PR Rising Star is an interview series from MediaHQ that talks to up-and-coming PR professionals. It looks into why they decided to follow a career in PR, their predictions for the future of the industry and their favourite book of the last year.
Dawn Lonergan is an Account Director at Carr Communications, one of Ireland's longest-running communications and training companies. Dawn graduated from UCD in 2014 with an undergraduate degree in Law with Politics.
In 2015, Dawn graduated from Technological University Dublin with a masters in Public Affairs and Political Communication. Dawn worked in PR for the charity sector before moving to Carr Communications as a Senior Account Executive in 2017.
Why did you decide to follow a career in PR?
What I really enjoy is writing, reading, and speaking; and these elements have always been core to my decision-making around my career. Public relations stands at the junction of these three pieces and so it was my ideal path.
Specifically, tell us about your route into working in the PR industry?
I started in PR through the DIT (now TUD) masters in Public Affairs and Political Communication. A core part of this degree is an internship in Leinster House and it was there that I started cutting my teeth. After that, I worked in the charity sector. In 2017, I joined the Carr Communications team and have been there ever since.
What is your favourite thing about working in PR?
Bringing out the best in people: both at Carr Communications and with our clients. There is nothing like doing great work and delivering outstanding results for people and organisations - and the same for watching a team member develop and thrive in their own career.
If you could make a lasting change in the PR industry, what would it be?
Is it cheesy to say "to make the world a better place"? Cheese aside, it really would be pointing to a behaviour change that improved society in the areas that mean the most to me: climate change, democracy in action and human rights.
Name one person who has influenced your career and tell us why.
My manager and Head of PR Services at Carr Communications, Eimear Hurley. She was the first person I ever met from Carr Communications and she has been a lighthouse of leadership and laughter from day one.
Name one communications tool you couldn't live without.
Media monitoring (traditional and social) - no doubt in my mind, whatsoever.
Tell us about a campaign or piece of work that you’ve worked on that you are proud of.
What I am most proud of is my brand new workshop that focuses on Employee Generated Content. You’ve likely seen this type of content before if you spend any time on social media. It’s where organisations and brands use their own people to speak directly to their customers through video, blogs, images and other social media content.
It helps to create personal, authentic and meaningful connections, led by the people who know the organisation best – the individuals.Based on our own results with clients, we know that this type of content generates more goodwill, feels more trustworthy to your audience and performs up to four times better on social media than general content.
Through this workshop, I show people how to record short and snappy videos for social media. It’s great to see people get so creative and passionate about their own organisation.
Finish this sentence. “The best way to connect your story to your audience is by...”
Focusing on the problem you solve, not the product you have.
What is your favourite hobby?
Reading. I am aiming for 100 books this year - wish me well.
What is the best book that you have read in the last year?
‘Profiles in Courage’ by John. F Kennedy: Is a politician's role to represent his constituents or to lead them? Written by then Junior Senator John F. Kennedy in 1955, this book is an unparalleled celebration of the most noble human virtues – from both Republican and Democrat sides of the house.
What is your binge watch recommendation?
The First Lady: A revelatory reframing of American leadership through the lens of three formidable First Ladies: Michelle Obama, Betty Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Name three trends that you think will be important in the PR industry in the next five years.
1) Employee Generated ContentWe live in a fast-moving world with constant demands on our time, energy and minds. Brands need to make connections with their customers quickly and one of the best ways to do this is through employee generated content.2) Crisis Communications: Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail. As reputation becomes more and more critical, organisations will put full focus on planning for a crisis before it happens. 3) Time to TikTok? Home to Gen-Zers, a lot of self-reflection is needed to determine if you and your organisation are hip enough for the cool kids of TikTok.
Which social media site is the most important to you and why?
Twitter: simply put, it is where the news lives.
Name one staple of the PR industry that you think will die out in the next five years.
From name tags to leaflets, the needless use of paper will become less prevalent as we all look to reduce our waste.
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