The Newest Pickle, Banning
Banning, a Hawaiian turned Portlandian, is the newest edition to the LGP team. He is a fresh graduate from Humboldt State University, Class of 2015. Having come from Big Island, Hawaii, California must have seemed so large in comparison to his home island. And then, to take it a step further going from sunny, over populated California to cloudy, rainy, and quite eclectic Portland must have been another slap in the face of reality to young Banning. I think the clouds and extreme weather change was well worth it, though, having accepted his dream job in PR, January of 2016, at Little Green Pickle. It’s funny, too, because Banning himself didn’t realize it was the dream job until he was living it. How did he get to where he is, you ask? Well let me tell you his story. It starts where all good stories start: the glamour of being at the bottom, as a dishwasher.
Yes, Banning’s first real job was a dishwasher in a small café outside of Humboldt University at the age of 18. While working as a dishwasher, Banning also volunteering his time towards the school’s orientation program. Everyone needs to start somewhere, right? Well hard work usually moves people towards bigger and greater things, his being the coveted position of student coordinator. He quickly gained quite a bit of responsibility, training 40+ people every summer, planning school events such as orientation, and acting as a mentor to others. He did this for two years, and eventually moved on to a different school position: editor of a biannual magazine for the Cultural Center. He designed the magazine with a small team and had the opportunity to connect with students on campus. Banning’s desire to be heavily involved in student life on campus gave him the power to not only publish magazines, but also work as a desk jockey at the school’s radio station. The year he joined the radio team was the same year Humboldt’s campus radio decided to make the grand change from AM to FM. It was a big deal, and an insane semester: socially and academically.
His third job after balancing the school’s culture magazine and radio was working as an associated student counsel member. He was the student who would sit on board and help book large-scale events for students. This year he booked 30+ events, each ranging in size. Some of the events he arranged included the Ava Brothers, the Daily Show, and even his own music festival, which hosted 1,800+ people. What a crazy amount of work, planning, and stressing, but you can bet these events came with big payoffs. Banning said it would be one of the most amazing things he’s ever done, and would also never do again. He said it’s the difference of being in the crowd versus being in the background. He continued to tell me how he prefers to be a part of the crowd, rather than the host.
Having graduated with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis on Public Relations, and a minor in Graphic Design (phew), Banning sought out to find the perfect post-college PR career. Interviewing in October and then accepting his current job the following January, Banning has been very happy and satisfied with his position as a PR Pickle. I asked him what advice he might pass on had he known what he knows now, and he explained a couple interesting things. The first of these was to take everything in. It’s really important to take everything in and understand that sometimes being at the bottom is important, and even helpful. This is one of the only ways to really understand the basics, which eventually leads to understanding how an entire business operates. The “grunt work” allows someone to work their way from the bottom up and get to know the culture of the business in an organic and gradual way. The next piece of advice was to ask questions: ask any and all questions that might occur, even if it sounds or feels dumb. It’s the only way to get the answer you need, and want. Knowing people in the industry and building those connections does not happen overnight and it all starts somewhere. In the PR world, this might be writing press lists for events or a certain release of information: the “grunt work.” Asking how to do these things: who might go on it, who to rely on, etc. is the only way to have a deep and lasting understanding of how this whole operation works. The third piece of advice from Banning was to take everything seriously. He said that had he taken this advice earlier on in his career, maybe he would’ve been further along or made greater connections. He reminded me that I am one part of a larger picture and a definite contribution in some respect, so take that seriously and work hard. Eventually it will all pay off. Sometimes it’s just about the build up, and the patience.
Banning then advised that maybe I could go to a “Meet Up” or something similar. He described it as a book club, except meeting for drinks or at a brewery. He said that this kind of thing is really interesting and a great networking opportunity, if not for work, then for friends. He told me to reach out to people and collaborate. Him being in a new city, this was important to him: making friends, meeting new people. Knowing this may be me in a year, I definitely resonate with what he said. He told me to always be open to the opportunity.
Banning has really increased my knowledge, awareness, and experience working at Little Green Pickle, as the Intern Pickle, this summer. It’s really interesting to interact with him and listen to what he says. It’s fascinating, too, to watch how he operates, because age wise he’s really not too much older than me, but experience wise he seems years beyond me. He told me it would all come with time, and I’m sure it’s true to a degree, but Banning is also incredibly talented, outgoing, and smart and I say kudos to him, because he makes post-college living look like a dream. If he’s struggling, he makes it seem fabulous.