Coming Soon: New Professionals Week 2013

New Professionals WeekI love planning events for the New Professionals Section, especially when they involve a national week-long event celebrating young professionals! You can never have enough young professionals in your Chapter; after all, they are the future.

This year, during November 11-15, we will host our third annual New Professionals Week. This week was designed to celebrate young professionals, but also to help connect young PR pros with their local PRSA chapter.

Who’s invited? Everyone. We’re encouraging anyone who’s interested in this week to get involved! PRSA New Pros National Executive Committee will support your local event via guest blog posts and social media channels.

How can you get involved? To help plan events in your local Chapter, visit our website and download a fact sheet and an event registration form. This website will be the hub for all events held during New Pros Week. Once registration forms are submitted, you’ll be able to see a list of events on our website, promoting local events. If you are interested in contributing to our blog to promote your Chapter NPWeek event, contact blog co-chairs, Heather Sliwinski and Keri Cook.

We understand that not every Chapter may have a budget to host an event this year. For those of you who have tight budgets, here are a few budget friendly ways to participate:

  1. Host a private showing of a New Pros webinar. During New Pros Week, we feature a national webinar on a topic of interest for new pros. We anticipate the webinar will be held in the afternoon on Monday, Nov. 11. To host a private showing – invite local new pros to an office, bring a bag lunch and have a discussion after the presentation. The playback will also be available through PRSA’s on-demand service, and our guest speaker can be reached throughout the week for questions via Twitter.
  2. Host a New Pros-focused Chapter meeting. What topics are particularly interesting to young professionals? What issues are they concerned with during their first few years as a PR professional? Schedule a Chapter meeting during this week and cover one of these topic(s) and/or issue(s).
  3. Participate in New Pros week via our social networks and blog. Follow our hashtag #NPWeek to join the coast-to-coast virtual networking. You could even schedule a Twitter chat or tweet-up for new pros in your area to meet via social, and then take it off-line! We’re always looking for a fresh, new perspective on any aspect of PR for our blog: consider drafting a post about your Chapter’s local new pros group or your personal experience as a new pro.

It’s going to be great week of celebrating young professionals. If you have any questions about getting involved, please email me. 

Elizabeth GreenawayElizabeth Greenaway
PRSA New Professionals Chair

Lessons from PRSA International Conference: A New Professional’s Perspective

The last time I attended PRSA International Conference in 2010, I was convinced that I needed (and wanted) to join Twitter after sitting in on so many compelling social media sessions. Joining Twitter when I did was one of the best decisions I made in my early career. On my way to San Francisco last month, I couldn’t wait to see what the 2012 conference would have in store for me.

In a three-day whirlwind, I furiously monitored Twitter feeds, filled numerous pages with notes (am I the only one who still takes handwritten notes?) and even had time to kick back and socialize with industry peers. The conference flew by, and my brain was on overload on my flight back to Chicago. I was excited about all the new tips and tricks I was going to implement right after conference, but once the overflowing inboxes and pressing deadlines kicked into my routine again, it would be easy to forget everything I learned and go back to doing things the way they’ve always been done.

Even though a month has passed since conference, a few key takeaways made a lasting impression on me. Here’s what I’m still thinking about four weeks later:

Content is king: One of the themes across many sessions and keynotes was that traditional sales-y press releases and marketing speak are no longer tolerated, by either the media or consumers. The key to achieving great results for PR campaigns is developing and sharing relevant content targeted to your audience. The question “So what?” has never been more important.

When the spreading of information is placed in the hands of the public—not just the media—content can cause your communications to sink or swim. Newsletters, images, tweets, blog posts and videos should all be developed with the audience in mind, making sure to show what’s in it for the consumer when spending their precious time on your communications. Provide interesting content and both consumers and the media will keep coming back to your brand for more.

Social media should supplement, not replace: Tim Westergren, keynote speaker and founder/chief strategy officer of Pandora, mentioned in his general session that social media would never replace his town hall meetings or personalized emails to Pandora users. Other presenters echoed his sentiments that social media is a great tool, but it’s not a strategy and should not be the lone tool in your toolbox.

Even the Conference committee realized that social media is no substitute for in-person networking and relationship-building and hosted a tweetup (my first!) for attendees, allowing us to meet face-to-face with other PR professionals we follow on Twitter, as well as make new connections. Being able to speak with other professionals in sound bites longer than 140 characters was an irreplaceable opportunity to make more meaningful impressions.

