#MemberMonday: Olivia Salsbery

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Name: Olivia Salsbery
Company & Title: World Affairs Council – Washington, DC (Global Communications Program Staff/Intern)
Location: DuPont Circle
University/Degree: University of Oklahoma, Dual-Degree: BA public relations; BA international studies; minor political science
Social Media handle: Instagram junkie — @destination_blank is my travel Instagram :) 

What made you decide to go into nonprofit work in DC?

Honestly, I wanted to jump right into graduate school for a Master’s in Environmental Sustainability, but my Dean at OU recommended me for this internship in the meantime as he thought it would marry my two degrees perfectly. I jumped at the chance to check out DC, but it was never somewhere I sought, nor was the political arena. So far, I’m absolutely loving it. Being here opens so many doors and it’s a great place to boost my resume, knowledge and network. I’m even putting off graduate school for a while. 

What’s your average day on the job like?

I think this is the non-profit aspect coming out, but it can be so many different things depending on what’s going on. We have a very small staff (including intern help), so everyone has to be able to dive into different projects every now and then. Day-to-day, I take care of our social media accounts and I also work on some bigger projects such as the annual report and website re-development. I also took initiative to start a young professionals campaign over the summer. I’m excited to work on a project I initiated (young professionals of PRSA-NCC watch out!).

What’s most surprised you about the “adult” PR world after you left college?

I think just how much our line of work is appreciated and valued. Honestly, sometimes in college friends outside my major treated it like an “easy major”. Although it may not have been organic chemistry, it was challenging in its own ways. PR is important to every industry, so PR professionals work at almost every level of every organization. With that comes respect of our ability to adapt, but also the chance to put an organization outside of its comfort zone. 

What’s it like doing PR in DC right now? How are PR pros navigating the politics? 

In the first few weeks I was in DC I attended a breakfast session with PRSA-NCC  before I became a member that discussed non-profit communications in the new Administration. I arrived in DC the Monday before Inauguration, so I really only have a DC perspective with the Trump Administration. It’s been a  huge learning lesson and working PR in DC right now is throwing everyone from senior to entry level positions for a loop. It‘s a great reminder of how much our profession changes and why it’s important to vibe off your audience and always keep your organization’s mission at the core of what you do, whether that means remaining neutral or entering the political conversation. 

How have PRSSA and PRSA membership benefited you?

There’s a difference between “what if’s” and real life situations. The former was used a lot in the classroom at OU, but I get the later with PRSSA and PRSA. I remember once during an OU PRSSA chapter meeting, a senior executive PR professional at a fortune 500 company shared a story of her own daughter who graduated from a top PR school and had a difficult time finding a job, which shows even with a killer resume and great network, things still do not always pan out. That’s what I loved about being a PRSSA (and now PRSA-NCC member), I don’t get the what if’s that you get in a classroom or from a textbook: “build your resume”, “expand your network”, etc. – I get real life stories and experiences from other members that are valuable and realistic.

What’s your advice for young pros who want to get out to D.C.?

Spend twice as much time listening as you do talking. Often the best opportunities come from someone else getting a good vibe from you and wanting to continue building a relationship. Networking is key in D.C., but it goes well beyond a business card. Oh, and feel free to reach out to me.

Member Spotlight: Meet Rebecca Hansen

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Name:
Rebecca Hansen

Position/Company:
Marketing and Community Relations Lead at Sky Zone Greensboro

Location:
Greensboro, NC

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

Social Media Handle:
@RebeccaHansenPR


 

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.

New Pros Chapter Spotlight: California Capital Chapter

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#MemberMonday has been on a brief hiatus, but we’re back this week with a brand new Chapter of the Month! This month we’re featuring PRSA California Capital’s growing & vibrant New Pros group, led by Erica Brown, Jordyn True Anderson, Jessica Sweeten & Gina Burdi.

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The Edge: Tell us about PRSA California Capital’s New Pros group:

Erica Brown: PRSA California Capital Chapter New Professionals started in 2014 under the leadership of PRSSA Sacramento State recent grads, Erica Brown and Jordyn True Anderson. Since our inception, we’ve hosted several different events such as mixers, trivia nights and more recently a Career Day where we partnered with PRSSA Sacramento State to tour local agencies, companies and media outlets. Our section is lead by committee of four people right now.

TE: How many members do you have?

EB: 14 and growing!

TE: What kind of programming have you put together for New Pros?

EB: Mixers, trivia night, panels discussing emerging trends and hot industry topics, streamed webinars and the inaugural Career Day, which is an agency tour for local students to discover and get an inside glimpse of local agencies.

TE: How does your group fit into the bigger picture of the chapter?

EB: Our section has helped to bridge the gap between PRSSA students who are newly entering the workforce and helping them transition over to the PRSA Chapter. We help our Chapter with a lot of new member recruitment and outreach. We also look to provide fun, energetic and engaging programming for members and a way to intermingle new and seasoned professionals.

TE: What resources do you provide for New Pros?

EB: Connections to local professionals, job postings, networking/learning opportunities, mentorship

TE: What do some of your members see as the benefit of being a part of the bigger New Pros group?

