By Eva Bray, Vice President of PRSSA, Santa Clara University
Every year, the PRSSA National Assembly, comprised of student delegates from PRSSA Chapters across the United States, gathers to make influential decisions about the future of the Society. In addition to reviewing the bylaws and electing a new National Committee, students have the opportunity to network with one another, engage in leadership training sessions, and hear from a variety of powerhouse keynote speakers.
I am very happy to report that the 2017 PRSSA National Assembly in Seattle was a total success. As Vice President of the PRSSA chapter at Santa Clara University, it was an honor to attend the Assembly as SCU’s official delegate and represent my chapter in electing a new National Committee.
Heading into the meeting, I was eager to learn from my colleagues and contribute my own ideas to the conversation – and this sense of collaboration was present throughout the entire weekend. Members continuously took an active interest in the success of those around them, and as official delegates for our respective chapters, we also had the great responsibility of electing a new National Committee.
The election was exciting this year! Delegates motioned to suspend procedural rules, a winner was mis-announced, and unexpected candidates were nominated to run from the floor. The election process itself was fascinating, and I felt a real sense of responsibility to my chapter and the organization as a whole. I was seated next to Eric VanDegrift from the San Jose PRSSA chapter and we enjoyed getting to know each other and coordinating events for our chapters in the future.
I met so many incredible, inspiring people at Assembly, and feel grateful for the opportunity to network with public relations students and professionals from all over the country.
One of the speakers, Joseph Truncale, CEO of PRSA, encouraged us to be bold, courageous, and fearless in our pursuit of the future. He suggested that we get to know ourselves, and focus on improving our strengths. Working on our weaknesses will only lead us to a level of mediocracy, whereas identifying and building upon our strengths is a strategy to promote excellence. The message I received from his speech is that we should all aspire to be bold and daring. This is a challenge that I will carry with me as I moved forward in my education and career.
We also heard from Ty Rogers who is the director of corporate communication at Amazon. An interesting strategy that he shared with us delegates is how to transform the characteristics of your interests into a professional career. For example, he explained that he loved surfing. Of course, he is a terrible surfer and would never pursue the sport professionally, but he realized that the characteristic of surfing that he most appreciates is unpredictability. Every wave is completely different from the next. This is why surfing is exciting. He has to react to each wave as it hits. In terms of his professional career, public relations is a field in which every day is different. He is constantly on his toes in terms of the challenges that he is presented. He identified an interest in unpredictability and transformed this characteristic of surfing into a key feature of his passion for public relations.
A passion for public relations is the connection that I, and many other attendees, felt throughout Assembly in Seattle. PRSSA has the power to connect and create opportunities for students from all over the country, from all walks of life. As an organization, we feel incredibly grateful for the support we receive from PRSA. Our chapter would not be the same without your involvement in PRSA programs and the mentorship opportunities that you provide for students who are eager for advice and guidance.
Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to represent the Santa Clara University PRSSA Chapter at Assembly this year. This weekend strengthened my sense of direction as a public relations pre-professional, and was an inspiring and rewarding experience that I will always value.