Cassaundra Kalba ’21 has always been independent and driven. As a first-generation college student, her tenacity has allowed her to excel in her career in a short amount of time.
Kalba graduated from the University of New Hampshire Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a marketing option and is now using her passion for marketing and interpersonal skills in her role as a senior publicist at Society 22, a public relations (PR) firm based out of Los Angeles, California.
“My day-to-day is kind of crazy, it changes every day. I never have a schedule of what’s going to happen,” Kalba says.
Working in PR is all about building relationships and being a people person, according to Kalba. Her job is to build connections by meeting with clients and the roster ranges from about six to 10 at a time.
These clients can have different roles ranging from a real estate agent to a candidate running for mayor — the possibilities are endless. Kalba builds rapport by learning their stories. Using this, she figures out an effective way to pitch their stories to the media, including traditional and social outlets.
“My job is to think of different ways to generate buzz around their brand. Sometimes it’s getting them on the news, throwing an event, getting them ready to speak at a conference or having a toy drive. It’s a bit different for everyone,” Kalba says.
After graduating from UNH, Kalba was initially unsure of what she wanted to do. Through Paul College, she was able to network and find out what she did and didn’t like about the different fields of business. She also learned other essential skills from presenting at the Undergraduate Research Conference.
“I think that is one of the best things I learned at Paul — how to talk to people and the social parts of business, like learning how to ask for resources. Paul gives you so many connections,” Kalba says.
Kalba researched her options and consulted alumni in the marketing field to gain insights into their careers. Eventually, she became familiar with PR, further educating herself through podcasts and YouTube videos.
Within the first six months of her first job as a publicist at a PR firm in Tampa, Kalba was mentioned in Forbes magazine, as well as rated a top 100 PR professional in the country for 2022. Her key to success has been hard work and taking on every project possible, even if it is unfamiliar and outside her comfort zone.
“I think that’s why I have been successful at both firms because any opportunity that comes my way, I’m up for the challenge. But at the same time, I know I can ask for help,” Kalba says.
Stepping outside her comfort zone was not something new. Kalba recalls a sales course from her time at Paul College where she had to do mock cold calls in front of the class. She found this activity to be awkward and uncomfortable. However, she looks back on that experience as an asset in her business skill set.
“That is what I took away from Paul the most — you don’t remember the formulas from class, but you do remember those awkward things that your professor made you do and it’s like, thank God I did,” Kalba says.
Kalba's next move is to Los Angeles to work in-person for Society 22, though she has been working remotely for them in the interim. Her advice for independent students like herself is straightforward.
“Don't hesitate to seek assistance, as people are generally willing and happy to help,” she says.