Friday, February 13, 2009

Talk What You Like Radio Talk Show

I just finished my 2009 MOJO Student Ambassador's radio interview with Hector Guzman, the Student Ambassador Maestro and web extraordinaire! It was a lot of fun and I hope that people will take a listen - even if my nervous energy resulted in "Vermont is not Canada" and/or "Vermont is small" jokes.

Kristen's Interview (30 minutes)


Thursday, February 12, 2009

E-Pitch: The first round of editing

Against my sense of self-preservation, I signed up for Champlain College's 2nd Annual Elevator Pitch Competition. For those who do not know, an elevator pitch is a brief persuasive overview for a product, an idea, or, in my case, a person. "Brief" literally refers to the time it takes to ride an elevator, less than 90-seconds.

So, what am I pitching? Myself, of course. Or, more specifically, I'm pitching myself to a "Suit" for a job opportunity in PR. It looks deceptively simply, but it's anything but. In fact, it's rather difficult. I've been working on my pitch since I signed up in January and there have been many, many drafts. Below you will find my most current version (still in need of cutting/reworking). It's my most likely candidate as the preliminary round is next Tuesday - *insert worried sound here*

Could you hold the door, please? Thank you.

Excuse me, but are you John Doe of John Doe and Company?

-Yes, I am.

It's wonderful bumping into you. Hi, I'm Kristen Mercure. I'm a senior (graduating?)Mass Communications major at Champlain College. I believe we spoke briefly at the (internship fair/job fair/lecture) on campus last semester/month. Thank you, by the way. You helped to point me in the right direction for my current internship at XYZ Inc. It's exactly as you described - extremely hands-on with plenty of writing and client interaction - plus, I've learned to make a mean cup of coffee. Who knows, in this job market some quality barista skills may be helpful down the line.

Actually, I've just started to search for positions in the public relations industry for when I graduate in August. It's never too early to start looking and making connections, especially with media relations, which is what I'm interested in. I've had some invigorating client experience with a few local organizations in the food and higher education industries, as well as professional organizations. The public relations materials I've creared have shown me that being a communications architect for small, deserving organizations that need to get their message out there and have no idea how to do it is extremely appealing. And scary, admittedly, but that's half the appeal. In the end, I'd like to find a position where I can work with a variety of clients unaccustomed to the benefits of public relations and to upgrade their communication with the public. It's about shaping a message, I suppose - creating new industry for a new world.

Oh, I see that your floor is coming up. Would you mind if I call you next week to continue this conversation? I’d love to hear your perspective on the industry. Here’s my card, and if may have your’s?

Wonderful. It was nice running into you, ______. I’ll be in touch with you next week. Have a great day!

Now, to rip this thing a part and practice, practice, practice!

Monday, February 9, 2009

China Stress

China stress is in full bloom. Rotating dates, upcoming deposits, dwindling numbers, and a soliciation letter that refuses to reach it's conclusion has attacked this blogger in the last few weeks.

This blogger is not content.

However, I rememeber: China. China and Ningxia. China, Ningxia, and monks. China, Ningxia, monks, and international schools.

It's worth it. It'll be worth it.

On that note, here is my offical China Info/Fundraising page. I especially like the color combination.

Now, off to continue the stress via family soliciation. Perhaps I should bring something to protect myself...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Kristen Goes to China

Living in Vermont, I've been to Canada (namely, Quebec, or more specifically, Montreal) a handful of times in my life. I love Canada as any quality person of French-Canadian descent should. I eat goulash, have been to the Biodome far too often, and feel that, if necessary, I could return to my ancestors’ homeland to flee for my life and/or save the world.

However, this appreciation for Canada also highlights a reality of my life: I've never left North America. Truthfully, I've never left the eastern portion of North America (Fun fact: I've driven through every eastern coastal state in the United States). There are plenty of reasons for this, of course: Lack of time, lack of money, lack of...time. Okay, so the reasons are more like excuses and are rather poor ones at that. I suppose, the public deserves to hear the truth of the matter.

It all comes down to this: travel abroad concerns me. Okay, perhaps terrify would be more appropriate. The thought of embarking on a journey - getting on a plane, landing in a country, exploring the land - sends shivers down my spine. I am the first person to admit that this is not a rational fear, but it is based on facts.

Fact 1: Foreign countries are new, ergo full of possibility, the bad kind.
Fact 2: There is no safety net abroad - no family, no friends, no police who would understand that, "No, officer, that cocaine was NOT in my purse when I entered the airport. Clearly, I have been used by a drug ring" (See Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason).
Fact 3: I know this place, I know these people, I speak the language (fairly well, although that are days in which I feel as if I have lost my mastery) - three things that I do not have abroad.

But I do dream of it - being a woman of the world. I don't want to be a tourist. Yes, I am trigger happy with my camera, but that's for documentation purposes only. I want to live the culture, be the country for a time. I want to take my Facts and use them for good: To embrace the unknown, to find new safety nets, to learn about the place, the people, the culture.

Of course, this was just a dream. I was never going to do anything about it. It's like imagining winning the Oscar for Best Actress - I have my acceptance speech ready ("Oh my, I never imagined this day would come..."), but I'm not exactly preparing to procure a role in which such a speech would be awarded. To be a woman of the world - a beautiful, intangible dream.

Until now.

In the winter of 2008, China fell from the sky. Metaphorically, of course. My Contemporary Media Issues professor at Champlain College, Rob Williams, presented an opportunity to visit northwestern China in the summer of 2009 through the New Student Ambassador's 2009 MOJO Service Camp experience. This is not a normal trip abroad - it's an adventure with a mission:

First, we're visiting untouched, rural China that is facing major migration issues.
Second, it's a trip of service and goodwill, including assisting a monastery, teaching English, and setting up the groundwork to establish a private school in the region.
Third, we're going to China as mobile journalists (MObile JOurnalism - catchy, no?) to share the experience, the people, and the culture with our North American colleagues.

China is an expansive country that has managed to maintain a sense of mystery to Westerners. However, in the world economy where intercultural communications is key, that shroud is no longer acceptable. It's time to learn, to see, to understand. Through the MOJO Service Camp, this is a possibility.

And so, with the appearance of the Chinese Ningxia (Ning-shay) province at my doorstep, it made sense to face my fear and make my limited North American travel history, well, history. I can travel abroad with a group of dedicated, passionate, and intrigued individuals and start my woman of the world journey.

But I need your help.

Remember one of my travel excuses - money? It's still a valid excuse as the trip to China will cost $3,000 in total. I can cover some of that, but, as a working college student, that "some" is not enough. So, to paraphrase the ancient Chinese curse, perhaps if I "get everything I ask for" I "may live in interesting times." For this experience, I welcome such this curse at my doorstep.

If you can, please make your contribution securely through this Chip-In widget to my PayPal account. From a Canadian-traveled girl from Vermont, I thank you so very much.