Alumni Newsletter: January/February 2012

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We appreciate our alumni and rely on you as role models and mentors! We also truly value your continued support of and interest in the Chapter. We hope that you enjoy our newsletter, which should keep you up-to-date on all of our current activities and possibly bring back great memories of your own days in the ISU Chapter of PRSSA.



Regional Conference By: Kim Nowlan


Senior Spotlight By: Kari Lawrence

This year’s PRSSA’s Regional Conference was held on February 3 at DePaul University in Chicago. The theme of the conference was, “The Entertainment Industry: It’s Not Just an LA Thing.” I was so excited when I first heard about the conference. This is my first year in PRSSA, so it was also my first chance to experience Regional Conference. I was ready to see what benefits it could offer, and I was motivated by the theme, which I thought was a new and interesting twist on Chicago’s PR abilities. I quickly signed up for the seminars that interested me the most and could not wait to hear what the speakers had to say. Bright and early on Friday morning, we were off and on our way to the conference. While fighting through the fog on our journey to Chicago I became more and more anxious. Once we arrived I was surprised by the large crowd of eager-to-learn students that were attending the event. We first heard from the keynote speaker, Tricia Murphy from MATTER, Edelman’s Sports and Entertainment group. Although I am fairly familiar with Edelman, learning about MATTER was an appealing and interesting department of the agency that, up until now, I had never heard of. I am always interested in learning about new agencies, and hearing real examples of what they have done. After hearing Murphy speak, we broke up into our selected seminars. My first seminar was with Allison Cooke of Modern Luxury Media. She spoke about her life experiences and really connected with the audience. Personally, I enjoyed her seminar because she made me believe that I have the abilities to make it in the same prestigious position she is in, even at such a young age.

Jennifer Carr, a December 2011 graduate of Illinois State University, credits a large portion of receiving her position as business development manager at Sprint Nextel–Central Illinois to her knowledge of social media. Carr’s job consists of promoting customer service through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to strengthen the bond between employees and customers at Sprint. When asked how she received the job she said it almost “fell in her lap.” It was a good friend who informed Carr of the job opportunity on a Monday night. By the next day, Jennifer had an interview with her current boss.




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…Continued from page 1 The advice she gave was relatable and relevant. Not only did she offer words of encouragement about what we should do, such as networking, being persistent and working hard, but she also explained the results that can come from these actions in a relatable situation. I found it informative to learn and fully understand why it is important to make contacts--you never really know when you might use them later in life. The next seminar I went to was Jenny Topolosky of Carol Fox and Associates. Listening to her was incredibly rewarding because she wanted us to ask her questions and be a part of the conversation. She involved the audience and made us feel like we belonged there. She taught me that you do not have to work at a PR agency right away, and you should work in different positions to see what you like best. Her example was that she loved theatre and worked at a theatre for a while. She learned new things there that she would not have been able to at a PR company. This made me start thinking that because I love sports, I could work with a sports team to truly understand the industry better. This would make me a better PR agent for a sports team in the future. Last but not least we heard from Gordon Kane of Victory Sports. His presentation really left an impact on me. Before his presentation, I never thought about how sports connected people and brands. He walked us through several different case studies and showed us how many brands improved their reputation by simply sponsoring a sports team or the Olympics. He was so enthusiastic about his job that it made me want to work for him on the spot. Overall, my experience at the conference was incredible. I was not expecting to learn as much as I did. On top of the advice and experiences I heard, it was also great to get to know members of our Chapter on a more personal level. I have seen their faces every Tuesday night, but having an event like this really brought everyone closer together. I am excited to participate in more conferences and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested.

Shortly after a few interviews, she found out she had landed the job with Sprint. While she was definitely in the right place at the right time, Carr would not have had this opportunity had it not been for the connections and networking opportunities presented to her as a member of ISU PRSSA. As a member of PRi, ISU PRSSA’s student-run public relations firm, she learned how to work with clients in a professional setting. PRSSA’s 2011 regional activity also highlighted how to effectively use LinkedIn, which is one of her most important resources at Sprint. Carr also credited Toastmaster’s, a public speaking organization in the College of Business, as a very important factor in her current career because it gave the confidence to speak in professional settings. Carr’s best advice for young professionals in search of a job is, “Focus on what you really want to do, have an idea of the type of company you want to work for and think of how you can set yourself apart from other applicants.”




Hey, You! Our alumni are an extremely valuable resource that we rely on for input and support. Monetary support is needed to keep our Chapter active and effective; any contributions are greatly appreciated by all of us here and are tax-deductible. Alumni support is put to the best use to further our goals in PRSSA. Any amount, small or not-so-small, is helpful to our Chapter. Please consider contributing to what you already know is an excellent educational cause. To donate, please visit and click on the “Make A Gift” button under the “Support” heading. If you would like to send a check, please address your donation to: School of Communication 430 Fell Hall Campus Box 4480 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790. If you are unable to give a monetary donation in any amount at this time, we would still love to hear from you! You may also donate some of your time to our Chapter by either coming to speak to us during one of our meetings or by offering a hand at some of our organization’s events. Support from our alumni would be extremely beneficial to all of us in PRSSA and will help guide our Chapter to follow in your foot-steps. ISU PRSSA would like to thank Jenn Carr for her recent contributions to our chapter!

Stay tuned for our next newsletter!