Mixing it up with PRSSA

By Juliana Gallo

juliana2I was excited when I first found out that there was going to be a PRSSA Mixer. It was going to be my first time at an event and having just transferred, it was the perfect place to branch out and network with not only past and current FIU students, but with PR professionals. I had so many questions and curiosities that I couldn’t wait to get answered.

The event was amazing and it went above and beyond all of my expectations! I was a little bit nervous at first because I am usually a shy person, but everybody made me feel so comfortable and welcome that my nervousness disappeared almost as soon as I walked in. I was able to talk to various PRSSA members as well as FIU alumni and PR professionals that gave me such great advice. They were all being very sincere with their answers and they were truly trying to lead me in the right direction in regards to my career. I got some great advice on when would be a good time to apply for an internship; how to balance school and internships; whether online classes are a good choice; and even on how to improve my resume.

The whole time I was at the mixer I had nothing but good vibrations from everybody in attendance. Everyone was there to help each other and to try and give the best advice they could, and that energy could definitely be felt throughout the night.

I enjoyed the event so much that I couldn’t wait for another one. Not only was it fun, but it really helped me meet and network with a lot of nice people that share my interests. By listening to people’s experiences, I was able to scope out what a major in PR was going to bring to my future. By talking with alumni, I got an idea of what opportunities are out there, and it was truly a sigh of relief knowing that my career field is growing and not stopping any time soon.  I left the event more excited and more motivated than ever about my future in PR!

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Puppies make a huge bark at Florida International University

PRSSA and Humane Society Event was a Success at Biscayne Bay
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On Valentine’s Day, the Public Relations Student Society of America partnered with the Humane Society of Greater Miami to bring puppies to FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. This event aimed to collect donations for the Humane Society and PRSSA.

photo 1“It was really great to see all the enthusiasm about having the Humane Society and their puppies here on campus,” said PRSSA President Jillian Goltzman. Thanks to the generosity of FIU students, staff and administration, the Humane Society and PRSSA raised almost $175 in proceeds. The Humane Society, located on West Dixie Highway in North Miami Beach, is a no-kill shelter. Proceeds go toward providing shelter and care for animals in need.

The great response of the FIU community has sparked plans for a future partnership between the Humane Society and PRSSA.Their next endeavor will likely be held at the Modesto Maidique Campus in late March.

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Intern to PRo: Internship Workshop TODAY at BBC

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Intern to PRo Seminar
WUC 245 4:30 p.m.
TODAY, Nov. 13

Sometimes the secret to standing out isn’t a secret at all. We tend to relent about the things we wish we knew growing up, but when it comes to a career in public relations we have your answer. PRSSA will be welcoming three special guests from the Max Borges Agency to give their insights, reviews, and feedback on the secrets to making your internship count.

The frontier of finding post-grad work may seem more like an intimidating battlefield, but it doesn’t have to be.  Nearly every job requests practitioners with experience and internships are the factor to set you apart as an outstanding candidate. Whether you’re paid or unpaid, the coffee runner or the copywriting stunner, an internship is a foot in the door to any job. Guest speakers Kristen Bean, Tiffany Iwankiw, and Sophie Isacowitz from the Max Borges Agency will be speaking at the Biscayne Bay Campus on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in WUC 245 about ways to advance your internship into a job.

The Intern to PRo event will be open to all students at FIU. “This is something we’ve never done before for our members. I think its great because the advice you receive from people who speak from experience is invaluable,” said Luciana Padula, Director of Fundraising. Padula was one of the many members who attended National Conference and got to learn from workshops similar to today’s event. “We are all in the same position now and we want to know how we can transition from an intern position into the real world,” she said.

The Max Borges Agency is top tech PR agency in the US with a focus on consumer technology. Over 70 inventive electronic brands trust MBA to with drawn out campaigns and elaborate product launches. Think Geek, Verifone, iLuv, Griffin Technology, The Huffington Post and Gizmodo are a few of the reputable companies that can speak of their success. Bean, Iwankiw, and Isocowitz were public relations students not too long ago and now work for the outstanding and competitive tech firm. The three Pros will be giving insight and advice on how to find internships, make an impact, and get hired.

Attendants will get a chance to enjoy useful tips, one-on-one talks and refreshments at the seminar. Resume critiques will be taking place for those who want to get a better idea on how to present themselves to a company. All attendants are encouraged to bring a resume for review. PRSSA members are free and non-members are open to a suggested $5 donation. Where will you be when your future is being decided?

CEO Insight: How do Independent PR Agencies Attract the Top Talent?

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The Global PR Summit is a yearly conference where the best and the biggest in the PR industry gather to share tips and insights to further their field and network with other noteworthy professionals.  The Holmes Group hosted the Independent PR Firms Forum on Oct. 29 to kick off the inaugural three-day event.  Paul Holmes, founder of the Holmes Group, moderated a panel on “Attracting and Retaining Top Talent,” which featured three speakers from top independent PR agencies around the world  that were chosen as “Better Places to Work” over the past year. These panelists included rbb’s Christine Barney, Hering Schuppener’s Ralf Hering and Blue Rubicon’s Fraser Hardie.

