The PRSSA National Conference this year was one for the ages. Not only was our small chapter able to take nine students, our largest group yet, but we had the opportunity to travel to Boston, Massachusetts, a beautiful destination in the fall. We were able to attend the conference for three days – from Friday the 6th through Sunday the 8th, and I’d say we definitely got the very most out of our visit!
From the minute we arrived, we split up and were able to attend nearly every session held during our three day National Conference extravaganza. In general, I’d say one of our collective favorite moments from the conference was Roll Call on Saturday morning. Each school attending the conference was put into one grand ballroom, and each chapter had to come up with a creative way to let the rest of the crowd know, “we have arrived!” Thanks to one of our members, Jake Allen, I’d say we had a crowd favorite.
As the President of our chapter, I was able to attend the President’s session which was a presentation by Ben Butler of Top Hat IMC. With such an engaging and entertaining public speaker, this session was one of my favorites. Ben gave us tips on how to be great leaders in our chapters and our careers, and I definitely came away feeling like I could take on the world! Here were some of his tips:
1. Care about your people. Forgiveness is necessary!
2. Have a roadmap, or goal for your year.
3. Always have an event calendar.
4. You can’t say yes to everything.
5. Do what you say you will do.
6. Resourcefulness is an expectation.
7. Have a solution in your back pocket.
8. Have mentors!
Another favorite session from a few in our group includes Creative Jobs in PR with Michael DiSalvo of Ogilvy, who was a hilarious and dynamic speaker, who talked about how all you have to do is find your passion. Whatever that passion is – there’s a PR job for it! He related his message to his own life, and how he started out not knowing when his next job would come, or what he even wanted to do. He was able to relate to us, which was refreshing and appreciated by his audience – a whole bunch of eager PR students.
Although there were countless incredible speakers, sessions, and lessons learned throughout the course of the conference, I’d say one message that every one of us came away with is that maintaining connections and having mentors is incredibly important. One of our members, Meghan Cleary, put it perfectly.
“One of the most memorable lessons learned from the conference is that connections are invaluable. Always nurture and grow your network to build a strong team of professional partners that can support you later in your career.”
With that, I’d like to thank those who sponsored us and made it possible for us to attend then National Conference this year. Thank you to the PRSA Rochester Board of Directors for their generous sponsorship, and constant support. The Media and Communications Department at St. John Fisher also made a tremendous contribution which made it possible for us to take such a large, dedicated group of students this year. Finally, one of our Chapter Presidents from last year, Olivia Rotondo, who was kind enough to give us a very generous donation as well. Without these contributions, we would not have been able to attend this incredible conference, learn countless lessons, or grow as a chapter.
This PRSSA National Conference was certainly one to remember, and I know our chapter will be counting down the days until #PRSSANC 2018, in Austin, Texas!
Author: Allie Rudy – Chapter President