New Pros Chapter Spotlight: PRSA Colorado

PRSA Chapter: Colorado
Location: Greater Denver Area
Chair(s): Dani Row and Bailey Gannett

Tell us about your New Pros group:
We’re a dedicated group of new professionals (a mix of young pros, professionals in the midst of career change, and those looking to stay sharp on PR trends). Our group gets together about once a month for happy hours, panels, professional development workshops, and more to help cultivate our PR skills and provide a network where we can all come together to collaborate.

How many members do you have?
We have around 100 in our email list, but around 30 active members.

What kind of programming have you put together for New Pros?
Monthly (or bimonthly) happy hours; events vary from casual networking happy hours after work to more refined events with local industry experts/professionals; twice a year we host larger events to help professionals (both PR and non-PR are encouraged to attend) where we offer an added incentive like a new headshot for LinkedIn, resume critiques, or mock interviews.

How does your group fit into the bigger picture of the chapter?
We work closely with our chapter’s communications committee to promote our events and to encourage our membership team to attend events to talk about the benefits of becoming a PRSA member.  Our group also acts a pipeline to funnel in those who have expressed interest in PRSA but have not yet committed fully to joining the organization. The New pros events are a friendly, top of funnel type of event that encourage participation from all who have even a remote interest in learning more. We often help with converting PRSSA students over to PRSA members. We also work with the Finance team on budgets (when applicable) and work with a liaison, someone who serves on the Board and can serve as the NP representative at monthly Board meetings. Oftentimes, we rely on PRSA Board members or seasoned members to help with larger events to serve as resume critics or mock interviewers.

What resources do you provide for New Pros?
Expert advice from respected members of the PR community and tips on all things PR (social media, media relations, community relations, crisis communications). Members of the NP group who are regulars get the added benefit of becoming friends with other members and using the time to network with other members for job opportunities or relationship-building

What do some of your members see as the benefit of being a part of the bigger New Pros group?
Our members utilize the New Pros group to gain industry insight on trends and knowledge, collaborate with both young and seasoned professionals, and develop professional skills necessary to propel forward in their careers.

How do you engage and recruit New Pros?
We often engage and recruit new professionals through our PRSA Colorado social media channels, through our personal social media channels, during regular PRSA chapter events and through active recruitment with local universities and their respective PRSSA chapters.

What advice do you have for New Pros for using PRSA to their best advantage?
Get involved! Joining a committee or even serving on the Board or as a chair allows you to build your network of industry professionals—you never know when this will come in handy.

Find what interests you. Not every group is the right fit for every member. Go to a few different group events and see what feels right. Once you’ve found one (or more) you like you can dedicate your time to getting more involved.

Many times, members get discounts for events outside of the NP like luncheons. Being a member certainly has its perks—and a financial gain is certainly a big one.

Contact Us!

Dani Row and Bailey Gannett are co-chairs of PRSA Colorado’s New Professional Section.

Dani Row
Dani graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Kansas State University in 2012. She is currently a public relations manager with Velocity Global, LLC, based in Denver, Colorado.
Email: danirow@velocityglobal.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/danirow/

Bailey Gannett
Bailey graduated with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018. She is currently a communications specialist with Cherwell Software, based in Denver, Colorado.

Email: bailey.gannett@cherwell.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/baileygannett/

New Pros Recommend: Podcasts

Not quite an audio book and not quite talk radio, podcasts are the next great commuter companion. There are currently over 750,000 podcasts with more than 30 million episodes according to an article from Podcast Insights updated in June 2019. The same article reported that more than half the U.S. population has listened to a podcast.

The variety of podcasts has grown so much over the last few years, there is something out there for everyone and every interest. Podcasts can be informational, entertaining, suspenseful, investigative and so much more. Below are a few podcast recommendations from PRSA New Pros members.

Podcast: The Daily

Summary: This is how the news should sound. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, hosted by Michael Barbaro and powered by New York Times journalism.

Recommended by: Arielle Schrader, Senior Account Executive, Small Girls PR

Why you should listen: “I listen to The Daily because politics are overwhelming to me and they do a great job of recapping recent political news in layman’s terms!”

