Sofia Bert, Class of 2021:
Listening to accomplished PR professionals discuss their experiences within their fields really opened my eyes to more opportunities within the PR industry. This conference made me even more excited for my future, especially as a freshman. Some of the best advice came from the PR, But Then Make It Fashion session. The advice this session gave me was to focus on your passion for PR and have your love of fashion tie into it. All the women on the panel discussed how their experiences in public relations led them to work for high-end fashion companies like Dior and Nike. This really proved to me that anything is possible in the public relations field — it’s all about who you know and working hard.
Madeline Balicoco, Class of 2018:
There were a variety of important takeaways from each session, but the crème de la crème for me came from Behind the Magic: Disneyland Events, which was led by Pat Denis, the senior manager of entertainment technical services/show services of the Walt Disney Company. The key takeaway that truly resonated with me was that our roles have the power to create meaningful memories and positive impacts for the people we reach. Whether we coordinate special events or disseminate integral key messages for our organizations in the future, these efforts can become meaningful experiences for our target audiences.
Ciera Chang, Class of 2018:
As a graduating senior preparing to head into the work force, this regional conference was an incredible experience for me. Listening to the panels of professionals discuss their career paths was not only inspiring but also valuable industry knowledge. For me, the highlight of the conference was getting the opportunity to tour Taco Bell’s headquarters and attend the NACHOaverage Brand panel with Matt Prince, Taco Bell's senior public relations manager. My main takeaway from the event was the growing importance of social listening, and how successful brands should use social listening to take something that might be a natural course of action and position it as their own.
Héctor Zermeño Morones, Class of 2018:
Attending my first ever PRSSA regional conference was more rewarding than I originally expected. There were two key takeaways that I think will be very useful to me as a public relations professional. The first came from the NACHOaverage Brand session conducted by Matt Prince. I learned that although public relations has similar functions across different industries, it is best to have clear and tailored public relations objectives for each brand. Prince said that for Taco Bell, those objectives are to promote, protect and defend the brand. The other key takeaway involves personal growth and it came from Steve Rohr, the show publicist for the Oscars. As a piece of personal advice, Rohr told attendees that if a door does not open when it is knocked on, move on to the next door because those closed doors are meant for someone else. This advice will serve me well as I navigate the public relations world to establish my career.
Alex Piscatelli, Class of 2018:
As a graduating senior, I went into the conference ready to savor every last bit of advice before entering the “real world.” I loved being surrounded by so many people who have the same kind of passion for PR like I do. Everyone has that same love, but they’re all making it their own. I especially enjoyed hearing from Robyn Harney, who works for Sony Pictures Television Media & Talent Relations – she originally wanted to pursue theater but instead found a fervor for entertainment PR. Hearing Harney and all the other speakers throughout the conference enthusiastically speak about their careers makes me thrilled to finally be graduating and entering the workforce.
Vivian Vy Lam, Class of 2019:
This regional conference truly provided us with amazing speakers who gave solid advice and taught us skills we can use in our own jobs and internships. I learned the most in the Influencer Marketing session with Edelman, but I can’t help but go back to the Crisis Communication session with Holly Baird from Sitrick & Company. My key takeaway from this conference (and from Baird) is to always tell the truth. It’s hard to regain credibility once you lose that trust with the media and your stakeholders. This is especially true for PR professionals! Be honest with yourself and be honest with the people who care about your organization, company or client. I can’t emphasize that enough!
What are some of your number one key takeaways from the conferences you’ve attended this year? Let us know in a comment below!