Holmes pointed out that a lineal relationship seems to exist between agency size and performance as small companies tend to outperform the bigger holding companies.   This success could be partially attributed to the ability of small agencies to attract and retain top industry talent.  Each panelist weighed in on this concept.

ImageWhile larger companies seem to offer meaningless benefits, “an employee driven workplace” is essential to attracting and retaining talent, said Barney.  She mentioned that an employee driven workplace is not a function of size but rather, depends on culture.  Barney hypothesized that the large holding companies sometimes have an environment and a legacy that hinders this culture.  Barney also touted the importance of valuing the team over the individual, and so as a secondary step in her hiring practice she uses the Rembrandt profile – an assessment which Holmes insisted is amazingly accurate at identifying personality types; an essential tool when trying to create a team environment.

Hardie emphasized that retaining top talent must be a part of the initial stages of a business plan.  As the founder and a senior partner of Blue Rubicon, a top U.K. agency, he is certain there also needs to be a degree of stability within the agency which is desirable to the clients as well as the talent. Hardie proposed that developing talent is an integral part of an agency’s research and development.  It is this investment in talent that gives small agencies a competitive advantage.

Hering, the CEO of one of Germany’s top PR agencies, feels that a clear set of values is essential to attracting and retaining top talent.  He emphasized the importance of mentoring agency newcomers, offering the opportunity for depth with clients, and providing attractive assignments in order to entice new talent.  He also stressed the importance of morality in the hiring practices of these independent agencies; he never hires from the competition, moral principle all the panelists shared or uses head hunters.

To retain top talent, Barney maintained that it is essential for each employee to have a “sense of ownership.”  She encourages respect and flexibility in the work atmosphere in order to cultivate this sense of ownership.  Hardie reasoned that high risk suppresses creativity and so it is important to remove the politics from the operation of the agency.   

The question of “what constitutes value” was posed by Barney when one audience member asked about the payment process utilized by the top independent agencies. Compensation can be an important factor of consideration for prospective PR hires.  Hardie proposed that it was important to avoid selling by measuring time, while Hering cleverly summed up his position on the issue by saying, “if you pay in peanuts, you’re gonna be serviced by monkeys.”  They all favored a more liberal way of measuring value beyond the traditional billable hours.

Overall, the discussion managed to highlight the criteria these successful independent agencies utilize to attract and retain the top talent in the industry.  As PR students, it is important that we become familiar with the criteria these agencies use to evaluate prospective hires so that we might be able to develop our skills along these lines and market ourselves effectively when the time comes.  Furthermore, the discussion highlighted how important an element the talent is to the formula of success for elite, flourishing PR agencies. 

San Francisco Series: Luz Castillo

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My name is Luz Castillo and I just joined PRSSA this semester. My first experience as a member of PRSSA assured me that I made the right choice by joining the organization. I was very fortunate to attend National Conference in San Francisco this past month. I learned many new things about the PR field and it really got me pumped to get my career started.
All the sessions I attended were helpful and informative.  My favorite presentation was by PR professional, Michael Smart, who taught us the seven secrets of perfect pitching. During his presentation, I learned the importance of knowing how to pitch stories to the media and how mastering the art of pitching can put you ahead of others in the PR field. I also enjoyed the keynote speech by Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter. It was amazing to hear from one of the most influential people in the current world of social media.

Apart from learning and networking, we also had time to do plenty of sightseeing in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. I have to say that my favorite part about conference was definitely the location! I also enjoyed getting to know the other members from our chapter. Although the first time I met my roommates was on the plane, by the end of those five days, I learned that my chapter is made up of awesome and diverse people. I am really looking forward to working more closely with them here in Miami.

Overall, my conference experience was priceless. It convinced me that PR is what I love to do and it compelled me to look for an internship at a PR firm. I met exceptional people from my chapter as well as from other schools. It surpassed all the expectations I had and most importantly, it motivated me to get involved in my chapter.

San Francisco Series: Brianna Belmonte

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ImageThe PRSSA 2012 National Conference in San Francisco is definitely one of my top five favorite trips! I met so many amazing people and was able to establish friendships with great peers who are part of my FIU PRSSA chapter. Although this was my first conference, I found it to be a great learning experience and extremely informative.  I heard advice on a variety of topics, such as: polishing my writing skills, landing my first internship and improving my communication skills. Now I feel much more comfortable approaching professionals and networking.

Before attending this conference, I had no clue what field of public relations I wanted to go into. The Bridging the Gap Conference helped me identify areas of interest, such as entertainment, event planning and agencies that use integrated marketing communication strategies in their companies. This allowed me to narrow down exactly what my interests are in the PR field.

This trip was a memorable experience indeed. On top of gaining knowledge and a better understanding of what it takes to be successful in the public relations industry, I fell in love with an amazing city. We were able to experience the wonderful restaurants, fresh food markets, TCHO Chocolate Factory, world class shopping, Chinatown, Little Italy, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street and more. The PRSSA 2012 National Conference truly was an unforgettable experience and I am so happy that I was able to be a part of it.