Member Spotlight: Alex Greer

NPPRSA Blog Header (2)

Name: Alex Greer
Position/Company: Assistant Account Manager, PR at Rhea + Kaiser
Location: Chicago, IL
Education: B.A. in Advertising, Michigan State University
Social Media Handle: @AlexGreer22

How and when did you first become interested in PR and communications?
Shortly after transferring to Michigan State University, I realized I wanted to combine my writing skills with my passion for social and digital media. I became an advertising major, enrolled in PR classes and got involved with several extracurricular activities across campus. After joining PRSSA, I eventually landed my first internship and began my career in the industry.

How did you find internships/jobs?
There are a ton of great resources online for locating jobs and internships. Sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster are constantly being updated with new opportunities and can be applied to with one click. Organizations like PRSSA and PRSA also provide members with newsletters containing exclusive job leads. Make sure to update your resume and monitor these sources so you don’t miss your next great opportunity!

What was the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
My first job was working with a client in an industry I had almost no background in, and I was frequently being tasked with writing long-form content pieces. During this time, I asked questions religiously and tried to absorb as much information as I possibly could. While it was certainly stressful at times, I formed productive habits and routines to help manage time, retain information and maximize productivity. Today, I stick to these routines and produce content assignments in no time.

What has been the most valuable thing you have learned through classes or experience?
People notice when you are putting in extra time and effort. Going above and beyond is the quickest way to get to the next level. It may take time, but you’ll eventually reap the benefits.

What has been the best piece of advice you have received?
Like any other industry, mistakes are bound to happen. When you make one, don’t beat yourself up over it. Focus on correcting the mistake and taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Never make the same mistake twice!

Do you have any advice for future PR pros?
Keep an ongoing portfolio of your best writing content. Employers want to hire professionals who write well, so be ready to prove you can with samples from the past.

What do you think is the best benefit of PRSA and the New Pros section?
I think Twitter Chats are the most underrated benefit of our section. We discuss the latest trends in PR, digital media and marketing and provide helpful tips and strategies for growing your career. Twitter Chats also allow you to connect with young professionals across the country in real-time. Join the next chat using #NPPRSA on Twitter!

Is there anything you wish you would have known before becoming a new professional?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reach out to people who inspire you. Find a mentor at your company or through PRSA. Grow your network and never stop learning. Doing these things from the beginning will benefit you in the long-run.

Name one little-known thing about yourself.
I was the first person to complete the social media program at Central Michigan University.

If you are interested in being featured, or interested in nominating someone to be featured as a part of our #MemberSpotlight, please complete the following form.

LinkedIn 3

 

Member Spotlight: Cait Crenshaw

NPPRSA Blog Header (1)

Name: Cait Crenshaw
Position/Company: Communications Manager at Signature HealthCARE
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: M.A. Communication from University of Louisville
Social Media Handle: @Cait_Crenshaw

How and when did you first become interested in PR and communications?
I changed my mind about my career twice, without ever changing my major. Changing from high school English teacher, I discovered a real love for journalism and storytelling in college. I was hooked. I spent entire weekends in the basement office of our university newspaper. After a few years, I realized it is the storytelling, editing, details, and strategic planning that I love and switched to corporate communications.

How did you find internships/jobs?
My professors were my best resource for internships. I checked our university career center’s listings and department’s listings, too. Actually, one of my professors recommended me for an internship, and that internship led to my current job. I found my full-time job when someone I had previously worked with during an internship emailed me the application. It was a fit!

What was the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced in my career so far has been when someone, who had power and pull at the organization I worked for at the time, said, “Oh, she can’t do it. That’s not what she does.” I felt deflated for a moment, but the experience taught me an important lesson.

The experience taught me to create growing opportunities for myself. Instead of waiting for an invitation to sit at the table, I flipped my thinking and directly asked for a seat at the table.

What has been the most valuable thing you have learned through classes or experience?
Working hard is important but working smarter and strategically is even better. School only required me to do the work but starting my career has challenged me to work smarter. I start every week with a list. The things that I can automate in Outlook I do.

What has been the best piece of advice you have received?
At the end of my very first internship, my boss gave me an honest evaluation, and I am incredibly thankful for her. I don’t remember any of her compliments or praises, but I do remember her telling me, almost commanding me, “Take more risks.”

Also, it’s not really advice, but here is a favorite of mine, especially when I think about the future of my career. A wise professor in my master’s program at the University of Louisville said, “People work for daily meaning, as well as daily bread.”

Do you have any advice for future PR pros?
Be a sponge and learn. Ever have a meeting where afterwards you google the acronyms they were using? Oh, just me, okay. The point is there are limitless resources to learn at our fingertips. We just have to grab one, learn, and apply it.

Also, your greatest asset is the ability to adapt and communicate at different levels of an organization and with different types of people.

What do you think is the best benefit of PRSA and the New Pros section?
In the New Pros section, I like that I am connected to people who have or are going through the same professional growing pains. There isn’t a time when I login to PRSA and do not learn something new. In an industry that changes so quickly, learning from other pros is a big resource.

Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting your career?
I wish I would have had a better sense of the things no one wants to talk about, such as salary negotiation and time off. My tendency is to work, work, and work, so the idea of work life balance is very much still in-progress for me.

Tell us a little-known fact about yourself.
My first job was working as a soccer referee at the age of 13.

Headshot 2018
If you are interested in being featured, or interested in nominating someone to be featured as a part of our #MemberSpotlight, please complete the following form.

 

Member Spotlight: Meet Rebecca Hansen

member-monday

RHprofile

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

mm_11-6

#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.

cotm-california-capital

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

prsa-member-benefits

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.