Looking to 2017

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Welcome to 2017, New Pros!

While some of us may continue to write “2016” when we write dates on press releases and meeting agendas, it is very much 2017. None of us can tell the future, but we, as your 2017 PRSA New Pros Blog co-chairs, know that 2017 will be a year full of change.

How do we react to change, and adapt to whatever is thrown our way–both in our professional and personal lives? This is something that new pros need to consider as they start their careers and grow into seasoned professionals.

We learn from change, whether we view that change as positive or negative.

This year, the blog will explore many topics from month to month. However, what will remain throughout the year is that we, as new pros, will connect and leverage the events of 2017–whatever they may be–to change ourselves for the better.

In the words of Henry David Thoreau,

Things do not change; we change.

We look forward to experiencing 2017 with you.

Cheers!
Lindsay Moeller + Greg Rokisky

About your blog co-chairs

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LINDSAY MOELLER

Lindsay is a Public Relations Executive for Two Rivers Marketing in Des Moines, Iowa, where she writes content and connects with the media. In addition to her role as co-chair for the PRSA New Pros blog, Lindsay serves on the Central Iowa PRSA board as the professional development/networking co-chair and volunteers as part of the Event Management Team for the Des Moines Arts Festival. In her downtime, Lindsay likes to read, pretend to be good at running and yoga, search the internet for caticorns, binge watch TV shows and hang out with her cats while drinking coffee (or perhaps some really strong tea).  

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GREG ROKISKY

Greg works remotely as a social media and community manager for Streamline Publishing, a national corporation, as well as a freelance creative services consultant. He resides in Lansing, MI where he serves as the Central Michigan PRSA New Professionals vice-chair, PACE Awards chair, Director-At-Large, 2016-17 East Central District Diamond Awards chair. Outside of PRSA, he serves as the Membership Chair for Lansing’s Grand River Connection, a young professional networking group, as well as the 2017-18 President of the Social Media Association of Michigan. In his down time, he’s either reading a book, snapping some photos or catching the latest Indie films…all while sipping on a cup (or five) of coffee. Connect with Greg on Twitter or Linkedin.

Meet the rest of the 2017 PRSA New Pros Executive Committee HERE.

Write for The Edge

Have an interest in being published on The Edge? Check out our monthly themes below. Not seeing where your topic would fit in? No worries! Shoot Lindsay and Greg an email and they’ll work to get you scheduled into their posting schedule.

  • January: Jump-start to 2017, Welcome from PRSA New Pros National
  • February: Digital/social media + The evolving PR landscape
  • March: What does PR look like for you? (Do you work remotely? Do you work in non-profit? At an agency? Tell us your PR story.)
  • April: Continuing education (accreditation, graduate studies, alternative education + beyond)
  • May: Graduation tips and leadership
  • June: Measurement, math + PR: Embracing the data
  • July: PR book reviews
  • August: Diversity in PR and New Pros Week
  • September: PR ethics
  • October: ICON month and networking
  • November: New technology and tools
  • December: 2017 recap + looking ahead to 2018 (planning, work resolutions, etc.)

When submitting an idea, please note the topic, and which month’s theme it fits into.

Click HERE to contact the co-chairs via email.

As a reminder, contributors must be a PRSA New Professionals/PRSA paid member to be published on The Edge.

General Post Tips/Guidelines

  • Posts should be between 300-600 words in most cases.
  • Send a photo with your post and attribute the source of the photo.
  • Attribute the source, speaker or author if you include statistics, facts, quotes or surveys.
  • Start a conversation by ending the post with a question for readers.
  • Write a short biography for the end of the post. Things to include: name, job position, PRSA Chapter and social media links. Please submit a headshot if possible.

Four Ways to Stand Out (In a Good Way) at Your First Job

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From navigating the lunch scene to navigating office politics, a first job can be tricky. You want to find just the right balance of doing your job well without seeming like a suck up. I’m no expert, but I do want to share a few tips I’ve found to be helpful as I navigate my first real job:

Have an opinion

This piece of wisdom floated my way from a mentor who’s worked in communications for over 30 years. Just because you’re the new guy or gal doesn’t mean you have to be quiet. There’s a time for speaking and a time for silence. While it’s extremely important to embody a sponge sometimes — taking in all the newness and expertise around you — recognize that you were hired for a reason. Your insights, thoughts and opinions are company assets, so don’t let them go to waste by being unspoken.

