Dear PIO Family,
As I look back to my first days as a wet-behind-the-ears PIO here at San Bernardino Valley College in 2008, I remember being overwhelmed at the intimidating prospect of trying to wrap my head around the complexity of representing, promoting, marketing, and connecting with an entire campus on my own. But, as I soon found out, I was far from alone—despite being a one-person department. After attending my first CCPRO conference and witnessing the vast volumes of professional sharing via this PIO-ALL mailing list, I was quickly emboldened by the reality that I had support structures from members of my same “tribe” that were just a few key strokes or touch tones away. Over the years, I have come to cherish these relationships and rely on them for sanity amongst the politics that sometimes envelops our campus and temporarily blinds us from the eternal target of student success.
Throughout my (nearly) 6 years here at SBVC, I’ve gained an unshakeable appreciation for the critical role that our community colleges play in the community—both on a collective and an individual basis. Dozens of student/alumni whose life journeys have intersected with our campus and whose struggles and dreams have been laid bare in emotional interview sessions have pulled on my heartstrings each and every time I encounter them. I’ll always treasure the privilege I’ve had of weaving their experiences into profile stories that create a larger tapestry of inspiration and hope that unmistakably showcase the value that our faculty and staff provide on a daily basis. As I look ahead to starting a new position in the Office of the County Superintendent of Schools at the Riverside County Office of Education as their new Director of Communications and Public Relations, I will most definitely be missing the regular interaction with you—the amplifiers of the great things our community colleges are doing.
For those new to their position, do your professional (and personal!) self a favor and engage with fellow community college PR/Marketing colleagues across the county and/or across the state and country. For those of you who have had a front row seat for the wild ride of enrollment swings, policy changes, and all the joys and challenges of a career in this field, thank you for your leadership and for sharing your expertise with others—including that new guy out in San Bernardino Valley College back in 2008 who is incredibly grateful on so many levels.
Thank you and I hope our journeys in educational communications/PR cross paths again soon!
Craig Petinak, Director
Office of Marketing & Public Relations
San Bernardino Valley College
701 S. Mt. Vernon Avenue
San Bernardino, CA 92410