Podcast: Hello Monday

Summary: A show where senior editor at large Jessi Hempel investigates the changing nature of work, and how that work is changing us. What does work mean to us? Should we love what we do? Join Jessi as she talks with guests such as Seth Meyers, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Melinda Gates to unearth lessons that apply to our own careers. These conversations are enriched by original reporting by LinkedIn’s managing editor, Caroline Fairchild.

Recommended by: Robyn Rudish-Laning, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager, Airports Council International – North America

Why Robyn recommends Hello Monday: “I love Hello Monday from LinkedIn because it features guests across a variety of industries to discuss ‘how we’re changing the nature of work, and how that work is changing us.’ It’s great to hear from people about their own career journeys and discussions and topics have sparked new ideas for me on a lot of things, from how to handle obstacles in the office to making my own new opportunities and a whole lot more.”

Podcast: How I Built This

Summary: Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.

Recommended by: Emma Finkbeiner, Digital Media Coordinator, Chicago Cubs

Why you should listen:

“How I Built This is both inspiring and fascinating. Inspiring because it makes you realize that some of the most well-known brands, companies and founders had a journey full of challenges before they achieved success. Fascinating because the stories behind Warby Parker, Lyft, Whole Foods, Stitch Fix and more will surprise you.”

Podcast: WorkLife

Summary: Organizational psychologist Adam Grant takes you inside the minds of some of the world’s most unusual professionals to explore the science of making work not suck. From learning how to love criticism to harnessing the power of frustration, one thing’s for sure: You’ll never see your job the same way again.

Recommended by: Sarah G. Dougherty, Associate, Financial Services

Why Sarah recommends WorkLife: “WorkLife makes you think outside the box. I love it because it addresses common workplace challenges and career themes, but incorporates unique perspectives that come together to make strong points and tangible takeaways for everyday life, no matter what your career path may be. I listen on my walk to work and find myself excited and already thinking about ways to apply what Adam Grant and the guests have discussed that day. A recent episode called ‘Become friends with your rivals’ incorporates the role of competition in success that was really captivating, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the episodes!”

3 International Communications Lessons from a New Pro

Somehow, I was blessed to secure a global marketing communications role right out of college (okay, I worked at Panera for a few months beforehand, but, hey, it worked out). After being immersed in the literal world of communications for a few years, here are three things I learned as an international communicator.

  1. Non-traditional hours: the good and the bad

Whether it’s a call with China at 9pm (your time) or a 4am webinar with the Netherlands, some days and weeks will bring the strangest hours you’ve ever worked. There are plenty of pros to this weirdness, namely the excitement and flexibility that come with a non-traditional schedule. Working the nine to five grind can get repetitive; it’s nice to shake things up a little. Plus there’s a satisfying sense of intrigue when you can say you started the day by meeting with Europe. But be warned: while you may feel like 007 when you’re first starting out, you may also learn just how unrealistic Mr. Bond’s lifestyle is.

The obvious downers to odd hours include irregular sleep schedules, meetings at odd times, and a general lack of routine. The less obvious involve the quality and quantity of your work – tiredness and an unstable schedule can easily affect your productivity.

In addition to how you handle a non-traditional work schedule, be wary of your employers’ approach. Make sure any odd hours you log taking calls or traveling are accounted for as what they are – work time. If you’re putting in 40 hours at the office AND taking early morning calls or flying 20 hours in the same week, you might want to reevaluate your company’s culture around work-life balance. Having an international work schedule is fun and fine as long as it doesn’t quietly take over your personal time.

  1. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is here (and kind of a good idea)

Personal time is important, and so is personal information. That’s why the GDPR exists and came to be fully enforced last year. In case you aren’t familiar, the basic premise of GDPR requires a new level of transparency and consent for marketers using consumer data. For example, if a customer registers for a newsletter by submitting their email, GDPR mandates the email address can only be used to send the newsletter. Unless the consumer explicitly opts into other communications, their information can’t be used for other tactics. Many companies in the US have already adopted this trend of opting-in, but this has been an optional courtesy rather than a legal requirement.

