Getting coffee and doing informational interviews are essential elements for building your network, looking for a job or exploring a new career path. But these meetings can be at times awkward. What should you say when you’re actually in one? Which questions will help you gain the most information? Are there any topics you should avoid? And how should you ask for more help if you need it? In this discussion, we explore the art of “Getting Coffee” and how to make the meeting valuable for both parties.
Arik Hanson, Principal, ACH Communications
Arik Hanson is one of the most experienced independent social media marketing consultants in the U.S. With 25+ years of experience, Arik has worked with more than 75 Fortune 500 and midsized companies in Minnesota and across the U.S. including Dairy Queen, Sleep Number, General Mills, Walmart, Trane Technologies and Toro. Arik is known as a leading blogger, podcaster and speaker in the social media world. Arik’s blog is one of the longest-running social media blogs in the U.S. (11+ years) and his Hanson & Hunt Podcast, which he co-hosts with Kevin Hunt of General Mills, is one of the longest-running social media and corporate communications podcasts in Minnesota, and the U.S. (5+ years). Arik is also an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas, where he teaches social media and PR courses. Over the years, he has served on the board of directors for Minnesota PRSA, MIMA and the Winona State University Alumni Association and has actively volunteered with local organizations including Children’s Hospitals & Clinics and Bolder Options.
Saskia Van Riessen, Insight Strategist at Colle McVoy
As a strategist, Saskia’s role focuses on client research and crafting narratives to transform insights into creative strategies. She worked in the agency’s Exponent PR team for over a year before transitioning to the Insights team and now works on clients like the Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board, Deluxe and Associated Bank. Her experience also draws from previous internships at Weber Shandwick and broadhead. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Journalism school with a Strategic Communications degree in 2018.
Beth Wellman, Project Manager, Brandpoint
Beth Wellman has background in retail, graphic design, photography and communications. She is currently a Project Manager at Brandpoint, which specializes in creating and distributing Public Relations content tactics through guaranteed media placements, as well as content marketing and creation. She is an active member of the Minnesota chapter of PRSA and volunteers on the communications committee to promote Minnesota PRSA content and events through social media. Aside from communications, she is passionate about art. In her spare time, she creates glass art pieces and jewelry. Additionally, she has volunteered on the social media strategy team for the NE Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA) promoting local community art events around NE MPLS and the surrounding areas, such as Art-A-Whirl.
Liz Erickson, Senior Communications Specialist at Thrivent
Liz Erickson has over six years of experience in the public relations and communications field spanning a variety of corporate, agency and government positions. During college, she landed an internship with the city of St. Paul working with Mayor Chris Coleman. She supported the press secretary with day-to-day projects including putting together briefs for press conferences and media monitoring. From there, she interned at Schuler Publicity, a boutique PR firm where she learned all things pitching media and client service.
Following graduation from Metropolitan State University in Dec. 2015 where she received her bachelor’s degree in communications & public relations, Liz secured an internship at Best Buy Corporate (BBY). Her primary role was to support the Best Buy News-Making team on all external communications functions. She interned at BBY for nine months before landing her first post-graduate job at Evine – a TV shopping network based out of Eden Prairie, Minn. In just two short years at Evine, she rose the ranks from marketing specialist to corporate communications and PR lead. Her main tasks included coordinating celebrity media interviews, authoring internal communications, and supporting brand launches by concepting and executing strategic PR campaigns.
While Liz thoroughly enjoyed her time at Evine, she wanted to add agency experience to her professional portfolio. After a bit of networking and coffee meetings, she secured a role at Lola Red, a nationally known D2C PR agency based in Minneapolis. As a public relations coordinator at Lola Red, she staffed interviews at local media outlets, drafted client communications such as press releases, media pitches and FAQs, and supported brand activations both locally and nationally. she was promoted to public relations & partnerships manager and served in this role for nearly a year.
Following her time at Lola Red, Liz moved in-house to Thrivent, a Fortune 500 diversified financial services organization, where she currently serves as a senior communications specialist on the company’s External Affairs team. As a member of the External Affairs team, she coordinates local and national media engagements and supports all other external communications initiatives.
When not scouring the news and chatting up media, Erickson can be found hanging out with her husband and rescue dog, Pico.