Interview with Jennifer Bush

7 Oct

For my interview with a corporate public relations professional, I chose to interview Jennifer Bush, Manager of Special Projects at Publix Super Markets. Although Bush has a degree in business, she finds that public relations is a field that she enjoys and that her degree prepared her for due to the extensive writing she did. She also loves her job so much she described it as the “Best job in Publix.” She started at Publix in 1980 in the advertising department but feels that God wanted her in her current position and he opened the door. Since she had a good track record of helping people develop their talents, she was qualified for her current position.  I met Bush because of my involvement with the Dick Pope/Polk County chapter of FPRA (Florida Public Relations Association) and I interviewed her over the phone.

I don’t think that any public relations professional has a typical week at work and Bush can especially testify to that since she works with departments within all levels of the company. Last week Bush worked with the historian at Publix and interviewed people that have been working at Publix for an extended period of time as well as those who have retired. They are trying to capture the Publix story and therefore are taking employees and former employees into the studios and interview them. It is important to get an associate’s perspective of the company history.

One project that Bush is especially proud of is the Fortune magazine 100 Best Companies to Work For in America. “We have been on the list every year since the inception of the program,” Bush said proudly. “Publix Super Markets is only in five states and we are competing with companies that are all over the nation.” Bush described the Fortune project as a four to five-month-long extensive project which involves surveying associates and gather support material to show Fortune what kind of company Publix is. “It’s great whenever that list comes out and we are one it,” said Bush. “It is a very nice recognition.”

Another yearly project that Bush works on is an internal communications project that is an appreciation program for associates. In order for associates to feel appreciated, Bush works on providing details for officers to be able to personally acknowledge and thank all associates, especially store-level associates.

In order to keep up with the advancements in the public relations industry, Bush is involved in FPRA. “It’s a wonderful resource for networking, learning about the latest trends,” said Bush. She describes FPRA as a great source of professional development that fives member great resources. It provides exposure to a network or people with experience in public relations. FPRA earns Bush’s number one recommendation.

Publix has yet to jump into the social media game but Bush said that they do monitor blogs in order to find out what information is out about Publix. Although Publix has yet ro get in to the social media arena, they are researching it because it is a big step for a company to take.

Bush’s job involves heavy writing and communication. “Every project requires writing,” said Bush. “Whether working on an email, internal communications, award package applications, strong writing skills are required.”

Some tips that Bush offered to those starting of in the public relations field are to get involved in a public relations organization such as FPRA (it’s a one-stop shop), be service driven and love communicating with people.

Choosing to major in public relations was a process for me because I wondered what I could do where I could exercise not only my writing skills but my communication skills with others. After interviewing Bush, I am even more enthusiastic to pursue a career in public relations. Her extremely positive attitude towards her job is an attitude that I would like to have towards my career of choice. Her job sounds exciting and spontaneous and I am a big fan of spontaneity. “Sometimes you will get a phone call telling you about a major recall or maybe informing you of a deer running around in the store,” said Bush.

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