Issue 2, October/November
PREMIER National Conference: learning professionalism poolside By Bruce Kennedy
A monthly publication of Illinois State University’s PRSSA Chapter.
Issue 2, oct./nov. In This Issue: GolinHarris Agency Tour
2 Raging through the Eras Apartment Crawl
3 Chapter members celebrate at the awards dinner.
When I first joined PRSSA in spring 2011, I heard all of the stories about how great that year’s National Conference had been; still, I remained skeptical heading into my junior year. I was not quite convinced that taking a weekend away from school to go to Orlando, Florida would be the best thing for my professional career. I could not have been more wrong. Right from the beginning of this year’s conference I experienced several of the guest speakers offering up advice and insight on various areas within PR. I attended sessions on everything from political to fashion PR. However, the session on crisis communication with Richard Levick, President and CEO of Levick Strategic
Communications, was worth the ticket price of the entire conference on its own. Levick walked through several case studies in crisis communication, covering Netflix, BP, Taco Bell and Heartland Security. Levick also spoke in general about what it means to work in crisis communication and offered advice to students looking to impress potential employers. By the end of the session I found myself fascinated by an area of PR that I had previously given little thought to. Levick spoke passionately about crisis communication and why it is his field of choice. “I think it is more interesting to be a protagonist in history rather than a spectator,” Levick said. At the PRSA General
Advice from a PRSSA Alumnus
4 Letters from the Executive Board
Session, Chris Brogan, President of Human Business Works, spoke on the importance of social media in PR. He focused on social media as a tool to build conversational relationships with people rather than just amassing as many “likes” or “follows” as possible.
Continued on Page 3.
GolinHarris agency tour By Olivia Hook On Friday, Oct. 5, Illinois State’s PRSSA chapter took a journey from Bloomington-Normal to Chicago’s Wacker Drive. We were given the opportunity to tour the international public relations firm, GolinHarris, which was awarded one of the best places to work in 2011. Kristin Kelley, a 2006 alumna of ISU and current GolinHarris senior account executive, led 30 of our members through a presentation about the company. We then toured the company’s offices. We were also introduced to several employees along the way. Coming into this experience, having never seen an agency before, I had no idea what to expect. From the gorgeous lobby, to the bright, modern workspaces, my expectations were exceeded. The staff was youthful and friendly; they were eager to teach us about their company and their responsibilities. Their passion for their clients, the products their clients sell and their position in the company was evident the moment we stepped off the elevator. We were all impressed by the atmosphere as well as what Kelley and her peer, Javier Macias, had to say about the new direction that the company is going in. “We are making a change and going in a new direction, not because we have to, but because we want to,” Kelley told our group.
Members watched a PowerPoint presentation as our guides explained the ins and outs of the company.
It is impressive that a company as established and successful as GolinHarris decided to change the way they have been doing things for the last 55 years! The reason for the change? “The communication industry is in constant evolution, and we need to keep up with it,” Kelley explained. Kelley and Macias also provided us with details as to why they enjoy their positions so much. They described the sociable, encouraging coworkers that they have to bounce ideas off of, as well as how they feel encouraged to “pick the CEO’s brain”. I found it amazing to hear that they felt comfortable going to senior executives to ask questions or just to chat. GolinHarris offers several
internships each year, one of which Macias started at the company with. The two stressed the importance of internships to build your resume. “Real-world experience is the most important thing that you can add to a resume. No amount of classroom learning can teach you what going out and doing it can,” Kelley told us. This tip, along with several others, was greatly appreciated by our group as we scrambled to jot them all down. GolinHarris is the epitome of what a public relations agency strives to be with its trendy office, hip employees and passion for communicating to a mass audience. It would be a dream position to land in the future for any communications student.
National Conference: learning professionalism poolside “Humankind’s greatest need is to feel wanted,” said Brogan, stressing the value of Social Media as a tool to help people become involved with a service or product. Another advantage to attending National Conference was the chance to meet representatives from different areas in PR who were looking to recruit interns or employees. One of my reservations about attending Conference this year was that I felt I did not have enough experience to attract potential employers. However, I found it surprisingly beneficial to attend these events. There were several companies I had never even heard of who were more than happy to walk me through what they do and what they look for in interns, so that I would be better prepared should I decide to apply in the future.
It may seem a little like a bad attempt at re-branding to call spending time with fellow PRSSA members internal networking, but even the time we spent poolside in between speakers and career fairs was extremely valuable. Other members of our Chapter have many experiences to share based on the internships and other professional opportunities they have been given. The connections I made within our own Chapter have already opened up new doors to me professionally. This year’s National Conference was definitely an eye-opening experience. I made valuable connections, learned about several, varying fields of PR and gained a better understanding of what steps I need to be taking now in order to land a job when I post-graduation. Overall, National Conference was a great professional and personal experience and I cannot wait for next year’s conference in San Francisco!