You’re probably wondering: how could a policy that cuts communications be good for marketers? In my opinion, these regulations lead to a better understanding of our audiences. By requiring consent, the ball is placed in the audience’s court. A GDPR set-up could make consumers more transparent because an audience’s decision to opt in or out of certain communications could say more than vague email open rates or website impressions. Plus, marketers operating under these types of policies might be forced to think more outside the box to reach their targets, and innovation is never a bad thing.

Even if you don’t agree about these possible positives, I learned there’s a real potential for more consumer-focused restrictions like GDPR to come into play, worldwide. It’s an important topic for new pros to be aware of as we enter the workforce and adapt our educations to the real world.

  1. Listening + asking questions = the secret sauce for international comm’s success

In my experience, American marketers move fast and feel they must be on the “cutting edge” 24/7. The success and adaptability our country’s communicators may lead you to believe Americans are fairly middle-of-the-road on a global scale, meaning we can work with foreign teams without much difficulty. This is only partially true at best.

I know from experience. My limited international experience and the company’s English-only policy resulted in my underestimation the effect cultural barriers can have on your communication skills. For example, I learned:

  • Just because some countries seem similar, doesn’t mean they are. Our colleagues in Italy and Spain stressed extremely different pain points after we introduced a global campaign to each office. Only after meeting with them one-on-one and taking the time to listen did we understand we couldn’t put Europe into a single bucket when developing a strategy.
  • “Cutting edge” is a fluid, global adjective. When our Thai colleagues shared a “cutting edge” social media strategy involving anime cartoon characters and egg-related recipes, my boss and I ended the call worried about the effect these tactics would have on our global campaign. After another call to question them, the Thai office graciously shared some amazing social engagement stats. We were floored and immediately learned to put more trust into foreign, “cutting edge” ideas.

I highly recommend The Culture Map by Erin Meyer to anyone interested in a global role – this book contains great data and personal insights as the author paints an experienced picture of how the world communicates.

If you’d like to share any lessons not included in this post, please comment or reach out to me. I always love discussing this topic.

Craig TierneyCraig Tierney is the Content Specialist for Kenzie Academy, an Indianapolis-based coding school + tech apprenticeship startup. He’s also a freelance Content Marketer through his business With It Communications. Craig’s international experience comes from a past role as Global Marketing Communications Specialist in the agricultural industry. Website: https://craigtierney.com/

 

6 Tips For Your First PR Job

A college education in public relations is a fantastic resource, but it can’t cover everything. Here are a few tips as you begin your journey into public relations.

Pitching is everything
If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent time and effort perfecting your content creation and journalism skills. While these can make you a great asset to a team, keep in mind that the house of media relations is built upon a foundation of pitching. Identifying, writing, targeting and sending pitches are often core functions of entry-level PR jobs. Put time into developing your pitching skills— they’re often the clearest way to contribute value to your team. There are great books on the topic — I’m enjoying Ed Zitron’s “This is How You Pitch” right now.

Learn about your clients
In order to identify pitching angles, you need to understand your clients. I like to read anything I can get my hands on about the companies I work with, as this can allow me to see pitching ideas that haven’t occurred to anyone else.

Identify and track competitors
One of the most important nuances to learn about your clients is their competition. This gives you a frame of reference for the type of coverage you can seek and can alert you to journalists who might be interested in news from your clients.

Don’t be boring
Since your clients spend every day embedded deep in their verticals, they depend on you to help convey their ideas to people who may not live in their world. This means it’s crucial to find news within your clients’ larger stories. Journalists are incredibly busy and receive hundreds of emails each day. You’ll want to find a good story angle that is relevant to the writer you’re pitching and articulate your ideas clearly and succinctly.

Google News is your friend
Don’t underestimate Google News just because it’s available to everybody. Advanced monitoring and tracking tools can be great for media relations, but Google News is a great way to get a glimpse of trending topics and coverage based on simple search terms. It’s a great starting point for learning and establishing context.

