Chasing the dream: A passion for public relations

Kara Craighead, far left. Photo courtesy of Casey Ronquille.

While watching MTV’s “The Hills,” alumna communication student Kara Craighead was inspired to pursue a career in the field of public relations.

“The main star Whitney worked as a PR practitioner at a magazine,” said Craighead. “That’s when I was like, ‘I want to do that.’ I started off doing journalism and quickly realized that I did not want to do it. It all worked out.”

Craighead graduated in spring 2017. At her current position as the Tourism Assistant at the Jefferson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Craighead promotes local businesses for the parish. She assists in helping develop event packets and contracts. Craighead began working for the tourism company in mid-September of 2017 and was recently promoted to the inventory manager.

Although she has enjoyed planning events like Family Gras and tourism luncheons in Jefferson Parish, she finds that remaining connected to contacts is challenging.

“Sometimes you hear from them in a day and sometimes it’s weeks later,” said Craighead. “It is really difficult, especially when you are on a time crunch.”

Joining the Public Relations Student Society of America helped Craighead to advance her skills in public relations. Along with a team of PRSSA students, she placed first in the Southeast Journalism’s 2017 Public Relations Competition.

Director of Field Experience for the College of Education Heloise Aucoin worked with Craighead for a year and half.  Heloise was impressed with her skills in organization and data collection.

“Kara was faithful and dependable,” said Aucoin. “She is very mature, a pleasure to work with and was very dependable. I could trust her to carry out whatever tasks I gave her.”

During annual events that communication majors participate in such as “Senior Colloquium,” Craighead was thankful for the bonds that she acquired with fellow students. Although balancing time for research, coursework and internships were considered challenging, she is thankful for the lessons she’s learned in the program.

“The senior thesis had to be the hardest thing I have ever done, but it definitely made me a better researcher and writer,” said Craighead. “I use my research skills every day at work.”

During her time at the university, she also participated in several organizations including: Press Club, Moxie Dance Project and Ladies of Green and Gold.

Despite the hands on lessons that she’s learned, Craighead believes that her time at the university taught her two important lessons in communication practices.

“It is all about bringing what you know, to who you know and networking is key,” said Craighead.

In the future, she hopes to live out her passions for the tourism industry by participating in projects about fashion.

“I am hoping I can try out more things as time goes on,” said Craighead.

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