My name is Caroline Roscoe and I’m a Public Relations intern at BIGfish Communications. In addition to my internship, I am also a full-time student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where I double major in communications and journalism on the PR track with a minor in business. Throughout the first few weeks of my internship at BIGfish, I’ve loved getting to know my team members and learning about the world of public relations. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to chat with Meredith Chiricosta, senior vice president and partner at BIGfish, about her career journey. Meredith joined the BIGfish team as an intern during the summer before her senior year at Emerson College in Boston and never looked back.
During our conversation, Meredith and I learned that we have a lot in common. For example, we happen to live just a town over from each other in Massachusetts; it’s a small world! I am also currently the vice president of my university’s PR Club and studying various different majors and minors in the communications space, as did Meredith. Hearing the similarities of Meredith’s journey through college in comparison to mine gave me the confidence that one day I could also achieve as much as she has.
Meredith majored in marketing communications at Emerson with a focus in public relations in addition to a minor in business studies. She served as the vice president of Emerson’s PR agency called “EMcomm,” which allowed students to gain hands-on experience working with real clients around Boston. One of her professors at Emerson was David (Dave) Richard, BIGfish’s founder and CEO.
I had the chance to speak with Dave about Meredith’s career trajectory and what she was like as both a student and an intern. Dave, who has taught at Emerson since 2003, revealed, “she was one of the top students I’ve had during my career at Emerson.” He noted that the specific class Meredith was in had several strong students, but Meredith stood out among that talented group, which inspired Dave to encourage her to join the BIGfish team as an intern. I have heard many times throughout my college career that the work you do outside of the classroom is more valuable than what you can learn behind a desk. I agree with this, but I’d also argue that the connections you can make in a classroom setting can lead the way to these crucial experiences. Meredith’s introduction to BIGfish reminds me how important it is to make connections with my professors during my last few months as a college student.
Meredith’s internship with BIGfish continued into her final year at Emerson. “I loved being here and I saw a lot of opportunities to work and grow,” she said. She officially began working full time at BIGfish after graduation. Meredith joined when the agency was choosing which services to offer for their clients. When she started, BIGfish was more of an integrated marketing agency doing everything from social media, web design, public relations and more. With her help, they were able to hone in on public relations and corporate communications.
As my call with Dave was coming to an end, he paused to say, “Can I just add one more thing? When Meredith was introduced to the fast paced environment, she just took off. It was like putting gasoline on a fire, and I love the mentor she has become to the BIGfish team.”
In my opinion, no job in life is fulfilling unless you are in some way helping others grow. I’ve learned that BIGfish does an excellent job at paying it forward. Meredith is a prime example of how earning success for yourself means helping others and sharing insight along the way.
When I asked Meredith for advice on growing within a company, she emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities, especially in a smaller agency where there is so much room for growth. Meredith also stressed the importance of mastering the tasks assigned at the beginning of your career, because they serve as the building blocks to become a successful publicist.
“Speak up, raise your hand and take everything in. Be a sponge in your early days. I just tried to absorb what everyone was saying all the time,” Meredith said. I took this advice to heart when I met the whole BIGfish team in-person during a week-long company meet-up at our Newbury Street office. While I sat in for internal meetings and client calls, I had Meredith’s advice in the forefront of my mind. I took every opportunity I could to be a fly on the wall, but like Meredith advised, I also gave my own opinions or insights when I felt it was appropriate.
When it comes to being a successful publicist, Meredith recommended keeping a level head in stressful situations, looking at the bigger picture, and focusing your attention on handling what’s in front of you. Meredith reassured me, “There is not a time when someone knows it all.”
As an intern and a young woman transitioning from college into a career, there are so many moments where I feel like everyone has it all figured out except for me. Hearing from the senior vice president of a company that no one is a master of everything was incredibly meaningful and encouraging to me. She also stressed the importance of quadruple checking everything before it’s out in the world, whether that be on a press release, an email or simply a reporter’s name. “Overkill the checking,” she emphasized. Not only have I incorporated the art of triple checking into my internship, but also duties within my university’s PR club, where I oversee the editing for our website.
After my chat with Meredith, I’ll always remember to never doubt how far hard work, determination, experience and grit can get you in the PR industry. You may just become the senior vice president one day.