Outside of work, this Taco Bell employee helps aspiring PR professionals land their first job
Matt Prince speaking to university students; provided by Matt Prince.
Published on February 15, 2022
Taco Bell’s Senior Manager of Public Relations and Brand Experience, Matt Prince, knows how hard it is to land a job. Originally studying English at California State University, he turned to public relations after taking an introductory course. After graduating at the start of the Great Recession, he held numerous public relations positions, first in government, then at Walt Disney, before finally landing at Taco Bell. All of these twists and turns led Prince to compare discovering his career path to playing the video game Frogger.
“It’s never a forehand,” Prince said. “You take two steps forward, then zigzag right, oh wait, now left, and even take a few steps back before you can move forward again.”
So he often agreed to mentor aspiring PR professionals to help them find their way, and one of those mentorships sparked the idea for Net Net Synergy, an online resource that takes the guesswork out of networking. entry-level and job seeking in public relations.
“I had a virtual mentoring meeting with a student, who told me how hard it was to find a job during the pandemic,” he said. “During this meeting, two colleagues from different companies texted me about job openings and asked if I knew any potential candidates, so I realized there was a disconnect.”
At that time, Prince saw a student struggling to find a job and simultaneously an overabundance of job openings.
“I thought there had to be a better way to connect those working in public relations with graduates and those looking to break into the field,” he said. “I decided to try to facilitate those connections and created the website that weekend.”
In its first year, Net Net Synergy offered nearly 1,000 virtual mentorships, from professionals from all areas of interest spanning various industries, including some of Prince’s Taco Bell colleagues and the agency team of brand support public relations.
“When I launched the site, I put out a request for volunteers to become a virtual mentor,” Prince said. “About 150 people came forward. It was clear during the pandemic that there was a lot of desire for experienced professionals to give back, especially as working from home made it easier to connect virtually.”
Today, Net Net Synergy users can search for professionals in specific industries and get help in the form of “virtual cafes”, or informative interviews and resume reviews that take place on platforms such as Zoom or Skype. Additionally, Net Net Synergy has created a career networking group on LinkedIn that shares new opportunities every day for young professionals seeking internships or early roles in PR and marketing. And while that might seem like a lot of work for Prince who already has a full-time gig, the founder says that while there is some website maintenance involved and recruiting new mentors and resources, the online community is independent and growing.
With the ongoing website, Prince has even extended that passion beyond the line and into the classroom, teaching influencer marketing at Chapman University in Orange County, California as a assistant teacher once a week in the evening. He hopes that his experiences and efforts in setting up Net Net Synergy can help others find their career paths, but also help pave a smoother path for the industry as a whole.
“The more young professionals we can support and encourage, the more it helps us create a better community and a stronger industry,” Prince said. “And the best thing about mentoring is that it’s cyclical. Seeing young professionals that I mentored years and years ago come back as mentors today is so special to see and , at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”