Four Ways Your PRSA Membership Can Help You Get Connected

In the first five years of your career, there is a lot of information and experiences thrown at you. You’re trying to figure out your first few jobs, learn about various industries and communications functions, and make a mark for yourself. PRSA’s New Professionals section can help you get there through programming, networking and mentorship.

As PRSA National wrote, “A well-developed professional network can be a source of friendships, mentors and referrals. Your network can also provide objective insights for evaluating opportunities and problems. PRSA’s 21,000+ members are excellent resources for cultivating relationships with colleagues who can help advance your career. A solid network of valuable contacts is always valuable, now more than ever.”

Whether you’re a PRSA member that transitioned from PRSSA, a new member finding your way, or a prospective member, here are three key ways PRSA can help you get more in contact with your peers:

  1. Connect with PR pros in your industry sector (via PRSA Sections)
    Not all communication and public relations professionals face the same challenges. PRSA has 14 professional interest groups, known as Sections. Most Sections focus on a specific industry while a few of the Sections are geared toward career levels (such as New Pros!). Each Section focuses on common issues related to an area of practice or special interest and is dedicated to bringing its members important, relevant information regarding their area of interest. Beyond involvement in New Pros, it can be helpful to join the section relevant to your industry – such as nonprofit, financial, health, technology, travel, and more – for tailored professional development.
  1. Build a strong network of local peers (via PRSA Chapters and Districts)
    A strong network is diverse and includes clients, peers, senior professionals, business leaders and vendors. PRSA Chapters give members the opportunity to strengthen their networks, grow as professionals and provide better solutions to the organizations they serve. Many Chapters provide New Pros programming at the local level, live. California Capital, Chicago, and more have active New Pros committees.
  1. Demonstrate thought leadership (via MyPRSA)
    Do you have something to say about a topic in which you’re well versed? If so, you could become an influential thought leader on PRSA’s members-only online community, MyPRSA. A great way to meet other PR and communications professionals is by answering questions, writing thought-provoking posts and blogs, and sharing experiences. There’s a New Pros-specific community to engage with professionals in a similar point in their career as you. You can also write for PRSA New Pros’ blog The Edge.
  1. Set yourself up for your next career success
    Plus, PRSA offers lifelong learning to help you improve your job skills, stay competitive and advance your career. There are on-demand trainings, MBA prep and APR support sessions.

Porterfield,Hanna_headshot2017This content originally appeared in PRSA’s membership email and was repurposed for use on PRSA New Pros The Edge by Hanna Porterfield, 2018 Chair of PRSA’s New Professionals Section. Based in Chicago, but frequently on an airplane, she is an account manager at NYC-headquartered Development Counsellors International. Hanna is a graduate of Michigan State University. Connect with her on Twitter @citygirlhanna.

PRSA New Pros + PRSSA Twitter Chat Recap

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in our collaborative Twitter Chat with PRSSA as new professionals answered questions submitted from PRSSA students about entering the PR work field and about PRSA. Thank you to PRSSA Liaisons Lauren Gray and Henry Cervera for planning and to PRSSA National President Heather Harder and PRSSA vice president of public relations Ethan Parry for their support and planning as well.

Join us again on April 15 for our next #NPPRSA chat and stay up-to-date with PRSA New Professionals on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn andGoogle+.

Review highlights of the chat below and send any questions you may have about working in the PR workforce or about PRSA to #npprsa.

Book Review: Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard

Image credit to

Image credit to

Paying it forward has been a popular buzz-theme as of late, especially within the context of professional development and social responsibility. When applied to social media, C.W. Leadbeater said it best, “You are what you share.” and if this book is any indication of paying it forward, Olivier Blanchard has embodied this ideal.

Blanchard starts with the basics; he delivers insights into the social media world with a no-nonsense light in Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. This “meat and potatoes” business guide, will help the inexperienced as well as the experienced develop and hone excellent social communications habits, mindsets and insights into effective social communication programs. A quote within the forward from Brian Solis best describes the affect that it will have on readers. Solis states, “Thanks to Olivier, you’ll find the answers to your questions and also answers to the questions that you didn’t know to ask.”

Social Media plays an increasingly larger role within communications and marketing. The digital landscape is arguably the fastest paced environment for PR practitioners and communicators to work in. Whether one works full time within the digital/social media realm or part of a team that implements social communications into strategy, it is of no consequence, this read is a MUST.

For years, the debate has raged as to how to prove or justify the ROI on digital/social efforts and surrounding the debate, many questions arise such as: Can it be measured, If it can, what should be measured and how does it correlate? How do I translate this to executives? These are but a few of those questions and the answer to all these questions, via Olivier Blanchard is a resounding yes!

