Caroline Wohl is working an event inside Goop’s brick-and-mortar shop at the Brentwood Country Mart, just east of Santa Monica. As she sets up for a small crowd, the guest speaker, a dermatologist, is talking about the future of non-toxic beauty products.
For Wohl, a senior majoring in public relations at USC Annenberg and minoring in marketing at the USC Marshall School of Business, moments like that during her internship at Goop offered valuable experience. “It gave me real-life exposure at a company that is really changing the game of the industry,” she said.
Two days a week during the Spring semester of her junior year, Wohl would get dressed up for work and prepare for her commute to the headquarters of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand in Santa Monica. “That was my time to pretend I was an adult,” she said. “I was around working professionals and got to see what a current marketing career is like,” she said.
As the brand partnerships and ad sales intern, Wohl learned about the moving parts of campaign strategies and collaborations. From beginning to end, she saw what it takes to build meaningful brand partnerships that resonate with consumers.
This internship came about during a meeting with Suzanne Alcantara, assistant dean of student affairs. During their discussion about Wohl’s career aspirations, Wohl expressed a desire to find an internship that would align with her interests in entertainment, lifestyle, branding, marketing — and storytelling.
Alcantara connected her with alumna Nina Christensen ’18, Goop’s brand partnerships coordinator. A few phone calls and an interview later, Wohl landed the internship.
“It was a dynamic experience,” Wohl said. Her assignments varied: She tracked social media coverage, conducted market research, helped work company events and prepared decks for prospective clients.
Wohl said her classes, including her academic mentors and time spent in the media center, gave her the confidence she needed for this position.
Stefan Pollack, an adjunct professor, and Jennifer Floto, professor of professional practice and director of the undergraduate public relations studies program, were instrumental in teaching her how to navigate the media landscape. She learned the fundamentals of social media, how to analyze data and measure ad campaigns.
Last fall she took “Food, Fashion, and Fun,” a course taught by Floto. There, Wohl studied blogging, influencers and fast fashion, which gave her a better knowledge of the lifestyle industry. “We are at the cultural center of the world in Los Angeles,” she noted. “It’s been really cool to follow up on trends and use my experience that I’ve had in PR classes to inform conversations at Goop.”
At Goop, Wohl said, she had the chance to observe, listen and build relationships with team members. Beyond the internship, she said, “I've really been able to expand my network. Annenberg has taught me the value of building a core group that I can count on.”
The idea of the Trojan family and what that meant wasn’t new to Wohl. Her grandfather Emil Horton “Skip” Wohl played tight end for the football team, graduating in 1962. Her parents are both USC alumni; her mother, Caroline Rentto Wohl, graduated in 1990 with a degree in public relations.
Since sophomore year, Wohl served as an Annenberg Ambassador and junior year began interning at Annenberg Admissions. “The Trojan family is a lot more than a tagline to me,” she said. “Annenberg fosters a supportive community that I wanted to be a part of.”
This spring, she participated in a Maymester trip to the Bay Area. The two-week experiential learning program for undergraduate students gave her a chance to meet with executives at Bloomberg, Google, Pixar and Instagram, as well as other media tech companies. “Touring the companies and seeing the opportunities for women in the tech and health spheres has made me consider a career in public relations, communications and marketing at the intersection of tech and health,” she said.
As Wohl prepares for her senior year, she has one last summer planned out — and once again, the alumni network helped. In December, as Wohl was working an event for prospective students, she introduced herself to one of the guest speakers, alumnus Eric Lavis (B.A., communication ’12, M.A., communication management ’13). After a conversation about the entertainment industry, Lavis, the coordinator for studio marketing and branded content for Viacom, suggested Wohl consider a summer internship at MTV.
Wohl applied, went on an interview and was hired. Starting today, June 3, she starts work full-time with the public relations and communications team at MTV, VH1 and Logo TV. In this role, she will cover red-carpet premieres, write press releases and pitch story ideas for Viacom Media Networks.
As far as her future after graduation, Wohl is certain she wants to work for a company where she can be a part of something bigger than herself. “Ultimately, anything where I know that I'm giving others a voice through my work, that's what I want to be a part of,” she said.