BY: ANASTASIA MATYOLA
Last week, I had the amazing opportunity of traveling halfway across the country with three of my fellow PRSSA-UD Executive Board members to Austin, TX to attend PRSSA National Conference – and to say it was one of the most valuable pre-professional experiences of our college careers would be an understatement. Not only did we have the rare opportunity of exploring one of the United State’s most unique cities, but we earned a wealth of knowledge from industry professionals, networked with peers and mentors, and learned of innovative ways to make our chapter better.
The weekend was full of insightful career advice and tales of storytelling success, but one of the most captivating speeches of the weekend – a tale of triumph and a true testament to the power of public relations – was a speech given by two of the students behind the March For Our Lives movement following the tragic events that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The two explained how they framed their cause to be seen as a need not just for legislative change, but for social change. They detailed how they channeled their grief into activism and through unimaginable tragedy, they purveyed the importance of tailoring a story to fit the needs of their audience – one of the backbones of successful PR.
Furthermore, PRSSA National Conference overlaps with PRSA National conference, which meant that we were able to attend their opening general session. Seeing that the PRSSA/ PRSA community extends far beyond college years was an exciting moment, because it shows how close knit the Public Relations field truly is. Not only that, but to know that PRSSA members have access to hundreds of professional mentors is truly one of the most impactful aspects of PRSSA membership.
The three most meaningful lessons I took away from my time at PRSSANC are as follows:
- Learning is a journey that should never stop, even once you have entered the professional world.
- Networking truly is key. Walking away from PRSSANC with numerous new contacts could also mean numerous potential opportunities.
- When it comes to creative thinking, do not be afraid to push the limits. This is how remarkable stories get told and how brands gain a voice.
Attending PRSSA National Conference is a must for aspiring PR professionals, and is another reason why membership in PRSSA is one of the best decisions an aspiring young professional can make.