the karaoke night as we rocked out to our favorite Raging through the Eras quite ‘90s classics including The Spice Girls and Backstreet
By Allyson Corona
Boys. Overall it was great working with all of our On October 8, members attended our Chapter’s first development committee members to put together an social of the year. As director of development, I plan and execute all of the socials for our Chapter. This was extremely successful first social. Everyone did a my first big event to plan and I wanted it to be perfect. fabulous job decorating and dressing up to really get into the spirit of the different eras. The social was titled “Raging through the Eras” Socials are a perfect way for members to get to where we traveled to five different apartments know one another, which is extremely important for throughout the course of the night that represented PRSSA; the better we know one another, the better we different eras. We started in the 1920s at Chapter secretary, Ian De work together! La Rosa’s apartment. All 24 attendees were transported to the ‘20s with the music and card games of this era. After about an hour, we skipped all the way to the 1960s at historian, Lauren Trentadue’s apartment; Chapter members kept it classy at this Mad Menthemed apartment. Next we blasted into the 1970s to vice president, Kaitie Ries’ apartment. This Disco Diva represented her era well with lots of groovy decorations and funky music. Continuing on to the ‘80s at Chapter president, Michelle Ketcham’s, we played a variety of games and also picked our winners for the best dressed contest. Congratulations to Kaitie Ries and Bruce Kennedy! Finally, we all made it to the ‘90s, represented properly at my apartment. It turned into
Members got their groove on at this 70’s themed apartment!
Kristin Tuerk visits the chapter By Colleen Cakora Kristin Tuerk, 2006 Illinois State University alumna, spoke at PRSSA’s weekly meeting on October 25, 2011. Tuerk is a senior account executive at JSH&A Public Relations, a Chicago marketing public relations agency. She interned at Weber-Shandwick, one of the top PR agencies, for five years before she desired a change. “I just wanted a switch…I got married and wanted to move to the suburbs and get away from all the concrete in Chicago,” said Tuerk. Tuerk’s presentation utilized examples from her current work with Hershey’s Chocolate to illustrate the types of campaigns she works on at JSH&A. She depicted two scenarios; one in which brands partner up to create something utilizing existing products, and another in which a company is launching a new product. The latter was a great application of course material translated into the real world. Tuerk explained that when Hershey’s came out with their new Hershey’s Drops candy, the team had to come together to create campaign objectives. JSH&A’s main objective was to get a positive review in the editorial section of the Chicago Tribune: this provided free exposure versus paying for advertisements. The next step was to bring the campaign to life; it was titled, “30 Drops of Happiness” and gave 30 bloggers the product as well as 30 bags to pass out to their readers 4
before they were available to the public. The campaign generated a lot of buzz for the product on the internet, prior to it even being in stores! Tuerk offered some great advice to students, including that internships are “the most important job of your career,” and without them you are selling yourself short. When it comes to networking, lose the fear because as Tuerk said, “You’re not bugging these people, I promise!” In terms of finding a job, Tuerk asked that we move our education to the bottom of our resumes; “Putting your education at the top of your resume says you are just out of college and have no experience; put your work experience first and showcase that,” said Tuerk. Tuerk ended her presentation with a very interesting thought; she explained that after we graduate no one will be asking what our major is, instead they will be asking what we do for a living, so make sure it is something we love. “I love going to work every day and I am proud of what I do. You want a job you’re excited about because you’ll do it every day,” said Tuerk. While it may seem cliché, we have the rest of our lives to work so we might as well spend our days doing something we enjoy. JSH&A is currently looking for interns to start in the next couple of months as well as interns for summer. If you are interested in applying please contact Kristin Tuerk at Kristint@jsha.com.
Member of the month When she comes to the meetings, she's surrounded by friends And usually stays chatting until the very end A conference attendee and a teaching assistant One thing's for sure, she's really persistent She knows every word to any Nicki Minaj song You're usually catching her dancing and rapping along By know I'm sure you know, so I'll announce it at last, It's our favorite redhead, Gen Prendergast!
Congratulations to Genevieve Prendergast!
Letter from the executive board By Lauren Trentadue, Chapter historian
Being on the executive board this year has given me opportunities in gaining leadership skills as well as working on a team. As historian I have many responsibilities. I manage all social media accounts, plan monthly philanthropic events, update the Chapter website and document all member and Chapter accomplishments. Also, I am an adviser to the Development committee. Last year as a member I was a part of the development committee. We planned all the fundraisers for the Chapter. I
have always loved being able to see something start from nothing and then watch it grow into its final product. It was an easy decision for me to be an adviser for the Development committee. Since I had such a great experience as a member of development last year, I wanted to be able to give the same experience to our members this year. This year we decided to change things around a little and added planning Chapter socials to the development committeeâ€™s responsibilities. Our first social of the year was the Raging Through the Eras apartment crawl. This social put our director of development, Allyson Corona, and socials committee chair, Emma Newman, to the test. They only had two weeks to put together a fantastic social. With the help of our members however, the social ended up being a great success. My favorite part of the social was how everyone who attended dressed up as one of the eras. People were dressed in
classy dresses, suits, neon leggings, baggy sweatshirts, etc. Also, I was so happy that I got to celebrate my 23rd birthday with all of my close friends! It was a birthday I will never ever forget. It is a different experience overseeing the socials rather than helping to plan them. My role as an advisor is to check in with Corona every week in order to see how things are progressing, and guide her in the right direction. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that Corona does, such as completing a budget sheet, creating promotional pieces for the event and delegating tasks to her chairs for all socials and fundraisers. I hope everyone who was a part of development had a wonderful experience first semester. We will have many more socials and fundraisers to come second semester! I am grateful that I was able to advise such a wonderful committee and canâ€™t wait to see what we do next!
Check out next monthâ€™s newsletter for pictures from the PRSSA Holiday Party! 5