By Julie Kayzerman
Kaitlyn Bandura, BA’13 (Flor), needed a little advice before making the leap to quit her job and start her own public relations consulting agency.
So, the FDU communications alumna turned to her alma mater for help — reaching out to Ryan Stalgaitis of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus Career Development office.
“I was looking for a change, specifically to get out of the big corporate world and out of the city, and [Ryan] said, ‘well why don’t you take on a couple of freelance clients, even if it’s just one or two and start that way, and then use that time to figure out what your next step will be,’” Bandura says.
So, with the goal of being a full-time public relations consultant, Bandura lined up her first-ever client in 2016, quit her job at Rubenstein Public Relations in New York City, N.Y., and within a week, KRPR was born.
“For three years now, I’ve built up my roster of clients in various industries and I’ve worked with some really awesome brands over the years. It’s a direct result of having that conversation with Ryan and realizing what exactly I wanted my next step to be,” Bandura says.
At KRPR, Bandura gets to work with brands that she loves and takes a personal interest in, including those in the tech and wellness space, helping to promote their businesses through organic media outreach, robust content and social media marketing.
“There’s a freedom that comes with going into business for yourself and being a consultant,” she says. “Making your own decisions as a business means, of course, that you wear a lot of hats. You alone are responsible for resolving any issues that pop up, but at the same time you can work with the people and brands that you want to. There’s a sense of pride that’s difficult to put into words when you take ownership of your career in that way. It was the best career move I ever made.”
During her time at FDU, Bandura studied communications and minored in business and held leadership roles as a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority and FDU’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, advised by Associate Professor of Communications Christopher Caldiero.
“All of the professors at FDU are great at what they do. Professor Caldiero brought with him experience from the corporate world, which I really resonated with,” she says. “I think that insight, especially when analyzing the case studies that he assigned us, was really beneficial, so I always think back to that.”
Now, Bandura lives with her husband in Clifton, N.J., and is joined by her two furry co-workers – Hank, a three-year-old Beagle mix, and Lady, a one-year-old Golden Retriever mix – in her home office where she runs the day-to-day operations for KRPR.
“Use your career department! Take advantage and don’t think that just because you’ve graduated, that means the department is no longer of value to you,” Bandura advises to current students. “You can always come back and have a conversation, even if it’s just to have a sounding board with someone who knows what they’re talking about.”