Interview with Lorraine Little
Name: Lorraine Little
Major, minor, and graduation year: Business Administration, concentration in Finance and International Business, 1994
Job Title: Senior Manager of US Public Affairs, Liquids Operators and Projects
Organization/ Place of work: Enbridge Energy Company
You're a Senior Manager, what does that entail? What are your duties or responsibilities?
- My position is varied because I manage/work with multiple areas within this company. My duties include working with community and media relations with advisement, emergency and crisis management/communication, public consultation, and managing the construction of pipelines for new facilities.
What are the highlights of your job that you enjoy most?
- The highlight of my job that I enjoy most is that it's community based so I am able to create relationships with the community that we provide for.
What are the challenges that you face with your job that are not enjoyable?
- The challenges I face are competing priorities of maintaining and constructing new pipelines and maintaining the business side of my job by addressing community issues and concerns. Altogether, it takes a lot of time and energy.
How do you spend your work days? Do you spend a lot of time office/lab/meetings/outside/___?
- I spend the majority of my time in meetings communicating with project teams, the community, or other individuals. I also spend time in my office answering/returning phone calls or answering emails, but a lot of my time is spent communicating. If I'm not talking to people, I'm not doing my job.
How did this type of job/field interest you and how did you get started?
- This field was appealing to me because out of college I worked for a couple non-profit organizations which lead to Enbridge. I like looking at a company and what they do as a whole communicating with the community and its workers, but also solving issues and concerns. I like focusing my time on public affairs.
What qualifications did you need to obtain this job?
-The qualifications I needed were a bachelor's degree in either public affairs, communications, business, etc., and interpersonal and communications skills. I also needed at least ten years of relevant experience which I had to climb the work ladder for.
What personal qualities or abilities do you believe contribute most to success in this job/field?
- My personal qualities that have contributed to my success are being comfortable talking with people and understanding of the concerns they may have. I also think that having experience in relationship management and program development from previous positions have contributed as well.
What organizations were you involved in College that helped you towards your career?
- I wasn't involved much back in college, but I strongly suggest that it is very important for students to get involved on campus and within the community because the more experience you have, the better to prepare you for the career world.
What degree/s is appropriate for this line of work?
- The degrees that are appropriate are bachelor degrees in communications, journalism, business, and public affairs. Having related experience is a crucial qualification as well.
Where and/or what do you hope to be in 2-5 years? 5-10 years? What are the keys to this career advancement?
- In 2-5 years I hope to still be at Enbridge because this company is always growing and changing and I want to know how I can play a part in supporting that. I would also like to receive a credited and public relations certificate from the Public Relations Society of America.
What was the best piece of advice you received and from who that helped you towards your career?
- I received good advice from my mother when she told me "get an education; it opens up so many doors."
Do you have any advice or "words from experience" for a college student interested in this job/field?
- The best piece of advice I can give is to take advantage of internships, projects, and any other opportunity that gets you involved because it better equips and prepares you for the working world.
If you knew all this back in college, what would you say were the most important classes? Is there anything you would have paid more attention to? Any additional classes you would have taken?
- I would have taken more communication classes because it would have given me better fundamentals communicating with people for my current position. Everyone at my department have communication degrees so I don't have those underlining communication skills like they do.
In college, people claim that a bachelor's degree isn't enough anymore and that you need a master's or doctorate degree to get your foot in the door. What's your opinion?
- I believe that any degree level of education is important to obtaining a successful career. I suggest starting out with a foundation of either an associate's or bachelor's degree or learn a trade or skill and work up from there. Really, it all depends of what your goal career qualifications are so if you need a master's degree, you can always achieve it later.