By Rachel Vick
Hi everyone! For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Rachel Vick and I’m going to be the 2013-2014 PRSSA President alongside my Executive Board members: Hillary Crusan (VP), Neely Droessler (PR Director), Katy Schulte (Secretary), and Hanna Johnson (Treasurer).
First I wanted to start off by saying how PRSSA has changed my life. It turned me from a shy, insecure student into a confident professional PR-guru in the making. I never thought I could get so much out of an organization. With that I urge you not to give up on your dream and be as involved as you can with organizations like PRSSA – they will impact your life in ways you never would have imagined!
Before you leave for summer, remember these things:
- Leadership Rally: I will be going to Arizona for a National PRSSA Leadership Rally of Chapter Presidents from all over the country! It’s May 31st – June 2nd, so watch for my tweets (@rachelannevick or @uwecprssa) and news updates. I’m sure I’ll have lots to share when I come back!
- National Conference: National Conference is late October in Philadelphia – if you have any interest in going, start saving NOW! I highly recommend it simply from what I’ve heard from the past E-Board (plus it’s a few days off of school). However, it’s a little spendy so work hard over the summer. If you want more information on it please feel free to email me or visit the website.
- Blog Posts: If you have any down time over the summer, feel free to write a blog post! Free writing experience and a good showcase of published samples. And if you have an internship, you can show it off to your co-workers!
- Stay in touch: Don’t forget about us over the summer! We love to hear how your jobs or internships are going or anything you came across. If anyone ever wants to meet up to talk PRSSA or just hang out, we’re all for it We’re going to plan something to all get together in Eau Claire one weekend in the summer, so stay tuned for more information!
Thanks again to the past exec board for building such a strong foundation. We wouldn’t be the organization we are today without you all. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you to Anna, Erica, Alaina, Paige, and Jolie, as well as Dr. Kuang and Barabara for changing my life and shaping me into the person I’ve always wanted to be. You’ve been a blessing to this organization!!
It’s an honor to be elected as your President and the E-Board has already been planning for the magnificent year ahead. We want YOU to get the most out of PRSSA as you possibly can, and we’ll try our absolute best to be the next #DreamTeam!
By Hanna Johnson
Coming to UWEC as a freshman was extremely exciting – so many new opportunities! Because of my love for writing I had always seen myself heading down the path of journalism. However, a few months before school began I realized that I was not as interested in becoming a journalist as I had been before. I knew that newspapers would eventually become a thing of the past and that news and media were already heading toward a completely online and digital world.
While I was unsure as to what major I would work toward, there were two things I was sure about: I loved to write and I loved social media. So I brought out my freshman binder (the go-to for underclassmen anxiety) and hoped that it would give me some sort of insight into this dilemma. While scanning the communications section once again I found something new: Public Relations. I had heard of it before but did not have a clear understanding of what it was and did not realize that Eau Claire offered it. Looking back now, I probably should have given it more thought and researched it a bit more before declaring it as my major so quickly. However, declaring Public Relations and diving head first into what it offered was probably one of the best decisions I could have made this year.
After discovering PRSSA at BOB, I forced myself to attend the first meeting because I knew that I wanted to be involved in an organization related to my major. I was pleasantly surprised as to how welcoming and friendly everyone was at that first meeting and I decided that it might not be so bad after all. Each meeting introduced me to a new side of my major and honestly, I was falling in love with it every step of the way. It’s funny because people who are unsure about a major usually take classes and try new things before they decide. For me, I did it a little backwards.
Joining the Public Relations committee on top of being an active member gave me the chance to be even more involved in the organization as well as meet new people. It gave me an insight into the workings of PRSSA and the chance to see how members of the executive board worked together. I had not originally thought of running for the executive board, but I am so happy that I did. I know next year will bring many new opportunities as well as push me to embrace my leadership skills. It’s extremely exciting when you realize that you get to be a part of something that you have become so passionate about. Executive board, here I come!
