This year PRSSA held its National Conference in San Francisco with the motto “Bridging the Gap.” The whole point was to bridge the gap between pre-professionals in public relations and others who are already working in the industry. Needless to say, the 2012 National Conference did that – and so much more for me.
The first day of sessions started off with Timothy Jordan, a senior developer advocate for Google, as the keynote speaker. His speech gave insight into what the future of online communication can be and why it’s important to use online tools to promote business while still maintaining a close connection with friends.
After this, it was time for roll call of all the attending PRSSA chapters. While standing on ballroom chairs, UF PRSSA did a cheer and gator chomped, finally finishing it all off by Tebowing. That’s one of the great things I noticed about going to National Conference: it brings your chapter together and you learn to support each other.
The fantastic thing about how conference works? There are several sessions at a time and you get to choose to go to the ones that best fit your interests and curiosities. Oh boy, was I glad I chose to go to Media Training featuring President and CEO Trahan Associates, Joseph V. Trahan III.
Trahan was so enthusiastic. He spoke about his career in the military and handling public affairs in government. He also gave tips on how to direct to the media and how to prep others to do the same. Some of his advice was to always show sympathy/concern in times of strife and to never settle for a generic phrase that just any spokesperson can say. He remained animated throughout his entire presentation and that allowed me to retain so much of his information. I was really glad I chose to hear him speak.
I could go on and on about every speaker, but the main aspect of National Conference is that you truly learn so much in so little time. There were also joint sessions with PRSA where you have a chance to mingle and network with professionals already working in the field. I didn’t mind that I would wake up at 7 a.m. and put on business clothes because it was a sneak peak into what I would have to do if I want to be a future professional.
All the people I met at conference were what made the experience so worthwhile. I met other PR students from different universities and got to experience a fantastic city, San Francisco. Conference was about personal growth and going to all the sessions made me realize how much I can do with a degree in public relations. Sessions ranged from sports management, to hospitality, to tourism and crisis management. There is something for everyone, and I really hope that all of you can make it to next year’s conference in Philadelphia on Oct. 25 -- 29, 2013.
I leave you with a quote of one of the keynote speaker at a joint session with PRSA. Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, said, “In order to succeed spectacularly, you need to be willing to fail spectacularly." What the 2012 PRSSA National Conference was all about: taking risks and believing in yourself.
By: Ana Gomez, University of Florida PRSSA Online Strategy Committee