Speed Mentoring: the mentor YOU need to enhance your event

By: Evan Ficaj

EMU PRSSA hosted a fantastic speed mentoring event Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the EMU Student Center. Public relations, marketing, and communication students were given the opportunity to network with 10 local professionals for five minutes each. For students pursuing the special events industry, there was an obvious mentor with the ability to bring your career to the next level: Geoff Larcom, director of media relations at EMU.

In addition to Geoff Larcom, EMU PRSSA was able to gather an impressive list of professionals from a wide variety of organizations. These include:


  • Shelley Hehr, sales/marketing, Chelsea Wellness Center
  • Scott Greenlee, president, Greenlee Consulting
  • Linda Girard, founder, CEP, Pure Visibility
  • Andrea Bajaj, college recruiter, Quicken Loans
  • Kelly LaVaute, EIC of SM, Chevy
  • Sam Plymale, development, City of Plymouth
  • Denise Murray, marketing, Briarwood Mall
  • Kevin Kennedy, Campbell Marketing
  • Jenni Placinta, SS Digital
  • Alan Hall, Manager, technology, research and innovation communications, Ford Motor Company
  • Marisa Bradley, manager, consumer and broadcast communications, Ford Motor Company
speed mentoring

Photo taken by Evan Ficaj

Geoff Larcom should be a familiar name to fellow EMU students. He sends you an email every other day about the latest and greatest news regarding EMU and its campus. As someone who works on campus and is heavily involved with special events, I was eager to find out the most effective way to increase engagement from students and the media. He provided several essential elements to stand out and receive the engagement you need to be successful.


  1. Impact: Who is this going to effect, how is going to effect them, and why does it matter? This is the #1 question you must ask yourself when organizing an event or pitching it to the media. If you can’t confidently answer this, why would the media be talking about it? Why would anyone even go to it? Make sure you have strong answers before moving forward with your event.
  2. New / Trending: There is a reason why news got its name. People are interested in what is new and trending in the community. Waiting too long to share your event or its updates will lose the interest of your audience. Also be sure your event is relatable and trending in your target location.
  3. Human Narrative: Don’t plan on organizing a successful event by blasting your message everywhere and telling as many people as you can. Your messages must own a personality that accurately reflects the nature of the event. They must encourage your target audience to engage in conversation with you and your organization.
  4.  Videos / Photos: People are tired of reading the typical press release or social media post. To gain interest and encourage others to share your event, including unique videos and photos in your communications is a must.
  5. Structure: Having a visually appealing structure to your communications is just as important as including videos and photos. Break up those blocks of texts by creatively using bullets, numbers, symbols, etc. to catch the eye of your target audience.Overall, I was very impressed with the mentors and the advice I received. Each mentor brought a unique perspective to help you grow as a professional in any industry you choose. If you are at all interested in special events, the media, or engaging with students, Geoff Larcom is definitely someone you want to email back and start a conversation with.

Evan Ficaj is a guest blogger for EMU PRSSA.



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