EB: Networking with local professionals, building and expanding their professional network with other local new professional cohorts

TE: How do you engage and recruit New Pros?

EB: We work closely with the local PRSSA Sacramento State chapter to build relationships with these aspiring PR professionals while they are still students. We offer them mentorship opportunities and include and invite them to all of our programming events.

TE: What advice do you have for New Pros for using PRSA to their best advantage?

“Join right after graduation! There’s no better opportunity to network and continue learning than PRSA.” – Erica Brown

“Join either right before you graduate or as soon as you move to a city with a local chapter to get your foot in the door. You make so many connections right off the bat and those connections are strengthened by attending events, being actively engaged and getting involved with the board or a committee. If I didn’t get involved in PRSA when I first moved to Sacramento, I would probably be stuck working an entry-level job doing something that has nothing to do with PR. Our industry thrives on networking and PRSA is the easiest, most efficient way to become a part of the Sacramento PR Network.” – Jessica Sweeten

“Get involved, volunteer at events, or join a committee and make connections. There is so much opportunity to gain valuable skills that you can put on your resume or talk about in a job interview that are all gained by being an active member of PRSA.” – Gina Burdi

TE: What is the best way for New Pros to get involved in the PR community?

“Attend events and meet someone new every time!” – Erica Brown

“Go to events! There’s mixers that are socially based and there’s workshops that are educationally based so whether you are shy and nervous or outgoing and vivacious, there’s an event for you to get your feet wet!” – Jessica Sweeten

“Show up and follow up. If you meet someone at a PRSA event, follow up with them and foster and grow that relationship. Personal connections can really help to pave the way to success.” – Gina Burdi  

For more information on PRSA California Capital’s New Pros Group, check out their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. If you have specific questions about joining PRSA California Capital’s New Pros Group, tweet at Erica, Jessica, Jordyn and Gina.

10 PRSA member benefits you should be using to network & grow your career

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The main draw of joining a professional organization like PRSA is its plethora of member benefits. Among them are the oft-missed resources to connect professionals of both similar and different backgrounds no matter where they are in the country. Networking, in any of its forms, can be overwhelming, particularly for new pros. So how can we use PRSA’s tools and benefits to network and grow our careers?

First, it’s important to know what’s out there for you to use. New pros have two types of networking tools to use: those available to all PRSA members and some that only New Professionals Section members may access.

For all PRSA members:

Member Directory

Know a member that you want to connect with? Moving to a new city and want to connect with some members of your new chapter beforehand? PRSA’s member directory can help you. The member directory allows PRSA members to search for other members using a variety of criteria. Whether you want to search by name, location, designation, chapter, expertise, section, organizational setting or industry, the member directory is the place to go. Click here to search the PRSA’s member directory.

Twitter Chats

If sending an email to a stranger isn’t quite up your alley, you’re not alone. A great way to meet other PRSA members organically is by participating in the organization’s monthly Twitter chats. Professionals in a variety of backgrounds and experience levels tune into these chats and share their experience on whatever the topic at hand is. Feel free to like, retweet, reply to and follow any members participating. After the chat, if you’d like to talk more with particular members, tweet at or direct message them. Click here to follow PRSA on Twitter.

MyPRSA Forums

The forum is an online message board hosted on PRSA’s website. Members may read threads, post their own questions or comment on those posed by others. There are different threads for professional interest sections, including New Professionals, current issues, and topics in PR. The forum is a great way to ask advice from other members in a somewhat private setting. Click here to access the forum.

Chapter meetings & events

All chapters host meetings and events for members. Attending a happy hour or presentation is a great way to meet other professionals in your area and make connections. Attending is also a great way to get your foot in the door and participate more within your local chapter. Click here to find contact information for your chapter.

Conferences

PRSA’s international and regional conferences are another great example of how to use your PRSA membership to meet other professionals. Regional conferences are hosted throughout the year by the organization’s 10 districts. PRSA’s annual International Conference is hosted each fall. While attendance is not limited to PRSA members, registration is always discounted with a membership. Click here to learn more about PRSA events.

PRSA Connect

PRSA Connect is a new benefit launched earlier this year. This online community makes it easier to collaborate and stay connected with your peers. You can join discussion groups and boards relevant to your interests, search for colleagues with similar interests and backgrounds and share resources and information within your community groups. Click here to access PRSA Connect using your MyPRSA login.

For New Professionals Section members:

New Pros LinkedIn Group

Members of the New Professionals section may request to join the section’s private LinkedIn group. Their members can post questions and relevant articles and engage with other section members from across the nation. Click here to visit the New Professionals Section’s LinkedIn group.

New Pros Facebook Group

In addition to our Facebook page, where you can find updates from the section and articles of interest to PR pros, members can join our Facebook group to chat with other members, discuss topics of interest to new pros, ask questions and more. Click here to join the New Pros Facebook group.

Section Twitter Chats & Google Hangouts

As a section, we host monthly Twitter chats and Google hangouts for members to participate in. Each one has a specific topic to be discussed and some have special guests attending to provide some insight from their own experience. All members are encouraged to participate in these chats and hangouts as a great way to learn and meet other section members. Click here to view scheduled chats and hangouts for the rest of 2016.

