Let me begin by introducing myself: My name is Eleni Giannakaki and I am a proud BU COM’10 alumna. I obtained my master’s in PR and graduated last January. I’m now back in my hometown, Athens, Greece where I work for Hill & Knowlton, a top PR agency.
The 18 months I spent at BU were easily the best of my life. Okay, sure, leaving the Mediterranean for New England and changing climates, cultures, wardrobes etc. wasn’t the easiest – but the experience far surpassed my expectations. Our school is an amazing “land of opportunities” (cliché , I know) where I learned useful things from inspiring professors and met great people who turned out to be amazing friends. But, most importantly, I earned an excellent degree, which has helped me both personally and professionally in more ways than I imagined.
The combination of this degree and my newfound expertise was the main reason Hill & Knowlton’s Greek office wanted me to be their Digital PR Account Executive.
It seemed that Greeks have been too busy with the economic crisis to drink “the Kool-Aid” so my experience in pitching stories to journalists through Twitter, simply knowing how SEO works or how to “check-in” on Foursquare also helped me land this job by adding that distinctive “digital” portion to it. No, no that doesn’t really mean that Greeks still live in caves (or should I say temples?), it’s just that it wasn’t that common a few months ago to use social media for public relations strategies. Thus, my knowledge on these topics was more than useful.
However, with digital power comes digital responsibility (as the web 2.0 Spiderman would have said), so I’m always working to improve my knowledge of the constantly changing media landscape and offer innovative services to our clients.
Hard work tends to pay off, and I was honored to be selected to attend WPP’s (H&K’s parent company) annual “un-conference” Stream 2010. Stream invites 300 selected people from WPP’s agencies and clients all around the world to this 3-day brainstorming to discuss the upcoming trends of our culture and blend creative ideas with technology innovations. Among the guests were the Global CEOs and Vice Presidents of Communications of many corporations like Microsoft, AOL, Unilever, Sony Ericsson, Hershey’s and AT&T!
The host of the event was Sir Martin Sorrell WPP’s CEO. He joined all the representatives of the Greek WPP companies (JWT, Ogilvy, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, Wunderman, Mindshare and MRB) for lunch, keeping us riveted by speaking about the Chinese force, that will soon dominate the world in terms of money and power, and telling us “when the chill wind is blowing, people need to stick together” (referring to the Greek financial crisis and our common fears of bankruptcy). I also met the owner of netaporter.com (although I didn’t get any discounts for the Prada purse I want…) and tried Facebook ice cream, a kind gift of the Facebook staff that sponsored Stream and served delicious ice cream from a specially branded ice cream freezer.
And while all these exciting things are happening, I still have BU and Boston on my mind, and secretly wish it was just a quick ride away (instead of an ocean and then some)!
So, that’s it for now, and I’ll keep you posted on how a COM alumna’s life is going in the international digital communication field.
Ya sas!!! (aka Goodbye in Greek)