Just last night, I landed back in the good old 6ix, getting back from my trip with the Durham College Public Relations program to Chicago, Illinois. This trip has been in the works for the program since September 2015 and was planned by our program coordinator and the seven chair members. As documentation chair, I was required to create, distribute and organize all paperwork for the trip to ensure it went smoothly, so I was quite happy when the trip finally arrived, but now I am sad it is over!
While in Chicago, we had the opportunity to visit some amazing companies and excursions. If you have never been to Chicago, I highly recommend you take a trip to the windy city. Here is a little brief of what our trip entailed while down in the good old US of A.
Day 01/March 29
We boarded our flight from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Island Airport at 9:30am and landed in Chicago’s Midway Airport at 11:30am Toronto time, or 10:30am Chicago time.
We made our way to our beautiful hotel, the Hampton Inn Majestic in the the theatre district and grabbed some lunch before heading to our first speaker, Nikki Snodgrass at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, where she discussed the importance of social media in Architecture PR.
During a self guided walking tour after the speaker, we of course had to grab a photo op with the infamous Bean.
That night, we enjoyed a HILARIOUS show at Second City Comedy Club called Fast, Loud and Funny before calling it a night to prepare for the next day’s busy agenda.
Day 02/March 30
What a jam-packed, interesting day this was! Bright and early we were up and having (my favourite part about travelling) hotel breakfast, then we were off to Choose Chicago to speak with Nycole Hampton about the importance of social media influencers and vetting media. Nycole was an amazing host and had Chicago famous Do-Rite Donut for us to snack on while we heard her talk. Bacon Maple Donut? She was really speaking to our Canadian hearts.
From there, we were quick to get down to Havas Wordwide Chicago, a PR agency with a modern, open office that feels more like a playground than work! There, Grace Bondy gave us some insight on the office structure and importance of internal communication.
The group then had a couple hours to grab some dinner before heading out on a Chicago Hauntings ghost tour, which was crazy spooky, especially after seeing a ghost-like figure appear in one of my images afterwards! Then to bed we went, sad to say goodbye to Chicago the next day.
Day 03/March 31
Up and bright and early once again, we were checked out and out the doors of the hotel at 8am, ready for our last speaker of the trip, PCI PR where the staff shared with us a couple of their crisis communications and media relations case studies and gave us a tour of their beautiful office.
From there, we were given 6 hours of free time, so myself and a couple others went to the amazing Chicago Sky Deck and got breathtaking views of the city from above.
Some tourist-y shopping was done, some feet hurting was endured, some transit was taken and we found ourselves at the Midway Airport, saying farewell to the Windy City! The flight was rough with turbulence because of the storm Toronto was getting, but the Porter Airlines staff were amazing at their jobs and made the whole experience as comfortable as possible.
I absolutely loved Chicago and I think a lot of us have this stereotype in our heads that Americans are not the nicest, but I have never met more friendly people in any of my travels. I absolutely want to return to the beautiful city and explore it even more, maybe in the summer when the Navy Pier ferris wheel is open and it would be nicer weather for a boat tour!
All in all, I learned some amazing tips from PR professionals in a beautiful city, and I will take the memories from this trip with me in all of my future endeavours, wherever I may end up.
Have a Chicago experience or want more information about the windy city? Let me know!
Happy Chicago travelling my friends.
Until next time,