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September/October

PREMIER

Girl Scouts: More than just cookies By Daniele Prestigiacomo

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A monthly publication of Illinois State University’s chapter of PRSSA.

Issue 1, Sept./Oct. In This Issue: Gaining Experience Through Summer Internships Pg. 2 PRSSA Bake Sale Pg. 3 Design-A-Tee Contest Pg. 3

The Executive Board with Amanda McLaughlin, the face of Girl Scouts.

When you think Girl Scouts, you probably just think cookies, right? This would not be so after hearing Amanda Mclaughlin, Illinois State University alumnus, speak on September 27, 2011 at the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) meeting. McLaughlin, who graduated from Illinois State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations and a minor in psychology, is now a well-established employee of the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois. McLaughlin took us through

her journey, starting with her experience as a student searching for internships, to being part of an organization and pursuing a career she loves. During her college years at ISU she became involved in anything she could get her hands on, sometimes even creating opportunities on her own. As a member of PRSSA, she helped organize multiple events including the,“Party Like a Rockstar” Make a Wish bar crawl fundraiser.

Networking Dinner Pg. 5 Amanda McLaughlin on Speaking at the PRSSA Meeting Pg. 6

McLaughlin looks back, laughing and noting how she was too young to even attend the bar crawl she planned. She also became a vital part of the Cubs on Campus Committee, which she explained, “Was hard to do because I’m a Cardinals fan.” When it came time for an internship, McLaughlin knew exactly where she wanted to be, SonLife Ministries, and asked them to create an internship just for her. Continued on next page


September/October

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Continued from front page… Without hesitation they created a position for her as an “event logistics coordinator.” On the day of her graduation in May 2008 she had a seemingly promising interview with Girl Scouts of Central Illinois. To her surprise she did not get the position, but she continued to search for non-profit opportunities and send resumes. Eventually she was granted a position with People Advocating for Respect and Consideration (PARC) as a development assistant. McLaughlin soon learned the position was not for her and she decided to try again with Girl Scouts of Central Illinois. This time Girl Scouts hired her on the spot. McLaughlin now acts as the face of girl scouting in McLean County and she loves it. Her advice was clear through

her story: be persistent. Besides urging us to create opportunities for ourselves, she stressed the importance of networking and becoming active in the community. “Become friends with your teachers!” she said over and over again, explaining that she still talks to Dr. Mary Anne Moffitt regularly. For students burnt out from writing cover letters and sending resumes, worrying about internships and involvement or wondering about their future in general, McLaughlin’s story was an encouraging reminder that hard work will pay off. Currently, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois are seeking interns for fall, spring and summer. Summer and fall interns would be involved with recruitment, working with schools and volunteer training.

Spring interns would have the same responsibilities plus programming events and planning for the next year’s recruitment. The Girl Scouts of Central Illinois are working hard to present a new face for themselves, shifting the stereotype from Girl Scout cookies and uniforms to what they really stand for, “Building girls of courage, confidence and character.” McLaughlin made it clear that she was more than willing to work with students to create internships that would be fitting and beneficial to them. If you’re interested in getting involved with Girl Scouts of Central Illinois you can contact Amanda at amclaughlin@girlscoutsgsci.org.

Learning experience through internships

By Genevive Prendergast

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This past summer I had the as students to build up our opportunity to intern with research skills because KemperLesnik, an award-winning employers are looking for public relations, event management people who can efficiently and sports marketing agency in search for what is needed and Northbrook, Ill. produce quality results. During my time there, I During my internship, I had to learned valuable skills and research awards to apply to gained some great experience. and different topics such as One thing that stuck with me space insurance and corrosion was the importance of learning rates. This was required in and executing multiple skills. order to create media alerts, Writing is an important aspect press releases and different of public relations, but there are publications that clients could other skills we should also know be featured in. as public relations professionals. The first skill to know is how to research. It is important for us Continued on Pg. 4


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Puppy chow, pretzels and PRSSA By Colleen Cakora Illinois State’s Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter held a bake sale the week of September 26 to help raise funds for members to attend this year’s National Conference. Despite the chilly autumn weather, dedicated members of PRSSA sat outside Fell Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and sold homemade puppy chow and chocolate covered pretzels. The bake sale raised $171.49 for the Chapter, and the money will be allocated to those attending Conference this year.

While the weather was not ideal, the fundraiser was incredibly successful and has been attributed as being the most profitable ISU PRSSA bake sale in years. Along with the bake sale the Chapter hosted a fundraiser at the newest Meatheads location on Main Street in Normal to help fund National Conference. With a coupon in hand, 20 percent of each purchase went to the Chapter and proved that offering college students discounted food is a great way to raise money. The conference was held

October 14-18 in Orlando, Florida. Students who attended Conference mingled with other PRSSA members from across the country, listened to various speakers and networked with established public relations professionals. While the financial aspect of attending National Conference may be very daunting to cash crunched students, fundraisers promoting PRSSA events continually prove to be a great way to alleviate such pressures and get to know the members of our Chapter.

