Meet Mabel Weng: MSVU PR Grad with a passion for pottery

We had a chat with Mabel Weng, communications specialist to learn more about why she got into PR and her passion for pottery. mabel_weng_profile How did you come to pursue a career in public relations? This is very millennial of me, but the television program Scandal was what piqued my interest in public relations. Before the show I had no idea that public relations even existed as a career option. Though I have to admit the show makes PR seem much more dramatic than it is. Since jumping on the PR wagon because of a TV program isn’t very practical. I took a more pragmatic approach to see if it was a suitable career choice for me. So, in the summer of my 11th grade I decided to do an internship for an agency in Beijing that specialized in media training and employee engagement. Although it was only four months, I quickly learned that it was something I would enjoy. What is one thing you love about working in PR? I believe at the core, a majority of organizations have a purpose that ties to the greater good. What I love about PR is being able to help those organizations communicate their purpose, so they can connect with their stakeholders to achieve their goals. What’s it like working at an agency? This may sound like a cliché but there is always something new to do and learn every day. For someone who is interested in literally everything, what is most exciting about working at an agency is learning about the client and their industry. One cool aspect about working in Halifax, is that by working with different organizations in the province, I’m getting to know Halifax and Nova Scotia bit by bit from different perspectives since it is a smaller city. If you weren’t doing public relations, what would you be doing right now? I’ve always wanted to work in a remote country, doing boots on the ground kind of work. If I have the opportunity and the financial freedom, that is something I want to try doing in the future. I also enjoy hands-on work as well, so maybe a professional potter. I could spend hours playing with a pottery, especially working with a pottery wheel. I love the cold feeling of the wet clay and watching it spin slowly transforming into another shape. Do you have a favourite spot in the North End? As much as I enjoy spending time in my apartment, I also love exploring different places in the North End. One of my favourite spots in the North End is the Korean grocery store on Gottingen, I find that they have the best packaged kimchi in Halifax (in my opinion). The other spot would be the Tare Shop – I’ve been trying to be more eco-conscious lately, so I enjoy seeing what kind of products they offer. Another spot is the bus stop across from St. Joseph’s Square on Gottingen street. Like others I don’t enjoy waiting for the bus, but that bus stop is a great place to just sit and chill in the summer. It’s a fairly quiet area and you have a great view of the shops and cafes under St. Joseph’s square. The spot just calms you down – I don’t know anything about Feng Shui but I have a feeling that spot has pretty good Feng Shui. Last and final question. As a member of the PR Hive, we have to ask – what is your favourite flower and why? I would say baby’s breath, because it doesn’t look like your typical flower. I also love the dream-like quality to it, and the cute name 😊.  

The Power of Community

bee-looking-out-windowThese are interesting times. Each day our team meets remotely to discuss how we will best support our clients and how we can best support each other. Today, we talked about #community. It is one of our core #values and we are now seeing it differently and becoming more committed and fascinated with the concept. We can look out our windows and see evidence of a socially distanced community – people aren’t out, they aren’t gathering anywhere. There are no events, no classes, no restaurants, no shoppers. Very few people anywhere. Yet in this moment this is evidence of community; proof that people are coming together in one of the most meaningful and caring ways possible – to protect their communities and neighbours from the spread of a virus that has brought a grinding halt to the world we are used to.

And there’s something else about this situation. It is quite possibly the first time we are truly connected globally on a matter that has no “sides.” There is no debating this virus. There are no politicians or large corporate bodies lobbying for or against. In many ways it is simple: this is a life or death situation that has the potential to impact all of us equally, no matter where we live, our gender, culture, religion etc…..all of that is put to the side. It’s a defining moment for us as a global community. Another one of core values is #optimism and just as we have come together to stay apart, we hope when this is over we will come together in a more thoughtful and compassionate way.

We hope that wherever you are, you can be safe and well. We are particularly grateful for those working in our essential services who are managing and preparing to protect our communities, as much as possible.

Photo credit u/MelKi10, reddit

Meet Jill Thorpe: NSCC grad who aspires to be Britney Spears

We just celebrated Jill’s one-year anniversary at PR Hive as a Communications Specialist! We had a chat about her passion for photography and her secret desire to become Britney Spears – never say never Jill!

Why did you decide to pursue a career in public relations? I’ve always enjoyed writing but wasn’t sure if it was going to be a career path. After studying English and drama in university, I worked in the mental health field for a few years. Eventually, I found myself editing and writing training documents and policies, which reignited my desire to write. Even though writing isn’t the only aspect of PR, it’s important – and it led me here. I also probably have a few dozen unfinished novels kicking around if anyone wants to buy the film rights and collab on some of my childhood masterpieces😉.

Photography by Jill Thorpe

What is one thing you love about working in PR? Working with The PR Hive mascot and dog, Archie, of course! But really – the ability to share stories and engage audiences through humour and emotion, when applicable. I also love that it takes you out of yourself and allows you to view things from the perspective of others; what do others care about, what can they learn, what do they want to know? What’s it like working at an agency? One thing I love is that I’m surrounded by a team of people who have different strengths than I do. Sometimes I hear an idea, for example, and think, “I wish I thought of that!” But then I realize how lucky I am to have heard it at all because I can take that idea and learn from it, or it can spark an idea of my own that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. If you weren’t doing public relations, what would you be doing right now? I always wanted to be Britney Spears when I was younger, but when I realized I had two left feet I knew I needed a plan B. I considered journalism or theatre, and also thought of studying photography – but now just dabble in it as a hobby. Do you have a favourite spot in the North End? I like to hang out at local cafes and restaurants with friends – but to be honest, my #1 spot would have to be my own balcony. It has a breathtaking view of the Halifax Harbour, and I spend a good chunk of my summers reading and watching sailboats drift by, or gazing at the Dartmouth waterfront while my cat Pumpkin chirps at birds. And I’m not opposed to the occasional people-watching session, either.