Don’t rest on social media alone to converse with your audience and provide relevant content for their use. You might be missing out on great chances to connect.

Passion drives success: Both Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and keynote speaker at Conference, and Westergren made one point clear—passion and belief in their business was the driving force behind their success.

As new professionals, we may not always have the privilege of working in an industry for which we have a specific passion. The truth is, because of the economy many of us are either still looking for positions or are working in positions that might not get us jazzed every morning. Maybe you love sports, but you’re interning at a local hospital, or you’re working for a corporation and long to be involved with political campaigns.

However, if we can learn anything from Stone and Westergren, it’s that the passion for what we do will determine our success. If you focus on your dedication to pitching reporters, keeping up with social media trends and providing the best results for your organization or client, you will succeed in your career. If you have a great idea, don’t give up on it. Dedicate yourself to PR and your goals.

I know I really do love PR, I love learning and I love when I achieve top-tier media coverage for a client. It’s all interconnected.


Who else attended PRSA International Conference? What else would you add? What did you learn?


Heather SliwinskiHeather Sliwinski is an account executive at KemperLesnik, a Chicago-based public relations agency, providing media relations and social media services to a variety of B2B clients. She has held positions in marketing and event planning for corporations, nonprofits and higher education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications with an emphasis in strategic communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sliwinski is the blog co-chair for the PRSA New Professionals Section. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Graduating? Your Senior Year Checklist by Nick Lucido

As a senior, you’ve probably just wrapped up your spring break, and you’re in the homestretch before graduation. On top of your classes and homework, you’re also probably looking for a first job after college. Making this transition can be one of the most exciting times of your life, but when you’re moving to a new city or apartment or starting a new job, you are probably feeling a bit stressed.

This is where PRSA can help you out.

Being a PRSA Associate Member is an easy way for you to stay ahead of the curve, continue professional development and maintain your professional growth, as you’ll have access to some key benefits before you graduate. While you might be focused on your first job and transitioning to a new lifestyle without classes and afternoon naps, maintaining a consistent focus on professional development will help you succeed in your first job and pivot you for success in your career.

Here’s a checklist to help you transition from student to professional:

  • Join PRSA. Joining PRSA as an Associate Member costs only $60 per year for the first two years after being in PRSSA. This minimal cost for membership will provide limitless return if you take advantage of its benefits, network and continue advancing your career.
  • Check out the PRSA JobCenter. By using the tools on the PRSA JobCenter, you’ll be able to prepare for interviews, learn how to develop a portfolio and scan job listings. During the process, highlighting experience and leadership in PRSSA and now PRSA can help separate you from the field.
  • Continue your professional development. It’s true that you won’t have 8 a.m. classes or history exams after college, but it’s important for new professionals to learn new skills. Taking advantage of PRSA’s members-only free webinars and local Chapter events will help keep your skills sharp as the industry continues to evolve.
  • Get active in a local Chapter. In addition to National membership, it’s a good idea to join a local Chapter, too. Be sure to check out any volunteer opportunities within the market to which you’re hoping to move for extra opportunities to network with professionals in the area.
  • Join the PRSA New Professionals Section. When you join and get active in PRSA, you are also eligible to join the New Professionals Section, which is composed of many other professionals who are in your shoes. Taking advantage of this Section is a way to make the student-to-profession transition as smooth as possible. The Section offers many ways to network with other young professionals—quarterly Tweetchats, weekly blog posts, daily activity on Twitter and Facebook, groups on LinkedIn and frequent professional development events, like webinars and brown bag seminars. Be sure to get involved with your local Chapter for New Professionals Week this November!

The days of classes, PRSSA meetings and internships are coming to a close for you, yet beginning a public relations career during one of the most exciting times for our industry is upon you. While making the transition from student to professional seems overwhelming, leveraging PRSA’s member benefits can help serve as a tour guide through the process.

What else would you add to this list?

Nick LucidoNick Lucido joined Edelman as an intern in May 2009 and is currently an account executive within Edelman Digital. Lucido is a member of the firm’s digital strategy team, providing online conversation research, measurement analysis and strategic insights for clients in a variety of industries. He is the PRSA New Professionals Section PRSSA liaison.