By Neely Droessler
Being in my third year in college you would think that I’ve learned my limits. You would assume that I’ve developed some solid balancing acts between going to school, having fun and exciting times, maintaining my relationships, and sleeping. The truth is that I am constantly learning how to make everything in my life function. And sometime, I fail miserably at it.
I don’t know about every other college student, but for me, college has been quite a whirlwind. I moved to Eau Claire from the Madison area with endless expectations of what the next four years would hold. I had a couple high school friends by my side. I thought I wanted to be a high school teacher when I grew up, and I planned on embracing my time in college as the best time of life.
Well, I soon realized that I didn’t want to be a teacher. I learned some hard lessons in the friendship/relationship department, and I soon felt the distance of my old, (and extremely comfortable) high school life. I eventually decided, after taking CJ 111: Gender, Class and Race with Nicole Shultz, I wanted to get a degree in Communications, and more specifically Public Relations.
During my sophomore year I moved into a duplex on Niagara Street with some awesome girls. A prime location, right? I applied and was accepted to study abroad in the summer of 2012. I would be traveling with a group of 18 students and three professors to Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. In the same semester I applied to go on the National Student Exchange program in Rhode Island for fall semester 2012 with one of my best friends.
I was on a serious high of excitement that spring semester before all of my traveling began. But you know what they say, the higher you climb, the further you fall. I went to Europe feeling the happiest I had ever been in my life. I was seeing the world, and I didn’t have a care in the world! I made amazing friends, saw incredible sights and I viewed each day in Europe as the most wonderful day of my life.
When I came home after 6 weeks in Europe I had a serious reality check waiting for me. I was feeling distant from my friends and loved ones, and I had a difficult time going back to my normal (boring) life. I only had the month of August to be in Wisconsin, and then I was moving to Rhode Island for an exciting fall semester. Whew, right?
For that month of August I felt seriously depressed. Which was weird, because I had never in my life felt “depressed.” I was bored and exhausted thinking about the fact that in only a month I was moving to Rhode Island for a semester; I would be far away from my friends and family that I was already missing. I threw myself a little pity party, and I felt like such a brat for not being more thankful for the opportunities I was given. I had a best friend by my side, the whole east coast to explore, and yet I wasn’t happy. After an exhausting move to Rhode Island I decided to do something to create a better balance in my life.
While in Rhode Island I started journaling every day. I found that writing down some thoughts, positive or negative would help me clarify some areas in my life that I needed to work on. I got in the habit of making healthy life choices. I had always been a fairly healthy eater and worked out in a gym, but cultivating a conscious effort to live a healthy lifestyle elevated my mood tenfold.
I started to explore spirituality again, which had long been on the back burner. I read books, took naps, went on walks, went to class, did yoga, and traveled with my best friend on the weekends to awesome places: Vermont, Boston, New York, Newport Beach, RI, Washington D.C. and Virginia. I now look back at the wonderful memories I created that semester. I reflect on my time there and realize how much I grew as a person. I like to think of Rhode Island as a 3 month long therapy session, that ended with me earning a 4.0 GPA.
By the time I moved home I was back to feeling like I had created some serious balance in my life again. For me, the excitement in my life came from traveling, exploring and learning. I embraced the opportunities UWEC offered and I have some incredible experiences as a result. I am now learning that the balance between feeling excitement, being productive, creating a healthy lifestyle, and maintaining wonderful relationships is not only the way I want to live my life, but it’s also attainable.
I learned that you don’t have to get away or escape from your normal routine to be challenged. You don’t have to go off the map to find excitement and creativity. Balance, peace, healthy relationships and fulfillment are actually right in front of us all. Everything you or I could ever want out of life is actually cultivated at home. Your attitude and state of mind are really the things that define your happiness.
I often forget this revelation myself. I indulge in the useless, pointless stuff; I get overstressed, don’t sleep enough, and forget the true path I want to be on. But I now know how important finding balance in your life is, and I will continue to strive for that balance, regardless of where this life takes me.
