Originally from Houston, Jamie Craig attended LSU and is now a Baton Rouge resident. Craig works for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter and will speak to our Chapter about working in the nonprofit sector of public relations! Join us Thursday at 6 p.m. in Coates 143.
1. How did you get started in your career? I graduated from LSU with a degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Women’s & Gender Studies. My dream was to write for women’s magazines. I ended up taking a job as a writer/editor for an industrial publication, the Business and Industry Connection (BIC), that focused on the oil and gas, refining and chemical industries. I had very little experience and no degree in journalism, but BIC was willing to give me a job. It was a unique publication that offered “memberships” to companies that served industry. We acted as PR consultants for those companies to help them get their message out. I started as an associate editor and moved up to become editorial director.
2. What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve received? Find something that you’re passionate about, and it won’t feel like work.
3. What is your favorite part about being in the public relations field? I enjoy sharing stories for a cause that I care about. It feels very personal — it rarely feels like a job.
4. What is the most important thing we (as students) should do before entering the workforce? Build as many relationships as you can. I got my first job through a friend from college. I got my second job through a friend I made at my first job. I have the job I’m in now because I was a volunteer for the organization.
5. Describe a typical day at work. My day includes planning fundraising events, researching and writing grants, making connections with current and potential donors, and letting others know what we do.
6. What is unique about your organization? We are the only organization of its kind in the area. No other group is doing all that we do for people living with ALS and their families.
7. How do you see public relations developing in the next 5-10 years? I think that the success of people in this field will be more and more dependent on the relationships that they build.
8. What is the coolest experience you’ve had while at your current job? Seeing former Saints player Steve Gleason at our Walk to Defeat ALS. My favorite moments are when we’re able to bring people together — our patients, our donors and our supporters. The Walk to Defeat ALS does just that. Last year, Steve came to our New Orleans walk. He took the time to visit with every person living with ALS. He treated them like they were the celebrities. We have a patient who has had ALS for 20 years but had pretty much kept to himself. He had never been to our walk. When Steve announced his own diagnosis, it gave our patient the encouragement to get involved. Seeing him meet Steve at the walk was just incredible. It showed me the power of one person sharing a message.
9. What is your favorite book? Coming Attractions by Fannie Flagg. It was the book that made me realize I wanted to become a writer.
10. Who inspires you the most? The people with ALS that we serve.