From "Bridgerton" to Ziplines, Business Management Alumna Erica Roney '16 Promotes the Best Britain Has to Offer Alumni Profile
Meet Erica Roney '16
- Job Title & Employer
- Communications manager, USA, VisitBritain
- Business Management
- College Activities
- Point Park women’s soccer, Campus Activities Board
- Springdale, Pa.; Springdale Junior-Senior High School
- Now Living In
- New York, N.Y.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Travel, trying new restaurants and bars across NYC, Pilates, yoga and learning about new spirits
"Point Park’s program provided me with the flexibility to learn about different areas within the world of business management. At the time, I didn’t know what would spark my interest, but the wide variety of classes – from marketing to human resources – armed me with a skillset that I could bring to any role, including communications."
What have you been up to since graduating from Point Park?
I moved to New York City to work as an account coordinator at a boutique public relations agency, Bullfrog + Baum. Throughout my four years there, I managed a client roster of restaurants, bars, hotels, spirits and destinations while honing my PR skills, such as writing pitches and press releases, managing client relations, building brand identities, curating events and creating and implementing a larger PR strategy and campaign. My career has allowed me to travel to new places and meet exceptional human beings while doing so. It’s very rewarding to learn you can make a career out of simply doing what you love and sharing it with the world in a creative and compelling way.
How did you land your current role with VisitBritain, and what does it entail?
After several years working at an agency, I was interested in moving to an in-house communications role, keeping within the realm of hospitality and tourism. In February 2020, I joined VisitBritain as the communications manager for the U.S., not knowing that international tourism would take a hard hit in the coming month.
VisitBritain is the U.K. government’s national tourism agency, and our job is to promote travel to England, Scotland and Wales. My roles and responsibilities vary day to day, but the ultimate goal is always to create and maintain a positive image for the destination. My main priority is managing U.S. media relations, which can include pitching and placing inspirational travel stories, writing and distributing press releases for major campaign launches and creating unique itineraries for group or individual press trips where they can experience first-hand all that Britain has to offer. I love this job because I get to learn about and travel to new places all the time. Even when I am not traveling myself, my job is to inspire others to do so, and who doesn’t love to travel?
What are some of your favorite campaigns or projects you've worked on for the company?
Promoting an international destination in the middle of a global pandemic was no easy feat, but we were able to leverage the popularity of film tourism with shows and films like "Bridgerton," "The Crown" and "Outlander" to inspire future travel. We hosted intimate virtual media events with key personalities such as Lady Carnarvon, the Countess of Highclere Castle, home to "Downton Abbey," to talk about the filming of the show, the history of Highclere Castle and how you can visit the show's filming locations on your next trip to England. The media were so excited to be speaking with these unique personalities, and we’ve since been able to coordinate some trips to experience it in person.
Now that international travel is returning, it’s been most rewarding to launch our newest campaign, "Welcome to Another Side of Britain." The global campaign is focused on showcasing a more modern and unexpected side of the destination, ultimately changing some of the dated perceptions that Britain is only a place for history, heritage and culture. As part of this, I get to coordinate amazing experiences for media where they can take on the world’s fastest zipline in Wales, make their own gin in the cellar of a 17th century castle or have dinner and cocktails while dangling hundreds of feet in the air overlooking the London skyline.
How did Point Park's business management program prepare you for career success?
Point Park’s program provided me with the flexibility to learn about different areas within the world of business management. At the time, I didn’t know what would spark my interest, but the wide variety of classes – from marketing to human resources – armed me with a skillset that I could bring to any role, including communications.
I also loved that so many of my professors were leaders in their field and brought real-world experiences to class. This provided me with a true sense of what to expect once I graduated college and what type of job opportunities I may want to pursue. I really loved the small class structure at Point Park, as it allowed me to build strong relationships with professors and truly engage in each class.
What are your favorite Point Park memories?
Though I was in the business management program, I had friends in the Conservatory of Performing Arts, and it was great to meet people from different backgrounds who have different interests. I loved catching one of their shows, improv nights or theatre performances and then choosing somewhere new and exciting to go for dinner afterwards.
I also was part of the women’s soccer team and, as a newer program, it was one of the best experiences to win the conference championship. Being a student athlete can be demanding, but the relationships I built and the successes we celebrated together will always be among my favorite college memories.
Why would you recommend Point Park to a prospective student?
Point Park is a small school and, at first glance, this might deter prospective students as it’s not the typical college campus experience, but I think it’s the very best of both worlds.
You have smaller classes and more meaningful discussions with your professors, which can result in some really great professional and educational opportunities. You also quickly get to know your fellow students, and it’s a joy to be in the common areas and just hanging out with everyone. The University may be small, but you have one of the very best cities to call your campus. I chose a career in PR because I worked in some of Pittsburgh's very best restaurants since freshman year and fell in love with the world of hospitality. I wanted to write and talk about food and drinks for a living. Pittsburgh is full of amazing restaurants and exciting cultural attractions, and there is truly always something to do!
Connect with Erica Roney '16
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