A Tale of Two Mentors

The first time I joined a formal mentoring program, I seriously lucked out. I was matched with a passionate, candid, talented vice president who answered all my questions, let me shadow her and her team, and provided invaluable advice. She helped me consider my career options, negotiate, and advocate for myself at the crucial point in my career when I was transitioning from grad school and freelance life into a full time job.

I knew even then, my situation was not typical. Finding a great mentor isn’t often so straightforward and effortless. Sometimes, formal arrangements fall short of expectations on both sides of the relationship. Or more often, a formal program isn’t available and you have to get creative in finding a mentor.

Recently, it occurred to me I have another mentor close at hand — just a few desks away, actually. Turning to my coworker when I need help solving a problem, learning from her years of experience at our company and other organizations, I find there are elements of our working relationship that look a lot like mentoring. It’s valuable because we share a work environment, and have similar goals and expectations about our careers. She’s inspired new ideas for my career growth and expressed support along the way.

One mentor was a conscious introduction, while the other grew organically, but both relationships have established a sense of trust and over time become valuable to me in their own, unique ways. And like all relationships, both have required effort and reciprocity on my part to maintain them as lasting connections.

There’s no universal formula, but there are certainly new ways of thinking about mentorship that can serve New Pros as they work to forge connections. Join us during New Pros Week for a special webinar, where you’ll get advice on how to find a mentor, be a great mentee, and fill your life with valuable connections.



Alyssa Thys is a member of PRSA Georgia and a communications specialist at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta.  She serves on the New Professionals executive committee as the mentoring chair. Alyssa is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and the University of Georgia. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.


Take part in New Pros Week 2017

For more information, and ways to get involved, with this year’s New Pros Week check out the below infographic schedule, or click HERE.

Full Schedule

New Pros Week 2017

Think of your career like a garden. You’ll want to plant it in a fertile area with plenty of room to grow and access to the things it needs to thrive: sunshine and water; opportunities and professional development. You’ll need to spend some time on it, deciding what to cultivate, weeding out the unnecessary and giving it the care and attention it needs. You’ll need to fill your toolshed. Finally, consulting the experts is never a bad idea.

It sounded a bit outlandish before, right? Comparing your career to a backyard garden? But when you think about it, the fruitful, successful ones are the product of a great deal of love, sweat, time and attention. Without effort, they wither away.

This year we’ve decided to give New Pros Week a theme of its own – “Careers in Bloom: Creating a plan for career success.”

Join us August 6 through 12, 2017 as we focus on all the tools and tips you need to continue to grow your career well past your New Pro years and celebrate the things that set us apart. We’ll talk about what tools you need in your PR toolbox, discuss the importance of mentorship to build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships, and connect members from across the country as we explore the ins and outs of being a New Pro.

New Pros Week 2017’s schedule includes:

  • “Planting the seed for career-long growth” TwiChat chat – Monday, August 7 at 8 p.m.
  • “Fill Your Garden: Mentorship & making lasting connections” webinar – Wednesday, August 9 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • “Build Your Bouquet: Follow fellow New Pros” Follow Friday on Twitter – Friday, August 11
  • Social conversation around our favorite things about being a New Pro and advice from experienced pros on what they wish they knew as New Pros
  • Blog posts on topics such as:
    • “Grow where you’re planted: How to build a successful career in a new place”
    • “What’s in your toolshed: Essential tools and techniques for New Pros”
    • …and more!

Links to these programs and events will be shared across our social media channels very soon so keep an eye out and mark your calendars!

In addition to national events, New Pros Week is a great time for Chapters and Districts to celebrate their own New Pros by hosting happy hours or networking events, showcase members in blog and social media content and just generally engaging with their youngest members to highlight the great things we add to the PR field and to help us further grow and advance the profession.

Don’t forget to follow along on our social media channels and join in the conversation on Twitter using #NPPRSA and #NewProsWeek.

If you have any questions or want to get involved, please reach out to us!

Robyn & Veronica
@robyn_rl | @veronica_min
robynmrl@gmail.com | vmingrone.prssa@gmail.com

PRSA’s New Professionals Section 2017 programming chairs

My PR story: Robyn Rudish-Laning

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” ― Julia Child

There really isn’t a better way for me to describe my career, especially since Julia Child’s passion was food. I, too, love food and that’s where my passion for PR started.

First, a little about me. I currently live in Columbia, SC, with my boyfriend and our tail-less cat Izzy and where I work for the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan, business-led nonprofit that works to advance South Carolina’s long-term economic competitiveness. I grew up on a farm in Southern New Jersey and when it came time for me to head off to college, I packed my bags and moved to Pittsburgh. There I attended Duquesne University, right in the heart of the city, which is where I belong – right in the middle of a city. I earned my bachelor’s in public relations and a master’s in media arts and technology, focusing on creative media practices. My PR experience has been a little all over the place: nonprofits in Pittsburgh, New York and Columbia, retail, boutique agency and pharmaceutical research.

So how did I get here? I figured out early that I wanted to work in PR and communications. My first job back in high school was waitressing at a local restaurant. It was small and, being the master of multitasking I am, I began helping to organize some of our events and putting together marketing pieces and campaigns, in addition to my normal job and learning how to cook in the kitchen on slow nights. So in a way, food led me to PR.

As a student I interned with two nonprofits – the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania & West Virginia in Pittsburgh and the 9/11 Tribute Center in New York. In both, I created and maintained media lists, drafted press kits, press releases, media advisories, social media content, web content, print marketing materials – basically if it was written or designed, it probably started on my desk.

