As we enter the last bout of the spring semester, I’m finishing up my internship at PUNCH Media. PUNCH is a small food and bev. centric PR company based in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. James Zeleniak and his wife Alicia are both Temple alums who own and run the company. Their client list includes the likes of MilkBoy (studio, café, and bar), the Shops at Liberty Place, Devil’s Den and South Philly Bar & Grill.

In my previous blog post, “Rolling with the PUNCHes at my First Internship”, I discussed my lack of PR knowledge pre-PUNCH, as well as my picky eating habits. I went on to explain how my internship has helped me improve myself in those areas, as it has in a variety of other ways.

Looking back on day one, and even the weeks leading up to my internship, I’m not sure what I expected. I think I was just hoping to find myself in a positive work environment with decent people, in a position where I was mostly capable of the tasks assigned to me. In other words, I was looking for a decent internship where I could gain some industry experience, even if it wasn’t necessarily advertising related. Looking back now, I gained all of that and more.

My knowledge of the PR industry has expanded immensely, as to be expected. With the help of James who is a seasoned writer and editor, as well as my coworker Becky, my writing skills have improved. I now understand a lot more about the wording of press releases and a variety of other branding materials (i.e. client bios, one sheets, boiler plates). Additionally, I better understand how to capture a brand’s voice when writing for them/as them, which is a skill that’s very applicable to advertising.

The way James conducts his business, whether with clients or media contacts, is something I very much admire and is a huge part of what I took away from this experience. He is a very relaxed guy, a chill dude if you will. He gives off that kind of vibe and people are drawn to it. The way he conducts PUNCH is not your typical PR cookie cutter, corporate business. It’s exactly what it should be, a people to people business. He keeps it real with everyone and they more than appreciate that. He doesn’t throw our clients’ materials at an entire contact list hoping it sticks somewhere, he carefully chooses who should receive what information based on relevancy and rapport. I may never run my own business, especially a PR company, but I will always carry with me James’s style and manner in which he interacts with others in the industry.

The phrase “you get what you give” may lie somewhere in the realm of “tired” or “totally cliché” but it really does apply to first internship experiences, especially my own. If I could go back and change one thing, I would choose to come in an extra day of the week in hopes of gaining that much more. While I would love to continue my time at PUNCH, it just wasn’t in the cards for me this summer. If anyone is looking for a great internship opportunity down the line, PUNCH Media is definitely a knockout.

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