This week, I had the chance to visit Horizon High School - my alma mater - to speak to more than 500 sophomore students about careers in the public relations industry as part of the school's annual "Career Conversations" event.
The event, which included speakers from more than 20 different industries in the Valley - was my first foray into speaking to a non-college age or older group about the profession and, wow, what a reality check!
To reach these kids, I had to give them a step-by-step and blow-by-blow account of how I transitioned from high school to college and college to the real world even before I tried to explain what PR was - and what it wasn't. (No, I don't hang out with Ashton Kutcher or other celebs all day like a Hollywood publicist. No, I don't make up news.)
I was impressed by many students' questions, which led to discussion about PR versus advertising, universities that offer PR degrees and how to budget for starting out in the real world. I was surprised by others. For example, in each of the classes I addressed, there was always one student who point-blank asked me specifically how much money I make and how much money I was going to make in the coming years!
Based on teacher and student feed back thus far, it looks like the event was a success, and the school has already asked me back next year. I, of course, obliged and will be a little more prepared next year to get back to basics with a new crop of 16-year-old students.