5 on the 5th Interview: Sarah Voiselle
I have know this month’s interviewee since she was in high school. I first got to know her and her awesome family through dance – she was one of the principal ballerinas at the dance studio my daughters attend. I told her when she got to college if she needed an internship (knowing she was going into PR) all she had to do was let me know and she’d have one. Two years later she’s doing a lot of behind-the-scenes for ME Marketing Services, learning tools that will help her when she graduates.
Name: Sarah Voiselle
Title: Intern/Student at the University of Georgia
Company: ME Marketing Services
Twitter handle: @sarahvoiselle
Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I am a third year Public Relations student at the University of Georgia, so I have yet to fully cross the threshold from school to work. While Public Relations is a large encompassing field, each branch of it has one common theme: relationships. From a very young age I loved meeting and connecting with people, it always came naturally to me, and it fascinated me. So when I got to UGA and they told me I needed to declare a major, it didn’t take me long to decide on Public Relations. So far, I think I’ve made the right decision. I become more interested in my area of study every day.
Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?
Please excuse my urge to drop the obvious, but I can’t resist. I continue my education by finishing my education. I still have a year and a half and a possible Master’s degree until I’m completely done with school, so I still have a lot to learn. However, I don’t think you ever stop learning even after you’re out of school. I try to educate myself with unlikely tools. For example, I could go look at blogs about changes Facebook is making, but I choose to investigate the platform myself and use the new tools or look at different settings that they offer to learn more about it, and then go see what other people have to say about it. I think it is important for you to make your own opinions before you start digesting everyone else’s thoughts.
Another thing I try to do (I say try because sometimes college life consumes me and I have to crawl my way back out and reconnect with the world) is to stay up on current events around the world and think about what kind of PR strategies I would use to solve the specific problem (when it calls for one). I love doing this because then I get to think about what would work and most importantly why it would be successful or not so successful. I think creativity is essential to not only continuing your education, but to improve your own projects and ideas. I truly believe you are your best motivator. I like to try to out-do myself with every new semester or class project or paper. Even if I don’t succeed, at least I know the effort is there.
Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?
What I love most about this industry is ironically what I hate most about this industry. I love that this industry is alive. It is living, breathing, and constantly evolving which means that it is rarely ever boring, and brings to life new challenges that allow us to open our minds and create new solutions.
However, I have never liked change. I think it is because of how I grew up. I came from a great home, I never moved until I went to college, I grew up with a lot of the same people, and until this summer I had never left the East Coast. I know what you’re thinking: classic small town girl. And you would be 100% correct. However what is uncharacteristic of your classic small town girl is that she can’t change. I, however, adjust seamlessly once it’s time for change, but I hate the idea of it. The appreciation and love I have for our changing industry outweighs the dislike I have for it though.
Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?
I must come clean and say that I haven’t encountered many difficult situations yet, but I know there are plenty of rocks and hard places that I will find myself wedged between in the coming years. So far, I think the most challenging thing I have encountered in my school work and group projects is time management as a team. Public Relations courses at the University of Georgia are littered with group projects. This past semester I had five different group projects. I must say that juggling all of those different times, and coordinating everyone’s schedules was [damn] near impossible. So I handled it by taking on a lot of the work and communicating electronically (God bless Google docs, GroupMe, and other group communication tools). Even after all of our efforts, I pulled two all-nighters, staying up until 5:00AM for two consecutive nights and losing most of my brain function. It was well worth it though because we got an A, but this was one of those things I had to learn the hard way unfortunately. Time management is extraordinarily important in this field.
Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?
Being a student, the majority of the advice I have been given mostly consists of getting, and keeping a job. However I think the most useful piece of advice I have ever gotten about life and entering “the real world” was from my mom. She told me to always write thank you notes, even if you think you shouldn’t. So simple, I know. According to the wise Marianna Voiselle (my dearest mother) it is a dying art, and people will perceive you as a classy, elegant, and humble human, even if you’re a terrified twenty-something who has no idea what they’re doing. The most important keys to writing a good thank you note are 1) spell the person’s name correctly, and know their correct title, 2) Actually write it…by hand; thank you emails are okay, but blow them away by going old school. It shows you took the time to show your appreciation.
One for the road…
Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?
I think if I could come back as anyone from history I would come back as Audrey Hepburn. I am a huge movie buff and I think it would be amazing to have a knack for acting. Apart from her talents in acting, dancing, and drawing (what a renaissance woman), I also am in awe of her selflessness. From an early age, she acted as a humanitarian and worked for those who didn’t have a voice. My favorite fact about her is that when she was young she worked as a ballerina and raised money for the Dutch resistance to the Nazi rule during WWII. The memories she had from WWII helped to make her such a loyal advocate for UNICEF in her later years.