A Student’s Take on Pro-Am Day

Earlier this week Cincinnati PRSA hosted local PRSSA students for their annual Pro-Am Day. Students from Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University (my alma mater, woot!), University of Dayton and Miami University took advantage of this great networking opportunity.

The event started with a panel discussion with 3 Cincinnati PR professionals with varying backgrounds and levels of experience discussing the things they wish they would have known early on in their careers. To see the highlights from the event check out my storify post from the luncheon.

After the panel discussion students were able to shadow the area’s top professionals to get a taste of what the “real world” is like.

As the Cincinnati PRSA New Pros committee chair I had the opportunity to recruit and pair these students and seasoned pros together for the job shadowing portion of the day. Throughout the pairing process I was surprised by the varying degree of responses I received from each student. For some students I felt like I was pulling teeth to get a response for an event that could land them a job. Needless to say, I was a little surprised.

Fortunately, to counterbalance the lack of responsiveness from some students, there were tons of students who were on top of their game. One of these students was Rachel Drakulich (@RachDrakulich) from The University of Dayton. Rachel  stays kind of busy being the President of UD’s PRSSA, the Marketing Team Leader at University of Dayton Recreation Complex and being the Assistant to the Office of the President at Sinclair Community College; all while taking a full load of classes.

Because I was a bit surprised by some students lack of interest in Pro-Am Day, I asked Rachel to take a minute and share her experience. If you’re a student considering participating in Pro-Am Day, or other networking opportunities with professionals in your area, take a minute and check out what Rachel had to say about her Pro-Am Day experience: (Thanks Rachel!)

In May I will graduate from the University of Dayton and I am also the outgoing president of UD’s PRSSA chapter. Prior to attending PRSA Cincinnati Pro-Am day for the first time ever, my expectations were relatively high based on other professional networking events I have attended in the past. Throughout my time as an undergraduate I have come to understand the power of networking and the importance of learning from experienced professionals. This rang true during my whole Pro-Am experience.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a delicious lunch with two of Northlich’s employees, Jessica Kelly and Kate Bebee. During lunch we talked about their past experiences and how they ended up in Cincinnati, my future plans after graduation, and started following one another on Twitter! As the luncheon ended, I had a stronger sense of pride for the public relations field based on the panel discussion.
Jessica and Kate then took me to shadow Northlich. The other employees welcomed me with warm smiles as they showed me around the office. My favorite part about the whole day was listening to Jessica’s and Kate’s experiences and what they have learned in their few years out of college. They shared the mistakes they experienced as interns, the hours spent working on events, doing their first cold call to a reporter, yet it was all worth it for the satisfaction when they saw their first hit in the media.
Overall, the scope of information I gained from Pro-Am day exceeded my expectations. I am a strong advocate for events such as Pro-Am day because of the benefits and experiences members of both PRSA and PRSSA receive from one another and the relationships that blossom as a result.

PRSA Is More Than 4 Little Letters

On Wednesday night the new pros group had the opportunity to learn more about how new members can get the most out of their PRSA experience. Three veteran members of Cincinnati PRSA were on hand to share their stories about their PRSA experience. Jonathan Kissell, Jill Dunne and Darcy Little, 3 Cincinnati PRSA board members, were our speakers for the night.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from last night’s discussion:

There are lots of ways to get involved

Whatever time you have to offer, the chapter can use. To get involved right away there are multiple volunteer opportunities with local non-profit organizations. Peter Osborne our community service chair does a great job finding opportunities for PRSA members to use their skills to help these organizations.

In addition to volunteer opportunities members can join a leadership team committee. There isn’t a formal process to join a committee, all it takes is an email to an individual committee chair to get the ball rolling. Leadership team committees include: Social Media, Sponsorship, Blacksmith Awards, New Pros, APR, Newsletter and Media Day.

You get out, what you put in

I know, I know, this seems like a, “well, no duh” statement, but it is especially true with PRSA. As I mentioned in my previous points there are plenty of ways to get involved. Each of these opportunities is a way to strengthen your overall skill set and make you a more well-rounded pro. Additionally, by joining these committees you get the chance to meet a more of our chapter members, which is current more than 200 professionals strong. Our members are the undisputed PRSA leaders in the Cincinnati who are really, really good at what they do and are almost always willing to help, which leads right into my last takeaway…

PRSA Members are Friendly

All three speakers alluded to this multiple times during the discussion. If you have a question, all you have to do it ask. Whether it’s about about a job opportunity, career advice, or how to track down someone at one publication or another, chances are good someone else has been in your situation at one point or another and can offer some help.

Those were my biggest takeaways from the benefits and importance of being a PRSA member, what else do you have to add?

One last thing… As the Cincinnati PRSA New Pros Committee Chair I will be sharing recaps of our monthly events throughout the year. If you have any suggestions about speakers, topics or venues for future events I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

I’ll Admit it, I’ve Been Slacking

Alright, no post since March? What’s up with that? Well, there’s no way to sugarcoat it… I’ve been slacking.

However (Pause – Pause) however… I’m excited to announce… NO MORE SLACKING! I am officially rededicating myself to writing a weekly post. I have been a full-time communications professional for almost 6 months, and I’m beginning to really get my feet under me… Remind me again why I picked a profession that has no idea what 9-5 is? Because it’s awesomely addictive – that’s why.

I am glad to be at an early stage in my career because it is a great time to be a communications professional in Cincinnati. In the short-term, there are two exciting events coming up that everyone should check out: The Digital Non-Conference and Cincinnati PRSA’s Media Day.

For the long-term Cincinnati has been named an “Innovation Hub”, urban renewal is in full-effect, and there are tons of movers and shakers doing their part to showcase everything Cincinnati has to offer.

So, here we go – I’m ready to advantage of what this awesome city has to offer a young communications pro.

Until next time, remember ~ Whether is B2B or B2C it’s all Business to Person