For the past three years, I have been a Clairemont Communications client while working with the International Association of Fire Chiefs on the volunteer firefighters campaign for the state of North Carolina. The Clairemont team made us feel like we were their only client. They were going above and beyond on our deliverables. No matter how hard it was to rein in all our crazy ideas. The excitement and eagerness to support the client always impressed me.
During my time as a Clairemont client, I formed a very close bond with the team. I started to really enjoy learning the ins and outs of public relations. A seed was planted in the back of my mind that this would be a great career fit for me. Something I would truly enjoy doing. I also started to see how my background in art and my career in the non-profit sector for 11 years prepared me to work in PR.
If I learned anything in art school, it was to embrace my creative side and to be flexible in the work I do. Creativity and flexibility are important skills in PR. You need to be able to pitch innovative ideas and ready to change directions if they do not work. I had also gained a basic skill set that would be valuable in the PR industry. Writing press releases and building relationships with a variety of companies and individuals throughout my career in non-profits set me up for a career in PR. As my luck would have it, a position opened with the Clairemont team, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to apply.
Client to employee
After participating in a thorough interview process and the anticipation of a job offer, I was getting ready to switch careers and move down to Raleigh! I am so excited to be here and to learn under Dana and her team! Not only do I get to work with an amazing group, but I get to use the creativity that has been dormant for so long while working a typical desk job. Only 10 weeks into the job and I am already back to creating art in my spare time. This is something that I haven’t done in several years. I think my parents would be glad that I’m finally putting my college degree to good use by carrying that artistic spark over to my work with Clairemont.
My years in non-profit were not all bad, quite the opposite. During this time I worked for some of the top medical societies, the YMCA, Travelers Insurance and the IAFC. I broke out of my introverted bubble and built relationships with diverse groups. I worked with the top pharmaceutical companies and medical research institutions, at-risk youth, did fundraising and helped recruit and retain volunteer firefighters nationwide. While I enjoyed my work in non-profit organizations and collected an amazing amount of knowledge and skills, I am ready to see what I can bring to Clairemont.
Settling in to Raleigh
My career has taken me from Washington D.C. to Tucson, AZ, out to Minneapolis and Northern Virginia. I have experienced some of the hottest and coldest weather the U.S. has to offer. It seems like Raleigh will be a good mix (but the humidity!) and I’m thrilled to settle here. I have enjoyed exploring an amazing city that seems to not stop growing and diversifying. Some of the best food and drinks I have ever had, have been here in Raleigh. I have joined group cycling rides and explored the many parks and festivals Raleigh has to offer. In Raleigh, I believe I have found my new home away from home and look forward to continued amazement with this area. I’m excited to make new memories and reach the next level of my career here at Clairemont Communications.
You can follow Derek on Instagram @DerekBullington