Member Spotlight: Rizalyn Vargas

Name: Rizalyn Vargas
Title: Communications Representative
Organization: San Diego Blood Bank
Years in PR: 4
Years in PRSA, San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter: 2
Hometown: San Diego

Wearing several hats during a typical day at the San Diego Blood Bank is all part of Rizalyn’s job description. A member of our chapter for just over a year, she already serves as the liaison to our Board for the New Pros Committee. At the Blood Bank, Rizalyn is responsible for coordinating, managing, and implementing all of the Blood Bank’s communications efforts to include social media, email marketing, internal relations, community relations and media relations. She is also responsible for establishing the Blood Bank’s social media channels and is the active voice behind it all – posting content, responding, and dealing with issues and critics alike. Read on for more Q&A with Rizalyn:

What do you love about your job?
I love my job because I have the chance to be creative, to play with words, photography and graphics. It’s very meaningful work. I know that I have added value in my ideas and contributions of what I can do for the Blood Bank, such as developing the social media program here. It’s meaningful to me knowing that I can get support from my boss to make things my own. She’s been a real mentor to me.

What motivates you?
The moments when I feel like I need a pick-me-upper, I look at comments left on our social media channels like, the thank yous. Seeing the pride people have for donating blood makes me know that the work I’m doing is truly making a difference and saving people’s lives.

What’s your background and what was your career path to the San Diego Blood Bank?
I’m a native San Diegan and graduate of UCSD and I knew I wanted to establish a career in public service. I did an internship in Nepal where I helped women and children learn about health fundamentals before officially beginning my career working at a healthcare non-profit in Washington, DC. It was a special project working with the VP of PR at this non-profit that piqued my interest in communications and public relations. I was ready to find a new job that combined my interest in healthcare and writing and landed the job at the San Diego Blood Bank more than a year ago.

Any career advice to others?
Hone your writing skills. Having the ability to write well and succinctly is crucial to a successful PR career. I also believe it’s important to exude confidence and be able to connect with people. I was initially nervous to work with media, but I learned they are just looking to me to give them what they need to do their job well, too.

Do you have tips for others in our profession?

  • Take advantage of all the quality resources offered by PRSA including Tactics and The Strategist, a great resource on what others in our profession are thinking and implementing.
  • Join a board. It’s a great way to supplement your skills that may not otherwise be part of your current position. You can always volunteer for our own PRSA chapter board!
  • Cultivate a craft within our broad profession. Know what you are really good at it and let your craft contribute more effectively to your team or company.
  • Be self-initiating and valuable. You can create projects for yourself in your job and provide solutions in areas that may be lacking.
  • Perfection doesn’t exist, so don’t be too sensitive when someone edits your work. You are there to learn and to strive to be better.
  • And most importantly, remember to laugh! It’s okay to do so and not take yourself too seriously all the time.
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