PRSA New Professionals Section 2012 Executive Committee

After a year of outstanding growth and participation in the New Professionals Section led by a group of passionate young PR professionals, we would like to welcome the members of the 2012 Executive Committee. Some are veterans of the Section, and some are new faces, but all are enthusiastic and optimistic for the coming year. Big thanks go out to the 2011 committee, and especially immediate past chair Sarah Siewert, for their leadership, commitment and fresh perspective, which positioned New Professionals as PRSA’s biggest Section in 2011. The 2012 Committee will strive to build upon the foundation they have laid out for another successful year.

This year, the Section has a diverse group of individuals from a range of PR specialties, companies and geographic location. Each committee member brings with them a different viewpoint, and as a way to introduce them, we asked–what is your favorite thing about your city?

The thing I love about Dayton (Ohio) is that it provides a combination of “city” life and a quiet, little suburbia town (living in Centerville). Everything that I want/need to do is within a 10-minute driving distance and there’s a nice mixture of nightlife, museums/theaters and great places to eat! It’s also just a short drive to Cincinnati or Columbus if I need a little something extra (like baseball games)!Leah Moon, Section chair

Woolrich, PA – “The best of both worlds” – For those who love the outdoors, I’m right beside the Pine Creek Valley. The views from the peaks and valleys are breathtaking, not to mention the opportunities for kayaking, biking, fishing, camping, etc. How about that city life? I work in Williamsport, PA, which was just recently listed as the 7th fastest growing city in the United States! Trust me, there is a lot of growing space – it’s a very small city. It’s also right across the Susquehanna River from the home of the Little League World Series – we get our few weeks of fame every August!Elizabeth Rhoads, Section chair-elect and programming director

Seattle, Washington: Venture here from May-September and experience why so many Seattleites never move away – the water, mountains and abundance of green are spectacular and make the rest of the year worthwhile. Add in opportunities to work with top-tier technology, healthcare, biotech and aerospace organizations, and it becomes obvious why we’re proud to call Seattle home!-Brendan Hughes, programming co-chair

Philadelphia. We’ve got cheesesteaks, Rocky and, of course, the Liberty Bell. While Philly may have a tough reputation, those who live here know they’ll never trade the lights on Boathouse Row or Citizens Bank Park for any other city. Say what you will about New York or Chicago, but we know it’s always sunny in Philadelphia.–Anna Cramer, social media chair

What I love best about my city is that it’s a big city with a small-town feel.  Charlotte, North Carolina may not be considered a big city to most, but given its popularity,  it has just the right amount of people. It’s not extremely busy, the people are friendly and the community generally cares for each other.–Jamela Wintons, newsletter co-chair

First, let me say that I love the Mitten!  Yes, the Mitten, as in the state of Michigan. The area plays host to great sports teams such as the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers and even the Lions. Music is in its veins, and the art scene is growing. If you’ve not seen a Pure Michigan campaign, you are missing the beauty that is often overlooked when you hear about the city and its surrounding communities. I’ve lived in several communities in the Detroit metro area, and I have an affinity for each one. The best part about the town, regardless of the location, is the people. They are strong and resilient even through tough times.  Without the drive of the people, I don’t believe I would be the person I am today.–Diahnn Henderson, newsletter co-editor

“NEW YORK! Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do.”- Alicia Keys. Several musicians have said it best when describing New York as an extraordinary town- if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. New York City is a wonderful location for a new professional in the PR industry because it offers so many opportunities and experiences that help shape your professional development. From networking to events to top-notch clients and corporations, New York City is a great place to launch a career.Brandi Boatner, mentorship co-chair

Living in Washington, D.C., is a truly an amazing and eye-opening experience. From jogging trails that run by the Lincoln Memorial to spotting the President’s motorcade on a ride to work, it is a city like no other, where residents descend from across the country and the world to make up our nation’s capital. D.C. is great for young professionals to start their careers, whether it be in the nonprofit world, civil service or private sector. Whatever your interests are, there is something for everyone in our little district.Kate Enos, mentorship co-chair

I love that Chicago has so many faces. Besides the fact that there are incredible opportunities for new professionals to learn and grow, Chicago is a great place to live. I really enjoy exploring new neighborhoods, trying out new restaurants and visiting the lakefront running trail. Despite the brutal winter weather (which I’ll often complain about on Twitter), Chicago summers make up for it with street festivals and outdoor concerts.Nick Lucido, PRSSA liason

