The Public Relations professional I had the opportunity to interview was Bette LeoGrande. Bette is newly retired, and recently relocated from the New Jersey area to Fort Mill, SC where I met her this Summer, when she moved down the street from my parent’s home. I was able to get to know Mrs. LeoGrande over the Summer and Fall semester, and learned a lot about what she did during her professional career. Bette was very passionate about her career, and that was apparent in the way she told stories of past experiences and spoke fondly of her life as a Public Relations and Marketing professional. Bette LeoGrande worked as the Product Manager and Marketing and Merchandising Service Manager in Franlin Lakes, New Jersey. The majority of PR and marketing was done for Becton Dickinson, a medical supply company. This interview, which I will share the details of in this post, was conducted through several e-mail conversations.

At the beginning of the interview, I asked Bette what a typical week looked like within the Public Relations and Marketing field. She assured me that there was never a “typical” week, since scenarios, circumstances, and challenges changed on a daily basis. Bette went on to explain responsibilities that she had on a daily basis. Since the work was so diversified, Bette explained, depending on the circumstances or the marketplace at any given time, her schedule could change within an instant. One constant element of each week is the responsibility to meet with members of your client’s team to stay abreast of the competition. Bette would typically meet with workers in the Finance, Logistics, Market Research, Legal, and Medical departments. This was essential for my interviewee to do her job in the best and most productive way imaginable. In addition, since Bette worked so much within the field of Marketing as well, she was responsible to manage the budget for her client, and was in charge of deciding how the money would be allocated for advertising, market research, sales meetings, spokespeople, and educational programs that her client would be putting on.

Mrs. LeoGrande worked in Public Relations for several well-known celebrities, including Gary Hall Jr., a 10-time Olympic medalist in swimming. Bette also worked in PR for major accounts, such as Walmart, handling their medical and pharmaceutical department. For this, Bette developed special educational programs on diabetes with their pharmacists and headquarters to aid their patients with key information on how to live a more productive and healthier life with diabetes. One project that Bette was in charge of that she was particularly proud of was being responsible for conducting the first Guerilla Market Reasearch, which consisted of traveling all throughout the United States, interviewing people with diabetes to help understand how they live with the disease on a daily basis. Each interview was videotaped, and after several hundred interviews, Bette was able to create a compilation of the top 10 key learnings that could be incorporated into advertising messages, educational materials, and new product development. This project was very important to my interviewee because she felt that it was meaningful and rewarding to know that her client was instrumental in helping all people live healthier lives with these types of projects.

Next, Mrs. LeoGrande shared some very valuable advice for students who are getting ready to make the leap into a full-time, professional career in Public Relations. I learned that analyzing your strengths and personality qualities is very important when entering into this career field. Being outgoing and working well with people are very valuable traits. Having a passion for PR, rather than just desiring a paycheck, makes a big difference in the quality of work that will be accomplished. A true passion for PR, according to Bette, will bring success and ultimately the salary to follow. Upon graduation, it is very important to network with anyone and everyone, since the best information is spread via word-of-mouth. A recent college graduate is most valued to a potential employer when they have thoroughly researched the company they are applying with, and have knowledge of at least 3 or 4 areas within the company prior to the interview. Finally, having unique, creative ideas that will benefit the company is essential.

After interviewing Bette LeoGrande about her professional career in Marketing and Public Relations, I will a lot more knowledgeable about this field of work. My eyes were opened to a lot of things that I hadn’t thought of before, and I was able to visualize what it would actually look like to work in this field through her real-life stories and examples. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to interview her, and I am looking forward to making more connections with current professionals in the field of Public Relations.