Recently, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been all the rage.
I wouldn’t normally post about political hot topics, except this piece of legislation is one I have quite the connection to. Not only am I a big fan of workplace equality including gender identity and sexual orientation, but I also played a part in the buzz surrounding this bill.
Working for the Fund for The Public Interest, I represented the Human Rights Campaign educating the public on the approaching legislation of ENDA and fundraising for the organization.
Similar to some summer jobs, this took place outside. Unlike any jobs I can think of, I asked complete strangers to stop and talk to me about gay civil rights. Within five minutes I was asking for a monthly contribution.
Well that escalated quickly.
This is where the PR mindset comes in, which explains why I was able to excel at this unique skill. For me, it wasn’t five minutes of talking to a stranger.
It was five minutes of creating a relationship. Five minutes to get to know the people who were willing to take a moment out of their busy lives for a contemporary issue.
I’ve often said that I would jump at the chance to learn every single person’s life story. People fascinate me- and meeting 30+ Minneapolis area residents and tourists a day was one of the most meaningful and fulfilling things I have ever done.
Some people avoided me, some were rude, but those genuine connections- authentic enough to lead to a monthly financial commitment and exchange of personal information- made any unfortunate encounters worth it.
The reality is, public relations is all around us. Each conversation I had was basically a live press release for HRC, it was the epitome of community outreach. I knew the organization like the back of my hand, and was always prepared to elaborate on their goals or explain past controversial decisions.
This was not a strategic communications internship of any sort, but I recognized the opportunity to develop public relations experience and make an impact with each interaction. This is what makes resumes three dimensional- unique approaches and mindsets, and the ability to use any opportunity as one for growth.