By Gabrielle Woodard
Attending national PRSSA events always gives me a sense of a bigger purpose in PR and reminds me of why I love PR so much. A few weekends ago I was able to attend National Assembly, in Austin, Texas. National Assembly is like a smaller version of National Conference. There are representatives from many of the chapters from across the countries and the purpose is to vote on bylaw changes and elect the new national committee for the organizations.
During this year’s national assembly we were able to hear from Brandy King, a spokeswoman for Southwest. She spoke about professional tips, how she got into PR and why enjoying your career is important.
At the end of assembly we heard from David Grossman and the speech was not what anyone expected. Grossman didn’t tell us about his amazing career or how he got to his current position, he told us about the struggles he faced when he wasn’t being his “authentic self.” Grossman discussed the importance of being authentically you before trying to lead others thus making yourself an authentic leader.
National Conference can be very overwhelming. You are surrounded by 1000 other PRSSA members and have sessions all day, where you can hear from amazing professionals. I really enjoyed National Assembly being a different change of pace. We only had sessions until about 4p.m. Also not being surrounded by members of your own chapter, everyone was forced to branch out and get to know other people.
National Assembly made me so excited to attend National Conference in November. I am eager to introduce members of PRSSA Kent to the many amazing people I met at National Assembly and let everyone expand their networks. I really hope everyone will consider attending National Conference in Indianapolis this coming November.
by Cindy Deng
After a nauseating flight, I stepped off the plane, rushed to the shuttle exit, dropped my bags and took in a deep breath of the warm, tropical breeze. I had finally arrived in Charleston, North Carolina, for PRSSA National Assembly!
National Assembly gives PRSSA members a chance to participate in leadership workshops, vote on National bylaws and elect the following year’s National Committee.
From March 13-16, I attended National Assembly as a Kent State University delegate. This was my second trip to National Assembly as a PRSSA Kent member. This, specific, PRSSA National event is the reason why I’ve come to love PRSSA.
But this year was different for me. I chose to run for Vice President of Chapter Development for the 2014-2015 National Committee.
I chose to run for the position mainly because of my experience in helping grow and develop PRSSA Kent for the past three years as a member, officer and president. Candidates were not allowed to campaign for their candidacy, but are required to deliver a five-minute speech to more than 100 delegates from more than 300 Chapters across the nation, as well as to non-delegates and the 2013-14 National Committee. Was it scary? Absolutely! My knees were shaking and my palms were sweating the entire time!
The not-so-fun part of being a delegate is that elections can run more than 10 hours, including a parliamentary motion for a FEW bathroom breaks and one lunch break. Breaks can only be motioned after each position has been filled. We motioned for bathroom breaks after every two position, which meant I only had about three bathroom breaks throughout the election process. If all you’ve been drinking the entire time is water and coffee, I guarantee you’re going to want to use the bathroom every hour. And to top it all off, social media is not allowed by anyone during the elections. We were deprived! I can almost guarantee #PRProbs was quickly trending at National Assembly after the elections were over.
Unfortunately, I did not win the position. Paige Weber, Chapter president of Louisiana State University, was my running mate and won. Paige, Mallory Richardson (PRSSA National Publications Editor-in-Chief) and their LSU Chapter are excellent PRSSA examples and resources. In the short amount of time I’ve spent at National Assembly, they have become some of my closet PRSSA friends, and I’ve certainly learned a lot from them.
Other than the elections, this year’s experience was no different from last year’s, but the content was new and refreshing.
Guest and keynote speakers from this year’s assembly were Ben Brown and Jeff Tobler, representatives from the Warner Bros. Television (who also hosted the Day-Of Competition); Joe Clarkson, former PRSSA National Vice President of Internships and Job Services and Ohio Northern University alum; Fred Cook, CEO of GolinHarris International; and John Deveney, founder and president of Deveney Communications.
One key message from Cook that I took away was “stop worrying so much and try new things…courage is built by experience.” Even as a public relations student and PRSSA leader, confidence doesn’t come naturally to me. I came into the public relations program blindly my freshman year. I knew I wanted to pursue a journalism degree, but wanted to do more than just reporting for the news. A part of me feared that if I didn’t choose a path outside of journalism, I would be missing out on other skills that I haven’t tried and may be actually good at.
If Michele Ewing, PRSSA Kent adviser, hadn’t encouraged me to attend a PRSSA Kent meeting and participate in on activities, I would have likely become an undecided major. Since my second semester freshman year, I’ve been heavily involved and attended numerous PRSSA National events that have developed me into the young professional I am today.