“Where can you see yourself in ten years?” Whenever I’m asked this question I instantly freak out because it sounds so intimidating. After finishing my first year of college, I began the search to answer the question. I wanted to have a better idea of what my future might look like in however many years and ensure that what I’m going to do will make me happy.
Beginning college I thought I wanted to go into broadcasting. But after experiencing an introductory IPR class (Integrative Public Relations) there was something tugging at me saying this might be for you. A degree in Public Relations is a combination of communications, journalism, and broadcasting. After IPR 101, I began to really see myself working for a non-profit organization in the world of PR. The world of non-profit is so deeply rooted in making a change and seeing a difference being made that it sounded exciting to be apart of.
This summer I took an English class through my community college in hopes of saving money and fulfilling my general education requirements. One of our projects focused on our future career and field of interest. My teacher connected me with a CMU alumni who worked for the PR team at General Motors. She then further connected me with one of her classmates who worked for Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network in Pontiac. It turns out that I actually introduced myself to Scott at PR job fair at CMU the previous semester. I soon contacted him and he welcomed me to come and shadow him at work to see exactly what PR looks like in action.
Scott has a very unique position at Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network (OIHN) because he holds the first Public Relations position within the organization. While learning along the way, he has a hand in shaping what the future of healthcare looks like for those in need. OIHN provides healthcare to all patients of Oakland county regardless of financial status or insurance coverage. They aim to bridge the gap of unequal healthcare treatment in where it is needed. OIHN focuses on primary, behavioral and dental care.
Working for a non-profit organization requires employees to wear many different hats, being responsible for overseeing numerous tasks to completion. Throughout the day Scott showed me many of these responsibilities including, creating promotional material, writing grants, analyzing data and research, and communicating with partners of support. A majority of these tasks involve relationships with patients, the community, and other organizations, making PR very important in connecting all regions of the organization together.
Talking with Scott throughout the day reassured me that Public Relations is definitely somewhere I can see myself in the future. We talked a lot about social justice issues and how PR and non-profit work are directly related. The staff at OIHN showed so much care and passion for their patients that made their work so admirable. I don’t know exactly what issue I am strongly passionate about yet, or for what type of organization I might want to work for. But seeing PR in action really helped my confidence in pursing a major in this field. Scott gets to work everyday in a community that needs services that are being provided, in an effort to make equal healthcare possible. I await the day that I can spend everyday rooted in an issue I’m passionate about. While making a living, but also enjoying my work and making a difference in the world everyday.