By Wyatt Boyer
Public Relations at a large hospital in Harrisburg isn’t an easy task, but Lori Moran is up to the job. As Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Holy Spirit Hospital, she has the daunting task of overseeing everything from press releases to commercials to events on a daily basis. Her job is always relevant and her work is seen inside and outside the office frequently. She has her hands in many different projects at once. Sitting in her office in the wee hours of the morning, topics such as the path that got her to this point, an average day on the job, and any advice she has for students looking to make a career out of the field of communications are discussed.
The path to becoming director of PR and marketing isn’t an easy one. Moran first started at Shippensburg University, where she double-majored in Art and Communications. Eventually she decided to forego Art and switch to Journalism with a concentration in PR.
According to her, she was “smitten by the field of communications, how broad the field was, and how many possibilities existed.” During her studies she interned at the Carlisle Chambers of Commerce, part of her duties being to promote a Peter, Paul, & Mary concert.
Moran now has 25 years of experience in the field of communications. She’s been with her department at Holy Spirit Hospital for 16 years, and has held her current position since June of 2014. When asked her daily job duties, she says working with the website, ad agency, reporters and staff are part of her daily ritual, along with event planning (which is something she only touches on). Press releases and commercials are part of her duties as well.
Lori said “Making commercials is a team-oriented process. We create them with a team of people from both the hospital and the ad agency. Then, we present them to focus groups and present online surveys to people to determine what the public likes/dislikes about them. We really want to know what the community thinks about them before we put them on the screen. We employ a mix of creative thinking and taglines to this process. Catchy things that will stick with people works the best.”
Press releases work a bit differently. “Typically”, Lori says, “we only do a press release when something new happens, like if any events are coming up, or if there are any new physicians. Along with this, sometimes we’ll just do press releases when we write something up for the website.”
The communication department also uses social media to their advantage. The hospital uses both Facebook and Twitter. They currently have 28,000 fans and are growing every month.
Moran states “the main things we put out to the public are pictures, health tips, and other similar things. We really try to focus on audience interaction in order to broaden our horizons. We like to communicate back and forth with our audience in order to talk to our fans and hear their concerns.”
When asked how one can get experience in the communication field, she ponders for a moment. After a bit of thinking, she cites places that helped her in the past.
“Susquehanna Service Dogs, Keystone Human Services, and the PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) work wonders. In addition to this, always ask your professors for opportunities. It’s a great way to find relevant work in the area you’re concentrating in!”
In her eyes, internships also provide a valuable experience. “Internships are incredibly valuable to students if they manage to get the right one. They provide an outlook into what a job consists of- something that’s very important in order to see if you’re the right fit for the job. Experience is the most important thing in the field of communication, use internships wisely and make sure you’re going down the right path for yourself.”
Communication students at HACC reacted positively to Lori’s advice. “She has a lot of experience and knows what it takes to be in the field. As a PR major myself, her advice especially speaks to me. I can see it being helpful for anyone, though” says Brooke Plevinsky, HACC student.
Opportunities are everywhere if you know where to look. Lori’s career shows the path to success requires hard work and putting one’s name out there.
HACC Harrisburg student Richard Laird asserts “She’s correct. Internships have become an integral part of the education system, especially in communication. Get involved, gain experience in the field you’re studying for!”