are that social media works differently in different countries, and not all countries have the same set of services we provide. We get creative, but I stay consistent with the message to ensure my target audience understands how Global Technology Services can help solve their infrastructure needs in information technology. BY KARIANN MANO Let’s face it: Internships are essential for students in the public