That’s a common theme through each job I’ve had so far. If there’s writing to be drafted, a piece to be designed or, more recently, strategy to be crafted, it’s started with me. I could outline all the different types of projects that I’ve worked on, but the point is that through all the places I’ve worked, no matter how thrilling or mundane the project or task might have been, there was a similarity tying them all together – each was its own form of storytelling. Telling stories is the heart of what PR is and it’s what I love about the field. Being able to find and share stories, whether that’s through blogs, video, social media, events, photos or whatever type of content lies ahead, is important to me. It’s what I’m tremendously interested in, what I’m passionate about. It’s what I’ll keep looking for in every job through the end of my career.

Whether you’re trying to tell your own story, still trying to find a path for yourself or anywhere in between, that’s the best advice you can take. Find what you’re passionate about, what drives you, inspires you, makes you feel like you’re doing something, and stay interested, learning everything you can along the way.

robyn-rudish-laningRobyn serves as PRSA’s New Professionals Section’s programming co-chair and is a communications and PR pro currently living and working in Columbia, S.C. In addition to volunteering with PRSA’s New Professionals Section, she also serves as the 2017 VP of Communications for the South Carolina PRSA Chapter and brought together the chapter’s first New Professionals group in 2016. She’s a native of southern New Jersey and currently resides in Columbia, S.C., by way of Pittsburgh, and currently works as the communications coordinator a statewide non-profit organization. In her spare time, Robyn likes to cook, read, spend time with her tail-less cat Izzy and write for her own blog – and almost always with a cup of tea in hand. Find her on Twitter & talk to her!

Member Spotlight: Meet Rebecca Hansen


Rebecca Hansen

Marketing and Community Relations Lead at Sky Zone Greensboro

Greensboro, NC

B.S. Communication, East Carolina University & M.S. Public Relations, Syracuse University

Social Media Handle:


What made you interested in PR and communications?

I was involved in a lot of communication-centric activities in high school like morning announcements, forensics (public speaking) and drama. When it came time to apply to universities, I wanted something that would allow me to merge my writing, speaking and design skills all in one.

How did you find internships/jobs?

  • College of Human Ecology at East Carolina University Internship: Saw an online posting with ECU.
  • Semple Solutions Internship (Small PR Firm): Owner came to speak to my PRSSA group.
  • Syracuse Stage Internship: Sought out an entertainment-focused PR internship by utilizing the Newhouse Career Center (Syracuse University).
  • Dassault Falcon Jet Internship: Networked within the company and created a custom internship.
  • Sky Zone Greensboro Job: Looked on Indeed for communication jobs within North Carolina.

What has been the most valuable thing you have learned through classes or experience?

I was skeptical to take a social media class because I thought as a millennial, I knew pretty much everything about Facebook and Twitter, but I took a class at Newhouse (Syracuse University) and learned to deep-dive into analytics and read demographics to benefit a brand.

What has been the best piece of advice you have received?

Read your material out loud so it’s easier to catch typos or awkward-sounding phrases.

Do you have any advice of your own for future PR pros?

Take advantage of any learning opportunity, whether or not you’ll think it’ll help you at the moment. It may benefit you in the future!

What do you think is the best benefit of PRSA and the New Pros section?

The network is incredible! Many seasoned professionals are willing to mentor recent graduates.

Why did you decide to get your Master’s in PR?

There were a few factors that played into my decision to get my Master’s degree. Due to my academic record, I received a scholarship to one of the most prestigious communication schools in the country. Second, I felt like having another degree under my belt would make me stand out from the competition.

Is there anything you wish you would have known before becoming a new professional?

I should have started applying for jobs sooner than I did. Although I didn’t mind moving back with my parents right after graduation, there was a slight competition among my classmates to be the first to find a full-time job.

How I foster my public relations skills


Don’t settle for mediocrity. You’re young. Be nimble. Be an expert at what you do.

I’ve learned a lot about public relations from my nearly two years of working as a new professional. In particular, I’ve learned about media relations, research, leadership development and time management. I’ve developed a groove for these skills. In fact, I consider them to be my strong suites in public relations. Here’s what I do to further develop each:

Media relations.

Keep tabs on what’s going on nationally and in your area. I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but theSkimm sends a daily newsletter with national news. For local news, save websites in your bookmarks for easy daily access.


Become a research powerhouse by using Google operators to find valuable information on the internet. Search for a specific word in a domain name, find related bloggers and locate news in minutes after a press release goes out. Find a list of Google operators here.

Leadership development.

My supervisor encouraged me to become a PRSA Charlotte board director and New Professionals leader for our local chapter. I was hesitant at first, but I agreed. I now lead ten New Pros who plan programs and networking events. Additionally, at the time of this writing, I’m gaining leadership skills through John Maxell’s book, Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters. I highly recommend it. (Thanks for the recommendation, dad!)

Time management.

My first alarm goes off at 5 a.m. every weekday morning. I eat breakfast, drink lemon tea, read, journal, meditate and stretch before 7 a.m. This sets me up for success each day before I arrive at work. Daily stresses vie for my attention throughout the day, and these few peaceful hours help me manage all of them.

What facets of PR are you good at? I’d love to chat. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Read more tips on my blog.

Seth Kingdon


Seth Kingdon works as an account coordinator at Chernoff Newman’s Charlotte office. He assists with social media, media relations and research for the agency. He’s also a director at-large with PRSA Charlotte, and leads the New Pros committee for the chapter. He could eat Chick-fil-A sandwiches every day.