Baylor University
Mandi Clark

Mandi Clark stands in front of a Rainbow
International van, displaying their company logo.

Mandi Clark

Recent Graduate Makes Use of Social Media Skills in Local Corporation

by Valeri Smith

Everyone uses social media. Even corporations focused on restoration and carpet care services. Mandi Clark is the new public relations specialist within the marketing department for Rainbow International. Rainbow is a subsidiary of the Dwyer Group.

"I started on Monday and I work full-time, directly with a marketing manager and a marketing specialist," Clark said. "I am mainly in charge of "reputation management."

Established in 1981, Rainbow International offers restoration and carpet care services through more than 300 locations. The businesses provide restoration services for fire, water, smoke and mold damage.

When asked what helped her get the job, Clark said, "My interning experience. The Dwyer Group is very familiar with the PR program at Baylor, especially the Advanced PR class with Cassy Burleson."

"I believe the hands-on experience [Mandi] gained and participating in social media while at Baylor helped prepare her for working at the Dwyer Group," Dr. Elizabeth Bates, Baylor Journalism, Public Relations and New Media professor, said. "Furthermore, she learned many of the basic skills necessary for effective public relations, including writing and strategic planning."

Clark's current job duties:
- In charge of the corporate Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
- Monitor social media successes and improving interaction with customers.
- Write blog articles, newsletters, white papers on different home restoration topics, articles in Storm Surge and ROI magazines.
- Write press releases and pitch letters for events or grand openings of franchises.
- Help franchise owners set up their website, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
- Relate information to marketing team so they are able to work together to figure out what works best for the business.

"A lot of people don't know what PR is," Clark said.

"It is fairly common for individuals not to understand public relations." Bates said. "I think this happens because public relations practitioners can fill so many different roles in companies. Baylor Journalism, Public Relations and New Media (JPR&NM) students learn about the various functions of public relations in the introductory public relations class. This knowledge prepares them to describe the purpose of public relations. And the hands-on experience they gain in JPR&NM classes better prepare them to demonstrate what public relations is about."

"I'm so excited to have Mandi on the team with a full-time focus on PR and social media," Heather McLeod, Rainbow marketing manager with a Bachelor of Arts in marketing and management from Baylor, said. "I know she'll be able to bring a great personality to our online presence via social media. I am most excited, however, about the opportunity she has to pursue media coverage specifically with insurance publications. That's where we will be able to make the biggest splash."

Clark said the most important advice to give to potential students is to intern. She explains that not only does it look good on your resume, but "especially in public relations, the experience is crucial."

There are currently several Baylor interns working within the Dwyer Group and three other PR specialists who work for different brands.

"The Dwyer Group loves to hire Baylor grads," Clark said.

The Dwyer Group is known for providing real world experience for current Baylor students before giving them a full-time job opportunity.

"For us, Baylor is a great resource as we have experience with the classes and what the students are learning," McLeod said. "It makes it easier for us to manage our own expectations as to what students are capable of doing."

Baylor courses currently helping Clark the most:
- Advanced Public Relations
- Public Relations Media Programming
- Writing and Editing for Online Media

"Don't stress about the future and finding a job!" Clark said as advice for upcoming graduates. "Be persistent and don't let rejection after interviewing get you down. It's not personal ... most of the time it's because you are a recent grad. Just be yourself during interviews. Experience is key!"

At the Dwyer Group, interns' resumes are looked at in terms of class experience while with prospective employees, the focus is on relevant work experience. It's good to be able to see that a student or graduate was good at managing their time and balancing work, activities, classes and anything else.

"As a Baylor alum, I think there is a certain expectation put on those students," McLeod said. "But that's a great thing. I think it works in the student's favor to have people so familiar with the high caliber of Baylor University graduates."