Tag Archives: conferences

#PRinGR: Doing the right thing

By: Nicole Raymond

Conferences are a great way to build a network in your related field, but they also provide information to help you succeed and better yourself as a professional in your career. The Generation Grand Regional Public Relations Student Society of America Conference was full of networking and learning opportunities for students from across the region. The weekend-long event consisted of tours, networking opportunities, sessions, and panels on several different facets of public relations.

While there were several sessions with amazing learning opportunities throughout the weekend, I decided to focus on the Saturday morning sessions, which were titled “PR for the Earth: Green Thinking” and “PR for a Better World: Corporate Responsibility.”


Photo Credit: GVSU Twitter

“PR for the Earth: Green Thinking” was moderated by Adam Russo from COM 161 and was filled with professionals from organizations that were serious about sustainability. This session focused on how organizations can make an impact in their community and in their world by rooting the idea of sustainability in their business culture and the effects of sustainable practices on an organization’s bottom line. Sharon Darby from Cascade Engineering stated that if you do what is good for the environment and the people, it will be good for business. However, another panelist Josh Leffingwell from Well Design Studio says that it is no longer newsworthy when organizations do good, rather it is a baseline that an organization must go above and beyond to be recognized by the media. People want sustainable products made by sustainable companies and many consumers will search for these sustainable practices and buy from organizations that have a sustainable commitment. When it comes to sustainability, there is always more that can be done and there is always room for improvement. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in a society that votes with their money on the most sustainable organizations and products. When an organization commits to a culture of sustainable practices it will bring in customers and build a business.

panel 2

Courtesy Photo

The second session was “PR for a Better World: Corporate Responsibility” moderated by Dino Baskovic from Vincena and was paneled by Stacie Behler from Meijer, Michelle Meulendyk from Amway, Audra Hartges from Steelcase, and Kelley Freridge from Wolverine World Wide. This session outlined why corporate responsibility is important for organizations and how those organizations can choose the corporate responsibility initiative that is right for them and the communities in which they reside. Community development is the footprint that is left behind. One of the first questions was “Why should corporate social responsibility be a priority of organizations?” Meulendyk answered by stating if we don’t, then who will?

Another ‘why’ factor of corporate responsibility is it’s the right thing and organizations should always be willing to do what is right. Consumers are creating a culture where corporate responsibility matters and not just talking, but doing and seeing the impact through the bottom line, social and feedback. Each community is different and Behler explained the importance of doing good in the community by matching community needs to the acts of service or donations provided to the community by businesses. Panelists were also asked how to help employees think of corporate social responsibility and the desire to make the community a better place by their employees. They explained that it was important to instill a culture of service within the work community and hire those who already have that culture instilled in them.

The earth and the community are important to our society and can play an important role in the money making ability of an organization. As more consumers care about how their products were made, it has become more important for businesses to practice green thinking and corporate responsibility.

Nicole Raymond is senior majoring in public relations and double minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first year serving on EMU PRSSA’s E-Board as VP of External Relations. Nicole is a wife, aunt, daughter, sister and friend. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleraymond74.

3 reasons why you should attend Regional Conference

By: Andrea Mellendorf


Image courtesy of EMU PRSSA on Facebook (EMU PRSSA at Regional Conference last year, hosted by Wayne State University).

Regional Conference is just around the corner! What is Regional Conference, you might be wondering? Regional Conference is an opportunity to hear from speakers and panelists from the public relations industry, network with your peers and professionals, and travel to a new place!

Regional Conferences take place all over the United States—you can check all of them out here. The Regional Conference closest to us this year is in April, hosted by Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University. Having a hard time deciding whether you should attend? Here are three reasons why attending a Regional Conference is a great idea:

  1. Networking

Regional Conferences are an awesome opportunity to start to get to know people in your field. Use this opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your fellow Chapter members, get to know public relations peers from around the country, and even network with professionals in the industry.

  1. Educational value.

Enhance your experience in the classroom by supplementing your coursework with a day at a professional conference. You will hear first-hand about some of the challenges, successes, failures and joys that professionals in the industry have experienced. Learn from their mistakes and what they wish they would have known, and apply that knowledge to your own PR journey!

  1. Travel

Regional Conferences are held all over the country, so attending one is your opportunity to see a new place! For example, the Generation Grand: PR in GR conference is held in Grand Rapids, Mich., which happens to be one of the greatest cities on Earth, and my hometown.

Overall, Regional Conferences are the perfect opportunity for you to continue to grow as a student and as a public relations professional. Be sure to check out all of the Regional Conference opportunities available to you, and pick one to attend!

Andrea Mellendorf is a senior and serves as the Chapter President for EMU PRSSA. She previously has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Special Events and Programs for EMU PRSSA, and as an intern for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Andrea currently is the Social Media Operator for The Honors College where she manages their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and for the College of Arts and Sciences, where she manages their Facebook and Twitter. Connect with Andrea on Twitter – @AndreaMell!

PRSSA Regional Conference in April! Learn more here!

There will be a PRSSA Regional Conference on April 7 through April 9 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University are hosting the conference, “Generation Grand: Experience PR in GR.” According to the event’s website, guests will hear about a variety of topics, including corporate responsibility, green thinking, place and space making, keeping talent in the Midwest, maintaining a creative community, and much more.

The conference’s schedule and registration details can be found here.

Different is better than better

The very first session I went to at PRSSA National Conference was a special leadership workshop for Chapter presidents – and boy, was I in for a treat!

The workshop was led by Cassandra Bailey, the principal at Slice Communications in Philadelphia, who started the session with a story about her grandmother. In the end, no matter how ridiculous the situation, her grandmother would look at her and say, “at least it was different.”