Get to know your coworkers as people

You’re likely spending 40 plus hours in the office each week, sitting next to the same people every day.  Take the time to find out what your coworkers’ lives are like when they’re off the clock. What do they love? What do they hate? What’s their favorite way to goof off or relax? By asking these questions and more, you’ll have a better understanding of who your colleagues are — not just as fellow workers, but as fellow humans. I think you’ll find that this has a catalyst effect when it comes to building trust and empathy. Plus, it’s never a bad idea to gain a little extra social capital by remembering someone’s birthday or wishing them well before they leave for vacation.

Keep a work/life balance

Plenty of people throughout your career will tell you to “say yes to everything.” In my opinion, it’s not the wisest way you can live and here’s why: If you keep saying yes to everything, you’re going to find it harder to flex your crucial muscle of discernment. Instead, you’ll find yourself automatically accepting job assignments and social invitations that are going to wear you out with no substantial gain. To function at your best, you have to create space to recharge and connect. Don’t believe me? Check out this handy PR Daily infographic that explains even more benefits of keeping your weekends free from work.

Do the right thing

At Lockheed Martin, “Do what’s right” is one of our three ethical mottos. (I’m fortunate that it’s also a life motto for me, too.) Lots of times it may be easier to purposefully overlook a small error or choose to end a task before going the extra mile. Hey, nobody’s even going to notice, right? Wrong. The trouble with that thinking is that it doesn’t matter if nobody notices. If you’re not doing the right thing and making choices out of integrity, then you’re not only cheating the company, but also yourself and your coworkers. Instead of “advancing the profession,” you are choosing to take the whole ship down with you.

What advice has been helpful to you at your first job? Or what advice do you wish you would have been given to you?

lauradaronatsy_headshotLaura Daronatsy is the Immediate Past President of PRSSA and currently works as a Communications LDP Associate at Lockheed Martin. She graduated from Biola University with a public relations major and biblical and theological studies minor. Connect with Laura on Twitter @lauradaronatsy.

#AskNewPros: How many New Pros are in my regional area?

This is part of our recurring #AskNewPros series. Do you have a burning question for PRSA New Pros? Ask us! Want to promote mentorship by answering questions asked by PRSSA members? Email Alyssa Stafford to contribute.  

The New Pros section has 1149 members all over the U.S. and we even have a member in Canada! Roll over your state in the map below to see how many New Pros are in your area. Want to reach out to someone directly? Check out the member directory on PRSA.org and choose New Professionals under the “Section” field.

Celebrating Diversity Should Not End in August

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Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the PRSA Pittsburgh blog. While PRSA celebrated Diversity month in August, this blog is a great reminder how our profession can and should be inclusive year-round. 

In recent months, headlines of violent attacks, mass shootings and tragic moments have occupied the majority of our Facebook and Twitter feeds, causing many of us to question if society is progressing or regressing in its efforts to accept others. 

In a world often overwhelmed with hate and judgment, we as public relations professionals need to serve as thought leaders and celebrate diversity in the industry as well as encourage others to follow suit.

Luckily, PRSA dedicates the month of August to bring attention to diversity in public relations and facilitate inspiring conversations that hope to bridge any gap between diversity and the workplace.

Diversity Month, led by the PRSA National Diversity & Inclusion Committee, seeks to inform and educate the public relations profession about ongoing issues and concerns regarding diversity in public relations. According to PRSA, the committee’s mission is to make the Society more inclusive and welcoming by:

  • Reaching out to industry professionals of diverse racial backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientations,
  • Helping diversify the industry by supporting minority candidates who aspire a career in public relations by offering support in the development of industry knowledge, relevant skills and a network of professional contacts,
  • Bringing multicultural understanding and expertise to public relations professionals in order to address the diverse audiences in the nation.

With an array of interactive events, social programs and blog posts for members to explore and join the conversation, PRSA does a commendable job in raising awareness and celebrating the diverse backgrounds in the industry.

