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August 08, 2012

By Liza Dorison

Finding My Way to Sesame Street

As a college junior I had watched many of my peers graduate and enter the professional world. Many of my friends with similar interests and work experience fell into social media entry level positions, specifically communications. Because my small liberal arts college does not offer a Communications major I began to wonder what the draw was to public relations and communications outside of college. I wanted to know more. I needed a contact in the business to chat with. It is easy to search major PR firms online and compile a list, but without a name or some sort of connection I was in trouble.

Luckily my mother met a director of publicity for a non-profit organization in New York at a function one evening. My mom knew I was interested in finding a professional that I could speak with about daily tasks, projects, and simple PR basics. My mom asked Pam Hacker for her card, so I would have the opportunity to contact her if I wanted to. At the time I was working as an overnight general counselor. I was excited that my mom had made this contact, but I didn’t know how to contact her.

I waited a few months and I drafted multiple e-mails, but the process was moving too slowly. I thought e-mail may be too personal because I did not physically receive her business card, my mother had, and I am a 20 year old college student so I should be able to do things for myself. Facebook was definitely inappropriate, even though I have heavy privacy settings. My twitter account was not very active so I didn’t want to follow her and begin initial contact that way. I then realized LinkedIn was the perfect social media platform through which to contact Pam.

Through LinkedIn I could send Pam a message on a professional network. Pam could decide whether she wanted to respond immediately, to review my previous work experience and then respond, or to disregard my message. In my message, I did not ask for a job or an internship; I simply asked if I could talk PR with her.  I told her how I acquired her contact information and that I hoped to set up a time to Skype, phone, or meet face to face with her in the near future.  Pam responded that she would love to meet up to talk PR and that I should look into the internship opportunities at Sesame Workshop.

I accessed the resources on Sesame Workshop’s website and learned everything I could about the organization, including the Outreach initiatives, international co-productions and major partners.  I planned to have lunch with Pam in early December and Pam helped me set up an interview with another member of the Sesame Workshop Corporate Communications team for the same day.

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