Last Friday, PRSSA students from various schools gathered at Eaton Center for the annual PRSA Student Day. The day consisted of three panels, professional headshots and resume reviews. This event was a great opportunity for PRSSA students to network with PR professionals in the greater Cleveland area.
The first session was "How I Manage a Brand." The panel was moderated by Ann Marie Halal,
the manager of communications at Eaton. Three professionals, Alan Ashby, media relations officer for The Cleveland Foundation, Amanda McFarland, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), and Lisa Pocci, vice president of marketing for Fairmount Properties, spoke about how they reached their current positions and what it takes to maintain their brand's image.
It was interesting to see how the companies they work for differ in terms of audiences, crisis approach and digital tactics. The professionals discussed new trends in brand management, and one example of their way to gain engagement is ODOT’s plan to create weekly video content for their social media and email newsletters.
The second panel session was "Getting the Job,” where the panelists discussed all of the steps that go into getting your first job-- from applying, to interviewing, to negotiating. The panelists were Jill Detwiler, President and owner for F&C Executive Search and Recruiting, Lisa Gackowski, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant for Eaton and Holly Mueller, Owner of Holly M. Communications. They ensured students that the process isn’t as daunting as it seems and, with practice, gets much easier.
These professionals discussed how every step of the interviewing and job search process is important. Detwiler recommended the STAR method for interviewing which stands for situation, task, action and result. The panelists shared advice on how to accept or decline job offers, negotiate salary and create cover letters and resumes. In terms of “getting a job,” they said don’t just accept something in order to wait for a better offer. They noted that the benefits of a job (vacation time, work environment, etc.) can definitely outweigh the base salary. If you are unhappy with the salary of the offer, they suggested saying things like: “I’m thankful and excited for this job offer and do want to accept, but is there anyway we can negotiate the base salary up due to still having high student loans?”
The last panel discussion was titled "Women Who Rock." This panel dove into all of the
preparation that goes into planning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in
Cleveland. Panelists included Shauna Wilson, director of communications for the Rock and Roll
of Fame and Museum, Anastasia Karel, archivist and curator for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Shelby Morrison, director of artist relations for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Jen Valencic, director of partnerships for Destination Cleveland.
The panelists noted that the induction ceremony requires a combined effort from the city and the Rock Hall Museum. Wilson talked about the complex plan it takes to market a major event like this and gain media attention for it-- whether paid or earned. Morrison spoke about the challenges of organizing the artists at certain locations and their reactions to getting inducted into the museum. The panel also described Destination Cleveland's part in preparing for the event, including booking hotels, venue location, and planning the entire induction week leading up to the day-of event at the museum.
Overall, this event was a great experience and I highly recommend that any PRSSA member attend next year’s session.