FIU alum Laura Paez has always loved communications and marketing, but she never thought she’d work in the entertainment world. Even before graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing, she began paving her way to success.
Currently, Laura is the Senior Publicist at BBC Studios in Coral Gables. She shares insight on her journey to the job, what her not-so-typical workday is like, and how FIU helped her get to where she is today.
Name: Laura Paez
Degree Earned and Year Graduated: Major in Public Relations, Minor in Marketing – 2011
How has FIU Helped you get to where you are today in your career?
FIU prepared me to dive into my field early on with a strong knowledge of the basic principles of Public Relations and I will always be grateful for that. Additionally, my time at FIU was filled with unforgettable experiences like a study abroad program I was able to enroll in with the Center of International Business & Research. This opportunity not only gave me a closer look at the successful strategies and campaigns of companies like GE, Burson-Marsteller, and Y&R Group, but it expanded my perspective on culture and business, all while meeting wonderful people and eating a lot of pasta! FIU provided me with experiences and opportunities that greatly influenced my personal and professional development, shaping much of who I am today.
What path did you take to attain your current career?
I never knew I would end up in the media/entertainment industry. I did know that I enjoyed communications and marketing in all its forms so I knew I had many career options. While in college, I worked in the headquarters of a luxury menswear brand as an administrative assistant. I quickly got involved in helping with their e-commerce site and online marketing strategy. I then began putting my PR skills to practice to support the company’s overall strategy and goals.
Once I graduated, I moved on to work as a PR Account Executive at GrupoUno, an integrated marketing agency in Coral Gables. I managed various accounts across different industries including beauty, technology, and consumer products. My experience at GrupoUno felt like an intense Public Relations boot camp – it truly helped sharpen my skills and build key relationships. After gaining agency experience, I decided to try working client-side and landed a job at BBC Studios in the PR/Communications department. Three years later, I have fallen in love with this ever-changing, fast-paced industry.
What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
My sister always tells me I have the coolest job, and I have to agree. The coolest thing about my job is that it allows me to combine my passion for communicating, meeting people, and traveling – all for a highly reputable company like the BBC. At BBC Studios, I have been able to build strong relationships with key media contacts and have met very interesting and talented individuals, from producers to actors to other communications professionals. One specific activity that was memorable for me was experiencing the authentic cultural traditions of Mexico’s Day of the Dead in Oaxaca during the behind-the-scenes filming of one of BBC’s landmark natural history series.
What does a typical day for you look like?
Aside from coffee, meetings, checking e-mails and reading industry news, there is no such thing as a typical day in the life of a PR professional. My days are filled with a mix of internal and external communications. One day I might be meeting with a client to plan the launch of a series, moderating a phone interview or drafting a corporate announcement. Another day I might be putting together a coverage report, hosting Latin American journalists in a press junket at an event like San Diego Comic-Con or coordinating internal meetings and office screenings.
How does your job connect back to your coursework?
My coursework at FIU gave me the confidence to do a lot of what I do today by providing me with the basics and the know-how needed to properly draft a pitch, a press release, a brief and more.
Were there any classes or professors that influenced where you are today?
Most definitely. It has been 7 years since I graduated FIU, and I still refer back to many of the things that Professor Lynn Farber and Hugo Ottolenghi taught me.
What advice do you have for students interested in a career in communications?
A positive attitude and a smile on your face will get you places. Change is inevitable, so be adaptable. Learn to think on your feet. Learn to think strategically. Keep up with news and trends. Network (I know it’s not fun sometimes). Keep learning and honing your skills.