What I Learned at the PRSSA Regional Conference

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 3.10.30 PMOver the past few months I worked very hard on helping put together the PRSSA regional conference, Expect the Unexpected. After all of the hard work was over, I was able to attend the conference and learn from some very successful public professionals. There were two speakers who I learned the most from.

The first speaker I really enjoyed was Tamra Strentz, the Starbucks account executive at Edelman. The best piece of advice she gave was that it is important to own your storytelling. In order to own your storytelling, she said you need to: set your news agenda, build your media strategy, select who the voices of your story will be, and produce and support content creation for your story. I thought this was a good strategy for getting media attention. Tamra said there are four types of media you should try to get when publicizing a campaign. The four types are traditional, digital, owned and social channels. Tamra was very interesting to listen to. She has worked on so many campaigns and has successfully faced many challenges during her career.

I also really enjoyed listening to Ron Fournier of the National Journal. I liked to hear about PR from a journalists perspective. Ron really stressed that public relations professionals need to understand how reporters do their job before they pitch a story to them. He also said that today relationships between reporters and public relations professionals are very important. He said that just because you pitch a great pitch to a reporter doesn’t mean they are going to take your story. If you have a strong relationship with that reporter, they are more likely to help you in the long run. Lastly, he said that little gestures, like thank you notes, go a long way. Ron emphasized the importance of old time relationships even during the digital age of communication.

Overall, I thought the conference was great. I met a lot of other young professionals from schools around the midwest and heard from some amazing speakers. All the speakers gave great advice that I foresee being able to use during my career sometime soon!


10 PR Disasters

While maybe not the absolute top ten PR disasters of all time, this video highlights 10 public relations disasters that could have been easily avoided. Whether companies had better employee communications, public engagement, or fact checked their sources, they could have avoided all of these events! I hope as a professional going into PR, I never have to deal with any of these types of crises.

Leadership at Sea Experience

DSC_1099Over the winter I was fortunate enough to attend Leadership at Sea. This was a three week leadership class that was one week in Des Moines and two weeks in the Bahamas. During this course we studied the situational leadership model and implemented this model while sailing and living on a sailboat in the Bahamas.


Situational leadership is a tasked based leadership model. It teaches you how to work with people when delegating tasks based on the person’s readiness level. For example, if you delegate a task to a person who is not at a high readiness level, there is a more hands-on approach. If a person is at a high readiness level and you delegate a task to them, there is a hands-off approach. In addition to situational leadership, we learned strategies to use when conflict arrises.

What we did

The first week of class was filled with the leadership model and learning about the boat we would be sailing on. The second week of the class was spent on land in the Bahamas. We immersed ourselves in the culture. We met with the Governor General, American Ambassador, Minister of Tourism and did a lot of sightseeing. I learned a lot of the culture and history. In the Bahamas they have a holiday called Junkanoo where they have large parades with beautiful costumes made from tissue paper.

DSC_0937The third week of class was spent aboard the Liberty Clipper, a 125 foot long sail boat. This was our leadership laboratory where we got to use the situational leadership model. As we learned how to sail the boat, we used this task based leadership model to help the rest of the class learn as well.


Besides learning how to run and sail the boat, we also had a lot of fun! The weather was beautiful, we swam, we ate good food,we snorkeled and we all became great friends. It was a wonderful experience that I feel lucky to have gone on.


PRSSA Regional Conference

I feel very fortunate to have been apart of the PRSSA regional conference! My role in this conference was the campus relations chair on the exec team. I was originally on the campus relations committee, but I was promoted to join the exec team.

If you know public relations, then you know that event planning is a crucial part. I was tasked with making sure Drake students attended our event. I developed a campaign to make sure that the most students know about our event and if they wanted to register, they could do so in one easy step.

Here are a few tactics I used:

  • Direct conversations with public relations and marketing classes to showcase our conference
  • Posters and table tents in all academic buildings and student union
  • Tabling (sitting at a sign up table) in Meredith so people could register on the spot
  • Student-body President email to all students with conference info and website link

All of these tactics combined helped up to increase student registration! Overall I think it was a great experience and I am happy to have played a role in the conference’s success.