PRSA Luncheon: A Review

As a member of PRSSA for a year, I was excited to finally attend my first PRSA Luncheon with a fellow PRSSA member, Jessica. The June luncheon was held at The Bright Shawl and the topic was “Social Media: Creating Your Own Action Plan.” At the start of the luncheon Jessica and I were able to hand out raffle tickets, where PRSA members could win half of the earnings and the other half would go to the Marilyn Potts Endowment Fund for PRSSA students. It is wonderful to see that PRSA professionals are happy to invest in our future.

At the opening of the meeting a few members from the Time Warner Cable news team discussed the launch of the TWC News San Antonio channel that debuted June 2 for the local San Antonio area. They talked about the importance of finding newsworthy stories that were more than just gunfights and thefts. TWC seeks to find heart warming stories that showcase what a great city San Antonio really is. This is great news for local nonprofits that are looking for a platform to share their stories.

Following TWC’s team, the main speaker, Sarah Hicks began her discussion of a successful social media campaign. Sarah Hicks is the marketing manager for the San Antonio Orthopedic Group. To increase her company’s social media participation she took part in the San Antonio Business Journal’s “Social Media Madness” competition last year. Sarah was able to discuss in depth which social media strategies worked best and least for them. I really liked her idea of creating a stuffed orthopedic mascot that they took pictures with around the office, it seemed like a fun way to get everyone involved. They ended up winning the small business category of the entire competition.

Attending a PRSA luncheon was a fun experience that gives you a little taste of the professional world. I am thankful I was able to attend and I know this won’t be my last one!

-Chelsea Campbell

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Passion for PR

Since my journey began at The University of Texas at San Antonio, I have always known that public relations is the perfect field for me. However, it wasn’t until I attended a Personal Branding seminar given by Bob “Pritch” Pritchard, APR, on March 19 that I was able to find my calling…Public Affairs!

This was a day filled with learning not only about branding, but also on who I am. I learned that branding is NOT a name, a logo, a slogan or a PR campaign. Branding is a PROMISE! If you make good on this promise, then you are sure to have loyal stakeholders. Why is it important to define your brand you might ask? If YOU do not define your brand, it will be defined for you!

At the daylong seminar, I learned steps to creating my “Micro-Swoosh,” which is “the powerful, clear, positive idea that comes to mind whenever other people think of you.” Your Micro-Swoosh stems from your values, passions and strengths.

Not only did I have a chance to learn about personal branding, but I also had the privilege to shadow PR pro Gretchen Roufs, who put together this beneficial and inspirational seminar.

From Gretchen, I learned tips on coordinating an event and the benefits of having contingency plans. Every moment that she had, she was sharing her knowledge with me.

I must say that students and professionals who did not attend this seminar missed out on some profound knowledge. Thank you so much to Pritch and Gretchen for guiding me down the right path. I know through the knowledge they shared with me, I have a successful future ahead! I also know that everyone at the seminar discovered or rediscovered their “Passion for PR” or in the Twitter world, Pritch says #PassionForPR.

-Michelle Jaramillo

Follow Your Whispers

Day 1 of the PRSSA Red River Conference was one that no one who attended will forget any time soon. During a delicious meal (a relief to all the college students who eat more fast food than they’d like to admit), PRSSA’s National President took to the stage to discuss some of the many reasons why PRSSA is the “it” organization for PR majors. Aspiring PR professionals were then in for a treat when Glenn Morshower was introduced as the keynote speaker for the night. An actor in the Hollywood business for years with appearances in shows like Full House and Law & Order SVU, as well as in movies with Brad Pitt and Steve Martin, Glenn had a special message for everyone. It all started with a fish.

He told the story of a small goldfish he met during a hotel stay. Rather than view the tiny creature as decoration, he considered him-or what he assumed to be a “him”-his roommate. Glenn noticed that the fish swam in a small circle, the size of his fish bowl over and over again. He thought of how different their lives were, Glenn traveling all over the country and this fish, never swimming past the small glass bowl. So, he took matters into his own hands and took the fish swimming in the bathtub the next night. At first, the little fish was still, not knowing where he was or what to do. After some time though, he began to swim…he swam in a circle the exact same size of his fish bowl over and over again. Glenn wanted the fish to explore new horizons so with a flick of his wrist, he nudged the little fish a little further out. The goldfish, frightened and confused began swimming again only this time, he knew there was more.

For the rest of Glenn’s almost two week stay, he took the little fish swimming every night. The fish grew bolder and bolder, swimming further each time. On their last night together, Glenn was saddened at the thought of the little goldfish never swimming further than his glass bowl again. He was sure the fish would never have another roommate like him…so he took the fish with him. He now lives in an aquarium even larger than the bathtub.

Aren’t we an awful lot like that fish? We are afraid of leaving our comfort zone. The thought of swimming out further than the size of our bowl scares us. Why? If we only took a leap of faith, we’d see that there is so much more out there to experience than we allow ourselves to enjoy. In order to reach our full potential though, there’s one thing we have to do…follow our whispers.

Glenn was really big on this one and with good reason.

“Have you ever walked into a room and just got this feeling?” he asked. “A feeling that said ‘I don’t belong here’?” A few people in the audience slowly nodded or sheepishly raised their hands. “That’s a whisper.”

