In my PR 3130 class at Georgia Southern University, we were asked to interview a public relations professional to gain some insight on the real world and what we could possibly be getting involved with in the future. Luckily, my best friend Allie Banks takes us to her family’s farm house in Metter, GA every now and then to have an awesome home cooked meal. The reason this is so lucky is not only because they normally spoil us with steak and wine, but also her Aunt Donna is a very well rounded business woman, and has worked in the field of PR for most of her adult life. She always has interesting stories and neat pictures to share. Aunt Donna gives us hope that our work will not be boring later in life, and that maybe the best years are to come.

All of us at the farm house with Aunt Donna.

 

Sarah Kemp (another student in the class/best friend) and I decided to interview Donna Jernigan without even thinking twice about it. Sarah and I, with the help of our teacher’s tips, put together a series of questions that interested us. Here is the story we collected.

Most students here will be interested to know that Aunt Donna graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1974 with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and has had a very successful career since then. She is now the Southeast Account Director for Architectural Digest Magazine headquartered in New York City. The parent company, Conde’ Nast Publications, is affiliated with other brands such as Vogue, Glamour, Allure, style.com, and many others.

  • S&S:

    What’s a typical week like? (If no week is typical, then what was last week like?)     

    • AUNTIE:A typical week is a balancing act of client meetings, internal brain storming to develop smart solutions for customers, as well as numerous pricing/forecasting/ budgeting/proposal development conversations and meetings.It is always a juggling act involving airplanes, interstates, phone calls and computer time (both laptop and pda)

  • S&S: Tell me about a project you worked on that you are especially proud of…

    • Auntie: A little known, but very high quality, leather upholstery company was wanting to elevate their brand among designers and high end consumers. I developed a plan for them that involved 2 exhibit areas at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in NYC. They received over 200 designer requests for product samples, and for their other business in the second exhibit space, they sold over 90 of their leather travel bags with an average price point of $500. They are ecstatic! ( I have others here Sarah….just got a client’s fabric as the curtain for the new Tonight Show and they are also giddy!)

  • S&S: How important is writing in your career?

    • Auntie: Communication is the key to success. Written communication and verbal communication are equally important. To be able to express ideas clearly and succinctly are critical. It is also important to know how to communicate when you are wrong or when the client is not happy!

  • S&S: What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR/ Marketing? 

     

     

    • Auntie: 

      1. Develope a great network

      2. Nuture that network

      3. Realize that “no” is not always “no”

        

       

  Unless you are a guy hitting on a girl- then “no” means “no” and bug off! haha 

  • S&S: What do you do to keep current in the PR/ Marketing industry?

     

     

    • AUNTIE: Read every pertinent newsletter, magazine, book, or blog that relates to your clients business…as well as keep involved in PR/Marketing organizations that offer real value.

       

       

       

  • S&S: What do you wish you would have known before starting your career?

     

     

     

    • AUNTIE: I wish I had embraced technology earlier!!

       

       

       

  • S&S: How does technology affect your daily work?

     

     

     

    • AUNTIE: In every way imaginable… It is the greatest productivity tool imaginable.

       

       

       

  • S&S: What’s your most and least favorite part of your job?

     

     

     

    • AUNTIE: Most favorite part of my job is dealing with a client that is happy….knowing I have done my job well! Least favorite part of my job is the numerous forecasts that have to be done for my management…, but that is part of the gig.

       

       

This interview was one of the most insightful and entertaining interviews that I have ever given for school, or anytime for that matter. I am so interested in what she has to say because she is such an accomplished business woman and all of us really connect with her.

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Thank you so so much Aunt Donna for giving us your time and guidance over the past 3 years! Can’t wait for the next time we get together! We’ll be eatin’ Ramon Noodles ’till then.

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