Q&A: Alumni On The Rise

2014-2015 Issue 2

Melanie Rego is the founder and President of elevator communications inc., an award-winning public relations and social media agency in Toronto. When she decided to expand and open a second office in Montreal, she was challenged to find qualified bilingual communications professionals in Quebec. Her solution? Graduates from the School’s Diploma in Public Relations and Communications Management.

“Our program attracts top talent,” says Nicolette Papastefanou, Acting Area Coordinator for Public Relations and Marketing programs and Faculty Lecturer. “Thanks to our expert instructors, graduates are ready to work from day one.”

We asked Melanie why students from the School’s Public Relations and Marketing programs have stood out among the rest.


Tell us about elevator communications.

We are a full-service communications agency specializing in public relations and social media. We develop integrated strategies for our clients because communication opportunities are everywhere – online and off. From events and product launches to direct-to-consumer initiatives and social media management, our focus is to develop compelling stories about our clients’ products or services that get attention, make headlines, and cause consumer engagement.  Ultimately, the goal is to help build brands and drive sales for our clients.


How did you first hear about the McGill School of Continuing Studies, and, specifically, our programs in Public Relations and Communications?

I recruited a graduate and realized the program definitely attracts well-rounded talent.


How did you come to hire your first McGill School of Continuing Studies’ alumna?

I use Linkedin to do my research, and one candidate from the School stood out to me. Following a couple of Skype interviews, she was hired! She became elevator’s first full-time Montreal-based employee.


What do graduates do when they start working at elevator communications?

The first graduate we hired was essentially set-up as a one-person show to execute our programs in French. She ensured our strategies were relevant and designed to be successful in Quebec. Since then, our business has grown, so we’ve added a second McGill graduate to support her and take on some of the work.


What do you look for in your potential candidates?

When it comes to agency life, fit is very important. elevator’s core values define who we are, and we want to attract like-minded people. Essential skills include: social-media savvy, strong writing and communication abilities, creative thinking, confidence, kindness, and above all, intelligence!

In Quebec, French is also a must. We need 100 per cent fluency in writing and communications to be able to handle technical inquiries and tough questions from French-speaking media.


How do the McGill alumni on your staff stand out from other employees?

Both hires are continuing to progress at elevator. They are committed to the company and the success of our clients – what more could I ask for!


Final question: would you recommend hiring a McGill School of Continuing Studies student or graduate to other employers?

Yes – so far, so good! I intend to continue to meet potential candidates first-and-foremost from this program. Congratulations – you’ve definitely got some impressive graduates.0

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