CHICAGO! Land of deep dish pizza, Lake Michigan and the Cubs: Chicago is a great place for any young professional interested in educating themselves about or working in public relations. Between the many universities offering graduate degrees to the numerous different fields of PR, it’s a city that people can come eager to learn and leave with a bountiful amount of knowledge! I’m happy to call Chicago home!–Alyssa Bronikowski, PRSSA liaison

In what has to be a sign of the times, I don’t have an office. Well, I do, but it doubles as a guest bedroom. When I signed on with a virtual workplace, I had to ask myself where I wanted to set up shop. After thinking about it, I settled on Newburgh, Indiana, about six miles east of Evansville and a solid 90 minutes from the closest “major” city. This place is home for me, but it’s also a fascinating town and area to work from as a virtual worker. The city is big enough to have much of the amenities I would need or like (such as good coffee), but also small enough to feel at home and be familiar with a lot of people. It may not be the biggest or the most glamorous, but it’s home, and that’s the most important to me.–Ben Luttrull, membership co-chair

Washington, D.C.: Though I originally moved from New Hampshire to D.C. to work in PR at a theater, I quickly found that D.C. has many avenues for PR professionals: government affairs, agency work, lobbying, non-profit communication positions and a host of other opportunities. What’s best about D.C. though is that it’s so small! You run into people you know all the time, are able to build a strong network of peers, get to meet accomplished professionals and can go to exciting events on the Hill, at think-tanks, at universities or at other venues. Without a doubt, D.C. has really helped shape my career.–Whitney Gray, membership co-chair

San Francisco: Known for its iconic skyline, steep hills, cable cars, trolleys and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco offers more than just visual appeal: The diversity of its people, variety of restaurants and endless festivals and events make it a cultural hot spot for residents and visitors alike. It’s also the start-up mecca of the world, providing an environment that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. A fusion of fun and professionalism, it’s no surprise that San Francisco is an ideal city for a new PR pro.Carolina Madrid, diversity chair

The place that I call home is Michigan and I am fortunate to operate around the state, embracing all of which the Great Lakes State has to offer. From catching concerts and sports in Detroit to professional research and alumni support in East Lansing to helping local businesses in Flint, I am proud to be a Michigan resident!–Zaneta Chuniq Inpower, blog co-chair

I’ve had the privilege of living and visiting many cities in recent years, but Chicago will always be the place I call home. The Windy City has more to offer than anyone could experience in a lifetime–from professional sporting events to well-known music festivals and venues, unrivaled food (deep-dish pizza, anyone?) to the best broadway shows. Every day presents something new, all while keeping with treasured traditions. Working in PR in Chicago has opened me up to endless possibilites for fun, networking and growth. Sweet home, Chicago.–Heather Sliwinski, blog co-chair

Introducing Your 2012 Blog Chairs

Happy new year, New Professionals Section!  Welcome to any new members, and congrats to any December graduates who have entered the PR workforce.

The start of a new year brings a whole new New Professionals Section Executive Committee with it, and we are excited to introduce your 2012 blog co-chairs. Returning for a second year as blog co-chair is Heather Sliwinski, joined by newcomer Zaneta Chuniq Inpower. Big thanks to Diahnn Henderson, 2011 blog co-chair, for her dedication to and refreshing ideas for the blog last year. She will no doubt be a great asset to the New Professionals Section newsletter this year as co-editor.

We are gearing up for 2012, planning content and reaching out to members who want to guest blog for us. We will definitely be continuing our successful “Intro to” series and Summer Book Club, as well as tips for successful job hunting. In the meantime, read below to learn a bit more about us, leave us comments on what you would like to see on the blog in 2012 and connect with us if you would like to volunteer.

Zaneta Chuniq Inpower is owner and president of Chuniq PR, an independent media and marketing management firm. Additionally, she is the digital communications coordinator for Douglas J Salons and Institutes and editor and writer for Supreme Design Publishing. Her personal interests include reading, international travel and culture and community revitalization. Inpower received her B.A. in advertising from Michigan State University.

Heather Sliwinski returns as PRSA New Professionals Section blog co-chair with one year of editing the blog under her belt. Sliwinski is an account executive at KemperLesnik, a Chicago-based public relations agency, providing media relations and social media services to a variety of B2B clients. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications with an emphasis in strategic communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her free time, she roots for her Wisconsin Badgers, plans her next vacation (probably to Walt Disney World) and catches up on her Netflix queue. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter (@hsliwinski).

Check back next week when we introduce our entire 2012 committee!