Design-A-Tee contest By Melissa Fortes The 2011-2012 school year is the first year that all members of PRSSA were given the opportunity to help design the annual Chapter T-shirts. In the past, members of the relations committee were the primary designers of the Chapter T-shirts. Determined to get more members involved, this year the executive board hosted a contest for the new shirts, entitled, “Design-ATee.” Submissions were accepted until September 20, the closing date of the contest. This contest was a great way for members to show off their creativity and design skills both throughout campus and nationally. With over a dozen entries, the e-board members who did not submit an entry narrowed

The front of the winning t-shirt design, created by PRSSA chapter president, Michelle Ketcham

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September/October Continued From pg. 2… The second skill to know is how to track for media placements. This is a skill that is extremely important to learn. Tracking is about searching through print media placements or other mediums to find where the subject matter expert (SME) from the company is mentioned, featured or interviewed. I tracked the clients’ media placements each morning, sent them along to my supervisors and placed them into the appropriate client’s excel file. The third skill to know is how to build media lists to contact reporters and media outlets. Media list building is not as easy as it sounds; there are many things that could go wrong. Reporters could no longer be at the publication, the publications could not fit into the client’s needs or the person’s job could not be the right contact the client needs. I had to create multiple versions of topic and client specific media lists that went through multiple edits before the final lists were approved. The fourth skill is to know how to use public relations software like CisionPoint and Vocus. These programs help public relations professionals with media research, press release distribution, media monitoring and communication evaluation. It is important for us to learn about how to properly use these programs because employers will not have the time to sit down and teach you. I had to learn how to use CisionPoint and Vocus through tutorials and taught my supervisors how to use Vocus. My advice to everyone is to try and have a public relations agency experience or similar work before you graduate!

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MEMBER OF THE MONTH

Hailey Lanier

An active member in PRSSA She’s a familiar face on every Tuesday Continued from page 3… She helped make puppy chow and it all sold out it down to two designs and uploaded them to the PRSSA-Illinois She’ll be a fun time at State University Facebook page. From there, the Chapter facebook friends voted on which T-shirt design they favored by “liking” the conference, without a doubt photo. Based on the received votes, the “Run PRSSA” shirt won the A popular gal from the Blo-No contest, created by our very own president, Michelle Ketcham. The city back of the T-shirt writes, “Won’t stop networking till we retire,” a This year she’s the newsletter very creative and unique spin on the vintage RUN DMC, “Won’t head of the relations stop rockin’ till we retire” T-shirts. committee When asked where the inspiration for the design came from, We all know she’ll be a great Michelle said, “I always have PRSSA on the brain and while flipping success this year through my closet one morning I passed my ‘Run DMC’ tank and So come get your certificate,

stopped for a minute. I just thought…DMC? PRSSA? This could work! I’m sure I spent at least two hours working on this bad boy!” Who knew just flipping through clothes could inspire our awesome new Chapter T-shirts? Our Chapter of P.R.S.S.A. will be rocking the shirts at the upcoming National Conference in Orlando, Fla., at events throughout the year and of course on the ISU campus! 4

Hailey Lanier


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Mothers know best when it comes to ethics By Anna Dauksa On September 15, 2011, a networking dinner was held at the Tuscany Steak and Pasta House in Decatur, Ill. for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) members. There were students from Illinois State University and Eastern Illinois University in attendance. Before dinner we had the chance to walk around, interact and mingle with professionals from the local community. There was a mixture of professionals there including different PR fields such as insurance, politics and agriculture. Each dinner table had mix of students and professionals in order to interact with one another more easily and, of course, to network with. After a delicious dinner we had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Steve Iseman, a member of P.R.S.A. and professor and director of the public relations program at Ohio Northern University. He has been the faculty advisor for Ohio Northern’s award winning P.R.S.S.A. chapter since 1993. As a result of September’s Ethic’s Month, Dr. Iseman gave a short PowerPoint presentation focusing on ethics. He talked about what is right and what is wrong, the personal benefits, different standards among the variety of people and situations and he emphasized to always remember the importance of reputation. There should not be any gray areas to a black and white situation when concerning ethical choices, even though at the time we may think there is because of a conflict of interest. He provided a simple checklist that would

The attendees of the networking dinner with Dr. Steve Iseman.

make it easier to think of what is right or wrong. The simplest one to remember is, “What would your mother say?” because as we all know, mother knows best! We were then presented with an ethicallychallenging scenario where each table had to figure out what was the right way to deal with the situation. As we figured out what the ethical decisions were and why, the professionals and experienced PRSA members advised us to always be honest no matter what the situation is. They reinforced that in the long run, honesty goes farther. Dr. Iseman finished off his presentation by stating that good ethics is good business and to tell the truth and prove it with action. He elaborated on this by saying that a company’s true character is expressed by its people and that we should always keep that in mind when making tough decisions in our future careers.