By: Paige Skeie
Coming to college was hard enough as it is. The transition from living with my parents to living on my own, making new friends, and finding what I was passionate about were among some of the many struggles I encountered. When I uneasily declared my Public Relations major, I was unsure of where I wanted to take my life. After researching what could help, I found that Eau Claire had a chapter of PRSSA. I decided to join, which was easily the best decision I made during my college career, and for three simple reasons:
1. PRSSA taught me more about PR than my expensive college classes did
Although I did learn a lot of useful information in my classes that I may or may not ever use again, PRSSA put a lot more beneficial information into my brain. From our speakers and workshops, I have learned exactly what many different types of PR professionals actually do on a daily basis, and what kinds of tools and knowledge they need to know to carry out their work. Learning all of this, I have been able to apply my knowledge to other concepts that I have learned in class. All of this information has kept me ahead of the game compared to other students who are public relations students, but not a part of the UWEC chapter.
2. Networking with people I didn’t even know existed
Joining PRSSA, I knew that I would have the awesome opportunity to meet individuals in the professional world. Through planning and attending meetings, my chapter had the chance to connect with individuals who were more than happy to help us in our careers. What I didn’t know was that I would also be able to meet what seems like a million students who share the same career goals as I do. Attending the 2012 National Conference in San Francisco was what really opened my eyes to this (to those reading this, I highly recommend fundraising so that you can attend this incredible event). Not only were they great people, but also extremely helpful with advice for what their chapters do, as well as advice with professional work. And I can’t forget everyone I’ve met in my own chapter. My advisors, members and especially my fellow Executive Board members have all made huge impacts on my career. All of the people I met have changed my tiny network of people into one big spider web of connections.
3. Simple and fun resume builder
As I previously mentioned, the classes I’ve taken are helpful and would also add to my resume. However, the work and experience that I have gained from this organization are far better resume builders – and not to mention, they build my resume in a much more fun way. After joining, I immediately joined the Public Relations Committee where I volunteered myself to manage the chapter’s website. But becoming a part of the Executive Board is where my “career” in PR really took off. You could consider being the secretary a part-time job for all of the time and effort that was put into planning various chapter activities. Writing, planning speakers, managing the website, keeping track of attendance and planning other events were among some of the things on my to-do list. But like I mentioned, it was so much FUN being able to do this “work” on a team to help educate other students about what they can do in the vast world of public relations.
Take this as my personal testimony to how much UWEC PRSSA has positively changed my life. If this doesn’t convince you how helpful this organization can be to your college and professional career, than I don’t know what will.
Although I still have one week left on the Executive Board, and one month until I graduate, I want to thank everyone who has helped me through this incredible chapter of my life. I cannot wait to see what UWEC PRSSA will have in store for the many years to come.
By Neely Droessler
On the afternoon of Thursday April 4th 13 PRSSA ladies, myself included, packed up our carpools and headed south on I-94. After four hours of chitchat and laughter (at least in my car) we were seeing Miller Light billboards and Brewers baseball fans. Ah yes, Milwaukee. It was 10pm by the time we got checked into the Holiday Inn, so naturally it was time to order Toppers pizza for a late night meal. All of us PRSSA women convened in one hotel room for socializing, pizza and planning for the busy day we had ahead of us.
The next morning we were up and out of the hotel by 7:40am and on our way to our first Public Relations agency tour. We headed across the city to the Mueller Communications, Inc. offices, which were located in a beautiful refurbished home on Prospect Avenue. After a tour of the beautiful facility we sat down in a conference room with the Vice President, Ms. Lori Richards. Ms. Richards showed us a PowerPoint presentation about Mueller’s full-service public relations agency.