Set up Google Alerts
When you’re working with clients, it’s important to keep tabs on their mentions and what’s happening in their industry. Google Alerts sends you emails when new items that match your specified keywords are added to Google’s massive index. Setting alerts for your clients’ names or keywords related to that client can help you stay informed. It’s also a good idea to set one up for your name.

Mike IncavoMike Incavo is an account manager and content creator at Houston cybersecurity firm Zintel PR. He attended Baylor University and is a member of the Houston PRSA chapter. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

One Mentor is Not Enough – Build a Board of Directors

There is no such thing as an ideal mentor.

That’s an idea it took me a long time to understand. Every person I had heard speak about mentoring spoke about their mentor as if he or she were a omniscient fairy godmother guiding them through life.

I tried finding that one person who would guide me through the ups and downs of my career, imagining teachers and professionals I admired as that go-to person, trying out formal mentoring programs to no avail.

Then I heard a take on mentoring that completely changed the way I looked at it – the idea that everyone should have their own personal board of directors filling that role of mentor and advisor.

It took a while for the ideas to stick, but when it did, it made so much sense. I don’t depend on just one person for advice in any other area of my life, why would I expect one person fill that need professionally?

Like an organization needs a board full of people from different backgrounds with varied experiences and perspectives, so too do professionals. No lone person will have had the same exact experiences you will, so having a pool of trusted advisors will help you grow and develop in a variety of situations.

For your board of directors to be effective, your group needs to be varied. Having two people whose careers and lives mirror each other won’t necessarily be the most helpful to your development. Look for people in your life and your network who fill roles like:

  • Someone who’s career you admire
  • Someone who’s experience is similar to yours
  • Someone who is in your field, industry or niche
  • Someone who is not in your field, industry or niche
  • Someone who is at your experience level
  • Someone just a couple steps ahead of you experience-wise
  • Someone with a lot of experience
  • Someone who will help connect you to others to grow your own network

You don’t need to fill out your board of directors all at once – that will happen over time. You do need to make sure there is variety in who you’re approaching for advice, though. It may seem like quite an undertaking to find people, but I’m sure if you take a good look at your own network, your board of directors will begin to take shape.

Looking amongst your own circles makes a lot of sense when you think about it. For a mentorship to be successful, there needs to be trust, common values and common interests. A mentor needs to be someone you respect and with whom you mesh, so looking to people you already have a connection with is a great place to start.

If you feel there’s little variety in your network, try casting your net just a bit wider to your PRSA chapter, your alma mater’s alumni network and your network’s network. Asking to connect with strangers becomes a bit easier when you already know you have something in common.

One-on-one coaching like a traditional mentoring relationship may work for some, but it’s not the only way. Like any other relationship, a mentorship should grow and change over time. Being mentored is an ongoing process, not an accomplishment or item to check off along your career path. It’s something that takes work, time and dedication. And much like other things in your life – your relationships, your professional development, your own well-being – you get out of it exactly what you put into it.

Looking to learn more about building a successful mentoring relationship? Join us as we partner with the College of Fellows for Supercharge your career: How finding or being a mentor can transform your professional development, a webinar to discuss the ins and outs of mentoring. Register now.

(P.S. The first draft of this post contained an ode to my own personal board of directors –  a zany group of professionals who have helped guide me through my career. While everyone should have their own board of directors, no two groups will ever be identical and I think it’s important for everyone to find what works for them. They know who they are and know how deeply I value them. However, the story of how our paths have crossed is one I’m always happy to tell to anyone who asks.)

Image uploaded from iOSIn her fourth year on PRSA’s New Professionals Section’s executive committee, Robyn serves as 2019 chair. She’s a native of southern New Jersey and currently resides in Washington, D.C., by way of Pittsburgh and South Carolina. Robyn currently works for Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), a trade association representing North America’s airports, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a master’s degree in media arts and technology, with a focus on creative media practices, both from Duquesne University. She likes to spend her spare time cooking, reading, exploring, crocheting and spending time with her tail-less cat, Izzy. Learn more about her on her website or find her on Twitter & talk to her!