Work Life 2015

Last year was filled will many professional milestones, achievements, learning opportunities, and more. It was my first full calendar year of working full time and living in the same apartment. From traveling to a promotion, it was successful to say the least. Here are the highlights:

She Wolf of Wall Street

In July, I got to accompany Texas Governor Greg Abbott and delegation from the state to the New York Stock Exchange. After planning and implementing the visit, we got to watch the ringing of the Opening Bell and a live CNBC interview from the NYSE floor. Since walking down Wall Street every morning on my commute, I finally got to see what was behind the large pillars and security.

Triathlon Champion

Early August, I participated in my second DCI-sponsored race, this time the Central Park Triathlon. I placed first in my age group, winning a nice plastic trophy for my desk. The race consisted of a 400m pool swim, 12mi bike around the park and 3mi run mostly uphill — I clocked in at 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Dutch Dream

Taking a project on the road (or should I say: overseas), I escorted my first press trip — to the Netherlands, nonetheless! We hosted six American medtech journalists on a whirlwind four-day tour of the country. After, I went sightseeing for three days in Amsterdam, with stops including the Rijksmuseum, the Heineken Brewery and Amsterdam ArenA, where I attended the Amsterdam Music Festival (my first EDM event) with the world’s top DJs.

Power Presenter

After a fulfilling year on the PRSA New Professionals Section Executive Committee, I took my first trip to Atlanta to attend PRSA’s International Conference. I spoke on a panel about cross-training in your career, while also managing to attend a large number of sessions, catch up with old PR friends and explore the city.

An New Type of Executive

I can’t think of any better way 2015 could’ve wrapped up than my promotion at DCI to Account Executive. Adios to the ‘assistant’ on my business cards. Here’s to another great year with fulfilling client work and amazing colleagues.

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Reflection: Real World

Alumna. Wow, that’s what I am now. It’s only two days short of a month since I’ve graduated college and I’m off in the “real world.”

In four weeks: I’ve moved out of my college house, into my parents house (for less than a dozen days), and to a new apartment in Manhattan; I’ve gone from having a garage sale in suburbia to frequenting the subway and dodging tourists; I’ve gone from sleeping in and packing during the day to working a lot, loving/learning a new job and making the most of my weekends.

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So, is the “real world” all I thought it’d be? Honestly, who knows. That first credit card bill isn’t due until June and it won’t hit me that I don’t have class again until the fall. I lived last year in the city without a car, so it doesn’t seem strange. I will say, it’s the best feeling not studying or looking for jobs after work; my Netflix account is happily re-activated and books are getting read on my iPad again.

Even though my career has started, one thing that hasn’t wavered is my dedication to the public relations profession and networking. Less than two weeks after moving to New York, I went outside of my comfort zone and attended a PRSA New Professionals networking event – get this – alone. And guess what? I survived, got some business cards and most importantly met some really great people that make me glad to have joined the organization.

Hopefully now that I’m settling in on the East coast (maybe an understatement, since this month holds apartment searching for my next move, within the city) I will catch up on my blogging and make it a priority.

How are you starting your summer?

Electing Excellence: Huge names in Michigan government and related communications roles set to present at Michigan State University

Fellow PR Stars- have you signed up for a PRSSA Regional Conference?  Whether you did or didn’t get to attend National Conference last October in Philadelphia, now’s your chance to meet up with old acquaintances and new students and professionals for your networking circle.  With only 10 regional conferences across the country, Michigan State University is so excited to have a bid (I may be biased) and being on the planning committee, I can’t wait to see it all come together!

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We have 8 outstanding professionals lined up to speak on everything from crisis communications, media relations, healthcare, agency, corporate and more, through breakout sessions, a keynote presentation and interactive infographic session.  It doesn’t matter if you want to go into government-related communications or not, this conference will have something for everyone!

As Director of Speaker Outreach I’ve been fortunate enough to start networking with professionals in Lansing, Mich., through featuring them on Electing Excellence’s blog.  Check out my interviews below:

YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY!  For an affordable price that includes networking, lunch and learning from the best, sign up now. Registration closes Jan. 23 and the conference takes place Feb. 7-8 in East Lansing, Mich.

National conference creates trending topic on Twitter and pre-professional memories

MSU PRSSA at PRSSANC

MSU PRSSA at PRSSANC

Last month I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference, “Foundation for Innovation,” in Philadelphia.  Missing some class and taking off a few days of work, I flew to PHL with 15 other members of the MSU PRSSA chapter for an amazing five days exploring, learning and networking in “The City of Brotherly Love” (and sisterly affection as Desiree Peterkin Bell said, during her welcome to PRSA and PRSSA).

