Roadtrip to the PRSA Summit

Last week was a small milestone in my PR career as well as a fun adventure!

Our PRSSA chapter at the University of South Alabama traveled to Birmingham for the 2014 PRSA Summit. The group decided to do the same itinerary as the previous year and go up a day early to tour agencies. The first agency we toured was Intermark Group and then Big Communications.

The Tours- How Everything Really Works

At Intermark we were able to here a short presentation from each department including account services, public relations, creative and interactive. After hearing what each department consists of, I realized account services is somewhere I could see myself. They are primarily responsible for being the liaison between the client and agency throughout the length of the contract. Intermark has a vibrant atmosphere that allows their employees to have autonomy and let their creative spirit fly. This agency inspired me so much to apply for an internship! I saw the woman who presented for the public relations department, Kate, at the PRSA Summit and took the opportunity to give her my resume. This week I received an email from Intermark requesting writing samples. I’ll keep you posted!

USA PRSSA tours Intermark Group

USA PRSSA tours Intermark Group

The Summit

Tuesday we checked into the Summit and prepared ourselves for a day full of professional advice. The keynote speaker, Matt Prince, shared how to deal with generational stereotypes. My favorite quote from him was,

We grow up in a generation where we’ve seen billionaires in hoodies and revolutionaries in sandals.

His presentation was eye-opening to how millennials are perceived and how we can beat these stereotypes in the work place. Some of the other speakers included Deon Gordon, senior consultant at Chronicle Studios, Holly Lollar, APR, from The Lollar Group and Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA, director of partnership development at HGTV.

Some of our University of South Alabama PRSSA members at Regions Field

Some of our University of South Alabama PRSSA members at Regions Field

The Take-A-Way

So many students go through school just to graduate and then expect a job to be handed to them; not in the world of public relations. You have to attend professional events, make connections that lead to relationships and develop your own personal brand. Attending the PRSA summit and touring two agencies showed me that these professionals who have made it to this point in their careers didn’t do so by sitting back and waiting on the world to hand them an opportunity; they created their own opportunity.

 

Share your own professional experiences. What have you done to go the extra mile?

The Capstone Class- Campaigns Time

First week of classes: success. Feelings of stress and being overwhelmed: without a doubt.

Being a senior is already nerve-wracking with the future being more unknown then ever before, but I have to make it to graduation first. Classes this semester will be nothing less than challenging. I already feel as though I’ll be pushed harder than ever and I’m ecstatic. We go through freshmen year and it’s basically a review of every American folktale or algebra problem we did in high school. Sophomore year presented its difficulties, but nothing a few all-nighters couldn’t take care of. Last year felt like freshmen year for me all over again seeing as how at one point I completely changed my major and took 100-level classes to figure out what I was doing with my life. At last I’ve made it to the final round; the light at the end of the tunnel is appearing brighter and brighter.

The capstone class is where we finally take on a real campaign. Knowing that we are working with a real non-profit organization to create an advertising campaign in which we promote their company in the best way is both invigorating and daunting. The project will be done through Protect America’s “Pay if Forward” challenge in which teams from various schools compete against each other to have the best campaign. Our school (University of South Alabama) will be competing with the University of Florida and Michigan State. This opportunity will be very humbling and rewarding at the same time. The chance to get to have this real-life experience will strongly add to our skill-sets and prepare us for the professional life.

No witty saying or wise words to leave you with today, but instead a request. Comment about your campaigns experience and how you worked/or are working through it!