Journalism and English senior Sean Fraser has come a long way since his days as a clown (literally) back in high school, taking full advantage of his three years at the UW.
Although once a comedy relief at kids events, clad with a red nose and giant shoes (which happened to be a lot of fun), Fraser’s love of entertaining is evident and he combines it with his more recent passion of public relations.“I really enjoy entertaining people and I like to bring that into the things I do,” Fraser said, “[for instance with] the creation of branded content and making fun things through social media or video and just utilizing that creativity.”
Fraser’s current job at Linster Creative developed from the most recent of five internships he’s had in the last two years. Fraser started in the marketing and communication department at KCTS 9 (Seattle’s PBS affiliate) working with social media, press releases, and events, before moving to the production side of things where he helped produce the weekly news outlet and documentaries.
Next, Fraser collaborated with the Susan Carr Vocal Studio where he helped market a new product, aiding the digital campaign and meeting with bands in the Seattle area. The SAM was his next stop, working PR for the “Gauguin and Polynesia” exhibit and expanding his duties to pitching, outreach, blog writing, and press events.
He started interning at the boutique agency Linster Creative last May, which is a full spectrum communication agency, meaning they create entire brands for clients by doing marketing, PR, digital media, and web design, and has since been offered a job as the account executive.
“What I really like about working at Linster is that I get to expand horizontally and test out all kinds of different marketing and PR tactics,” Fraser said. “So I design all the websites for our clients and I do different social media campaigns, as well as guerrilla marketing and traditional PR, and event planning which is a whole lot of fun. It’s really cool because I feel like when you’re doing all those different things for a client, you can really create a cohesively branded message and help them be really clear and focused on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it to the public.”
Without a PR option in the more than 120 majors offered at the UW, Fraser has looked for inventive ways to fulfill his passion.
“Journalism, I think, helps public relations professionals be successful,” he said. “They have a really good understanding of journalism and that’s why I chose to do the journalism side of things, because I think when I’m pitching and working with the media I’ll understand better what they need to write a really great story. So it’s a good complement.”
Extracurricular activities have broadened his expertise in the field, taking on leadership positions and guiding those intrigued by PR. As president of the UW Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the program that got him involved freshman year in PR that he felt balanced his interests in communication, journalism, and marketing, Fraser has brought numerous professionals to campus, among other duties, who are eager to share their experiences about how the industry is changing and different career tracks to consider.
“But I would say my favorite part of my job is meeting one-on-one with students who are interested in PR and sharing my passion with them,” he said, “and also helping them connect with the right people in the industry or the right companies so that they can make their time at the UW really successful for their future careers.”
Fraser doesn’t just help college students either. He co-taught a program at a local middle school called Young Entrepreneurs, hosted by the Business Ethics Association at the UW, which helped students with basic business and financial literacy and build their ideas into small businesses.
“It was really rewarding and I think the students had a blast too,” Fraser said. “They all went through the 10 week program and at the end had their little businesses, were making incomes, and learned how to market them.”
A couple weeks ago, Fraser along with seven other Communication students got the opportunity to go on a weekend trip to L.A. with Department Chair David Domke, of which Fraser described as “one of the best professional development experience I’ve had while at the UW.”
“It was really exciting to see how the L.A. market is different than the Seattle market,” he said, “because I’ve had a lot of experience in PR and marketing through internships and jobs up here, but it’s a really unique corporate culture down there and the way they operate is a little different.”
Seeing the reality of the cutthroat operations at ViaCom and meeting with Pulitzer Prize winners over dinner enticed Fraser to someday move to Southern California, but for now he’s staying put.
“I’m really happy at the agency I’m at right now and would like to stay there for a while and really build upon some of the clients we do have,” he said. “There are all kinds of new opportunities.”
With a focus in the food and restaurant industry to a nonprofit called Dreams for Orphans that does work in West Africa to New Chapter Weddings that puts on the One Love Wedding Showcase for the LGBTQ community, Fraser is involved with great causes in which he sees a lot of growth opportunities.
Whether it’s through PRSSA presidential obligations, schoolwork, Linster Creative duties, or making a casual appearance on the panel at in-NW, Fraser certainly shows his devotion to the field of public relations.
“It’s a balancing act,” Fraser said. “I think it’s all about time management and although it’s a lot of different things, I love everything I do… When you’re really passionate about something, you just make it happen.”