My name is Sara and I’m here to share my experience from the PRSSA 2012 National Conference in San Francisco with FIU’s PRSSA Chapter. A few minutes after I booked my flight to San Francisco in the beginning of September, a rush of anxiety overcame me as I asked myself “What am I thinking?” Aside from my fear of flying, I had just transferred to FIU this semester, and I didn’t really know anyone, much less any of the other conference attendees from PRSSA. A month later, as I boarded the plane for San Francisco, I hoped for new perspectives on PR, nice roommates and a smooth flight. What I gained from the conference was all of these things and more. Between the inspiring lecturers, motivated students, and my fantastically fun roommates, the weekend was a whirlwind of PR amusement. My fellow FIU chapter members and I even got to mingle with some of the PR professionals at a diversity mixer hosted by PRSSA’s parent organization, PRSA, at its International Conference which was held in conjunction with ours, in a hotel down the street. Getting to network with professionals was a great learning experience for me. All of the professionals I spoke with, were supportive and willing to answer questions about their careers.
Some of the themes running throughout the conference that really appealed to me were the importance of ethical behavior, perfecting presentation skills and working with the media. My favorite presentation was given by Biz Stone, the co-creator of Twitter, at the National PRSA Conference Keynote Address. Stone talked a lot about the significance of social media in the current and future global communities, an important topic in the PR profession. He also informed the audience about an extraordinary organization he supports which provides medications and other necessities for children in poor, developing countries around the world. As an avid volunteer for special needs children, I was extremely moved. Overall, I’d say the 2012 PRSSA National Conference was a complete success and a wonderful learning experience. Anyone who is passionate about advancing in the PR profession should really get involved with this fabulous organization and attend the national conference. You won’t regret it!
I am a second year graduate student at Florida International University studying Global Strategic Communications. Coming from a background of health education, I thought I would be overwhelmed while attending a national conference with aspiring PR pre-professionals who have it all figured out but simply need to get their foot in the door. Not that I was surprised, but everyone was very friendly and helpful. I was relieved to find that there were other students who were trying to figure out what they wanted to do and what steps to take to achieve the goals they would like to achieve. On the other hand, there were also students who knew what they wanted to do and were trying to develop and expand their skills and experiences.
Before arriving to the conference, I had my mind set on working in the entertainment sector of PR. After attending only a few of the sessions, I decided that I wanted to explore other realms of the industry, such as hospitality. The speaker for the hospitality session, Andrew Freeman and his colleagues, did a wonderful job at not only delivering a great presentation, but really providing useful information as to what you can expect in the field, how to create and track results, and of course, the ups and downs of the business. Some of the companies in attendance were also very helpful in giving me very specific information on getting an opportunity with their company or exploring other alternatives that would fit my current experience and help to lead me in their direction. The icing on the cake was the conference being hosted in such a beautiful city like San Francisco. I really enjoyed myself.
PRSSA networked the night away at its fall mixer held at the Cafeina Wynwood Lounge. On Sept. 20, members had the opportunity to connect with Miami public relations professionals and put their people skills to the test. For some of our members, the opportunity opened more doors then they could have ever imagined. Yanina Velez, a new member to our organization, shares her story on how the mixer landed her a paid internship with the prominent global PR firm, Fleishman-Hillard.
My Mixer Experience
My name is Yanina Velez. I am a junior and a new member of the PRSSA chapter at FIU. My major is public relations with a minor in Marketing. As I type this from the office of my new job, I want to share with you all why my experience at the first PRSSA Mixer I attended seemed almost too good to be true. After meeting a great and talented team of public relations students from FIU, a student working for one of the leading PR agencies in the industry, Fleishman-Hilliard, recommended that I turn in my resume that week because they were hiring interns.
I have been a real estate associate since 2007, I have an environmental column in GENTE de Miami Magazine and I’ve worked at Univision for three years. All of these jobs include the practice of public relations, but the main reason I was so excited about this opportunity was because I’d never work for a leading PR firm in charge of some of the biggest accounts in the world. I e-mailed my resume on a Thursday and on Friday I received a call from Fleishman-Hillard looking forward to meeting me in the upcoming week. They said they had gone through my resume and wanted to see me as soon as the president of the Latin Media Department arrived from a business trip.
On Monday Oct. 1, I attended the interview at the beautiful offices of Fleishman-Hillard in Coral Gables. That same day, I was told I was hired. I am honored to be part of the Latin America team for one of the top leading communications agencies in the country.
Since my first day working for Fleishman-Hillard, I have been learning an infinite amount of professional skills in the public relations field. On the first week they putted me in charge of revising and re-creating tip sheets for Cover Girl, Head & Shoulders and Olay. My writing, creativity and translation skills were put to test. That upcoming weekend I worked at the set of a Cover Girl commercial where I not only attended, but also helped direct a 10-minute video shoot. I am currently finishing writing and translating a trend tip sheet for Olay which will be mailed to all the editors for the welcoming of the holidays. During this last project I got to do research and write about one of my biggest passions, fashion. I couldn’t be happier with this opportunity. I am extremely thankful for the chance to broaden my horizons provided by my classmates and PRSSA chapter. I would also like to thank PRSSA at FIU for the great teamwork to make events like the mixer happen. This is the beginning of an amazing journey in my career, THANK YOU PRSSA!
From recruiting and contacting sponsors, to designing flyers and everything in between, our executive board organizes and runs events during the academic year in an effort to accomplish what FIU PRSSA stands for. What do they do when they aren’t working? Read below and get to know our new members of the E-Board!
Luciana Padula – Director of Fundraising
Follow Luciana @Padulalu
Luciana Padula is a Senior at FIU studying toward a degree in public relations. As the Director of Fundraising for FIU’s PRSSA, she is in charge of putting together events to fundraise for PRSSA’s many functions including National Conference. Luciana has a creative soul and a love for adventure, fashion and travel. She is currently dabbling in Real Estate and is always looking for a challenge where she can exercise her creativity and eye for putting things together. With hopes to one day open her own PR agency, she is determined to gain as much knowledge and experience as she can to flourish in the industry.
Jillian Goltzman – PRSSA Vice President
Follow Jillian @Jillian_Writes
Jillian Goltzman is a Public Relations major in her senior year at FIU. She has a fond passion for writing, art and fashion. She has a background in journalism from her time as the Editor-in-Chief of the Broward College student newspaper, The Observer. Jillian is a marketing intern at Perry Ellis International where she specializes in copywriting and loves to exercise her creativity. She spends time being involved in FIU’s Honors College and PRSSA, as well as volunteering in the community with organizations like Children’s Harbor. She aspires to work in the field of fashion, entertainment or non-profit PR after graduation. Jillian hopes to attend graduate school and relocate to New York City to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a successful writer.
To contact the executive board visit www2.fiu.edu/~prssa/board.html.