PRSSA at ASU Students Weigh-in From ICON 2019

Tiffany Ellington

@Tiff_Ellington ASU PRSSA President

Western District Ambassador


PRSSA National events are always my favorite experiences connected with PRSSA. Events like these allows me to connect with young professionals from across the country and world. The PRSSA International Conference in San Diego was my first International Conference and I was so thankful to be there.

One of the things that struck me about the event was how large the network here in Phoenix stretches. Students in the Western District had the opportunity to attend a mixer with all of the PRSA members from the Western District. There I was able to connect with people from Orange County, people from San Diego and even people from back here in Arizona.

As ASU’s PRSSA President it’s incredibly important that I constantly work on my leadership and organizational skills. While at the conference, I was able to attend specific events and sessions to help develop those skills. Speaking of those sessions. This year’s conference was filled with wonderful speakers that I was honored to hear speak. These speakers included Bob Woodward, Laura Ling and Erika Prime. Erika runs social media for taco bell and her innovative take on PR and Marketing was inspiring.

My favorite presentation was from Rita Tateel. Rita is the founder and President of The Celebrity Source. She specializes in celebrity PR, but she works with the businesses who want to get a hold of a celebrity. Her tips – including one about always including the celebrity’s family when possible – were not only practical, but they were rich and unlike anything you could get from a textbook.

I had the opportunity to meet Rita and many others. PRSA Phoenix helped me be able to have this experience and learn these skills that I will have for the rest of my life. I love seeing the ASU Chapter’s members grow, and we are all so thankful for the support from PRSA Phoenix.

Kylee Gillespsie

ASU Junior

The PRSSA 2019 International Conference in San Diego, California was an unforgettable experience. Being surrounded by so many individuals who have the same passion as you are both uplifting and energizing to continue to learn more about the field of public relations. As a junior majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication with a focus in PR and minor in digital audiences, I was able to connect with students, professionals and leaders in the field to better equip myself for the workforce. It was exciting to be a room filled with many aspiring PR professionals and to hear from current professionals speak about topics ranging from the importance of google analytics and certifications to working with celebrities. The variety of knowledge that the speakers had was eye-opening into the field and how different everyone’s role play into the industry.

One of the best sessions I attended was “The Hidden World of PR” by guest presenter and Social & Influencer Communications Lead at Global Markets IBM Communications Brandi Boatner. She laid out all the details from skills that you may not learn in class and what you need to do to prepare yourself before entering the field of PR. The best advice she gave was regarding certifications and how crucial they are to gain as a skillset. She mentioned how managers are looking for candidates who are up to date with the latest trends digitally. These low-cost but authoritative certifications are what will help you to stand out in job interviews such as certifications in Google analytics, Facebook Blueprint, Hootsuite Social Media Analytics, etc. This session alone has helped me to realize the importance of digital audiences and the reason why I have declared it as my minor. I am excited that this conference helped me realize how essential it is to have digital intelligence skills like basic coding to take your career to the next level.

Attending the conference has also put into perspective graduate school for me as I was in the mindset that a master’s degree is necessary to succeed in the field. I still am torn between going into the workforce after graduation in 2021 or continuing to further my education in strategic communications; however, I think that with the connections I have made I will be able to better assess my options in the near future and continue to network with fellow PRSSA and PRSA members. One goal of mine to pursue after attending this conference is to have an executive board position with my chapter at Arizona State University. This conference not only allowed me to network with members, but also with organizations and companies located in Arizona who I hope to make that connection for internship opportunities in the summer of 2020. I plan on attending the conference again next year because there is no greater motivation to succeed in your industry than to be surrounded amongst individuals who are both deeply invested and passionate about PR and the future of our field.

Joseph Early @JospehEarly5

Attending the PRSSA conference in San Diego was an experience that I will never forget. From the amazing experiences with friends, to the amazing speakers, to meeting a journalistic idol of mine, Bob Woodward. We as students were thrust into a professional life for 3 days where we learned the many places that out career could go. The Professional development from a regional vice president on Edelman’s team taught us that great things take time, you should never give up and to keep that tenacity that enables you to keep going. We also learned the many elements of a successful media campaign. This was the first session that all the PRSSA members at the conference attended.

My favorite session was that of Holly Baird’s, who is a Crisis-Manager at a communications firm in Los Angeles. Her session was my favorite as I have heavily considered the crisis management aspect of PR. I think that in hearing an insight about her clients and the fast-paced aspect of her everyday life, this is a career path that is definitely on the top of my list. Hearing Baird discuss her clients with challenging paths such as Michael Vick or Harvey Weinstein was all that it took to hook me in, crisis management is a field that will challenge me; and I am all for a challenge.

The second-best part of the conference was hearing Laura Ling discuss her experience being captured and held in North Korea. It was a very emotionally provoking keynote. I left with the question, what would I do if I was kidnapped in the most isolated country in the world? Hearing the talk from journalist and media gurus about possessing tenacity and being pushing inspired me to do something that I normally would have never done. I had one goal at the conference of meeting Bob Woodward, a journalistic idol of mine. So, after some digging, I was able to walk into the green room behind the stage. It was a very intimidating moment, walking into a room filled with so many inspiring and powerful people. It most definitely gave me the feeling that I should not have been there, but I pushed my way into a picture which, for me, made my day and the conference a success to me. This conference was on that I am so glad that I took the time to attend. It inspired me to not only possess more drive, will, and tenacity in all that I do; but it allowed me a multitude of career paths that I could take.

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