Section Blog

The New Professionals Section also has a blog chock full of resources, tips, and advice for new pros. Anyone can read the blog, but it’s entirely written by section members. Each month focuses on a particular topic and is a great way for new pros to showcase both their writing skills and expertise. Click here to check out the upcoming topics and volunteer to write for the blog.

As you can see, there are plenty of resources out there for new pros members to use to network and further their careers. What are your favorite tools and benefits available to PRSA members? Share them with us on Twitter using the hashtag #MemberMonday.

New Pros Chapter Spotlight: PRSA Central Michigan

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There are many PRSA chapters that are doing great work to bring together New Pros and creating an inclusive group to make the transition from student to professional a little easier. This month, we sat down with Hannah Leibinger and Greg Rokisky, chair and vice-chair, respectively of PRSA Central Michigan’s New Professionals group.

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The Edge: Tell us about Central Michigan PRSA’s New Pros group:

Hannah: Central Michigan PRSA New Professionals is the premier networking group for up-and-coming public relations professionals in the greater Lansing area. The group is for new professionals – up to five years new to the field – to network, hone public relations skills and transition into the public relations field with a group of familiar peers. Members of CMPRSA New Professionals don’t need to be CMPRSA members and most activities have little or no cost.

TE: How many members do you have?

H: Since we launched our group in February 2015 after it was inactive for several years, we essentially had to cultivate a group from scratch. We’re currently at around 35-40 new professionals.

TE: What kind of programming have you put together for New Pros?

H: Our goal is to provide programming our members want, which means we frequently have discussions about what everybody is interested in and what they’ve liked so far. Our events have included casual happy hour mixers, a tour of a print shop (which included putt putt golf!), launching a book club (we’re currently reading No Cape Needed by David Grossman, ABC, APR, FELLOW PRSA), LinkedIn peer reviews with free professional headshots by a local photographer, a graphic design workshop for the holidays, a Q&A happy hour with some of our chapter’s more experienced professionals and more.

TE: How does your group fit into the bigger picture of the chapter?

Greg: Essentially, the CMPRSA New Professionals section is the key network that bridges the gap from new graduates to new professionals in our region’s public relations industry. We encourage PRSSA students on the cusp of graduation to attend our events and get a feel for the mid-Michigan professional world. Most students don’t escape the bubble of Michigan State University’s campus and miss out on the great opportunities Lansing has to offer. From there we give new professionals an outlet to comfortably express the highs and lows of transitioning to new professional life, in order for them to become fully integrated members of the larger PRSA community.

TE: What resources do you provide for New Pros?

G: We provide resources from PRSA national, PRSA New Pros national and opportunities to strengthen their resume such as pro bono professional headshots, contributing to The Edge and networking opportunities with more seasoned professionals. But what Hannah and I believe is most valuable for a new professional is a network of like-minded individuals that can come together and communicate any hurdles or achievements we experience in our workplaces. It’s a safe place to learn, vent and grow to become the talented public relations leaders that we look up to, both in our chapter and beyond.

TE: What do some of your members see as the benefit of being a part of the bigger New Pros group?

H: We’ve had a lot of great feedback from our members. Some of the best things we’ve heard are:

“I like being able to connect with and share experiences with other PR new professionals in the community. We can bond together, whether it’s sharing successes or occasionally venting.”

“It’s great to collaborate with other professionals who are experiencing the same success and failures as they navigate the PR profession. I joined for networking opportunities but have now made some great friends!”

“I love new pros because it’s the perfect outlet to engage with other new professionals and establish strategic relationships.”

TE: How do you engage and recruit New Pros?

G: We do a blast for every new professionals event to our full chapter membership, and then ask our board to inform interns/new professionals that might not be on our list. We also have our own Google form for our new professionals section that allows us to easily capture emails via social media posts and at events. Overall, it’s been a lot of grassroots and word-of-mouth effort on our part.

TE: What advice do you have for New Pros for using PRSA to their best advantage?

H: PRSA offers a variety of resources, so it’s just a matter of taking advantage of them. I stay in the loop by following all the social media accounts for PRSA, PRSA New Pros and my local chapter.

G: Don’t be afraid to reach out to others, virtually or in-person, that you think you could learn from. Attend Twitter chats for both PRSA and PRSA New Pros and put yourself out there and go beyond the “four walls” of your city.

TE: What is the best way for New Pros to get involved in the PR community?

H: In regard to advice, I’d say to take initiative and step up for leadership roles, such as spearheading your new professionals group or volunteering on a committee. It makes meeting PR and other professionals in your region a lot easier, plus you get great experience to add to your resume!

G: It’s tempting as a new professional to want to blend in to fit in, but that’s not the case. Be yourself, as only you can offer your unique set of skills and abilities. Look for mentors that can help guide you, and that often means looking outside of your organization. Above all else, never stop learning! The more you can provide value in your presence, the harder it will be for your company, PRSA chapters, etc. to ever let you go.

Don’t forget to connect with CMPRSA on Facebook, Twitter or by visiting their  website. You can also connect with Hannah (Twitter or LinkedIn) and Greg (Twitter or LinkedIn).