On Oct.14, 2011, eleven members of the William C. Adams Chapter of Florida International University (FIU PRSSA) attended the 2011 PRSSA National Conference, which was hosted this year in Orlando, Florida.
Uncertain of the weekend’s turnout, students approached the conference with an open mind, hoping they would leave with a greater understanding of where they stood in their career development and more importantly, what path they wanted to take in the profession.
Every day, the members dispersed throughout the hotel to different sessions that sparked their interest. “We were never really all together until night time, where we would all talk about what we learned during the day and all the different people we met,” says senior and National Liaison, Stephanie Necuze. With the incredibly diverse lineup of panelists, there was something for everyone’s interest.
Although the majority of speakers were public relations professionals, there were also a variety of journalists and bloggers who shared their prospective on the best way to approach the media with information. Since a big portion of the industry is pitching ideas to the media, this was a unique angle to see it from, because after all, it’s not all about what we want.
FIU PRSSA members had the opportunity to attend some sessions of PRSA International Conference as well. Students were enthralled by the opening of Disney’s Voices of Liberty performance. Additionally, they got to hear great insight from Keynote speakers, Soledad O’Brien, CNN anchor and special correspondent and Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO, X PRIZE Foundation. “I really liked how the speakers focused on the importance of diversity throughout the workforce. In order to work together efficiently it is essential to understand each other as well,” said Gretel Perez, President of FIU PRSSA.
After a weekend of insight, networking and fun, the sleep-deprived members returned to Miami with a better understanding of the PR industry. “It was worth the money, I saw it as a huge investment in my future. It opened doors for our careers post-graduation, now it’s up to us to walk through them” says junior, Christian Williams.
MIAMI – Members of the Florida International University (FIU) Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter visited the O’Connell & Goldberg public relations (OGPR) agency on Monday, Oct. 10, 2011. The PRSSA executive board, as well as members, gained valuable insight as to how a public relations agency functions and the differences between agency and in-house PR.
Toby Srebnik, director of social media for OGPR, greeted PRSSA members and gave them a tour around the office to introduce the other team members. Barbara Goldberg, the agency’s president, gave a presentation about the many components of the agency and later led a Q&A session with the students. Goldberg intrigued the members when she spoke about the signature “creative fuel” that forms the building blocks of this multi-faceted agency. Being that it is the mantra for OGPR, “creative fuel” simply refers to the edge that sets this agency apart from others. Goldberg explained the many endeavors that the company has taken on over the years and why she believes the firm has remained successful, again crediting the “creative fuel” that pumps out of the office.
Goldberg also made it a point to discuss the importance of a work-life balance among her employees, something that really impressed the students. “O’Connell and Goldberg is an agency that values the importance of integrity and honesty,” said Gretel Perez, president of the FIU PRSSA William C. Adams Chapter. “It was very refreshing to hear from the professionals how important it is to balance work and family and be able to be successful with both.
Apart from Srebnik and Goldberg, Jeff Bray, Account Supervisor & Senior Editor, Karen Dennis, Account Executive and Ashley Rodriguez, Account Executive, joined in on the Q&A session and shared their experiences with the students. After discussing their roles in the agency, the staff treated the students to a delicious lunch from one of OGPR’s clients, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. Students and OGPR staff ate together and discussed the ins and outs of agency PR with Goldberg and the rest of the OGPR staff.
With the help of PRSA Miami College Relations Chair, Nathalie Santa Maria, the FIU PRSSA chapter was able to take part in their first agency tour of the 2011-2012 school year. The members are eager to visit another public relations department in the future, whether in-house or agency, to continue growing and learning in their field.
Director of Public Relations, FIU PRSSA
Our speakers at the Professional Development Workshop were both very keen in the development of students’ careers through the use of engagement and tactics. Betsy Soler spoke about the advantages social media has in today’s busy PR world, addressing the importance of connectivity and interaction. Maria Alexandra Sanchez emphasized the need to stay in the loop of the important happenings going on within an organization while relaying the information in an effective manner.
Overall, we had a successful event with a great turnout. We are very excited for our next Professional Development Workshop coming up in a few weeks.