By Erin Zaranec
Each year, PRSSA National hosts a weekend leadership training session in Scottsdale, Arizona, for Chapter Presidents and Student-Run Firm Directors. Leadership Rally provides students with the chance to network with other Chapter leaders while learning more about how to effectively manage a PRSSA Chapter of any size.
It truly is a networking opportunity like no other. While National Conference can be a bit intimidating in size, Leadership Rally provides a smaller group setting to connect more personally with other Chapters. Here are some key takeaways I had after attending Leadership Rally:
PR pals last a lifetime
I was more than 2,000 miles away from home at a conference where I knew absolutely no one – and I was a bit nervous to say the least. Once I got to Scottsdale, though, all my fears subsided when I was greeted by nothing but friendly, outgoing PR majors who were all in the same boat I was in! One thing all of the speakers mentioned is the importance of building a network through PRSSA. The connections you build through your local PRSSA Chapter, with PRSA or while attending national events could be your first step into your dream job. It could land you a mentor and provides you with a network that spans the country. It may be scary at first, but I made great friends in this one weekend that I can’t wait to see again at National Conference!
Chapters are not one size fits all
Every Chapter has its own best practices, bylaws and procedures. It was a great learning opportunity to sit with Chapter leadership and exchange ideas on fundraising, Chapter engagement, speakers, and everything else PR related! I was able to teach other Chapters about how PRSSA Kent is organized while learning valuable tips to take back to Kent with me as well.
30,000 PR peers
Did you know that there are more than 22,000 PRSA member and more than 11,000 PRSSA members? That’s a network of more than 33,000 PR professionals and peers available to you! It’s easy to get caught up in your local Chapter, but the network of PRSSA expands so much further than Kent, Ohio. By joining PRSA after graduation (PRSSA members get a discounted rate on PRSA membership!), you have an immediate network of peers, regardless of where your career path takes you upon graduation.
Leadership Rally was one of the best networking opportunities I have had as a student leader. I was able to meet everyone from Chapter Presidents to the PRSSA National Board and interact with keynote speakers. I can’t wait to begin the 2016/2017 school year and use the tools I learned from other Chapters. If you get elected Chapter President next year, clear your calendar for that weekend and hop on a plane to Arizona, I promise it’s worth every second!