Photography by Jill Thorpe

Last and final question. As a member of the PR Hive, we have to ask – what is your favourite flower and why? Realistically, anything artificial because my thumbs are the opposite of green. But if I had to pick, I’d say lilacs because my grandmother used to have beautiful lilac bushes outside of my mom’s childhood home. Now, my mom has lilacs outside of my childhood home – so I’ll probably try to continue that tradition…if my thumbs will allow it. Want to learn more about the PR Hive Team? Stay tuned!  

Acts of Kindness

By Mabel Weng Today is Good Neighbour Day! For those who’ve always wanted to do something for the causes they care for but have never had the chance, #GoodNeighbourDay is a good day to inspire action. Community is important to us, in fact it’s one of our values. So we are excited to take the opportunity to celebrate. Here’s what we’ll be doing this weekend for the people in our neighbourhoods and communities. Here are some acts of kindness ideas from our team: 1.     Donate books to your local library – Robyn If you’re ever in Wolfville, you might just run into Robyn at the entrance of Wolfville Memorial Library, with a pile of books in her arms, putting them through the book return slot. This is her way of sharing her love of reading with those in her community. So if you need to make room on your bookshelf, let someone else enjoy your good reads by bringing them to your local library this Saturday. 2.     Visit your local SPCA to play with the cats or walk a dog – Jill This one’s for our furry neighbours out there. As much as Jill loves her cat, she also loves dogs (sorry, Pumpkin). If you love animals as much as Jill, turn this Saturday into a Caturday and keep the kitties company or walk a dog at the SPCA. If playing with animals isn’t for you, you can host a Kitten Shower – where you encourage your friends and family to bring items like food or litter to donate at the SPCA. 3.     Drop off clothes at a nearby donation bin or donate supplies to Shelter Nova Scotia – Heather Winter is coming. Today is a good day to “Marie Kondo” your closet and donate clothes you no longer use. Heather has a few bags ready to drop at Hospice Halifax – they are preparing to open their new social enterprise, The Compassionate Closet, and are accepting donations at 618 Francklyn Street, weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. There are a number of other organizations who take donations, use this map to find their bins. Heather also notes that Shelter Nova Scotia publishes a list of items they need each week on social media. Have a look at the list and drop by your local grocery store or pull a couple of unused items from your home to donate. 4.     Buy meal tokens at The Nook – Allison The Nook on Gottingen in Halifax gives customers the opportunity to buy meal tokens that can be given to and used by those in need. If you’re near Gottingen street this Saturday, you can take this opportunity to buy some tokens and either hand them out yourself or leave them at the café where staff will use them to buy a hot meal of coffee for a neighbour in need. 5.     Buy canned or dry foods during your grocery trip to donate – Mabel If you are doing a grocery trip this Saturday, be sure to pick up a couple of canned goods or dry foods for your local food bank. By the entrance of most Superstores (like the one on Young Street, for example) there is always a Feed Nova Scotia box where you can drop off food donations. Although today is a great day to encourage acts of kindness, remember that looking out for others is something we should all strive to do every day – whether you’re checking up on a sick neighbour during a hurricane or giving up your seat on the bus. Feeling inspired? Check out our Instagram story, to share with us your small act of kindness you’ve done today or every day.

The art of crafting a good pitch

By: Mabel Weng There are many different types of pitches: elevator pitches that range from 20 to 30 seconds, media pitches that tell newsworthy stories, fundraising pitches for a cause and everything in between. What we know is that the key to a good pitch is a great story. But what makes a good story? In honour of National Book Lovers Day, I recently read Simon Sinek’s best-selling novel “Start with Why” which for me highlights the key features of good storytelling.  At The PR Hive, we love helping clients tell their story and Sinek’s book makes the connection for why we should always start with “why.”

If you want to inspire action, always communicate your “why” first.

One misconception is that “why” comes from in-depth market research but the “why” should come from within. Finding the “why” is a process of self-discovery, not invention. As communication professionals, we help our clients share their stories. To do that we look for the “why” behind what they do. Many people know what they are doing or selling but may find it more challenging to articulate why they are doing it. We often find ourselves probing our clients with questions to get to the why. We ask “Why does your company exist? What motivates you to get up every morning and come to work? What issue are you solving? Why should people care?” When you share your why, you capture and convey the essence of who you are.  People who can relate to your story, your passion, or your personal values are more likely to engage with your brand online or buy what you have to sell, whether it is a product or service.

Covering the Why, How, and What

In Sinek’s book he writes about the Golden Circle – “Why, How and What.”  “Why” is the purpose of an organization, “how” is what they are doing to support the purpose, and “what” is the physical product or service an organization or person is selling. Following the story structure of Why, How, and What not only covers the key proponents to a good story but also shares the story in a way that will capture your audience’s attention. Everyone loves a good story and getting to the “why” is what makes a good one. Good stories capture emotions. Sharing what motivates and drives someone often helps capture their passion for their work which in turn engages audiences.