A Dream Come True at Kansas Speedway

This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to work as part of the public relations event staff during the October NASCAR race weekend at Kansas Speedway. I knew it was going to be a great experience, what I didn’t know was just how awesome it would be! From running press conferences and driver appearances, to working in the press box and meeting influential people in the media, it definitely solidified my decision to pursue a career in the industry after graduation.

Back in September when I job shadowed the director of public relations at Kansas Speedway, I was presented with this opportunity and let me tell you, I jumped on it! Kansas Speedway hosts two NASCAR race weekends a year and getting the opportunity to work the Chase race weekend especially was just incredible. I even created some business cards so that I was ready to make a good impression on the influential people in the business.

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Well, it’s finally here. My last semester of college. And for some reason, I thought it was going to be easier than the rest. But let’s be realistic, IT’S NOT. Although I may be just as busy with work, homework and planning events for my student organization as I have been in the past, I’ve found time to realize one thing I haven’t before – how great it is to be a Mule.

I transferred to UCM in Spring 2012 thinking I’d come here for three years, get my degree and go home. Boy was I wrong. I’ve taken every moment for granted at this wonderful place and now that I know my time is coming to an end, I’m doing everything in my power to cherish my last moments as a Mule. (I’ve even created a UCM bucket list, which I am actually making some progress on!)

From now until December, I am looking at my experience at UCM through a completely new lens. I never realized how much of a family I actually have here. My public relations faculty have been like a second family to me (my American family) and I honestly don’t even want to think about leaving them. This school and everyone in is completely wonderful and even though I’m ridiculously excited to graduate, I really don’t want to leave. But on a happier note, UCM has helped shape me into the person I am today and for that reason, I will proudly forever be a Mule.

UCM Bucket List

A Fall Spectacular

Every year, we are faced with the same decision – “What am I going to do this summer?” We make a list of the activities we want to do, the tasks we need to complete and the travel plans we hope to carry out over the course of three months. But, personally, I know that I don’t have any time during the summer, so I put more effort into my Fall Spectacular – the list I compile of things to do during my favorite season, Autumn. And in all honesty, the weather in Autumn permits for a lot more fun than the 100 degree days of July.

Autumn is the best season for fashion. Layering, sweaters, plaid, button-ups, scarves, boots, leggings and vests let you create fun, unique outfits, just by pairing them together. It’s also the best season for sports. Football (yes both CFL and NFL) are underway, NHL begins in early October, NASCAR is still going strong and you can attend an MLS game well into November. And need I talk about the holidays? Thanksgiving and Halloween – two holidays that revolve around food. I  mean how much better can it get?

So why not take this already amazing season and make it even better taking part in all the activities that are associated with it? Create your own Fall Spectacular list. And if you need some help with ideas, well you’re in luck because here are my favorite autumnal activities. (grouped together into 5 awesome categories!)

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That Door in Front of You… Go Ahead and Knock on It

Doors. We open and close them everyday. And I’m not talking about your front door, your car door, or any other physical door you encounter during the day. I’m talking about those intangible doors you are presented with everyday. The ones you can’t physically see or touch, but have the ability to seriously impact your life.

Whether you know it or not, you are completely in charge of these intangible doors. They are always open until you shut them. And most of the time, we don’t even know they’re open.

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Industry Talk: The Beginner’s Guide to Event Planning

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Think you have what it takes to work in one of the busiest, most coveted industries in the country? The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects event planning job opportunities to increase by 33% from year 2012 to 2022, but will you be one of the lucky candidates?

Event planning jobs have always been popular, but what is it exactly that they do? Choosing locations, arranging transportation/travel and planning the scope of the event are only some of the tasks an event planner may be faced with on a daily basis. Their main goal is to ensure that the client is 100% satisfied with all aspects of the event, including the final product. So, what exactly does it take to become an event planner? These five tips will give you a great start!

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Five Minutes With… Alexander Greenwood

When most people think of public relations, they think of large firms, such as Fleishmann Hillard and Edelman, but as we have discovered through this mini series, pr professionals can work in pretty much every industry. I had the opportunity this summer to intern at a small pr firm in Kansas City (my first experience with agency work) and it was a great experience. In fact, my boss, Alex Greenwood, inspired me to write this blog series. So I thought I could thank him one last time by featuring him in this post and provide you with a look into the world of small agency public relations.

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How to Bring Creativity to the Workplace

Creativity. Merriam-Webster defines it as the ability to make new things or think of new ideas. But to me, creativity has no specific definition. Creativity is seen and expressed differently by people across the globe and offers a way for many to come together and collaborate.

Creativity is everywhere.

Creativity is the backbone of every company and the power behind that creativity is the employees. So what happens when the employees feel uninspired and that creativity starts to disappear?

Research shows that just like every other skill, creativity can be learned. The problem – although everyone has the potential, not all take the time and effort to transform that potential into a strength. You may not be able to force yourself to be creative on demand, but you can try your hardest to make creativity flow naturally between you and your colleagues. Use the following tips to spark creativity in the workplace.

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Five Minutes With… Kelly Hale

Vrooooom. Just like the drivers on the track, the pr professionals behind the scenes of auto racing are also used to fast-paced action. From traveling across the country for different races, to ensuring positive stories are published in the press, the life of a public relations director in this industry is anything but easy.

I had the opportunity of meeting Kelly Hale this past June at the Salhen’s 6 Hours of the Glen race at Watkins Glen International. She gave me some great pointers on how to land a coveted job in this business and also agreed to let me interview her when we both came home to Kansas City.

Me: So many young public relations professionals, including myself, hope to work in the auto racing industry, but what most don’t understand is how fast-paced the industry really is. Can you briefly explain your daily responsibilities as director of public relations at Kansas Speedway? And how do those daily responsibilities change during a race weekend?

Kelly: First, this is one of my favorite questions. Unfortunately, (but sometimes fortunately) no two days are alike. The two things I try to do every day are reading the latest local and national news, and I try to reach out to 2-3 reporters each day. From there, it really depends on the time of year. I could be promoting one of the events that we will have staff, I could be assisting with promotion of an event at the track, an upcoming driver appearance, etc. On race weekend, in addition to handling media relations for the Speedway, which includes setting up on site interviews, answering media questions, making sure the media center and press box are staffed and media have the appropriate credentials, I also am responsible for our pre-race activities which include driver introductions, pre-race concerts, post-race concerts, scheduling color guard, invocation and national anthem, making sure the appropriate people are introduced at the driver’s meetings, escorting VIPs and assigning driver/owner motorcoach spaces for the weekend. Fortunately, I have a great media center staff that can essentially run the media center without me! The staff is able to answer about 95% of the questions we get, which helps me be able to focus on the large items that need to be taken care of during a weekend.

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