How Euro RSCG Worldwide PR Offered Tap-dancing Penn State Student Paid Internship, With a Little Help From Social Media and Ellen DeGeneres

One of the Agency's Talent Directors Saw Joshua Johnson on 'Ellen' and Used LinkedIn to Reach the Show's Producers with the Opportunity

Mar 21, 2012, 13:29 ET from Euro RSCG Worldwide PR

NEW YORK, March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Earlier today, Euro RSCG Worldwide PR (@erwwpr) bypassed traditional routes to offer Joshua Johnson, a 20-year-old New Yorker who's currently attending Pennsylvania State University, a paid internship—including housing.  The bearer of this good news for Mr. Johnson? Ellen DeGeneres.

Mr. Johnson has been profiled in The New York Times, among other outlets, for his unconventional and inspiring story. The Harlem native is working his way through college with a part-time retail job off campus—and also by returning on weekends to his native New York to tap dance for cash on subways, something he's been doing for years to help support his family. His mother currently lives in a shelter in Yonkers, and Mr. Johnson has expressed that being a role model for his younger brother is one of the reasons he has continued to work so hard to succeed.

Allison Pinter, a talent director at @erwwpr, saw Mr. Johnson's appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and was so impressed with his determination that she immediately began exploring ways in which she could hire him for the agency—resulting in the offer of a paid internship plus living accommodations for the summer.

"When Ali came to me with her idea and told me Mr. Johnson's background story, I was on board right away," said Marian Salzman, CEO, @erwwpr. "We were so happy that this hard-working young man had secured some financial support due to the well-deserved attention he was receiving, but we both agreed that, particularly in this market, on-the-job experience was something that could go a long way in helping him meet his future goals."

But knowing no one at "Ellen," Ms. Pinter was momentarily at a loss as to how to reach producers to make this offer. She turned to what so many of us do in this age of social media, and what @erwwpr and its business is steeped in—her social-network know-how. Not too surprisingly, with just a little digging she was able to reach a producer of the show via the professional networking site LinkedIn.

"Every day I hear a LinkedIn success story—and here is the perfect example of how taking a bit of initiative can make a deep impact," said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's connection director. "Ms. Pinter did her research and was able to create a very meaningful connection, all thanks to the power of LinkedIn."

About Euro RSCG Worldwide PR
We call ourselves @erwwpr; we're the North American earned-media and buzz boutique (#bethenews) within French holding company Havas. Headquartered in New York City, with Pittsburgh and Chicago offices, we've seen rapid growth in the last two years and stacked up a huge trophy chest (our CEO was PRWeek's PR Professional of the Year 2011 and our head of strategic planning is on PRWeek's "40 Under 40"), including awards for #wyclefforpresident (global scope), @theywinulose (Campaign Money Watch; against big money in elections), the first-ever teenage girl SoMe lab (The Sisterhood; industry innovation), Ford's Warriors in Pink (#welovecause) and Urban Zen and Mary J. Blige (#celebritiesmakenews). We're grounded in media, strategy, client service, trendspotting and community to ensure we message in straight talk and real time.

Lisa Gruber
Global Communications Manager
Euro RSCG Worldwide

SOURCE Euro RSCG Worldwide PR