Home Blog HAPPO|PR Killer PR jobs: Chris Iles, Corporate Communications Manager-Minnesota Twins

Killer PR jobs: Chris Iles, Corporate Communications Manager-Minnesota Twins

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Giving a new series a try today. The impetus? Through my HAPPO work, and networking in general, I learn about so many cool PR jobs. Both here in Minneapolis/St. Paul–and nationally. So, since we all can’t have a “dream job”, I thought I’d profile some of the folks that do have these “dream jobs” in an effort to get a sneak peek into their worlds.

So, once a month (or so), I’ll take a peek at someone in PR who I think has a pretty darn cool job.  You might not always agree, but hey, it’s my blog dammit! 🙂 First up: Chris Iles–a guy I just recently met. But, a guy with an incredibly cool job with my favorite baseball team. Let’s hear more…

What is your official job title and what are your job duties?

I’m the Corporate Communications Manager for the Minnesota Twins and I handle media relations on the business side, manage content on www.twinsbaseball.com, run our social media efforts (check us out @twins on Twitter and at facebook.com/twins) and handle all internal communications.

What’s the best part of  your job? And, what’s one part of your job that most people might not know about?

The best part of my job is working in a world class facility for a well-respected brand. One thing people might not know about the Twins’ front office is that we’re really quite small (+-130 people). That means everyone has a wide variety of job responsibilities that don’t necessarily fit into your job description.

With the move to Target Field two years ago, you got a significant upgrade in office facilities. What are your new office digs in TF like? And, do you have a view of the field from your desk?

The office facilities at Target Field are the nicest I have worked in during my professional career. Now that I have a nice Ergotron sit/stand workstation, I do have a view of the field from over my cube wall.

What’s it like going to work at a Major League ballpark each day? And, what kind of interaction do you have with the players and coaches?

It is incredibly fun and demanding to work at a Major League ballpark each day. Just to be around the game is a thrill and to have 40,000 friends visit you each day makes it all that much more enjoyable. I do have a fair amount of interaction with the players and coaches through our community relations efforts. We have a separate Baseball Communications team that deals primarily with on-field media relations.

It’s tough to break into major league sports on the marketing/PR side. What advice would you have to folks looking to get a job with a  major league sports franchise?

Do informational interviews. I just hired a social media intern because I had met him through an informational interview and knew he was smart and capable. It also helps to have a wide variety of experiences that show you are a well-rounded person. Aside from the necessary strong writing skills, it helps to show you’ve done something substantive like volunteering, traveling abroad, etc.

What’s a typical day look like for you during the season? Gotta think those are long days…

It gets a bit hectic during the season. I generally arrive at the office around 9 a.m. and jump into my usual duties of writing, talking to reporters, working with MLB Advanced Media to update our website, getting messages out via social media, etc. Then around 5 p.m., as most people are packing up to head home for the day, I switch over into game-time mode. That usually entails handling media requests during batting practice and putting out various fires. During the game, I run our in-game Tweet board and interact with fans via social media. I’m looking forward to having my intern handle some of these responsibilities this year.

Most folks think MLB teams have large marketing departments—I know that’s not true, as we’ve discussed. Talk about the size of your PR/marketing team and how that impacts your work.

It’s true that our PR/Marketing departments (and whole front office) are smaller than most folks would think. Our PR efforts are broken down into 2 categories:

Public Affairs (2 people handle all communications for everything off the field)

Baseball Communications (4 people handle all communications related to the game of baseball)

With a small department like that, opportunities for advancement must be minimal. How does that impact your career planning and how you think about your time with the Twins?

That is true. There are just not as many roles to move into as with a larger organization. I’m sure you’d agree that working in communications, you need to keep your head on a swivel and be open to new opportunities. Keep your network strong, one eye on your current responsibilities and one eye on the horizon.

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Killer PR jobs: Chris Iles, Corporate Communications Manager-Minnesota Twins

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