Friday started in style – we had Uber pick us up at the airport (I hadn’t ridden in a big, black SUV since summer in NYC) and drive us to the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.  With no time to waste I attended two sessions in the afternoon, filled with tips on planning a regional conference.  Myself and the other girls on the planning committee for “Electing Excellence: Public Relations in Government and Politics” were excited to talk to other chapters for planning and hosting tips.

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Opening Night Celebration

PR people work hard and play hard.  This was no exception being at a conference; “The Ivy Lee Club Opening Night Celebration,” was Gatsby themed, after the wildly popular movie remake had been released earlier this year.  Friends dressed up in their 1920’s best – we even got feather boas and fedoras as party favors!  A live band followed by a DJ had us dancing more than anyone probably expected.

It was a struggle to get up Saturday morning, I will admit, but after grabbing a Starbucks and heading to Roll Call I was instantly awake.  Each chapter did a funny, lively chant or song to show their attendance at the conference.  We did a loud “Spartans, what is your profession?” followed by the “Ah ooh, ah ooh, ah ooh,” chant from the movie 300 – something everyone at MSU loves yelling during football games.

Mary Henige, APR, was the keynote speaker for our first full day, Saturday morning.  Not only did I enjoy all the advice she had to share, but hearing the references to working for General Motors, in our home state of Michigan.

Eating my first cheesesteak.

Eating my first cheesesteak.

For lunch, I had to try a famous Philly cheesesteak.  My sandwich from Steve’s Prince of Steaks was delicious.

Tweets were staying at a steady peak with the hashtag #PRSSANC all day long so that while you were in one session you could see what others were talking about.  The engagement, conversation and networking just over social media were incredible.

Across the street at the Marriott and overlapping some days in Philadelphia with us, were all of the professionals at the Public Relations Society of America International Conference – PRSA ICON.  When we were invited to sit in on some of their sessions I honestly never realized the true impact of the speakers I would be hearing and overall energy in the room.  With all the PRSSA students and PRSA professionals there were more than 3,000 attendees gathered to hear keynote speaker, Brian Solis.  With Mickey G. Nall, APR, and Desiree Peterkin Bell’s enthusiastic welcomes I was already fired up to hear Solis speak.  Legitimately scared my iPhone might run out of battery thus making my tweets stop, I was hanging on every word.  So inspired by the “Future of Business” keynote, I rushed back to hear Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour speak the next morning.   Her incredible story of flying in the middle of combat, to sharing her “breakthrough mentality,” was relatable for everyone – I found my eyes getting watery and applauding like crazy at the end.

In between our jam-packed days of sessions, networking and even homework one night, I enjoyed exploring Philly’s nightlife and history.  Fortunately the girls I went sightseeing with didn’t care too much about reading the facts either, but rather just taking pictures by all the sights.  We made all the hotspots: Reading Terminal Market, the Liberty Bell and Independence National Park.

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Jesseca Frost, Alyssa Sherman, Michaela Allen, Myself. Photo cred: Mackenzie Mohr.

The conference concluded with a formal dinner and awards ceremony to recognize the next generation of PR stars.  No one wanted the night to end and it was bittersweet hearing a senior send-off.

At the awards dinner.

At the awards dinner.

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Even without free wi-fi in our hotel or conference rooms, social media was buzzing with minute-to-minute updates all weekend.  Twitter successes that couldn’t excite anyone else as they do PR Stars unfolded before our eyes – #PRSSANC and #PRSAICON were both national trending topics.  I also reached my 10,000th tweet, which I was ecstatic about!

I wish that I could re-live national conference every month, but in the meantime I know one question I’ll be asking during upcoming full-time interviews: does your company support and encourage employees to attend PRSA ICON?  The answer better be ‘yes.’ 🙂

10 key takeaways I got from attending national conference

1. It is acceptable and expected to stare at your phone and live tweet during PR gatherings.

2. Before you hit send on an email, remember that people can hit forward.

3. You’re going to utter the phrase “Do you have any specials tonight?” a lot. – Nick Lucido, Edelman and fellow MSU graduate, on entry-level wages.

4. When you accept your first job offer, write yourself a letter about why you love PR and pull it out in 10 years when you need to remember the passion and rejuvenate your career.

5. There are more than 32,000 members in PRSA and PRSSA. This is your family.

6. You can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame.  – Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour on engaging in your life and watching it take flight.

7. Brands are now people and people are now brands.

8. As a PR professional you will most definitely be talking about AP Style over dinner at some point.

9.  Relationships are about mutual value.

10. I AM IN LOVE WITH PUBLIC RELATIONS – I FOUND WHAT I WANT TO DO! 🙂