The following post is the first in a series. Twice a month, the PPRA blog will feature a profile on one of our members. Today’s post highlights long-time member and President of Relief Communications, Cari Feiler Bender.
So, how long have you been a member of PPRA?
At least 10 years, and probably longer…
How did you get into PR?
I was hired by Philadelphia Theatre Company very early in my career to do their marketing and public relations. Because I loved live theater, I dove into the work and learned everything on the job! When you’re passionate, you can get others excited about something.
Tell us a little bit about your current position.
I founded Relief Communications, LLC in 2001 to provide comprehensive communications services to the non-profit sector. I work exclusively with non-profits to help them with strategic communications and media relations. Some of my clients are: Historic Philadelphia, Inc., Mural Arts Program, AIDS Fund, Eastern State Penitentiary, Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, and Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.
What is your favorite aspect of your current job?
I love that I can be passionate about the incredible work of some of Philadelphia’s best non-profits, and I get to help tell their stories to the world.
Are there any PR trends that you’re really into right now?
I keep trying to improve my electronic press kits to make more and more tools readily available for media.
What social media platform do you use the most in your personal life? What about for business purposes?
I use Facebook a lot, and love it because messages or posts are not gone 3 minutes after you post them. I use it about 60% of the time for work, and 40% personal. I do use Twitter, but find it more useful for getting information than disseminating it.
If you could give one piece of advice to current PR students about getting into the industry, what would it be?
Take an internship! Even if it is only part time while studying in school, there is nothing that replaces real-world experience. Great for your resume, and more importantly, you can find out what you like and don’t like about PR. My most successful interns have taken the experience seriously and learned a great deal.
What is your favorite thing about Philly?
I love that Philadelphia is a big small town, and I love running into people I know no matter where I go. Also, there are amazing cultural institutions, so my family and I constantly explore all the region has to offer. And I’m a foodie, and just adore trying all sorts of new foods and new restaurants every chance I get.
Anything else we should know about you?
I was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. So, while I love Philadelphia and have been here for more than 20 years, I still say “y’all” and like my iced tea sweet.
Interested in learning more about what it is like to do PR for non-profits? Have tips on a great restaurant for Cari to try next? You can connect with her via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Twitter (@reliefcomm).