Which was the whole concept behind Cass’ presentation – different is better than better.

“You need to be able to learn by not accepting the norm,” she told us. “Being better is hard to prove – it takes a lot of energy to do so, but it’s easy to prove you’re different.”

So, how can you do this? Well, Cass gave us some advice that can stand the test of time.

Stand out! Build your personal branding while thinking “what do I want them to remember about me?”

You are your brand, and while you may admire someone else’s personal brand, you should never make it exactly like anyone else’s – it needs to be as unique as a fingerprint. You need to be extraordinary and be constantly evolving. Know what is coming next and be ahead of it and definitely don’t be stagnant.

Chapter presidents at the leadership workshop with Cass Bailey / Source: Cass Bailey

Chapter presidents at the leadership workshop with Cass Bailey / Source: Cass Bailey

Cass also talked to as about agency life and how to stand out and be different in an agency setting as well. One of the things Cass told us about owning an agency is that you basically need to “blow it up and reinvent” your brand and “slay the golden calf.”

What she meant by this is that all those previous things that we covet – media kits, press releases, etc. – we need to be OK with giving them up and taking a different approach to them. Doing this energizes the future of the agency and your career as well as makes you stand out.

Something relatable that Cass gave us from her own agency was the “Slice Values” which can be used in your own personal brand as well. Their values are:

  •  Tenacity
  • Creativity: Being able to generate something new and interesting
  • Diversity: Not just diversity amongst people, but having a diverse group of people who can bring a different point of view, background and interests as well as bring something new to the table
  • Generosity: Being creative and intellectually generous means giving away your time and ideas
  • Integrity: Doing what you say you will do! 

“Be something different than what people thing you will be,” says Cass. “Show your passion, love and true belief in yourself. Be interested and interesting.”

Emily Vontom

Announcing the 16th Annual Student Development Conference

SDC16 Logo

The Eleanor Wright Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America at Eastern Michigan University is excited to announce our 16th Annual Student Development Conference on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. The conference will be located in room 310 B of the Eastern Michigan University Student Center.

We will offer an early bird special on the cost this year! The early bird special will be $10 per person for all RSVP’s with payment made before Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 and $15 per person at the door. These prices include lunch, which will be served at 11:45 a.m.

Please make all RSVP’s to VP of Special Events and Programs, Lisa McClees via email or at a PRSSA meeting.

What is THE Student Development Conference?

This conference is an annual student workshop that is planned and implemented by members of our PRSSA Chapter. The purpose of the conference is to help students from in and around southeastern Michigan prepare for careers in public relations, journalism, marketing and other communication fields.

What are our workshops this year?

How Public Relations has Changed over the Years
Presented by Matt Friedman
Owner, Tanner Friedman

Workshop 2:
Presented by Darci McConnell
Owner, McConnell Communications

Workshop 3:
Personal Branding
Presented by Don McLean
Marketing & Proposals Lead, MMS Holding Inc.

Workshop 4:
Resume Building
Presented by Christine Olszewski
Director of Special Projects, Eisbrenner Public Relations

Career Tips
Presented by Alex Sherbow
Account Executive,Eisbrenner Public Relations

Thoughts to consider when attending a conference

Next week, I’m attending the PRSSA National Conference in Philadelphia, Penn. This will be the third year in a row that I’ve been able to attend the conference. Previously, I went to Orlando, Fla. in 2011 and San Francisco, Calif. in 2012.

During my previous two trips, I’ve learned a lot about attending conferences and making the most of the incredible opportunity.

So, I want to share those with you – because I know that you, as future leaders of EMU PRSSA, will one day get to attend National Conference (or other PRSSA national/regional conferences like National Assembly and Leadership Rally!) and could use some of this information that I’ve been so lucky to learn.

You can even use these tips for other conferences you may attend that have nothing to do with PRSSA!

PRSSA National Conference 2011

PRSSA National Conference 2011

Network. At national conference, you’ll meet a LOT of fellow PRSSA students and a LOT of PR professionals. Make sure you introduce yourself to these people and listen to what they have to say.

Making this connection (more on this later) could help you in your job hunt. Also, at the end of a session introduce yourself to the speaker(s) of the workshop. Thank them for the their presentation and advice, introduce yourself, ask more questions if you have them.

Ask questions. There’s going to be a lot of information thrown at you during the sessions. If you’re confused or want clarification, there will be time at the end of the presentation to ask questions. Sometimes, there’s a panel of professions who are just there to take questions about specific industry. Utilize the opportunity and ask as many questions as possible.

Choose wisely. There are probably at least four sessions going on at once during each workshop time. Don’t just pick a session because it’s where all the others from EMU are going or because the speaker is cool.

Pick something that you want to hear about or need help with. If you really need resume advice, go to a session about perfecting your resume. If you’re really interested in travel PR, then go to that session. There are a bunch of options – make sure you choose what’s best for you!

Make the connection. One of my favorite parts about National Conference is the career exhibition during the last full day of the conference. During this session, a bunch (and I mean a LOT!) of agencies, businesses, graduate schools, etc. set up for students to meet and greet.

Kinda like a career fair. You get to go around and learn about each company and talk to recruiters. Make that connection with the recruiter! Get in their head and give them your business card and resume. Pitch yourself.

Experience the culture. Any time you travel to a conference, you always want to get out and experience the city, but if you’re like me, you feel obligated to attend as many sessions as possible.

But, take it from me, it’s OK to skip a session so you can go see the historic landmarks and experience the culture of a place you’ve never been before. Especially if it is somewhere you’ve never been and don’t think you’ll ever get experience again. Learning doesn’t just take place sitting and listening to a lecture or a panel. 

Emily Vontom