By Amandari Karaca
Amanda Rogalski is the head of Rogo Marketing and Communications in Grand Rapids. Rogo Marketing offers a personalized communications strategy to each of their clients and has grown throughout the years. I interviewed Amanda over the phone as she was on her way to one of her clients. This coincidentally segued perfectly into the first question.
Q1: What does a normal day look like on the job?
“There is no normal day,” Amanda said as she laughed. “I’m sure you’ve already heard this answer. Most of my days are client driven with regularly scheduled update meetings. Today, I am meeting with the Muskegon Museum of Art to see of there are any special events we need to get done. Tomorrow, I meet with Wood TV 8 to do a Facebook Live Stream. A majority of my work is meetings, whether that be client meetings or work meetings. I also do a lot of meeting with different people whether that be in the media or in the community. This means a lot of grabbing coffee with another person”.
Q2: What strengths or traits do you have that make you great at your job? Why?
“I think my strength is how I approach conversations and relationships.” Amanda elaborated saying that she looks at relationships from a standpoint how the respective parties can help one another. “This has helped a lot with working with the media, especially in West Michigan. We both need each other’s help so understanding how to form those beneficial relationships is important.”
Amanda continued her thoughts, saying that being opening to listening and learning in these relationships has helped as well. This is something she claims she figured out along the way. “I kind of just got my feet wet and realized that’s when you learn the most”.
This seems like the ultimate approach to networking. It is interesting because I view these relationships as very self-interested but maybe by just cutting to the chase and saying “How can we help each other?” you put aside all of the awkwardness and create lasting and real relationships with those who can help you. I really appreciated how Amanda talked about learning as you go. I feel like I hear so much about relationships with the media but this idea of communicating with them and the “grabbing of coffee” with a journalist still seems like such a daunting task in this field. However, the best way to learn is from experience and I am glad that someone who has seen so much success was not born just knowing how to do media relations. This is sometimes what it seems like and the testimonials from PR pros is what reassures me most.
Q3: What are some skills that you would like to improve on? Why?
“I think the biggest thing is to figure out what I am good at and what I am not good at. You should try anything and do anything and there is some legitimacy in that, and I can learn how to do something i do not and ‘figure it out’ in a sense but the sooner you can figure out what you’re good at and enjoy doing, the better for everyone.”
Q4: What has been on of the biggest problems you’ve had to solve at your current job? What did you learn from that?
Amanda was approached with a regional and national media project in which the paid and earned media wanted to reach publications. “This was unheard of before and I had no experience in paid media.” The scope was described as boring by Amanda. However, she was excited about the project and did not want to turn it down “I had to sell them on the fact that I would figure it out.” Amanda continues this notion with some advice, “it’s good to be enthusiastic about new things but still honest about your skill set, this is a different approach.”
Tenacity is important, I have realized this seems to be what a lot of employers want from specifically an intern. I now understand that where I intern, I will not be sitting with top management, making the executive PR calls for these successful businesses. I am there to learn and the best way to do so is by being enthusiastic about it. Enthusiasm is apparently very convincing and will lead you to many great opportunities, as Amanda proved.
Q5: What are some choices that you have made during your career that led you to your current position?
Amanda Spent a year working for a statewide agency “I learned from that experience. I had great year-long training. I was never taught how to do media relations but I learned but figured out my own approach is. What you work in is a combination of what you learn.”
After this. Amanda said she learned a lot from leaving an in-house position. “I was comfortable with work the at an agency. I had been there too long according to my mentors. I don’t make changes very often and it was difficult to leave all those people I had worked with for so long.”
Amanda contrasts these doubts by saying it was the best decision she ever made. “I was at the agency for one year and then I moved to Chicago for an external reason. This proved to be a great decision. I maintained communication with my colleagues and was able to do work from Chicago. This allowed me to separate myself from the agency and pursue independent opportunities. This worked well and granted me a lot of self-flexibility”.
Seize opportunities and don’t be afraid to take chances, they can end up being more rewarding than imaginable–got it.
Q6: What advice would you have for a student or recent graduate interested in working at a job like yours?
“Don’t limit yourself based on what you think you know about a job based on job description, title or what you think you know are a job. Words like marketing and PR are interchangeable. Most companies have one person who hands all communication so don’t limit your search. Also don’t be afraid of marketing! It could be wrapped into a PR position. Don’t discard of an opportunity because of the words being used.”
Amanda followed up her advice by suggesting to go to any and all interviews and ask questions. “Understand what the role is and who you’re working with. Find the people who you’re going to enjoy being around and who you will get along with. Positions and opportunities can morph and change and never know what opportunities you have unless you pursue them.”
The biggest takeaway from all of this was to not limit myself. I believe my education is supreme and I am qualified for almost any position in marketing communications. Again, understanding that I get a say in where I am going to work is such an odd notion. However, my advertising professor, Frank Blossom tied into this notion well: “You are getting paid to do what others can’t and in this field, the younger generation has a huge advantage.”
This is where is begins to click for me: I had to help my dad film a Boomerang on Instagram this weekend and it is such an interesting and motivating thing to see that my generation is great at what we do and that people need our expertise.
If you would like to learn more about Amanda or her company, please visit the Rogo Marketing and Communications website.