What an incredible opportunity for young aspiring PR professionals! She explained that they specialize in public affairs, media relations, crisis and corporate communications, community relations and business-to-business marketing. Their clients include Northwestern Mutual, Kohler Arts Center, AT&T, and the Milwaukee Brewers among others. After mingling with other staff members and exchanging business cards we were off to our next location.
We drove a few short blocks to our second agency, Laughlin Constable, which is located in a beautiful high rise building on Michigan Street. After checking into Laughlin Constable we were taken to the top floor conference room, which overlooked a beautiful Milwaukee skyline. In the conference room we enjoyed refreshments provided by the agency before sitting down to listen to the presentation.
We learned that Laughlin Constable offices are located in Chicago and New York along with their Milwaukee headquarters. We then spent the next hour listening to three employees in different departments explain what they do at Laughlin Constable, and what kind of clients they serve. Their company motto is “Our ideas create business. Our business creates ideas” and from what I could tell Laughlin Constable fully succeeds at this game plan.
After a short lunch break at an Alterra coffee shop we headed to the last stop of our tour. We arrived at the Summerfest grounds located on Henry Maier Festival Park near the lakefront. After we arrived we were promptly greeted by Jess, a full time employee at Summerfest. Jess led us to the conference room and explained that Summerfest is a non-profit organization whose employees dedicate themselves year-round to planning this amazing music festival.
We watched the launch video for this year’s lineup, which she told us was filmed in one day in New York City. This video features comedian Lewis Black announcing the bands who will be attending the 11 day festival. Kicking off on June 28th, Summerfest has an attendance of nearly 900,000 patrons every year and features close to 900 bands right in Henry Maier Festival Park. Jess told us about the promotional work she does for Summerfest, and the challenges she faces trying to reach such diverse genres of music.
Summerfest prides itself on hosting one of the largest festivals in Wisconsin, which helps generate major revenue for the city of Milwaukee. Growing up in the Madison area, I’ve been lucky enough to attend Summerfest festival several times. All I could think during this exciting, and final presentation of our tour was, is it June yet?
By guest writer Jeron Udean
I’ve been on the MN PRSA Student Relations Committee for too many years to count. In all my time on the committee, by far the most pressing issue on students’ mind is “how can I find my first job or internship?” The urgency students have to find a job has increased significantly in recent years, as a tight job market has made competition for jobs intensely fierce.
If you’re in a position where finding your first job or internship is a pressing matter, the first order of business is making sure you know what jobs or internships are available as soon as they become available. With that in mind, here are some of the best resources and recommendations I have for students looking to start their professional journey:
Minnesota Public Relations Blog –Ryan May recently celebrated his 10th year publishing his blog. It’s probably the best resource you’ll find for uncovering jobs and internships in the Twin Cities market. Just as importantly, the frequent articles about new hires, promotions and client wins among local PR agencies will keep you up to speed about what’s happening in the industry. But we’re focused on jobs right? So far in February, there have been 12 internships listed and a few entry-level jobs. If you want to find work in the Twin Cities PR industry, bookmark this site right now.
MN PRSA Job & Internship Listings – The MN PRSA chapter recently increased its effort to make its website a resource for job seekers and employers. Be sure to check-in often, as you never know when your dream job will appear.
Getting Involved in PRSA Upon Graduation – PRSSA members are eligible to join PRSA at a greatly discounted rate through an Associate Membership. But just like your PRSSA involvement, you only get out of it what you put in. Be sure to attend Meet & Mingle events, skills workshops or join a committee. This will increase your network, let other professionals know who you are, and enhance your skills and knowledge.
College Career Centers – Some students overlook this valuable resource, but your school likely has a Career Center with a directory of job openings, along with staff that will help you with everything from writing a strong resume and cover letter to preparing for interviews.
LinkedIn Groups – If you don’t currently have a LinkedIn profile, create one. And when you do, be sure to add groups in the communications field that match your interests. Group members often let people know about positions at their organizations before they are published elsewhere.
Indeed.com – While this job site isn’t specific to the communications industry, most of my friends and colleagues prefer this site over any other job directory.
