Apprentice Sails Abroad: Julia Sivakoff

According to successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist Barbara Corcoran, “It is when we are uncomfortable and looking for answers that we learn and grow the most.”  This rang true for me as I explored uncharted ground starting my apprenticeship at Broadreach. I stepped outside of my comfort zone to expand my horizon. I recall being a bit anxious at first. Feeling unprepared, as though I was an actress playing a role I hadn’t fully memorized the lines for, but I was committed to discovering the unknown realm of public relations and broadening my perpective.

My public relations journey all began at the inaugural New England Brew Summit last spring. I attended the New England Brew Summit press conference assisting University of Southern Maine’s director of communications and public affairs social media and web content specialist for the announcement of USM’s partnership with the Maine Brewers’ Guild. I had the amazing opportunity to network at this event where I had the pleasure of meeting the Broadreach Public Relations team who encouraged me to apply for their coveted apprenticeship. I was elated when my dedication paid off and I officially became their 7th apprentice.

I embarked on a fantastic journey that has enabled my personal and professional growth through exposure to experts in the public relations field. Having the opportunity to work at a boutique firm with a multifaceted team that brought unique skill sets to the table, specializing in national and international influence for a broad spectrum of industries was an excellent learning environment. The open-concept office design lent itself to collaborative and effective communication. Through our work, I had the chance to rub shoulders with local key players alongside senior executives which gave me invaluable hands-on experience and prepared me with the confidence and corporate client relations skill set I need to excel in my future endeavors.  I will share with you a few of my most significant experiences and involvements during my unforgettable apprenticeship.

To start, my most rewarding role was managing a pro bono client, Portland Rotary Club. I had the pleasure of learning the rich history behind the Rotary organization and seeing the implementation of their ‘Service above self’ motto firsthand. It was amazing to be given the independence to create Rotary’s visibility and scope work plan. Once we nailed down the high-level goals and objectives I worked closely with Rotary Club of Portland President, Laura Young to approve event messaging and press releases. I was truly moved by the most recent press release I created for Portland Rotary’s 3H program, which stands for Hearing aid, prosthetic Hands and safe H2O filtration donations. This program exemplifies the Rotarian ideology, which is to encourage high ethical standards and help build goodwill and peace in the world through humanitarian service. In an effort to empower disabled and impoverished sugar cane workers the club used 3-D printing technology to create realistic prosthetics giving them hope and independence. Some of most notable coverage I earned for this cause included the following publications; 

Furthermore, my most valuable hands-on experience was helping to raise the visibility of the inaugural Maine Flower Show for the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association. I had the honor of attending the illustrious VIP Maine Flower Show Premiere Night where I enjoyed practicing my journalistic photography skills. My key responsibilities included writing event briefs, creating a social media plan for another Broadreach client for their sponsorship of the event, producing client reports for each meeting, compiling an earned media report and an event debrief, as well as assisting with media handling. Some of the most notable interviews I helped handle included radio interviews with WGAN, WJBQ and WHOM, media interviews with WCSH’s Cory Froomkin and WGME ‘s Adam Epstein and Lexi O’Conner, which was excellent experience. I worked directly with producers, influencers, meteorologists, journalists, videographers, and event organizers. Getting the chance to see the production of the event come to life. This large-scale inaugural event handed me a lot of responsibility, which was very impactful in my development.

Finally, I had the pleasure of attending USM’s last Corporate Partners breakfast to hear award winning analytic journalist and host of American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report, David Brancaccio, weigh in on how to navigate the ever-changing news landscape. He expressed the importance of discernment as a media consumer as he explored the new era of ‘fake news,’ giving a compelling insider’s perspective into the industry. Having the opportunity to put a face to the brilliant voice of APM’s Marketplace cemented how far I have come in the industry, and how much exposure this apprenticeship has given me.

 This experience was the first stepping-stone in my career. It has given me invaluable experience, laid the framework I needed to get my foot in the door in the public relations industry and allowed me to hone and develop my skills while building my confidence and drive to succeed. I will take the tricks of the trade I have learned with me as I embark on a new journey across the pond. I am full of excitement as I start my professional career in London, venturing out into the realm of innovation marketing. My Broadreach apprenticeship has successfully prepared me with a strong fundamental understanding of the industry and gave me the momentum I need to propel me in the right direction to the career of my dreams.