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COLA Connections Newsletter: Summer 2016
Alumni Spotlight: Jamie Frumusa, Account Supervisor at Tipping Point Communications
We can’t help but wonder where life will take us after graduation. What kind of jobs will I do? Will I get my dream job? Where in the country, or world, will my job take me? Take a look at this interview with Jamie Frumusa, to see a day in the life of an RIT alumna. Jamie graduated from RIT in 2011 with a BS in Advertising and Public Relations. She has had quite an interesting journey since graduating and has advanced quickly in her career. She is currently an Account Supervisor at Tipping Point Communications, a local agency in Rochester. Jamie shares with us details about her exciting career and tips for landing jobs and internships.
Can you tell me about what kind of things you’ve done or what kind of jobs you’ve had since graduating from RIT?
Jamie Frumusa: I did my last co-op after I walked the stage at graduation, and I did it at Red Bull North America - the energy drink company. I actually had been working here locally for 4 years before I moved to Atlanta, Georgia to work in the southeast business unit office. My job was to assist the regional marketing manager and the regional communications specialist with all of the communications and media relations for athletes during Red Bull branded events. We did all of the event marketing, so we did Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay, which is a big event, we had over 60,000 people there. It’s where people create crafts and push them off a gigantic 30-foot barge into the bay. I was responsible for creating media kits and finding creative ways to get national attention from GMA and other outlets like that. Then the Regional Communications Specialist left as my internship was ending, so they hired me on as Communications Contractor. I did a lot of traveling for extreme sporting events - supporting it from a communications perspective, from ideation to implementation and reporting up to national corporate office. Probably the most fun job you can have out of college is working for an energy drink company. Then I decided I wanted to come home, so I called the CEO at Tipping Point Communications in Rochester. I had done some work with her locally for Red Bull, they had helped us with our marketing in the Rochester/Buffalo area. Coincidentally, when I called they had just opened a PR department at their office. So I came back and I interviewed, and I was their first hire in that new department. I’ll be there 5 years in December. I’ve held four different titles there. I started as a Public Relations Specialist, then Associate Public Relations Manager, then Public Relations Manager, and now I’m an Account Supervisor.
Do you like working at an agency more than you liked working in-house at Red Bull?
JF: A lot of people start their career working in an agency, but I kind of did it backwards, starting at corporate and then going to an agency. A lot of people decide to do agency first because of the fast pace and high energy, and then as you get older you kind of want to transition into a less high energy environment. I loved working at corporate, but Red Bull offered a unique opportunity where they were always coming up with new events and new ideas, so it never got boring. For me, working at an agency offers you such a breadth of experience, I have so many clients from so many different areas - I do higher education, nonprofit work, family entertainment, it’s all across the board. You’re not just learning about your field - you’re learning management skills. It’s a good way to get a lot of experience in a short amount of time.
Can you tell me about your job at Tipping Point?
JF: I oversee accounts for a lot of our public relations clients. One of the clients I love working on is Darien Lake, so I do all their public relations. Like any time they open a new ride, we do the ride announcements, so we get to go to the park and be outside which is really cool. Also, recently I’ve been taking on a more active role with crisis communications support, which is really interesting. It’s definitely the other side of the coin from doing positive, fun publicity, to managing issues for clients. It’s a great experience trying to help people in times of need. I also do PR for Anchor Bar, so whenever they open a new restaurant in the country we help them out with that. I also do PR for the Arc of Monroe County which is really awesome. If you want to work at an agency, I would recommend one that allows you to work at nonprofits, because you’re running around all day trying to make really great things happen and you’re really making a difference in the community, and you go home with this real sense of worth.
What were the most instrumental factors in landing your current job?
JF: Taking the right co-op. I have a lot of friends that picked a co-op because they knew they needed it to graduate and they weren’t thinking about which one would be the best to project their career. I worked really hard to get my co-op with Red Bull, I was one of only five people in the country that got the internship - they had 1 in each business unit. Also, networking is so important. Young people don’t value real networking as much as social media networking. It’s important to go out and join clubs, join PRSSA, get involved with Causewave. Getting your name out there is really good. The reason I got the job at Tipping Point is because I knew someone - they hadn’t even posted that job yet.
Why do you think you stood out enough to get the internship with Red Bull?
JF: That was a really interesting interview process. I had been working with Red Bull for a while. The way that they do their interviews, at least when I was doing it, you sit in front of a computer, like on a webcam, and the computer screen asks you a question and you have like 10 seconds to answer. I talked to the people at Red Bull who were higher up and asked them what to expect. I actually went out and got a Red Bull and put it in front of my screen and took a sip every once in a while. You have to step outside of your comfort zone and do outlandish things.
Why did you choose PR over advertising?
JF: I did always feel that I was more inclined to the PR field because of my love for storytelling and event planning, but it really was all fate for me that I landed in public relations over advertising. The internship I chose with Red Bull during my senior year helped me realize my love for PR and started me on my career path.
What advice do you have for juniors and seniors in the School of Communication?
JF: Just go for it. Be driven. You’re not going to get anywhere in life unless you can stand out in a crowd. Think about what you can do to be different and have the guts to do it. Be fun, be outgoing. When we have interns at our agency, if someone comes up to me and asks questions and seems really willing to learn, that makes an impact on how I see them as a person. If you can write a press release, that’s great, but you need the personality to go with it. Ask for opportunities. Raise your hand and ask to go to a press conference. People will respond well to it.