Jeron Udean is account manager and director of media relations at Strother Communications Group, a creative marketing communications firm with a focus on business to business accounts. He is also co-chair of the MN PRSA Student Relations Committee and liaison to the Eau Claire PRSSA chapter.
By Rachel Vick
Did you ever stop to think what you learned from your childhood? Recently, I’ve been appreciating my childhood love for Walt Disney and his animated movies. I grew up with Snow White, the Lion King, and so many more movies that made me into the person I am today.
I can’t help but think that these movies and their underlying lessons (as a child) have shaped who I am in the business world (as a young adult). Therefore, I want to point out how I believe everyone in our generation has benefitted from the great work of Walt Disney!
Ariel, the bright young sea creature in The Little Mermaid, taught us to make a splash and show your personality. Business is not about being fake or flashy; show everyone who you really are and they are more likely to trust and befriend you. This is especially important when working in public relations!
Mulan risked her life for her family. While I’m not suggesting you go to war for your father as Mulan did, it’s important to show bravery and take risks in business. If you don’t, it’s unlikely you’ll get anywhere. Be courageous and find what’s best for your company.
Belle, from the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast, teaches us to try to see people for who they really are. This includes listening to all employees and trying to understand their perspective. In the end, you could end up gaining much more than you ever imagined you could.
This also leads me to another character that gained perspective and friendship by accepting other cultures: Pocahontas. She made an effort to learn about new people, and said it perfectly: “If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew.”
Beyond some of my favorites are also Cinderella, who never complained and had her hard work pay off, and Jasmine from Aladdin, who stood up for her rights as a woman. As you grow, graduate, gain experience, and land you dream job, remember what you learned so that you are the employee you can be proud of.
What was your favorite childhood Disney movie, and what did you learn from them?
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” –Walt Disney
By: Jolie LyFoung
On Tuesday, January 29th at 9 p.m. EST, PRSSA National had their monthly Twitter chat.
The theme of this month’s Twitter chat was “Maximizing Member Benefits.”
This was my first time participating in a PRSSA National Twitter chat so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was nervous about putting myself out there. I didn’t know if anyone would read or see my tweets, yet again, acknowledge that I was there. I was wrong! After answering some questions, I got a few retweets, comments, and tweets back from members of different chapters. I even gained a few followers.
The Twitter chat started with everyone introducing themselves by stating their names, what chapter they were from, and their positions. After introductions, the co-moderators jumped into questions. They asked a question and gave participants a chance to answer. It was nice reading tweets from other members. A lot of PRSSA members share similar thoughts! The PRSSA National committee was very engaging with the Twitter chat and with participants. The co-moderators asked a total of six questions which lasted an entire hour. After questions, they followed up with last minute thoughts.
If you missed January’s Twitter chat, feel free to take a look at the highlights!
Below are a few screen shots of the questions and my answers.
By Anna Mogenburg
Welcome back, everyone! It’s time to get back into the PRSSA swing of things. We’re excited to announce the Meet & Mingle event this Feb. 5. at 6 p.m. in the Centennial Room of Davies.
Two communications professionals from Weber Shandwick in Minnesota will be joining us- Samantha Liebhard, Financial Services Assistant Account Executive and Katie White, Assistant Account Executive. These two ladies are also involved with PRSA (our parent organization), which you have the option of joining upon graduation. Weber Shandwick continually rates among the top PR agencies. PR News named it Digital PR Firm of the Year and Large PR Firm of the Year in 2012.
Samantha and Katie will be presenting on their careers and the values of being a PRSSA member. After the presentation, the rest of the time is available to mingle with Samantha, Katie, the executive board, advisors and other members. This is the perfect event if you’re looking to learn more about this organization & network. Free pizza will be served. We look forward to seeing you!
(Our first event is Professionalism Prep on Jan. 29. Anyone is welcome to join us for either of these events!)