Member Spotlight: Caitlin Darras

Education: B.S. in Communication from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2012); Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Memphis (2019)

Employment: Senior Public Relations Specialist for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority

What’s the most important PR practice you use in your work?
Be accessible and be transparent. When working with local media, my boss has taught me to be available and willing to help the media whenever possible. If you position yourself as an approachable resource to media, they will look to you for advice and as an ‘expert’ in your field. Additionally, when you cannot provide them with the information they are looking for, they will respect your position, knowing you would help them if you could. Forming trustworthy relationships with the media (and with all stakeholders) is key.

What advice would you give to new professionals?
This is so cliché, but so true: it’s not so much about what you know, but who you know. Use your professors and networking connections to your benefit. Don’t be afraid to ask PR professionals for advice or to be a reference. People are honored to help newbies– you just can’t be afraid to make the ask!

Any funny anecdotes you can share about your time in PR?
This isn’t a specific example, but something fun(ny) that I appreciate about our profession is that you can’t be ‘too good’ for any task and you have to be willing to always try something new. A few unusual tasks I have been asked to do (that fall under that ‘other duties as assigned category’ in our job descriptions) are dress up as a pilot for a Smokies baseball video, dress up as a Princess Leia Duck for a video shoot (don’t ask …) and annually decorate the airport’s 16-foot Christmas tree (So. Much. Glitter.).

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