The following is part of our Member Spotlight series. Twice a month, the PPRA blog will feature a profile on one of our members. Today’s post highlights long-time member and Temple University professor, Gregg Feistman.
I was a PR major as an undergraduate at Rowan University and was lucky enough to work in the profession right out of college, starting as a theatrical press agent in New England. From there I went into the Philadelphia agency side, and eventually into corporate PR and later consulting. Now I’m in academia. I wanted to build a career that would allow me to write and PR definitely does that!
Tell us a little bit about your current position.
I’m currently an Associate Professor of Public Relations at Temple University. I teach both on the undergraduate level and in our MS in Communication Management program. I’m also the sequence head for the Public Relations concentration in the Department of Strategic Communication, which means I’m responsible for the scheduling of PR classes each semester, the hiring and coaching of adjunct instructors, advising undergrad and graduate students, and other administrative tasks. In addition, I’m the faculty advisor for Temple’s PRSSA chapter which has in excess of 100 members, and PRowl Public Relations, Temple’s first and only student-run PR firm which works with on-campus and off-campus clients. This fall, I’m also overseeing and coordinating the department’s and the School of Media and Communications’ joint sponsorship of the International PRSA Conference coming to Philadelphia at the end of October.
What is your favorite aspect of your current job?
My favorite aspect of my job is working with students and helping them get the experience and knowledge to succeed in their chosen career path. It’s incredibly rewarding to help make a difference in a young person’s life. I’m very pleased that many of my former students have stayed in touch and I now count them as friends and colleagues.
Are there any PR trends that you’re really into right now?
Watching all the rapid changes in our profession has been fascinating. Everything from the rise and development of social media to the convergence of the media and the changes in the news business. Everything is impacting our profession.
What social media platform do you use the most in your personal life? What about for business purposes?
In terms of social media, I use Facebook for non-professional stuff and LinkedIn primarily for professional purposes.
If you could give one piece of advice to current PR students about getting into the industry, what would it be?
One piece of advice for students? Be passionate. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then do something else! Also, be persistent. This isn’t an easy profession to get into and stay in, but if you really want to do it, hang in there and keep knocking on doors. One of them will eventually open. Joining PPRA and other professional associations is a great way to make contacts.
What is your favorite thing about Philly?
My favorite thing about Philly is the people. We have great people here, plus the food, art, culture and sports.
Anything else we should know about you?
I’ve always been a writer. Once upon a time, I was a NYC-produced playwright, and a freelance business journalist. I’m also a professional sports photographer. Finally, I’m a novelist. I write political thrillers. My first one, “The War Merchants” was published in 2009 and features a Philadelphia PR person as the heroine. My second one is currently under consideration with a NY literary agent.
Want to hear more about Gregg’s work at Temple University or his experiences with getting a book published? Connect with him via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).