From The Reynolds School to Washington, D.C.
By Katy Kelly
Allison Brown came to the Reynolds School thinking she wanted to be a sports reporter. She graduated in 2009 with a new direction and experience that eventually took her to Washington D.C. and a position as Senior Account Executive for Ogilvy Public Relations World Wide.
“There is no better environment than the Reynolds School of Journalism,” Allison said. “You learn from smart, creative people.”
Allison’s dual major in Journalism and Political Science shaped her career path and the internships she chose. “Journalism and Politics are interwoven,” she said. “They compliment well.”
A summer internship with Senator Harry Reid and volunteer work with the Obama campaign in 2008 gave her experience she needed. That combination and her education in Journalism and Political Science helped Allison land her first job after graduation with Carrara Nevada, a full service government relations firm. After Carrara Nevada, she spent 18 months with Spectrum, a health and science communications firm, and then moved to her current position with Ogilvy.
Allison said classes on basic multimedia tools such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, and others; learning about the First Amendment, and having real clients as a senior PR student were valuable lessons she uses at Ogilvy.
“Working with real clients helped me to prepare for my job,” Allison said. ‘”I present to clients all the time now.”
Her title does little to describe her many responsibilities with Ogilvy. She manages six to seven accounts at any given time focusing on message development, project management, crisis management and media relations for those accounts. She also provides recommendations and advice on strategy. Additionally, she works to bring in new accounts.
Allison credits her success in this job and previous ones to her education at the Reynolds School and to the relationships she formed here.
“I met Jessica Estepa, a fellow j-school graduate, while at Nevada, and have continued our friendship in D.C.,” she said. “We had classes together and also collaborated when she was with the Sagebrush and I was the (student) senator from the Journalism School.”
Experience and networking are key factors in Allison’s success. She recommends getting as much experience as possible and meeting as many people as you can. “To get started join journalism groups,” she said. “ The RSJ has a variety of clubs and organizations available: Ad club, Broadcast club, the Journalism Student Advisory Council, Online News Association, PRSSA, and WolfPack Radio.
“Networking is huge,” Allison said. “Who you know is critical.” She said it’s important to talk to people, tell them what you want to do, and ask for contacts. That formula worked well for her and is how she was referred to Ogilvy, where she has been for two years.