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September/October

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A speaker’s experience By Amanda McLaughlin When I think about my time spent at Illinois State University, some of my most favorite memories are from my involvement in student organizations on campus, such as PRSSA. In the time spent after college, I have carried these memories and valuable learning experiences with me and refer back to them often. Now almost four years out of college and in the middle of the job that PRSSA so well prepared me for, I was challenged by my supervisor to be more connected with the community and college campuses around me. It seemed only natural and fitting to make contact with my former professors in the School of Communications and see how I could give back to the people and the school that gave so much to me. It was not too long after that I was connected with the Executive Board members of PRSSA and received the invitation to speak at a Chapter meeting. I was just a little bit excited to say the least! I can remember having learned so much McLaughlin spoke at the chapter meeting from speakers during my time in PRSSA and was about her post-grad experiences as a PR determined to extend as much knowledge and real professional. world experience from the field as I possibly could. I am where I am today because people helped me and showed me the way, and if I can about and so well prepared with business cards help someone to do the same, then by all means, and resumes in response to the internship sign me up! opportunities I had available. I was impressed by this particular PRSSA There is no doubt in my mind that the Chapter from the get go. From the pre-meeting students involved in ISU PRSSA will be among communications, timely responses, detailed some of the top achievers in the years to come. I planning, thoughtfulness in extending gratitude look forward to watching as each student towards me and the overall professional progress through his or her education and if I can impression given by the Executive Board prior to be of any assistance, please let me know. meeting, I could tell that this was going to be a Again, thank you for the opportunity to sharp group. Arriving at the meeting and seeing speak at your chapter meeting! I had so much fun the sheer amount of students who make PRSSA a and I look forward to working with ISU PRSSA in priority in furthering their education and the future. My senior year our PRSSA T-shirts knowledge of the field only further confirmed my simply stated. “ISU PRSSA….We Are PR.” Such notion that this was a top notch group. After the a statement could not be truer. You are PR. Do it meeting I was approached by students who were with the class and caliber that only an Illinois genuinely excited and thankful for what I spoke State University grad can.


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A letter from the executive board By Brian DePasqua members from across the country. In addition to attending professional development seminars at conference, our members will also be given the opportunity to experience the city of Orlando, one of this country’s premier entertainment destinations! For those of you who will not be attending National Conference, there are still many fantastic opportunities coming up. As National Liaison, I help to organize our Chapter’s trips to local PRSA networking dinners in central Illinois. Earlier this year As many of you have we attended a networking dinner probably noticed, our Chapter in Decatur, Ill., which featured an recently held two fundraisers. informative presentation on the These fundraisers, which were importance of ethics in our successful due to the volunteer industry. I personally found the work done by many of our topic of ethics to be enlightening, Chapter’s great members, were as it is a crucial issue for our field. held to assist students who will be Additionally, Chapter members attending PRSSA’s most who attended were allowed to prominent yearly event. engage in conversation with From Oct. 14 to Oct.18, fifteen numerous public relations members of our Chapter will be professionals. The conversations attending PRSSA National with these professionals are Conference in Orlando, Fla. This always interesting, and are a annual conference provides primary reason that I recommend attendees an excellent opportunity that members attend these dinners. to learn about engaging aspects of Another aspect of my position the industry, as well as network is to organize our Chapter’s trip to with numerous PRSSA and PRSA a regional conference. This

February we will be attending a conference in Chicago, Ill., hosted by DePaul PRSSA. This conference will focus on entertainment public relations, and I know a lot of members are excited to attend. Chapter members also have the opportunity to represent our Chapter as the National Delegate to PRSSA National Assembly. Here, members can learn about professional development as well as participate in electing a new National Committee. The 2012 PRSSA National Assembly will be held in Charlotte, N.C., and I look forward to seeing who will be our representative. I highly recommend that members take advantage of the opportunities I mentioned. They are an invaluable way to meet public relations professionals, and can be instrumental in advancing your career aspirations. As the date of these events become more imminent, you will be notified about them at our weekly Chapter meetings. If you ever have any questions about anything related to these activities, please feel free to contact me.

Check out next month’s newsletter for details about National Conference, the GolinHarris tour and more! 7

Profile for Illinois State University PRSSA

PRemier Newsletter: September/October 2011  

This issue of PRemier includes Gaining Experience Through Summer Internships, Guest Speaker Amanda McLaughlin from Girl Scouts, PRSSA Bake S...

PRemier Newsletter: September/October 2011  

This issue of PRemier includes Gaining Experience Through Summer Internships, Guest Speaker Amanda McLaughlin from Girl Scouts, PRSSA Bake S...

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