It’s no secret that Syracuse University emphasizes a strong communications alumni network. Whether you call it the “Newhouse Mafia,” or not, there’s no questioning that orange is everywhere.

OSyracuseur partnership with Newhouse doesn’t stop at the Center for Social Commerce. It’s a fundamental mindset for those of us who hail from Syracuse. Many of us remember when we were students and the generosity of those who shaped our perception and understanding of the industry. Some of us just bleed orange. Regardless of motive, we are a proud bunch dedicated to sharing our knowledge and experience with new generations of professionals.

Shortly after the holidays, we were thrilled to host two Syracuse sophomores as a part of the Newhouse Alumni Partnership Program. Thanks to the willingness and hard work of Elliot Fox, Lauren Barbiero, Sarah Masel, Richard Wong, Sarah Colgrove, Abigail Rethore, Brianna Quaglia and more, we were able to ensure that Milati Das and Saquandra Heath could experience the breadth of W2O Group’s functions and practices.

It was a fulfilling day for us and we were excited to convey what makes W2O Group so special with two very driven and bright students. Here are their reactions and thoughts.

Hope you enjoy!

Meriel McCaffery & Taylor Carr

Mitali Das’ Reflection

Over my winter break frMitaliDasom Syracuse University I had the opportunity to shadow Meriel McCaffery at WCG (W2O Group), an extremely positive and eye-opening experience. Immersed in the comings and goings of a prominent digital marketing agency, I was able to bridge the gap between my communications education and the realities of the industry. I learned a great deal about the emerging field of analytics, the central role of media engagement, and the integration of practices and functions within the company. While shadowing Meriel, a Corporate Communications Strategist at WCG and fellow Newhouse alumna, I learned firsthand about the inner workings of an agency. I caught a glimpse into the typical workday of a strategist such as Meriel. In between numerous meetings, she was able to balance her individual client-based tasks and communicate with her colleagues.

As a student, I was intrigued by the wealth of knowledge to be gained in an agency setting. I observed as Meriel worked within a variety of disciplines, ranging from technology to healthcare. Though strategy and analytics were at the core of the work, her team seamlessly integrated their research and knowledge to better serve their client. As my day of meetings, tours, and conference calls came to a close, I was left with the impression that WCG, and agencies that perform in methods similar to theirs, are truly the future of public relations and marketing. My experience at this dynamic and progressive company, though titled as a “shadow,” was ultimately a unique opportunity to engage in what will be the future of my chosen field of study. I am grateful to my school, to Meriel, and to W2O Group for this unforgettable experience.

Saquandra Heath’s Reflection: A Glimpse of the Future

SaquandraHealth9:07: I arrived at a beautiful building submerged between peaceful waters of which the sun gracefully shone on, and bustling city goers strutting the busy streets of NYC. I had no idea what my day at W2O would entail, but I was ready for it all. “Ding!” and there I was, instantly on the fourteenth floor. The secretary greeted me with a welcoming smile and escorted me like a special guest to my job shadow host. Not long after greeting and exchanging names with the signature handshake, was I immersed in the daily life of a public relations practitioner, or consultant rather. However, this daily life is unlike any other that one could ever imagine.

When I thought about public relations, the first task that came to mind was writing a press release. Yet, at W2O, press releases are not the trend. W2O tackles a whole new and non-traditional approach to PR. They combine raw data, better known as analytics, mixed with the experience and expertise of renowned public relations practitioners, to create an agency that is operated with a futuristic approach. This non-traditional form of public relations is truly something that excites me—it is energetic, it is innovative, it is new, it is the future—but W2O has mastered it in the present.  My host Taylor Carr was phenomenal and explained this remarkable approach of public relations in great detail. Taylor’s eyes lit up with excitement, his tone screamed enthusiasm, and his knowledge was greatly exhibited, but his passion above all, left a lasting impression. Taylor possesses a work ethic that many strive for, and his passion about his career is so undeniable that it excited me for the workforce.

If one were to ask how my job shadow experience at W2O was, my response would begin with a smile, followed by “have a seat.”