Recently, SCM PRSSA executive board members, Ally DeForge, Gabi Bartnik, and Genesis Acevedo attended the Public Relations Student Society of America’s International Conference in San Diego, California from October 11 – 15. Each student came home exhilarated by their experience and motivated to incorporate some of the ideas they heard in San Diego into the SCM PRSSA chapter.
The conference took place at the Marriott Marquis San Diego conference center from Friday to Tuesday. The three Montclair students heard keynote speeches from influential speakers, such as Bob Woodward, panel discussions and information sessions from companies like Disney and Taco Bell. In addition, students from PRSSA chapters around the country were able to network with some of the industries’ leading professionals.
One of highlighted sessions from the week was a social media workshop given by Erika Prime, the head of social media for Taco Bell. She taught the attendees about the importance of brand reputation, how to create and shape your brand on social, and how to engage your followers with content. According to Prime, “We think of our brand as a person. We want to be the cool, funny friend in the group, so we shape our social media branding to represent this.”
There were over 10 sessions or discussions offered each day. Topics varied from nonprofit PR, celebrity PR, crisis management, networking tips, social media tactics, to case studies of successful campaigns. There were also student run sessions led by other chapters where the student attendees learned from their peers. One of them was even “Mean Girl” themed- how “fetch”!
Ally, Gabi and Genesis were able to meet student chapter members from Texas, North Carolina, and New Mexico. Ally states, “Not only were we able to share ideas about the field, talk about new trends, and share ideas for our chapter’s fundraisers and campus reach, but I made so many new lasting friendships. I was surrounded by like-minded individuals pursuing the same goals as I am in the same place of their lives and it was really motivating.”
The three got to hear from and connect with leading professionals in the industry in the hope of getting either an internship or even starting a career with those companies after graduation.
Ally summed her experience as “the most amazing, inspiring, and educational experience I have ever had. I grew as a professional, made new friends, grew closer with my executive board, and, of course, enjoyed sunny San Diego and all the delicious food there. I am lucky enough to share what I learned with my chapter back at MSU and my friends and help them grow in the ways I did. I am so lucky to be able to continue to work with this incredible organization that offers us so many opportunities.”