Andrew Kaszowski, BAA ’06, started freelancing even before he graduated from the inaugural class of Guelph-Humber’s media studies program, where he specialized in public relations. Describing freelancing as “a thread that has woven its way through my entire career,” he credits his professional success to the diverse skill set he acquired at Guelph-Humber, which has enabled him to work across a wide spectrum of communications roles.
Earlier this year, Kaszowski taught a course called “Design for Public Relations” for the public relations diploma program offered through Western University Continuing Studies. The course is designed to help public relations practitioners become “really good brand stewards for an organization.” He has since accepted a position as alumni communications specialist at Western University.
As a freelancer, he branded his work with the tagline “creating a lasting impression,” which he achieved by combining the strategic and technical elements of public relations.
Having worked in PR, he says PR specialists need to speak the same language as other communications professionals, so they can work together to get their message across using any type of media. “We are responsible for all of the messaging, the appearance and the impression of an organization, and part of that is the visual side of it.”
The technical skills he learned at Guelph-Humber taught him how to work with graphic and web designers on the visual aspects of PR campaigns. As a PR student, he took courses with media studies students specializing in journalism and photography, an experience that gave him a better understanding of their needs in the industry.
“I have found that to be a really competitive advantage in the field,” says Kaszowski. “It taught us to work together with the different specializations in the media industry. We can work as a team putting together a good message.”
At Guelph-Humber, he did an internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. That experience led to more work in the health-care field, such as co-ordinating the website redevelopment for St. Joseph’s Health Care London – the same hospital in which he was born. More recently, he organized the grand opening events for St. Joseph’s Hospice, also in London, which were attended by more than 1,000 people over a two-week period.
Kaszowski also took his communications skills around the world. In 2008, he spent four months on a cruise ship, writing and editing its newsletters and menus. “I basically won the lottery,” he says of the job. Of the 32 countries he visited aboard the cruise ship, he says Italy was his favourite.
Networking has played a big role in his job search, including the positions he landed after graduation. He says anyone looking for a job shouldn’t be afraid of networking because it’s not just who you know; it’s how well you can do the job that will get you hired. “Networking is really about building a reputation,” he says, and it’s never too early to start. Today’s classmate could be tomorrow’s employer.
Staying in touch with Guelph-Humber classmates and recent graduates helped build his network. “I think it’s important to have that bridge between current students and alumni because we are a strong network that cares deeply about the University,” says Kaszowski. “We care about its reputation and we care about helping out current students because we’ve been there before.”