7 Minnesota Millennial PR pros with very bright futures

Let’s be honest: Millennials have a pretty bad rep. Some of it is earned–I see the same thing everyone else does with this group. A bit of the entitlement attitude. And unrealistic expectations when it comes to salary and climbing the ladder.

But, you know what? There are a whole lot of stars in that Millennial group, too. Just look at some of the bigger movers and shakers nationally on the PR and digital marketing side–lot of millennials in that group. Nikki Stephan, David Spinks, Scott Hale, and Rebecca Denison just to name a few (follow the #u30pro chat for more examples–these stars are everywhere within that group).

And locally, right here in Minneapolis we have no shortage of millennial stars. I know I’m biased, but I continue to say we have one of the more talented and diverse creative communities in the nation. Yes, right here in fly-over country.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a few of these people as they’ve entered the workforce and made their way up the ladder and/or taken new roles and jobs.

So today, I thought I’d highlight 7 young PR pros that I believe have extremely bright futures. These are colleagues and people I’ve either worked with directly or indirectly over the last few years (how else would I recommend them?). ALL of these people have extremely bright futures in front of themselves (and, to be clear, I qualified “young PR pros” as anyone under 25 years old).

Allison Janney (@allisonjanney)
Allison’s a year into the workforce, but she’s already making quite a mark over at Exponent PR in Minneapolis. I first met Allison a couple years ago at a PRSA event. She approached me at the event, asked me questions (note to students: This never happens and is one of the many reasons Allison stands out) and a few months later, I was speaking with her university’s PRSSA chapter. Allison is the one person on this list that I haven’t officially worked with yet, but I’m sure at some point down the road we will have an opportunity.

Sarah Anderson (@sarahjander)
To be fair, I’m a little biased here. Sarah is a current intern with ACH Communications and has worked for a client of mine in the past year (Select Comfort). I met Sarah about a year ago. She asked me to coffee. What impressed me most was that Sarah came to that first meeting prepared with thoughtful questions and she had clearly done her research on me. We later reconnected about the job search after her internship with Select Comfort ran up–and that, of course, led to her working with me.

George Fiddler (@georgefiddler)
The brains and management behind Fast Horse’s successful Intern for a Day idea, George has really impressed me in my interactions with him the last two years. And apparently, I’m not alone. George started as an intern at Fast Horse, and was hired soon after thanks to his tenacity and big ideas. One of the hardest working young pros I know.

Kristin Gast (@kristingast)
I had the opportunity to work with Kristin (while she was at Tunheim) on a client account in my first six months after I started my firm. At the time, Kristin was probably only a year out of school. We worked together on a client education session and I found her to be professional, organized and very well-spoken. After all, we were in front of an executive team with our client–and Kristin came across as someone with 5-7 years experience, easily. Definite rising star.

Katie Schutrop (@kshoop)
You learn a lot about someone when you plan an event with them (ask Chuck Hemann about planning an event with me). Melissa Berggren and I asked Katie to help us with the Minnesota Blogger’s Conference last year. And wow, what a great idea that was. Katie was instrumental to the success of the event in many ways. She helped us with the Web site. She helped us with logistics. But most of all, she was responsive and hit every deadline. Oh, and by the way, she started the wildly popular Young Professional Communicators Group from scratch a couple years back.

Sara Benson (@sbenny35)
I worked with Sara for a bit on a PRSA committee a few years ago. At the time, Sara as a year or less removed from college, and the committee had a roster of heavy hitters from agencies around town. But, Sara held her ground, contributed and added a lot of value to the team. I enjoyed working with Sara so much, I reached out to her to interview her about her work at the Minnesota Zoo last year.

Bridget Jewell (@bmjewell)
One of the hardest working young professionals I know, it’s no wonder Bridget’s working in her “dream job” (her words, not mine) at the Mall of America. I’ve had the pleasure to know Bridget since she graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2008. I worked with her on a PRSA committee for two years. And a little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to work directly with Bridget at the Mall. In all those experiences, Bridget always followed through, met all her deadlines and was a joy to work with. I’d take her on my team any day of the week.

Obviously, I don’t know everyone in this town. And, I certainly haven’t had the opportunity to work with every millennial in the Twin Cities. So, who have you worked with–and who would you add to this list?

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11 comments on “7 Minnesota Millennial PR pros with very bright futures

  1. Kasey Skala says:

    Other than Kristin Gast, I would have to say this is a real solid list and shows the Minnesota PR pool is stocked with a lot of young talent.

    A few others that I would add: The first two shouldn’t be any surprise because I’ve shared in the past how amazing I think these two women are – Heidi Bobier (@hbobier) and Andrea Kopfmann (@andreakopfmann). I would go out of my way to work with these two. Extremely bright and talented professionals.

    The other one I would add is Chelsea Fadden. Having worked with her on Minnesota PRSA, I’ve found her to be very passionate and hard working. The best part about her is her willingness to help out and take on extra work/projects and deliver with great quality. I’m definitely looking forward to watching her transition to Padilla.

    Good list you have…and yes, I was kidding about Kristin. 🙂

  2. Kristin Gast says:

    Thanks for that sassy-pants.

    Arik – great list. I’ll put my hat in the ring for Rachel Medina (@REMedina). I’m always amazed at her ability to connect Ke$ha to her customers. 🙂

  3. I would also add Christian Betancourt (@cbetancourtPR) to the list – bright, hardworking and all-around fun guy!

  4. derickson says:

    Great list, Arik. You know I’ve got a bias toward Kristin, so I was happy to see her on your list. I, of course, would add all the rest of our Millennials here at Tunheim to the list. 🙂

    I know one needs diversity on such lists, but I’d also double down on your Mall of America personnel by adding my wise young friend Lisa Grimm.

  5. Thanks, Bridget! I appreciate the kind words. I would be ineligible for this list. I am currently almost 27 😛 Congrats to all these awesome peeps. I am proud to say I know all these people and they rock! The future of MN PR is secure and bright.

  6. Thanks Kristin! I too am amazed at my ability to incorporate Ke$ha into my work 🙂

    Arik, fabulous list as usual!

  7. Thank you for the mention! And thanks for the introduction to some smart new PR pros.

    I think it’s really important to highlight younger professionals who are doing great things in their careers and industries. And you do an awesome job of introducing your readers to talented professionals who they may not have connected with yet.

  8. Cheri Allbritton says:

    Please meet our city’s bright Millenials on Twitter at http://www.cbusr.com/ Over 1200 up and coming Columbus, Ohio Superstars in the making!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Always love when the Millennials get brought up. Not just to check the pulse of what everyone else thinks of us, but to inspire me to keep my act together. Will be sharing this with our own PRSSA!

  10. Thanks so much for the shout, Arik! I’m excited to connect with all the rockstars you listed. Definitely a group to watch out for!