How the Clyde Fellowship Program Sets Entry-Level Professionals up for Success
by Keaton Campo and Veronica Yaron
by Keaton Campo and Veronica Yaron
Did you know 17% of current Clyde Group staff started out as Fellows in the Clyde Fellowship Program? At Clyde Group, we invest in the training of young communicators – through immersive agency experience, challenging projects, and mentorship from across the organization, we aim to set our Fellows up for career success. Our curriculum builds participants’ skill sets and helps them transition from recent graduates to entry-level professionals. We also value equitable career development – our Fellows are compensated for their work and knowledge, which ensures the program is accessible to candidates from diverse backgrounds.
The Clyde Fellowship program is designed to give recent college graduates hands-on experience and an entry point into the PR agency world. Each Fellow cohort works on three to five client accounts and dives into the day-to-day activities, including pitching reporters, writing social copy, and researching new business opportunities. Our Fellows work side-by-side with our team members and interact with clients on a daily basis in a fun, interactive, and fast-paced environment. Fellows also collaborate on a capstone project in which they tackle a real-life client problem and present their recommended strategy directly to Clyde Group managers and account leads. Whether Fellows stay with Clyde Group or move on to other opportunities, our program helps equip them with the professional skills and experience needed to thrive in future endeavors.
Read on to hear personal experiences from two former Clyde Group Fellows who are now full-time team members:
Through the months of my Fellowship, I was able to work on a variety of fun and interactive projects. Two particular experiences stand out, the first of which involved media monitoring for a crisis client. I became interested in crisis communications after a college course taught me how severely a public relations crisis can impact a business. When the opportunity to work on a crisis client presented itself, I wanted to learn every aspect possible. I participated in client calls, played an active role in media monitoring, coordinated interviews with reporters, and asked tons of questions along the way. It was a chaotic – and truly memorable – experience.
My second highlight was helping our clients Sallie Mae and Ipsos with earned media outreach. Our account leads were helpful and patient as I got up to speed on outreach for campaigns or thought leadership. The first hit I secured was for an interview on FAFSA tips from Sallie Mae, which appeared on Atlanta FOX affiliate WAGA-TV. The client was happy, as was our internal team. Securing this media hit felt intoxicating, and I knew I wanted to keep doing it. As the months of the Fellowship went on, I continued to sharpen my craft when creating a media list or writing a pitch. Media relations still excites me the same way it did a few years ago.
My time as a Fellow was instrumental in helping identify my professional strengths and weaknesses. I also grew by adapting to the agency’s principles to be a better work colleague. Our “People First” principle encouraged me to volunteer on new business proposals and media list building. “Fail Forward” helped me find areas I can improve on and do better in for future projects. I found my niche in media relations during my Fellowship, and was lucky enough to transfer it into a full-time position at Clyde Group as a media relations specialist. I will always remember my Fellowship experience as an educational and enjoyable time.
In May 2021, I began a year-long Fellowship experience at Clyde Group. I joined as a Fellow in their healthcare practice, an industry I’ve now become passionate about. During my first couple of months, I received training in software like Cision and Muck Rack and did a bit of everything from pitches to brainstorms. I wasn’t left alone in a corner to quietly work — I met frequently with my co-workers and learned from experts in the industry. Every day was different, and I loved never knowing what came next. Over the weeks, I gained experience and became more confident in my skills.
One of my biggest clients was a government agency, and I worked to help educate their ambassador team on health disparities to better communicate with their audiences. At 21, I was one of the resident Gen-Z employees and was excited about the opportunity to create and present a slide deck about my generation. Thanks to lots of practice and advice from my co-workers, the presentation went very well. But my proudest moment was during the Q&A portion. I had the opportunity to answer multiple questions about my experiences and insights into what is considered by many to be the most depressed generation. After it ended, I was concerned I’d shared too much, but then the thank you emails came in and my co-workers celebrated my success. I realized that I wasn’t just a Fellow; my thoughts mattered.
There have been a lot of moments like that – little wins that have built up my confidence and skills as a professional. Towards the end of the summer, the idea of just going back to school felt like wasting an opportunity, so I asked to extend my Fellowship. Clyde Group kept me on as a part-time Fellow and worked with me to balance work and classes. Juggling school and work was challenging, but it was an invaluable experience. Clyde Group rooting for me both professionally and academically made a world of difference. In the end, I graduated with a job waiting for me at Clyde Group and I was excited to join a team of people I didn’t just like as co-workers, but as people too.
—Our next cohort of Fellows will start in January 2023 – keep an eye out for program applications to open in early November.
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