This past weekend I attended the PRSSA Leadership Rally in Scottsdale, AZ, as the new president of the SUNY Plattsburgh PRSSA chapter. I learned the importance of networking, the warmth of new friendships and the value of leadership. What I learned over the course of three days goes far beyond what was written on the agenda, and my experience at LR was one I will cherish for the rest of my life.
The first full day of the rally started with a keynote presentation from Ron Culp, a public relations icon. Throughout his career, Ron worked a handful of jobs, and is currently working as the Public Relations Consultant and Director of the Graduate PRAD Program at DePaul University. The key points of advice I took away from the first part of his presentation were to know your industry, ask questions, and in your work, focus, simplify and measure everything.
The next speaker I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from was National Faculty Adviser Don Egle. Don’s secession covered communication for Chapter Leadership, and he provided us with three main tips. The first one was to establish measurable expectations for our team members, and always ask them questions when necessary. The second tip was to be prepared by mastering the subject I’m communicating about, and again be able to ask and answer questions. The third tip was to know your business (which is a given for any leader.)
Delegation to Managing a Team was next on the agenda, and that secession was lead by another National Faculty Adviser, Bob Pritchard. Delegation is my biggest thing I emphasize on when working with teams, so this secession was my favorite one of the day. Pritch taught us what delegating was, and how it benefits us as individuals, our team members individually, and the entire team as a whole. Without delegation, a team will not be the strongest to it’s potential.
The first big day ended with a presentation on the National Conference, which will take place in Washington D.C from October 10-14. I am SUPER excited for it! I encourage every one of my chapter members to attend this conference because not only is it an amazing opportunity, but there are so many beneficial things planned! Agency tours, socials and presentations will leave any attendee with a memorable time.
LR ended with a last day of several more informational and intimate secessions. Kelly Davis, PRSA Board Liasion to PRSSA discussed the benefits of being a PRSA member, Don ran another session on conflict management and resolution, and Bob discussed ethics, diversity and traits. Presidents were then split up based on chapter size to discuss common problems and to get advice from people in the same boat. Following these discussions sadly was concluding remarks from the weekend.
On the days leading up to LR I was a nervous wreck. I was nervous of flying across the country. I was nervous I wasn’t going to make any friends. I was nervous because well, I am just a nervous person. Now looking back, I can’t help but think I was foolish for acting that way. Below is what got me through. This amazing group of people opened my eyes to how thankful I am for being where I am today. This weekend showed me that new experiences are good, getting as close as family to people you’ve known for 48 hours is possible! I wish the best of luck to my fellow PRSSA presidents and I know that we will all be fantastic leaders. I’m counting down the days to see their shinning faces at national conference!