Former Winging It blogger Jim Mignano graduated from Brockport in December 2013 and works as a senior account executive at Text100’s Rochester office. An active member of the Public Relations Society of America’s Rochester chapter (PRSA Rochester), he was recently honored with its Rising Star Award, which, as defined by the organization, “recognizes a public relations professional, with no more than seven years of experience in the field, who demonstrates exceptional competence, skill and leadership potential.”
Blog moderator Val Dimino chatted with Jim about this accomplishment and the path that led him to it:
PRSA Rochester’s Rising Star Award is a huge honor. What’s most exciting to you about being this year’s recipient?
The most exciting part of winning this year’s Rising Star Award was the number of people at the ceremony who had helped me develop and grow as a professional throughout my career.
Before graduating from Brockport, I had completed internships at Break the Ice Media, George Eastman House, Carestream Health and Text100. At each of those stops, I was lucky enough to work with people in the communications world that answered every question I asked and taught me everything they could about public relations. This group of trusted colleagues became my “work family,” and I owe so much of what I’ve been able to accomplish as a young professional to them.
What is your day-to-day work life like?
I’m a consultant at Text100, a global marketing communications agency. I work in public relations and social media with companies including Xerox, Conduent and Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices.
I spend most of my days pitching story ideas to reporters, writing blog posts and managing social media accounts. I also love contributing to Text100’s marketing and new business efforts.
We like to play hard at Text100, too — so we always find time for a weekly kickball game, the occasional happy hour and our annual holiday party!
How did your undergraduate career as a student at The College at Brockport prepare you and contribute to your being honored with the Rising Star Award?
I always love telling people the story of my first PR course as a freshman at Brockport. On the first day, our professor asked us to take out a piece of paper and write down the definition of PR — and I had to look at the paper of the student next to me, or I would have gotten it wrong!
After that first day, I learned so much at Brockport. Of course my courses taught me the basics of communication theory and public relations practices. But more importantly, my professors inspired me to set goals for myself and work hard to accomplish them.
My professors also did a great job of connecting me with PR professionals in the area so I could continue learning outside of classes and begin developing my professional network. My time as a student at Brockport gave me a major head start on my career!
One of the award criteria is using your talents to give back to the community. In what ways has your work allowed you to do so?
Throughout my career, I’ve enjoyed volunteering with PRSA Rochester on its Young PR Professionals committee. I’ve also served on the organization’s board of directors as its webmaster, president and past-president.
The best part of these volunteering efforts is that I’m able to meet students from local colleges each year and help them connect with the Rochester PR community to learn more about the field, find a mentor, and ultimately land a job in the field after they graduate.
What advice do you have for current Brockport students who hope to pursue a career in public relations?
The most important advice I could give is to take advantage of all the time you have as a student and use that time to get ahead in your chosen field. Go above and beyond the tasks assigned by your professors — get out into the “real world” and connect with a mentor in the field to learn the ropes and figure out what parts of the job you love. The best part is that there are so many people on campus who are excited to help connect you with potential mentors, including professors, department chairs and career services professionals.
For those seeking a career in communications or public relations, it’s critical to practice your writing skills! By writing something every single day, you will build better writing habits and develop a natural tone of voice that will pay dividends later in your career.