Blanchard challenges professionals to take a much more serious and in-depth look at the organizational structure and base purpose of their programs. Blanchard says, “A social media program is not a mere marketing add on. More than anything, a social media program is neither simple nor easy.” This direct approach cuts through buzzwords and attributes what is important, why it is important and how it can be important for the reader.

Social Media ROI is a true resource. Blanchard aggregates some of the best lessons a communicator can use to assist their programs or to even develop a program that doesn’t exist. Some of the “KPI” of Social Media ROI are how to:

  • Align social media to business goals and functions
  • Get started by “listening before talking”
  • Leverage mobility and the “on-the-fly” social media culture
  • Establish the importance internally and externally the need for social media policies, guidelines and training
  • To deliver real-time digital support and customer service

If the “KPI’s” given freely in this book weren’t enough, Blanchard in his generosity of spirit with his pay it forward mentality, provides a free online edition when his paperback has been purchased.


264032cJR Rochester is the current membership co-chair for the PRSA New Professionals Section. Connect with him on Twitter @TrulyJR

Gain A Competitive Edge with International Experience: Part 1

This is a part of our month-long participation in PRSA Diversity Month

I wasn’t just bit by the travel bug at an early age; I was rather infected. I first got my peek of the world outside of the U.S. when I visited my family in South America. Later on, I participated in short trips to Europe with my high school and university. Though, it was not until my experience of studying abroad in Spain last spring that really triggered my desire to live and work abroad.

Image credit to UCLA

As a new professional entering the market place, I strongly believe that now is the time to kick start our international experience. The older we get, the more responsibilities we are bound to, and the harder it is to just drop everything and leave. For this reason, it is better to start early in your career.

The benefits of gaining international experience are endless, however, I have narrowed it down to just three that I think are the most important and meaningful of going abroad:

1.     Gaining a different perspective on the world

Many of us grow accustomed to the same surroundings everyday. We forget about the world around us, the one beyond our so-called “bubble.” Traveling abroad is an eye opener, and for some, it is the reason why you experience culture shock. Encountering a completely different culture first hand means you are educating yourself on all aspects of a new country, such as music, food, religion, political and economical issues, and so much more.

Experiencing and understanding a foreign culture allows you to become more global minded and aware of a life different from your own. Your perspective on the world can change drastically, causing you to not only form an appreciation for the country you traveled to, but also to have an appreciation for the one where you are from.

2.     Personal Growth

Change can be a scary, yet exciting, thought for some. Going abroad means getting out of your comfort zone, and challenging yourself both mentally and emotionally. No matter where you go, there will always be different values, customs, and mannerisms. Therefore, you will learn to become adaptable. This rings a huge sense of personal achievement because you are facing and embracing change all at the same time.

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, “People who have international experience are better problem solvers and display more creativity.” In addition to this, being abroad allows you to grow as an individual, granting you the independence and confidence to adapt to unfamiliarity.

3.     Career Advancement

International experience gives you a huge competitive and global edge in your professional career. For example, an employer is going to remember a person who had an incredible story to share about a time in South Africa compared to a person who has basic industry experience. Employers look for candidates who can contribute to their company’s diversity. Whether it is a new client or coworker, you will often encounter someone in the workplace who is of a different ethnicity or background. By having international experience and intercultural awareness, you become a bridge to a gap of cultural differences.

When you go abroad, you are also expanding your network globally. In order to do so though, you have to make the effort to create and maintain relationships. In my previous blog post with The Edge, I explained the importance of networking and staying connected. When you take networking to an international level, you not only create a large space of opportunities for yourself, but you also bring valuable business contacts to a company.

Traveling abroad is undoubtedly a life changing and valuable experience. Whether you choose to work, study, or volunteer in another country, each offers rewarding benefits to both your personal life and professional career. If any one of these global opportunities is something you seek, check out Part 2 of this blog post for things to consider before making a decision. A list of resources will be provided as well!

What has been your favorite travel experience and what is the number one thing you took away from it?


Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 12.10.20 PMCatalina Gomez is a graduate of Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Communication. She specializes in public relations and has experience working with lifestyle and consumer brands. Catalina is also an active member of the Hispanic community and currently resides in Maryland. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.


PRSA 2014 International Conference Highlights

This year, the PRSA International Conference was in Washington, D.C. and a few members of the PRSA New Professionals Section executive committee and members of the Section overall were in attendance to give a recap and highlights.

Here are a few key insights shared to #PRSAIcon throughout the conference:

What was your favorite part of this year’s PRSA International Conference?