February 23-25 I was able to go to Provo, UT for a PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) conference and let me just say, it was amazing! I was a little nervous about going because I didn’t really know any one and I would miss the hubby of course, but I am glad I did. I learned so much, made some great friends, was inspired and networked with some of the most prestigious PR specialists in the world.
Since that weekend I have been on a massive PR high and I loved it! Here’s a little run down of the 3-day adventure:
Day 1: More like night 1, we arrived around 4ish, went to our hotel, changed and headed to the opening social. There were PRSSA members from various schools including Washington, Boise State, BYU-I, BYU, Utah State, ect.
Night 1 we focused on crisis communications, they divided us into groups specifically to get us to be with students from other schools. There were 3 rounds that all included 1 hypothetical company that was experiencing major melt downs, which got worse from round 1 to 3. They would give us 1 scenario then we had about 20 minutes to come up with statements explaining what our group would do, we turned that into the judges and they were looked over. At the end of round 3 they announced the 2 winning groups, who then had to answer grilling questions from the judges as if they were the actual PR specialist for this firm. Unfortunately, my group’s judge was never there so when we emailed our answers in they didn’t get looked over. It was still great practice.
After that we had special guest speaker, Chris Thomas, who is Elizabeth Smart’s PR specialist, and nationally declared one of the best crisis communicators in the US. After he spoke my friend and I were able to speak to him for a few minutes which was really nice! It was interesting to hear the PR side of the Elizabeth Smart story.
Day 2: Our first speaker was Tom Goodman, an amazing entrepreneur in the PR industry. He pitched to British Airlines before his company; Goodman Media International was even a real business, and he won them over! After we heard from him there were 6 more speakers over a 3 hour period that we could pick and choose between. I chose to go to Michael Smart, who is the national news director at BYU, he gave us a lot of encouragement to chase our dreams and some great tips on how to pitch to news reporters. Next I went to KC Brown, general manager of Cision, who is super laid back and again encouraging. He said one of my favorite quotes from the conference:
“Public relations people make a living by making something ordinary, extraordinary.”
Last but not least I heard Pete Codella who is the owner of Codella Marketing who gave us advice on:
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- How to be active on every social media source without being repetitive
Later that night we had a beautiful dinner at the BYU Skyroom Banquet. The room was I think 20 floors high? Maybe I’m exaggerating, but the walls of the room were windows with the perfect view to over look the Provo Canyon. Also, my table was lucky enough to snag KC Brown and Pete Codella to sit with us, I was sitting one seat away from them too. It was so exciting to be able to sit with these accomplished PR individuals and be able to get even more advice and input from them!
After day 2 we were all pretty exhausted, I got to the point where I didn’t even want to go to the end of the conference…
Day 3: But I am sure glad I did! David Allred was one of our final guest speakers and definitely my favorite. His speech was so encouraging and directed to us as students about how to transition into a professional. He asked us who knew where they wanted to work, he would then call on someone whose hand was raised, they would state where they wanted to work and then ask the audience if any of us had a connection to that company and every single time there was at least 1 connection! AMAZING! I had my hand raised but wasn’t called on…that didn’t stop me though, I went down and talked to him about an awkward situation I have been experiencing with contacting a company I am interested in and he gave me the best advice.
Moral of the Story: If Your Dreams Don’t Scare You, You’re Not Dreaming Big Enough
*Not the most interesting blog, sorry ya’ll and hopefully there aren’t too many typos!*