Mentoring ‘Future PR Rockstars’: Mission North’s Olivia Osborne on the Agency’s Growing Fellowship Program

This summer, as part of Mission North’s “Foster the Future” fellowship program, we were joined by Lala Badaoui, a senior public relations major at James Madison University. Lala spent six weeks embedded on various account and internal teams. She also dug into some unique research, contributing to a task force experimenting with next-gen AI technology.

Our “Foster the Future” fellowship for female BIPOC students is part of a broader initiative creating pathways for individuals who’ve historically been excluded from leadership positions. With participation from other PR agencies and the PRSA Foundation, we offer students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while offsetting some of their financial burdens.

As Lala told us during her final week: “I leave the program with a wealth of knowledge, practical experience, and revitalized enthusiasm for PR.” Among others overseeing Lala on this journey, Mission North Account Manager Olivia Osborne volunteered to serve as her direct manager. We caught up with Olivia to get a sense of how she’s grown by contributing to the program, and what “Foster the Future” means to her:

To kick us off, as Lala’s manager this summer, can you describe what it was like seeing the fellowship program in action?

It was so rewarding to work with Lala and see her grow throughout her fellowship. Each day she came to Mission North bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to learn and help her teammates. And it’s no surprise that everyone loved working with her! It was refreshing to see someone so enthusiastic. I could sincerely tell how much this opportunity meant to her and how valuable it was for her career growth.

Companies often fail to give fellows or interns the opportunity to take on meaningful work that will propel them forward in the workforce, but that wasn’t the case here. I got to see first-hand the skills Lala was developing, like media relations and time management – core things that will set her apart when she enters a full-time position. I was even lucky enough to share some account work with her, and she played a significant role in compiling competitor research every week. This gave her a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into PR planning and what informs messaging development, something I didn’t see until much later in my career.

Overall, I’m so happy that Mission North has this program to give future PR rockstars like Lala the opportunity to develop tangible career experiences that will make a difference in their future.

<split-lines>"I got to see first-hand the skills Lala was developing, like media relations and time management – core things that will set her apart when she enters a full-time position."<split-lines>

Has the program helped motivate or inspire you in any way? 

As someone who just entered a manager position, it was rewarding to witness Lala’s growth and development. Watching her evolve from day one, learning the ropes and gaining confidence, to leaving the fellowship with multiple projects completed was truly gratifying. Her success reminded me that effective mentorship and leadership can have a real impact. Now that her fellowship has ended, I’m motivated to continue improving my own skills as a manager, and gaining more and more knowledge so that I can provide even better guidance and support to my team members. 

I’d also be remiss to not mention how infectious Lala’s enthusiasm was. Seeing her tackle challenges head-on inspired me (and still does!) to do the same. Her innate curiosity also created a positive ripple effect that rekindled my own passion for PR.

<split-lines>"Her success reminded me that effective mentorship and leadership can have a real impact."<split-lines>

What was your fondest memory of working with Lala? Perhaps even a specific assignment or meeting?

Our weekly one-on-ones. As two gals with curly hair, Lala and I bonded over all things hair care. We also gabbed about her incredible singing abilities: she sang the national anthem at the Washington Nationals game! It was also so fun hearing about her school experience and her beach trips. Oh, and she knows how to bartend. She can do it all.

On a more serious note, it was also meaningful to discuss her career goals. Like most college seniors with senioritis, Lala was (and is!) ready to wrap up school and enter the workforce. Her incredible drive and determination fostered meaningful conversations between us about what she could do with her career or what kind of PR roles she would be best suited for. As someone who graduated college just four years ago, I know I could have benefited from a little more career counseling, so it was rewarding to help Lala with her career path. I already miss our weekly calls!

<split-lines>"It was rewarding to help Lala with her career path. I already miss our weekly calls!"<split-lines>

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