A whisper is that inner voice that tells you when something is wrong or that you should walk a different way. Whispers give you good ideas and put you in contact with the right people. It’s important to listen to them. If you don’t you’ll get so off track, you won’t know how to recognize them anymore. Whether you believe that these whispers are God, fate speaking to you, or just coincidental gut feelings, they’re there for a reason. All you have to do is listen. They’ll take you out of your fishbowl.

Not one person left that night not feeling inspired and determined. It was the perfect start to what was a wonderful conference.

It didn’t hurt of course that Glenn is the voice actor for Call of Duty. I’d never seen men squeal in as much excitement as when he began addressing the crowd in his Call of Duty voice. That however, is another story for another day.

 

-Victoria Reyna

PRSSA Volunteers For Asian Festival Communication Team

When I initially heard about the 27th Annual Asian Festival from Mr. James Benavides at PRSSA’s first meeting of the semester, I felt a bit nervous. After a semester of getting used to the organization, I knew that it was time to start getting involved and this would be the perfect opportunity to do so. However, the idea of working alongside the highly professional people in our chapter without any experience of my own was daunting. I was afraid of seeming unprofessional, of not being useful enough in comparison. I didn’t even have a camera, or any public social media accounts to promote the festival like everyone else. After some reassurance from Mr. Benavides, however, I signed on.

My worries were unnecessary. Both my fellow students and Mr. Benavides were very welcoming, and gave me everything I needed to feel comfortable and productive. When I needed a ride to the event, a single email got me into a carpool. When I was sent with three other PRSSA volunteers to promote the festival at a separate event, the four of us traded tips on how to get out all of our fliers.

Afterwards, when everyone else went off to promote the event on Twitter and Facebook, I recorded the details of pictures as Mr. Benavides took them, and helped him keep track of events. This last task in particular gave me the advantage of working directly with a professional to offer helpful advice on event coverage. It didn’t hurt to have an excuse to watch the cultural displays either.

Volunteering through PRSSA has been comfortable, educational, and available. Furthermore, the relevance of these volunteer opportunities puts students in contact with helpful professionals as potential future contacts in the field and sources of guidance.

For a student without experience, PRSSA provides a great first step into the world of professional Communications.

-Kelsey Hart

 
 

PRSA Luncheon: A Review

On January 9, I was given the honor of representing UTSA at PRSA’s monthly luncheon at The Bright Shawl. This month’s guest speaker was Sean Wood, multimedia manager at KGBTexas, who shared some advice on digital media and creating a company “newsroom.” Wood began by explaining that response to traditional media is declining while digital media is on the rise. His presentation outlined the need for a tailored approach when managing a company’s online and social media presence. I found the Zachary Holdings example particularly enlightening. They publish a monthly magazine/newsletter and mail it directly to their target audience (clients, employees), but the publication is also available on their website, so anyone with a casual interest in nuclear power plant development has access to the same materials. This way, ZH targets the right audience while also advancing their name and online presence. Between the excellent food, pleasant company, and an interesting presentation from a knowledgeable speaker, this event was a great experience. I encourage current PRSSA members to come out to one of these luncheons in the future and enjoy the surroundings while growing as young PR professionals.

-Oziel Alvarez

PRSA Luncheon: A Review

Within my first week being a member of UTSA’s PRSSA chapter I had the wonderful privilege of attending PRSA’s February luncheon on Wednesday, February 6th.  The focus of the luncheon was titled “Working with Journalists: Best Practices and Insights for Public Relation Pros”.  Other than being aware of the main focus for the luncheon, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Upon arriving early to the luncheon, I was asked to sell raffle tickets, along with another PRSSA member, to support the Marilyn Potts Scholarship for PRSSA students at UTSA.  I really appreciate the PRSA member’s support in contributing to the scholarship. 
 
I was really impressed with the panel of journalists whom are members of the Society of Professional Journalists that attended the luncheon.  The information they all shared was extremely helpful.  I gained a lot of insight to what exactly a journalist expects from a public relations specialist.  The overall relationship between public relation specialists and journalists is key to working together smoothly and successfully.  A great example of tips provided by the panel of journalists is from Mike Gaytan, News Executive Producer at Univsion San Antonio, KWEX-TV.  He suggested to always contact via email unless it is urgent, to provide relevant and current events that matter to the station’s viewers and to always plan for story coverage with plenty of advanced notice.
 
 
I want to personally thank the board members of PRSA for giving me this remarkable opportunity.  This experience has most definitely proved my interest in the public relations field.  I look forward to attending future luncheons and having the opportunities to meet professionals to further my experience in the public relations field.
 
-Megan Sauer

PRSA Luncheon: A Review

“Your website is like a night club. If you don’t update the drink menu and
the bands, people get bored and stop coming”.

With analogies as vivid and current as this, who wouldn’t have an
enjoyable time listening to Sean Wood talk about the emergence of
organization-made/self-made publicity.

Coca-Cola is kicking out the press release, and many organizations are
headed in the same direction: using the mainstream media less and using
their owned media more.

It’s a genius move. Who can tell your entity’s stories better than you? It
makes perfect sense to use your multimedia to reach out to the audience
that is willing to follow you. You reach an organic audience who truly
cares about your brand’s news.

The articles on PRSA Issues and Trends was starting to reveal this trend,
but it was refreshing to hear a local practitioner, Sean Woods relate it
to the San Antonio market.

Thanks to the Bright Shawl for a wonderful meal, as always. What was your
favorite quote from Sean Wood’s presentation?

 
-Ariana Trevino