3 Questions with… Briana Gruenewald of Bellmont Partners Public Relations

Briana GruenewaldEditor’s note: Students in ThreeSixty Journalism’s Rookie Journalist Camp in June spent time writing a Q-and-A story about guest speakers who visited camp. Check ThreeSixty.stthomas.edu for more of these profiles, as well as student blogs.

“Anyone you come in contact with ever, could be an opportunity for you some day to either get a job or learn something.”

In the communications field, Briana Gruenewald has tried a lot: journalism, marketing, graphic design, media and blogger relations, and promotions.

Gruenewald, an account executive and an in-house designer at Bellmont Partners Public Relations, had planned to be a journalist in college, but as she finished her bachelor’s degree in journalism and marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, she decided she didn’t want to be a journalist.

After working for Minnesota Reading Corps, Gruenewald worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer coordinator and then a communications and marketing associate at ThreeSixty Journalism until 2014, before transitioning into her role at Bellmont Partners.

At Bellmont, Gruenewald has created award-winning campaigns for clients such as the Public Art Saint Paul, Uptown Association and Midwest Dairy Association.

Q: What is your passion, or what fascinates you about doing this work?

Gruenewald: What fascinates me is just the human condition and people who are good people, like people just running things that do really good things for the community. I will use ThreeSixty as an example because it is so (near and dear) to my heart. Whether you guys all become journalists or not, you’re still getting a great experience. I mean you are learning how to collaborate with each other, you’re learning how to explore what you want to do before you have to make the decision, and you’re getting experiences that you might have never gotten if you weren’t in this program. So when there are programs, and things available for people who wouldn’t usually get opportunities, that’s what drives me to support causes like that, and organizations like that.

Q: Why didn’t you want to work as a journalist after college?

Gruenewald: I love meeting people and I love hearing people’s stories and that’s what drew me into journalism. I love writing, too. But I think I just wanted more experience.  I wanted to be in so many different directions. I wanted to be a preschool teacher, I wanted to be a graphic designer, I wanted to be in marketing, I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to do all these things.

And working at an agency (now), I get to do different things every single day. I get to learn things I never thought I’d get to learn about, I get to research things that I never thought I would get to research. I like journalism, too, but it’s just a different perspective that you get with PR. And for me, probably it’s a little bit more collaborating, where journalism felt like it’s on your own a little bit more. So I just really loved teamwork and collaboration.”

Q: What is advice that you would give to us based on your experience in the public relations field?

Gruenewald: Anyone you come in contact with ever, could be an opportunity for you some day to either get a job or learn something.

I got this job, where I am at Bellmont Partners, because of Brian Bellmont, the president of Bellmont Partners and he’s on the board of ThreeSixty, so I met him in this program and I never would have thought that Brian would give me a job someday.

This transcript has been edited for length and content.