But acknowledging and discussing diversity should not end at the conclusion of August. Many companies have taken advantage of the resources PRSA has offered this month by holding diversity-focused meetings, participating in Twitter chats and collaborating with other organizations; however, as public relations professionals, we need to continue the conversation.

If your company is lacking in diverse efforts, get approval from your company’s leadership and begin by defining what diversity means to them. Diversity has a different meaning to everyone, but at its core means recognizing and accepting all individuals. Once you have established a definition, develop a strong committee to start conversations and initiatives.

If your workplace is already committed to creating a diverse environment, make sure all employees are aware of this inclusive mindset. The only way employees will truly know if their company accepts diversity is by seeing it firsthand, so by including your company’s diversity initiatives into leadership trainings and professional development workshops, your company will operate in a more cohesive manner.

Accepting diversity makes us smarter, more well-rounded as well as allows us to become more innovative and creative. This way of thinking and living should carry with us for more than one month out of the year. Keep the conversation of diversity and inclusion going long after August ends, and continue to maintain a work environment that is filled with acceptance.

jordan-mitrikJordan Mitrik is an account executive at Jampole Communications and serves as blog coordinator for PRSA Pittsburgh. He is a recent Waynesburg University graduate where he studied public relations and marketing. Connect with Jordan: Twitter | LinkedIn | Website 

Three Tips to Take the Jitters Out of Networking

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People who work in PR are known for being social butterflies who can drum up a lively conversation with just about anyone. But I’ll be the first to admit that, yes, I work in PR, and yes, I still get a little anxious right before I walk into a networking event. It can be intimidating to attend a luncheon or conference by yourself. There’s that first long minute filled with nervous energy while you look for a friendly face, and then everything melts away after you start your first conversation. And by the end, you’re glad you went. This quote from Kristin Newman’s memoir perfectly sums it up:

“I was a shy little girl and an only child, so on vacations I was usually playing alone, too afraid to go up to the happy groups of kids and introduce myself. Finally, on one vacation, my mom asked me which I’d rather have: a vacation with no friends, or one scary moment. So I gathered up all of my courage, and swam over to the kids, and there was one scary moment… and then I had friends for the first time on vacation. After that, one scary moment became something I was always willing to have in exchange for the possible payoff. I became a girl who knew how to take a deep breath, suck it up, and walk into any room by herself.”

One scary moment is almost always worth the trade-off. Here are three tips to get you through that one scary moment and become an expert networker.

1. Geek out together

The good thing about attending PRSA networking events is that you automatically have at least one thing in common with everyone else there: you work in PR (or aspire to work in PR). So bring up industry news that your regular social circle doesn’t get nearly as excited about, like Snapchat’s new glasses or the latest brand in crisis. In addition to industry news, it’s helpful to be up on the latest global and national happenings, always, but especially before a networking event. My go-to resource is theSkimm, which presents the news in a quick, easily digestible format. It’s ripe with conversation starters.

2. Go beyond small talk

Based on the idea that we’re not defined by our job titles (although I would argue a career in PR results in a serious work/life blend), I recently stumbled upon this great list of questions to ask people instead of “What do you do?” from Fast Company. Some of my favorite questions are:

  • Do you have any side hustles or passion projects?
  • Are you working on any exciting projects right now?
  • What’s your favorite emoji?
  • What was the highlight of your week/weekend?
  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently?

These are guaranteed to spark conversations that won’t fizzle out after the first minute.

3. Volunteer

If you’re new to an organization or city, the fastest way to make connections is to raise your hand and volunteer. For example, in PRSA you can join a number of committees, from new professionals to membership to communications. Choose a volunteer opportunity based on your strengths, whether that’s planning events, running the check-in table, or helping with promotion on social media. When you get involved, it allows you to build deeper relationships with members. Plus, you’ll know a few friendly faces when you go to the next event.

What are your tips for becoming an expert networker?

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Caitlin Rebecca Ryan is a PR writer for Eric Mower + Associates in Charlotte, NC, with a passion for live music, snail mail, and novels. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and her blog.